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NEW YORK — The United States of America isn’t going to default on its debt, even if Congress doesn’t increase the statutory borrowing authority in the next couple of months. Everyone in Washington knows, or should know, this. Any assertions to the contrary are tantamount to — perish the thought! — playing politics with the debt ceiling.
By CAROLINE BAUM Bloomberg News NEW YORK — Just when you thought you could forget about the fiscal cliff and focus on the Republican and Democratic conventions instead, along comes the Congressional Budget Office to remind us of the impending threat.
NEW YORK - If you are anything like me, you have spent the last 10 days listening to President Barack Obama and his Republican challengers accuse each other of being the meanest miser when it comes to denying health care to seniors. Unless you are an actuary or have a fondness for, and facility with, budget math, you were probably left wondering what and whom to believe.
NEW YORK — What if the Bureau of Labor Statistics had reported a 220,000 increase in March nonfarm jobs two weeks ago instead of 120,000? Simple. We would have been spared a lot of market volatility, political grandstanding, I-told-you-sos and speculation that, like 2010 and 2011, solid job growth early in the year would peter out by summer. Not to mention that there isn’t a heck of a lot of difference between 120,000 and 220,000. If you don’t believe me, listen to the statisticians.
NEW YORK — There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like rising crude-oil prices to make sensible people go all wobbly in the head. Economists fail to differentiate between cause and effect. They confuse a supply shock with a shift in demand and see the outcomes as interchangeable. And they can’t see beyond the immediate negative impact on the consumer. When rising oil prices coincide with an election year, people start spouting utter nonsense. It never changes. In fact, the script follows a predictable template: