It surprised few that the debt ceiling is a topic of discussion again, although the way this is unfolding may actually be a surprise. The leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate both seem convinced there will be an approval of a debt ceiling increase before the end of the government’s fiscal year. For the time being markets seem to largely believe this.
So J.T. and I discussed my post on tobacco bonds while I was on the radio today. One of the things that amazed him, and me too, was the notion the rate of smoking fell more than assumed. So, doing what I do, I went online and got some data, this time from the OECD.
The Washington Post had an excellent piece on states and how they handled their tobacco settlement dollars (available here). It is a longer article but well worth the read given that it is one of the first analyses of what states are doing with the money from this settlement. The answer for many: squandering it. I am not going to rehash all the details of the article but there are bigger issues to tackle.
There are not many pictures that represent a truly positive outlook for the economy, which is to be expected coming out of a major crisis event like we saw in the U.S. and much of the world. However, if we believe that adjustments were necessary to fix what was wrong, then here is a hopeful picture.