Super committee fails, but U.S. investment still best option

Stephen Beard Nov 22, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: So by now you’ve heard that the Congressional super committee wasn’t so “super” at finding $1.2 trillion in deficit savings. But the weird thing is, the big credit rating agencies don’t seem to mind. S&P and Moody’s both said the failure doesn’t put the U.S. at risk of another downgrade. And if you look at where global investors are storing their money, you’d conclude the U.S. isn’t such a bad bet after all.

But as Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports from London, that’s not all about us.

Stephen Beard: It’s no mystery why the world sees the U.S. as a safe haven in these turbulent times. The U.S. dollar is still the most widely traded and trusted currency. The U.S. government bond market is still the biggest. And almost uniquely, a U.S. government has never defaulted on its debt. Where’s an investor who’s worried about uncertainty going to park his cash? Not in China, where the currency is manipulated by the government; nor in Europe, where the currency might collapse.

Tim Leunig of the London School of Economics says the U.S. is simply the best of a bad lot.

Tim Leunig: The American economy is growing. It’s certainly growing much faster than almost everywhere in Europe. So America has the great advantage that so long as everybody else messes up, it’s still the best country you can put your money in.

But some economists say there is a downside to this most favoured nation status. It gives the U.S. the luxury of not having to tackle its deficit with maximum urgency. Overburdend with public debt, the U.S. economy could suffer in the long run.

In London I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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