Too Big To Fail, too many houses, and other unresolved financial dilemmas.

Commentary about business and finance.
April 5 2011 5:24 PM

Five Questions

A bouquet of dilemmas for the current economy.

(Continued from Page 2)

Will China start selling our debt? That's worth worrying about, because the lack of a big buyer would probably force U.S. interest rates higher. Already interest on our national debt is projected to rise from 2 percent of GDP, the average that prevailed from 1960 to 2010, to more than 3.5 percent by 2020. It's well within China's power to make that proportion rise still higher.

Dennis Gartman, a long-time commodities trader and observer of the market, who has written the Gartman Letter for 26 years—he's never missed one day!—thinks China won't be a big seller. But he does think China will stop being a big buyer. Especially if China's trade surpluses turn into trade deficits, as unexpectedly happened in February, Gartman writes, China will "slowly, quietly but inexorably wind down its purchases of U.S. debt and will allow its current holdings to mature and run off. There will likely be no aggressive sales of U.S. debt; there simply won't be the buying that there has been in the past…" In other words, we'll get a slow leak, rather than a big boom. Now, isn't that reassuring? Let's hope he's wrong.

That's my to-do list of questions and worries. See you in a month or two.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.