Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the U.S. would hit its debt ceiling this coming Thursday.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
It’s always fun until the bill comes due—and the bill always comes due. In fact, it’s coming due right about now.
On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the U.S. would hit its debt ceiling this coming Thursday, earlier than many had expected. That doesn’t mean the government will be forced to stop paying its bills then—Yellen believes that the Treasury has enough cash and other ways to raise money to last it until early June—but it does mean that an issue that was still purely theoretical has become far more pressing as the X date approaches.
You wouldn’t know it from the stock market’s reaction. The
was down about 0.2% at the time of the announcement Friday and finished the day up 0.4%. Maybe that makes sense. The market does have a lot on its mind, after all, from economic data to earnings to Federal Reserve speakers, all matters that seem far more pressing at the moment.
The battle against inflation is likely the most pressing—and the reason the S&P 500 finished up 2.7% this past week. The consumer price index fell to 6.5% in December, from 7.1% in November, while core CPI dipped to 5.7% from 6%. Recession fears also ratcheted down a notch on Friday, when the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey came in much stronger than expected.
The two, of course, are linked. “Despite broad concerns that the economy will fall into a recession in the coming quarters, consumer attitudes are improving, mostly because it looks like…