Personal Wealth Management / Expert Commentary

Ken Fisher Discusses Debt Ceiling Fears

Fisher Investments’ founder, Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer Ken Fisher addresses fears about the US government debt ceiling. Ken says this issue has become more prominent in the media as Congress has been less functional about establishing long-term government spending plans in recent years. Ken observes, however, that we have bumped up against the debt ceiling many times. Even when the US government “shuts down,” capital markets tend to shrug this off and he expects this iteration to be no different.

Ken says there are ample cash reserves to cover government spending until the middle of 2023, but it wouldn’t surprise him if debt ceiling deliberations continue until the very last moment—consistent with recent years. Ken believes a bill will pass eventually and he reminds investors to avoid sensationalist media headlines as the debt ceiling debate should mean very little to stocks.

Transcript

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Ken Fisher: Every little bit, whether we need to or not, once a year, once every two years, three times a year, get all kind of concern about the debt ceiling.

Oh, the debt ceiling!

Let me just say that this is something that has gone on, this concern, increasingly in modern years, as Congress has been less functional about arranging things in the longer term, and debt ceiling has seemed like a way to use as a weapon to try to control spending, but it really isn't, It's never been very functional.

People say things that aren't true.

Ken Fisher: They say things like, well, we've never bumped up against the debt ceiling before.

We've bumped up against the debt ceiling many times.

The fact is, and people don't think this through, they also worry about and talk in parallel, is there going to be a government shutdown?

Now, a government shutdown is a kind of a misnomer, because we've had so called government shutdowns, but they don't shut the government down.

There's the money that keeps getting spent and then the money that stops being spent, but the government keeps doing that which keeps being spent, which includes things like the military.

Ken Fisher: The fact of the matter is, there's more than enough cash to last out into the middle of 2023 under any circumstance.

Will Congress have the time to get these things one way or another, sorted out by then? Yes.

Does it really matter if they don't before then?

Not terribly.

There's equality in Congress that you may have noticed, if you're paying attention, you surely noticed, that in recent times they tend to put off dealing with things until the very last minute and then scramble, scramble, scramble, scramble to put something through in a super hurry at the last minute.

Ken Fisher: And that may well be what will happen this time.

Probably will, maybe not.

But the point that I want you to see is that the debt ceiling discussion is mostly going to be a lot of yak about making a mountain out of what is otherwise a molehill.

Thank you very much for listening to me.

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