Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Borrow and Spend Now, While Interest Rates are Way Down. Yet Republicans are Won't.

It's the "Opposite World" of Republican economics; they say borrowing is bad...so it must be good!!!

Republicans say build the Keystone Pipeline? Here comes environment damage and longer dependence on oil. (Actually, we really shouldn't, but that another story).

Back to the borrowing "problem" we actually don't have, along with "spending." The economic reason for both spending and borrowing has been talked about before, but here's another attempt to break through the Republican wall of talking points. If we go along with Republicans, infrastructure spending in the country will greatly increase, straining federal, state and local budgets.
Ezra Klein email: The conventional wisdom is that the United States is borrowing too much. But don't tell that to the markets. It's cheaper for the U.S. to finance its debt today than it was when we last had surpluses. For three-year, five-year, and 10-year treasuries, the rate has turned negative. That is to say, the market is so afraid of losing money in the dangerous, uncertain world out there, that they'll pay us to keep their money safe for them ... it's an incredible opportunity for us.

It means that any investment with any positive rate of return is an investment worth making.

Infrastructure clearly fits that bill. Not only is the likely return high, but if we don't do it now, we'll need to do it later, when our borrowing costs will be higher.

But the conventional wisdom -- the wisdom that says the only responsible thing to do is cut -- stands in our way. If we were going by the numbers, the path forward would be clear: Borrow now, when we can get money for free, when we have millions of unemployed Americans to put back to work, and when the economy is in desperate need of more demand. But don't stop there. At the same time, pass a large and credible deficit-reduction plan that covers, says, 2014-2023, and cuts federal borrowing as the global economy recovers and interest rates rise. in other words, make investments now, when it's cheap, but begin working on an exit strategy for a few years from now, when borrowing becomes expensive again.

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