There's a drunken debt party going on right here...
With the debt ceiling "compromise" deal still in flux, although at least according to the FX market expected to be approved shortly, despite the protestations of liberal democrats (one wonders if Obama will accuse said group of hostage tactics much as he accused conservative republicans of the same last week), below is what the current shape of the proposed deal looks like courtesy of the WSJ's Washington Wire blog.
This could very well be another red herring like the NYT article from two weeks ago that proved to be a dud, but for what it's worth according to ABC's Jonathan Karl, the White House and the GOP have just reached a tentative deal as follows...
It's time for your daily teleprompted brainwashing. Frontal lobes: out.
Giant Banks Lobby to Raise the Debt Ceiling and Slash Public Benefits ... So They Can Keep Sucking at the Public TeatSubmitted by George Washington on 07/28/2011 14:30 -0400
The debt crisis might be real ... I've been warning about it for years.
The potential downgrade to America's credit is real ... I've been warning about that for years, as well.
But the way that the rating agencies and Wall Street are approaching the debt ceiling debate is a scam.
The latest meaningless headlines from White House spokesman Jay Carney:
- CARNEY SAYS NO REASON TO REPEAT DEBT DEBATE LATER THIS YEAR Except for retaining Obama's job of course
- CARNEY SAYS AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT COMPROMISE ON DEBT LIMIT Preferably the democrat compromise which saves a few quadrillion by not launching war on Mars?
- And sure enough there it is: CARNEY SAYS REID PROPOSAL REPRESENTS COMPROMISE
- CARNEY SAYS SENATE WILL REJECT BOEHNER DEBT PROPOSAL
- CARNEY SAYS TREASURY WILL EXPLAIN HOW IT WILL MANAGE FINANCES
- CARNEY SAYS BOEHNER PLAN VOTE WILL NOT LEAD TO COMPROMISE
- CARNEY SAYS CONGRESS `CONTROLS OUR FATE' ON DEBT LIMIT
- CARNEY SAYS ONGOING DEBATE HAS HAD NEGATIVE IMPACT ON ECONOMY
- CARNEY SAYS `NO QUESTION' BOEHNER PROPOSAL IS `POLITICAL ACT'
Bottom line: algos now using every appearance of the word "compromise" in a headline as buying trigger.
For the record, I still believe that there will not be a breach of the debt ceiling and no overt default for the US. Things will be worked out in the nick of time, like they always are. However, the media is full of articles wondering about what ‘investors’ might do in response to a US default and/or credit downgrade. What will happen to Treasury prices? Will they go down as investors dump them en masse in response to a credit downgrade forcing interest rates to climb? It’s a big question and the most likely answer is “No, not really”. Partly because these so-called investors have been well-conditioned to believe that another bailout is always around the corner, but mainly because they have nowhere to go. The big money is trapped... The Treasury market is the largest and most liquid in the world, by far. For many big money funds there really aren’t any realistic options other than the Treasury market, and this present reality will limit the market reaction to any downgrade.
In the past week, almost every single sellside bank and their mother has released a report on "what happens to the US if there is a [default|debt extension|compromise|zombie apocalypse (if one believes Tim Geithner)]. Sure enough, here is Credit Suisse with its three scenarios. This is notable as it presents the binary outcomes for the stock markets as a result of what develops in Congress. The scenarios are: i) debt ceiling extension (market up 3%); ii) debt ceiling not extended (market down 15%); iii) default (market plummets by at least 30%). Of course, if there is really is a default it is game over for equity markets but that is a moot point. Either way, any report that has zero mention of the word gold when contemplating the impact of a US default goes straight into the garbage. Such as this one.
Some have said that the Fed and Washington want the value of the dollar to plummet so the nation’s debt may be repaid in cheaper dollars. Perhaps all this debt ceiling mess is just part of the grand design? If so, then pretty soon, these Art of Defaced US Dollars would be worth more than the real dollar.
Boehner Releases Revised Plan: To Cut $91.7 Billion Each Year For A Decade, Buys 4 Months Before Next Debt Ceiling HikeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/27/2011 18:10 -0400
The epic revision in the just revised Boehner plan is to cut a grand total of ... $91.7 billion per year for 10 years (back-end loaded of course: 2012 will see just $22 billion in cuts - can't have any real cuts too early or else). The spin is that this is sufficient because the $917 billion in cuts is more than the proposed $900 billion debt ceiling hike, so all shall be well. Of course that is only part one of the two-part debt ceiling hike process. The next step is a $1.8 trillion cut to "protect programs like Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy." The problem is that Boehner continues along the path of a two-step debt hike, a formulation that Obama will never agree to, since it effectively guarantees him no-reelection chance, as the last thing the people will want is the same bickering as we are experiencing every day again some time in 2012, when the current $900 billion in incremental debt capacity runs out. And actually, with the US debt already $300 billion below trendline and with the government's two pension funds already plundered by a like amount (which means they have a net IOU position), it means that the Boehner plan really buys only $600 billion of dry powder. At a burn rate of $150 billion a month, this means the first step of the Boehner plan buys precisely 4 months before the debt ceiling has to be raised again! Oh yes, this plan also guarantees at least a one notch downgrade to the US debt, with more notches coming up before the end of the year when this whole farce is repeated.
ATTENTION: BANZAI7 LEVEL 8 NO BEVERAGE WARNING!
Yes, indeed it is. While everyone and their grandmother is foaming at the mouth how both republicans and democrats hiked the debt ceiling for umpteen times over the past x years, the truth is that never before has the ratio of the proposed debt ceiling to the tax receipt ratio been as high as it is now. At nearly 6 times, this means that the top line (forget bottom line) cash inflows into the Treasury are 6 times lower than the current debt ceiling. And following the upcoming $2.5 trillion this number will surge to almost 8 times. So please ignore the next "pundit" who is complaining about the hypocrisy of not agreeing to an outright debt ceiling hike this time around - as usual they have no idea what they are talking about.
Goodbye 11th hour. Hello 12th hour and 1 minute. According to MF Global's Chris Krueger, the probability that congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 is now 55%. Which means at least a 1 if not more notch downgrade by the rating agencies, which means massive and completely unpredictable spillover effects in money markets, structured finance, muni and all other financial products, which means the military will soon have to conduct many more urban exercises to prepare for "Tehran" (because the Iranian capital's downtown has at least 3 John Hancock center replicas). In the meantime, the market still thinks that Bernanke can fix this.
Both Reid and Boehner's Debt Ceiling Plans Would Still Likely Result In a Credit Downgrade for the United StatesSubmitted by George Washington on 07/26/2011 18:48 -0400
Still confused by all the various plans offered by the two parties? That is to be expected: after all these change on a daily, if not hourly basis, which was great a week ago, but now with just 3 days until the absolutely latest deadline by which congressional legislation has to be enacted, which is this Thursday, some cohesion would have been good. Instead D.C. keeps pushing further apart with no chance of a compromise anywhere on the immediate horizon. And while it does provide daily TV opera, it does nothing to assuage fears that next week America may stop paying out its checks as soon as a week from today (the details of when Treasury runs out of cash are irrelevant: the absolutely drop dead date is August 15, but without the machinery in place to resume refunding well ahead of it, the market will have no choice but to begin discounting that fact). And while we know that S&P has now sided with the uber-fluffy Reid plan, which does nothing at all to address America's encroaching insolvency, the real question here, as in every other topic, is what does Goldman think. Because after all Goldman rules the world. Here is the answer.