Great big giant money managers are selling their holdings of short-term U.S. government debt because they’re afraid of what might happen if Congress fails to raise the federal debt limit.
Of course, it could well be that federal agencies will somehow find money stashed under a federal mattress, or the NSA will siphon some money out of some drug cartel’s accounts and launder it through, say, some mysterious Federal Reserve Bank maneuver that everyone pretends to understand.
But, basically, what we have here is a lousy political economic marriage.
The staunch Democrats believe one thing, the staunch Republicans believe another thing, plenty of independents believe in their own personally-tailored collection of positions, and everyone hates everyone else.
Who knows what kind of damage continuation of the government shutdown, and a failure to raise the debt limit, could or could not do, but the situation is like a bitter fight between two crazy meth head parents who live on the 100th floor of a skyscraper. They try to get each other to pay the electric bill or turn down the radio by swinging the babies over the balcony.
And insurance companies’ disability insurance operations are some of the babies.
Even though disability insurer portfolio managers may prefer higher-yielding mortgages and corporate debt securities, they use plenty of government debt securities. They also depend heavily on the overall stability of the job market and the economy as a whole. Employers in seriously chaotic countries are not that big into offering disability insurance, or into offering employee benefits of any kind.
A modest proposal: Instead of continuing with the current gridlock, or descending into a foolish, 19th century-style shooting war, as we seem hellbent on doing, why not use modern technology to have the population go through a trial separation?
Let people who want to live under Red State laws get red passports and live under Red State laws, regulations and policies.
Let people who want to live under a Blue State system get blue passports that come with Blue State laws, regulations and policies.
Let everyone else get Purple passports that put the holders under whatever mix of rules a purple state congress develops.
Let all of those people continue to call themselves citizens of the United States of America (ha ha) and, at least temporarily, until we can work out something better, contribute some kind of per-capita user fee to pay for defense, the embassies, etc.
To keep people from using Red State passports when they’re paying taxes and Blue State passports when they’re collecting benefits, develop some formidable biometric identification system. Create a payment system people can use to shift from one system to another, and make switching without paying the switching payment or otherwise getting permission a capital offense. (Or, if that’s too distasteful, an offensive punishable by loss of smart phone privileges.)
Every 20 years, let everyone vote and see if they want to make any of the Red, Blue or Purple systems change colors. Maybe everyone would voluntarily vote to go Red in 20 years, or go Blue, or go Purple.
Or we maybe we could think harder about whether arguments about health policy finance and same-sex marriage are really good reasons to break up the country.