But you would not expect the monkey wrench at the full faith and credit of the U.S. government to be thrown by the Republicans. Aren't there enough Republicans who love bonds? Why would they risk destroying the value of what they thought were the bedrock investments of themselves and their constituents?
The Democrats -- the party of labor -- that's who would be willing to throw the bond market in turmoil. The party of the disenfranchised worker, that's who would throw that wrench.
But that certainly isn't the case now. If anything, I expect the president to go to the Supreme Court to enforce the Constitution, which demands that the nation's bills be paid.
Now it is still true, to some extent, that the Republicans stand for less regulation. I say to some extent because I think the previous administration didn't roll back a lot of regulations at all. They just didn't try to enforce them very hard.
But, in the end, the Republicans as we remember them at least, stood for a simple principle: if it was good for business, it was good. I think that's why, in the end, people in the market don't think the shutdown can last all that long because they remember when that rock-ribbed Republican Defense Secretary and former
CEO "Engine Charlie" Wilson said, "What's good for the country is good for General Motors."
I don't think that the Republicans, who are fighting even their own party over the shutdown and the debt ceiling, believe that any more. I think they probably think "a pox on labor's and capital's heads."
The perception's dying hard. Most people in the markets can't accept anything other than the idea that it is the Democrats who would all question the value of our bonds because of a belief that other issues could be more paramount to Treasury.
The simple fact is that's no longer the case.
The bulls today are betting that there are enough of the old Republicans to stop the new Republicans. They are not betting that the president's going to do anything, because, alas, he's not sitting there thinking "how can I help win over the business wing of the Republican Party?" I think he's thinking that he's watching the party of the rich implode, and that opportunity won't be missed.