The United States government is bracing for a possible shutdown amidst a looming threat to its AAA credit rating. Moody’s, one of the leading credit rating agencies, announced on Monday that such an event would negatively impact the country’s credit score. This comes after Fitch and Standard and Poor’s already downgraded Washington’s credit rating due to its past fiscal irresponsibility. The potential shutdown could have dire consequences for the country’s economy, which is already reeling from rising interest rates and escalating national debt.
Over the past week, the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury bond has reached 4.5%, the highest since 2007. This increase in interest rates not only raises the cost of loans for homes, cars, and businesses, but it also threatens to push the federal government toward a debt crisis. This is because higher interest rates increase the annual interest cost of servicing the rising federal debt, jeopardizing the country’s financial stability.
Rising interest rates are a cause for concern as they could result in a major debt crisis for the United States. Historically, the country has been able to maintain low interest rates, allowing it to borrow billions of dollars without incurring high-interest costs. However, this is not a sustainable strategy, and it has already caught up with lawmakers. Back in 1990, the average interest rate Washington paid on its debt was 8.4%. It has now dropped to 1.7%, and this has been used to justify an increase in the debt held by the public from $5 trillion to $25 trillion over three decades. As long as interest rates remained low, this spending seemed affordable, but the recent increase in rates has changed the game.
One of the key reasons for concern is the average maturity of the federal debt, which is at just 76 months. This means that almost all of it must be replaced with new bonds within a decade. This leaves the entire national debt exposed to any future interest rate hike. It is also worth noting that Washington is already scheduled to borrow $119 trillion over the next three decades, which would push the debt up to 200% of the economy. This increased borrowing would have a devastating impact on the economy, with interest payments alone consuming more than one-third of all federal taxes.
The consequences of these rising interest rates could be dire, and the need for a backup plan is critical. Lawmakers have been betting on the assumption that interest rates will never rise again, and they have been using this as a justification for additional spending. However, this is a risky gamble, and with interest rates already reaching 4.5%, it is time for policymakers to come up with a plan to address this issue before it’s too late. Failure to do so could lead to a full-blown debt crisis, with interest costs consuming more than half of all federal taxes within three decades. The warning signs are there, and it’s time for Congress to take action to secure the future of the country’s economy.