The Weekend Read

The single biggest threat to national security is the national debt, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday, underscoring the importance of good fiscal stewardship and a need to stimulate economic growth.

American taxpayers are going to pay an estimated $600 billion in interest on the national debt in 2012, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told local leaders and university students here.

“That’s one year’s worth of defense budget,” he noted, adding that the Pentagon is going to have to work to “cut the fat” from its overhead spending. U.S. Dept. of Defense

China
Monetary Policy Tools Fooling No One in China – Andy Xie
Commodities

Gold Hits New Record: What’s Driving Prices So High – CBS MoneyWatch
Oil at the tipping point – Fortune
When Will Rising Energy Prices Start to Pinch? – WSJ
Economics

A perfect pension storm – Chicago Tribune
Retailers’ March sales top downbeat expectations – MarketWatch
Treasuries Extend Third Weekly Decline as Inflation Bets Rise – Bloomberg
Waiting for the great rebalancing – FT
Why aren’t the biggest U.S. companies hiring? – USA Today
Europe

A mini-stampede among European banks to raise capital – Economist
ECB Hikes Rates As Portugal Seeks Help – Wells Fargo
European Debt Crisis Morphs Into New Phase: Mohamed El-Erian – Bloomberg
Europe’s Subprime Quagmire – Project Syndicate
Portugal seeks help – Economist
Fiscal

Deal at Last Minute Averts Shutdown; $38 BN in Cuts to Spending This Year – NY Times
Monetary Policy

Dallas Fed chief says Fed might need to curtail its bond-buying program – Dallas News
How do you say bond vigilantes in French? – CNN
Is the ECB Making a Mistake on Rates? – Fox News
Pressure builds on Fed over inflation – LA Times
Politics

Taxpayers versus public-sector workers – Economist

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