Paul Ryan

Among the many reasons given by the Federal Reserve for their reluctance to buy, say $80 billion in bonds each more instead of $85 billion, is that U.S. policymakers continue to refuse to make policy. Like, say, policy to keep the government operating.

Well, Boehner Ryan & Co. have decided that they will let the government keep operating—this time—and will even let it spend a few more bones. Can they have their taper now?

Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who struck the deal after weeks of private talks, said it would allow more spending for domestic and defense programs in the near term, while adopting deficit-reduction measures over a decade to offset the costs….

Some investors say that the deal could push forward the Federal Reserve’s taper timetable. In September when the central bank surprised investors and kept its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program in place, it cited the looming budget battle as a reason for caution. But now, that risk has diminished.

Progress of a sort, but, well, no: You’re probably not getting your taper next week. Read more »

Even more telling, Ryanism’s alarming ascendancy has stripped the veneer off some centrist groups long-believed by some on the right to front for liberal policies. For example, the cofounder of the nonpartisan self-described “moderate” organization Third Way has described Ryan as a “radical and a bomb-thrower.” (So shrill have the organization’s attacks on Ryan been that they provoked long-time Third Way donor and trustee Daniel Loeb, a New York financier, to resign his board membership in disgust, writing, “I can no longer support a group which is in the back pocket of this administration.”) [TWS]

So you’re Cliff Asness, and you’re in Washington for dinner with a couple of buddies, one of whom happens to be Republican congressman Paul Ryan. Just you, some bros, a nice meal, a little chat about monetary policy and the debt ceiling negotiations.

And you’re feeling pretty good, maybe because you just saw the Atlas Shrugged movie for the fifth time and bought the special John Galt action figure, so you splurge on a couple of bottles of the best wine you can get your hands on. Unfortunately you’re in D.C., so you’re stuck with the Jayer-Gilles 2004 Échezeaux, not a slouch exactly but kind of unsubtle and maybe a bit too young to drink. (Burghound: 89-92, drink 2012+, “Strongly reduced, however the big, rich, generous and powerful full-bodied flavors are deep, well-muscled and extremely long, all wrapped in an impeccably well-balanced finish. This definitely has the best material of any wine in the range and if it can add more complexity over time, it could surprise to the upside as it is definitely impressive.”)

So NBD right? You’d think so. But then some possibly drunk lady, who turns out to be Rutgers business professor Susan Feinberg (she teaches a course called “Love and Money”), starts snooping on your table. She sees the label and consults the wine list, where she finds out that it runs $350 a bottle. And then she breaks out her Ph.D.-level math skills:
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