If there is such a thing as Village Square required reading, this is it. It describes a reality coming to a city near you that we either grapple with now or we live its consequences later. I guess we pick. Please share this one on social media. Michael Lewis argues (convincingly) in November’s Vanity Fair that it is ultimately America’s hometowns and states who will bear the brunt of the Congressional failure to govern either by raising taxes or cutting spending or both. I hope I live in a city and state that gets this sooner rather than later.
“On August 5, 2011, moments after the U.S. government watched a rating agency lower its credit rating for the first time in American history, the market for U.S. Treasury bonds soared. Four days later, the interest rates paid by the U.S. government on its new 10-year bonds were plummeting on their way to record lows. The price of gold rose right alongside the price of U.S. Treasury bonds, but the prices of virtually all stocks and other bonds in rich Western countries went into a free fall. The net effect of a major U.S. rating agency’s saying that the U.S. government was less likely than before to repay its debts was to lower the cost of borrowing for the U.S. government and to raise it for everyone else. This told you a lot of what you needed to know about the ability of the U.S. government to live beyond its means: it had, for the moment, a blank check. The shakier the United States government appeared, up to some faraway point, the more cheaply it would be able to borrow. It wasn’t exposed yet to the same vicious cycle that threatened the financial life of European countries: a moment of doubt leads to higher borrowing costs, which leads to greater doubt and even higher borrowing costs, and so on until you become Greece. The fear that the United States might actually not pay back the money it had borrowed was still unreal.” Read this rest of the riveting, long and deeply important article online at Vanity Fair.