Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Larry Summers Says the U.S. Should Gradually Shift to More Short-Term Debt

The correct move at present is to lengthen the maturities.
From Real Time Economics:
The U.S. government over time should alter its debt policies and issue more short-term Treasury securities and fewer long-term securities, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers argues in a new paper.

Such a shift could dramatically reduce the cost of funding government debt because interest on short-term debt is cheaper, he and a group of co-authors from Harvard University argue in the paper, released Tuesday by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy. The risks of adopting such a policy aren’t as great as is widely believed, they add.

The proposal, coming from a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama who also served as Treasury secretary from 1999 to 2001, is sure to get noticed in Washington and on Wall Street. Investors are sensitive to the volume of long-term securities issued by the government.

A shift toward more short-term debt issuance by the Treasury could push long-term rates lower, though Mr. Summers and his co-authors add the caveat that now is not the right time for a shift in strategy because demand for short-term government bills is not especially high....MORE
For some insight into Summers' real world experience see Reuters' "How Larry Summers lost Harvard $1.8 billion" or Bloomberg: "Harvard Swaps Are So Toxic Even Summers Won’t Explain".
For a look at his ethics see the Harvard Crimson's "‘Tawdry Shleifer Affair’ Stokes Faculty Anger Toward Summers" and our "The Essential Larry Summers: How He and Alan Greenspan Laid the Groundwork for the Financial Crisis...".
The guy is a creepazoid.