Perhaps no (albeit brief) conversation sums up how the debacle of the last couple of weeks started than the following exchange that took place on October 2nd, according to Politico,
Obama: "John, What Happened"
Boehner: "I Got Overrun, That's What Happened"
The question, prompted by the shutdown in the face of Boehner's pledge to avoid it, set the scene for what Politico notes was a fiscal drama set on a series of complicated relationships. A look back reveals how Republicans waged a fight on Obamacare that their leaders knew they would probably lose but pushed anyways because many in their ranks truly believed that Democrats, like they’ve done so often before, would fold - especially under the threat of an historic default on U.S. debt.
Equity investors can't buy enough this morning. The latest rumor - that the House Republicans are willing to consider voting first on an emerging Senate proposal - provided some fillip to an opening selloff. As Politico reports, this move could expedite bipartisan legislation developed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. If the House passes the bill first and sends it to the upper chamber, it would eliminate some burdensome procedural hurdles in the Senate and require just one procedural roll call with a 60-vote threshold needed to advance the bill toward final passage in the Senate. Of course, the big question here is "If" the House passes the bill...
- Spot the pattern: Senate Leaders Nearing a Deal (Politico), Senators say debt, shutdown deal is near (USA Today), Senate Leaders in Striking Distance of a Deal (WSJ), U.S. senators hint at possible fiscal deal on Tuesday (Reuters), Senate Debt-Limit Deal Emerging (BBG)
- U.S. debt ceiling crisis would start quiet, go downhill fast (Reuters)
- Uneasy Investors Sell Billions in Treasurys (WSJ)
- BOE’s Cunliffe Says U.K. Is Not in Grip of Housing-Market Bubble (BBG)
- Letta Mixes Tax Cut With Rigor in Post-Berlusconi Italian Budget (BBG)
- Japan Seeks to Export More High-End Food (WSJ)
- Burberry names Bailey CEO as Ahrendts quits for Apple (Reuters)
- China’s Biggest Reserves Jump Since 2011 Shows Inflow (BBG)
— Nobelprize_org (@Nobelprize_org) October 14, 2013
This objective report concisely summarizes important macro events over the past week. It is not geared to push an agenda. Impartiality is necessary to avoid costly psychological traps, which all investors are prone to, such as confirmation, conservatism, and endowment biases.
60% of Americans Want a Third Party Candidate for 2016
U.S. Debt Limit To Be Raised For 18th Time In 20 Years - Gold Vulnerable Short Term But Real Record High LikelySubmitted by GoldCore on 10/11/2013 12:05 -0400
The dangerous habit of politicians and governments continually ‘kicking the can down the road’ cannot go on indefinitely. Eventually, the ramifications of this profligacy will be clear to all.
Yet another increase in the debt ceiling and the increasingly parabolic nature of the rise in U.S. government debt will be very supportive of gold in the medium and long term.
Yesterday it was JPMorgan's money-market funds adjusting to their fiduciary duty and following Fidelity's lead in getting out of any and all short-term non-risk-free Treasury Bills. Today, another massive money-market fund provider sells it all...
- *BLK'S MONEY FUNDS HAVE NO ASSETS IN TREASURIES TIED TO DEFAULT
- *BLACKROCK SAYS `ZERO EXPOSURE' TO DEBT MATURING IN LATE OCT.
- *BLACKROCK SAYS NO HOLDINGS IN TREASURIES MATURING IN EARLY NOV.
It seems remarkable that all three of these funds would ignore the advice of blowhard bloggers who suggested this was nothing. But, as Barack Obama himself said yesterday, "Ultimately, what matters is: What do the people who are buying Treasury bills think?" It seems only the Fed (and PIMCO) is left.
Only a week ago, the consensus among most mainstream economic analysts and even some alternative analysts was that a government shutdown was not going to happen. The Republicans would fold in the shadow of President Barack Obama’s overwhelming drive for socialization, spending would continue to grow unabated, and the debt ceiling would be vaulted yet again to feed the bureaucratic machine with more fiat. Today, there is no consensus, very few people continue to be so blithely self-assured and even the mainstream is beginning to wonder if a much bigger game is afoot here.
