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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is U.S. Debt Junk?

This is a great video on CNBC, Micheal Pento makes some great points that apparently Erin does not like very much, as she doesn't let him finish his points either.  Joseph Balestrino, while making a very short term point, isn't as clued in as he should be for the long term.  Mr. Pento is right on with his assessment of where we are going with our debt and whether others will continue to desire to fund it.  True enough in the short term we do find some buyers (the Fed has been buying up a lot lately to hold down interest rates, but that just inflates our debt further).  Erin argues that we can borrow more because interest rates are so low and we appear to be able to pay it back.  I would argue that if we take it to far and interest rates rise (beyond the Feds ability to suppress it) then we most likely won't be able to pay it back.  This would bear further consequences to the American public.  Mike makes the point that we have $8.9 Trillion dollars in publicly traded debt which will rise to at least $14 Trillion by 2015 and the Fed has single handedly held down the yield curve (but cannot continue to do so forever).  Mike also points out that instead of paying just 5% of all federal revenue on interest expense we will be paying 30% at a bare minimum in just a handful of years and that interest rates must rise dramatically in response.  Joseph Balistrino says "this is a long term problem and that we are the safe haven currency, so until our currency goes down on bad market days we will remain the safe haven currency".  That seems like a really bad assumption (especially with the IMF pushing SDR's and rumors the Fed wants the same).  Given the sell off in the Euro today, the Swiss Franc actually served pretty well as a safe haven for investors to flee to.  Joseph Balistrino from Federated adds "nothing is in a bubble when people want to buy it" in response to whether he thought the U.S. Bond market was in a bubble.  Really, what kind of crazy thinking is that.  Most people do buy during a bubble and then suffer when it implodes, does he advocate people buying bubbles and losing money?  Watch for yourself.

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