Why the markets don’t care – debt ceiling in the USA

Some magazines wonder why the markets do not fear the debt ceiling, nor being worried about the government shutdown.

For the first point I have a strong opinion, while on the second some sarcastic comment.

The debt ceiling was reached numerous times, according to wikipedia as follows (numbers are trillion $)

February 2010 14.294
August 2011 14.694
September 2011 15.194
January 2012 16.394

If markets worldwide would always react to those artificial, stage like, we-are-so-important acts from politicians they would become a play ball of something where the outcome is crystal clear. The ceiling is hit and the height getting adjusted. In the last 73 years roughly 94 times – not the 95th comes along and some journalists wonder why we don’t panic.

For the shutdown I have a different theory. How big is the business value (GDP) of a government employee? For some it is quite easy to say, as some officials missing now lead to lay-offs or shutdown of certain factories. But for most it is just things going slower, or even no obvious impact. From my perspective every organisation has a lot of obsolete staff and I am pretty sure this is also true for governments and their employees. Letting 75% of the people go into enforced, not payed holidays will not have a 75% impact on anything. Some things might even be faster.

So why should anyone worry – the past has shown that every debt ceiling has been lifted when the need came and every shutdown was after some days / weeks taken back. This is a game from politicians for politicians, why should I care. From an importance is it as unimportant, as that US has made two successful attacks against so-called islamic terrorists (Libya and Somalia). I don’t care either, this is also daily business and maybe worth a footnote in an official paper. Headlines I would like to see more often are around climate – and the same scrutiny we apply for economical matters analysing facts and figures for ecological issues. On the frontpage.


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