UPDATE: The Day in Washington in 2 minutes added
In what can at best be described as a "fluid" situation, one in which according to initial press reports the White House and the GOP couldn't even compromise on what had actually been said, it seems that while both sides are eager to move on with the debt ceiling extension, the GOP is still hoping in trying to preserve some political capital, of which it will be left with virtually nil if it caves to every last demand by the democrats, namely "reopen the government and then we can negotiate" losing all leverage in the process. And a loss of all capital and leverage is precisely what the GOP will "achieve" according to Politico, which clarified that "House Republicans told Obama that they could reopen the federal government by early next week if the president and Senate Democrats agree to their debt-ceiling proposal" - a proposal which Obama has already said he would accept. In other words, full capitulation by Boehner appears imminent. Politico adds: "President Barack Obama and House Republicans clashed in a meeting Thursday afternoon over how soon the government can be reopened, even as the GOP offered to lift the debt limit for six weeks, according to sources familiar with the session. Aides will continue the discussion through the night to see if they could find common ground on how to move forward on the debt limit and government funding."
U.S Government would rather default than lose their bullion.
The Speaker of the House has a plan - apparently - that enables the debt-limit "can" to be kicked 6-weeks down the line to Nov 22nd in a "clean" bill that appears dirtied by the lack of a CR for the government shutdown (though including a broader budget talks process). Democrats are already pushing for an end-2014 debt-ceiling extension that McConnell says "wil not fly." We look forward to hearing from Boehner on how this is not a "fold" and how the rank-and-file will agree to this... see you in six-weeks... (and while stocks are incapable of discounting anything that far out, T-Bills are starting to price in that reality). But. U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS CONCERNED THAT CLEAN DEBT LIMIT INCREASE WOULD NOT FORCE OBAMA TO NEGOTIATE-SENIOR REPUBLICAN AIDE and HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS PLAN TO PRESENT PROPOSED SHORT-TERM DEBT LIMIT HIKE TO WHITE HOUSE ON THURSDAY; WANT TO SEE WHAT OBAMA OFFERS IN RETURN-SENIOR REPUBLICAN LAWMAKER
- The ice breaks; fiscal talks set (The Hill); Ryan steps up to shape a deal (The Hill), as predicted here yesterday
- Republicans consider short-term U.S. debt ceiling increase (Reuters)
- Shutdown Standoff Shows Signs of a Thaw (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Clients in Cash as Schwab’s Options Hedge Default (BBG)
- Mitch McConnell, Senate GOP search for way out (Politico)
- Meredith Whitney Winds Down Brokerage Unit After Setting Up Fund (BBG)
- Washington Budget Chaos Keeps Fed Rates Low for Longer (BBG)
- Chinese Premier Outlines US Debt Concerns (FT)
- Saudis brace for 'nightmare' of U.S.-Iran rapprochement (Reuters)
- Obama Urges Action on Yellen’s Fed Nomination (Reuters)
- Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan Freed After Kidnap (WSJ)
As we have discussed previously, the "partial government shutdown" that we are experiencing right now is pretty much a non-event - especially with the un-furloughing of The Pentagon. Yeah, some national parks are shut down and some federal workers will have their checks delayed, but it is not the end of the world. In fact, only about 17% of the federal government is actually shut down at the moment. This "shutdown" could continue for many more weeks and it would not affect the global economy too much. On the other hand, if the debt ceiling deadline (approximately October 17th) passes without an agreement that would be extremely dangerous. A U.S. debt default that lasts for more than a couple of days could potentially cause a financial crash that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. If a debt default were to happen before the end of this year, that would bring a tremendous amount of future economic pain into the here and now, and the consequences would likely be far greater than any of us could possibly imagine.
Five years later, while some are congratulating themselves on avoiding another depression, no one in Europe or the United States can claim that prosperity has returned. The financial system may be more stable than it was five years ago, but that is a low bar – back then, it was teetering on the edge of a precipice. Those in government and the financial sector who congratulate themselves on banks’ return to profitability and mild – though hard-won – regulatory improvements should focus on what still needs to be done. Some are pleased that the economy may have bottomed out. But, in any meaningful sense, an economy in which most people’s incomes are below their pre-2008 levels is still in recession. An The glass is, at most, only one-quarter full; for most people, it is three-quarters empty.