About Those Treasury Bills…

Treasury DepartmentSomething I hate as a reader of political and economic news is how stories just disappear. I was thinking about that this evening because a week and a half ago, I reported on an article by Neil Irwin that highlighted the fact that 30 day treasury bill rates had gone up from 0.03% before the government shutdown to 0.27% in the middle of it. So the question is, “What happened after that?”

They stayed at about that rate for most of the crisis, but on the 15th, with the Debt Ceiling looming, they went up again—to 0.35%. Then yesterday, as a deal seemed more likely, they dropped to 0.14%. And today? They are at 0.01%.

After Irwin published his article, Dean Baker pooh-poohed it. He said that it wasn’t scary because 0.3% is still a really low interest rate. And that is true. But the point was that the behavior of the Republicans in the House was having a very real effect on the economy. No one was claiming that the government wouldn’t be able to handle its short term debt needs.

The bottom line is that the Republican Party is always and forever claiming that they are the party of business. But they are anything but. And just as their brinkmanship hurt the economy, their abject failure last night helped it.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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