Despite tactical, rhetorical opposition to further expansion of the entitlement state by many voices in Washington, and firm resistance by an honorable and principled few, collusive bipartisan support for an ever-larger welfare state is the central fact of politics in our nation’s capital today, as it has been for decades. Until and unless America undergoes some sort of awakening that turns the public against its blandishments, or some sort of forcing financial crisis that suddenly restricts the resources available to it, continued growth of the entitlement state looks very likely in the years immediately ahead. And in at least that respect, America today does not look exceptional at all.
UPDATE: Full SOTU Speech released - "THE SHADOW OF CRISIS HAS PASSED"
By now it is well known that The State of The Union tonight will be about President Obama's Robin-Hood Agenda. Furthermore, it is entirely clear that his proposals have no chance of becoming law. As WaPo's Marc Thiessen notes, Obama is not delusional, his move is completely and transparently political... And just as Eric Cantor suggests will merely serve to inflame the GOP. From taxes to cyber security and from community college to housing... in 50-65 minutes, all will be clear...
Whether you agree or disagree with our points below, or the President's "wealth redistribution agenda" in tonight's SOTU address, is of little matter. With both houses of Congress controlled by conservatives, the likelihood of any of these proposals actually passing into law nears "zero." This will leave the President with his nuclear option of "excutive orders" to move his agenda down the field, but even that is likely to be viciously contested in the months ahead.
The fact that Central banks are now openly cutting interest rates to NEGATIVE should tell you how far along we are in terms of funding problems (at these rates, bond holders are PAYING the Government for the right to own bonds). From a baseball analogy we’re in the late 8th, possibly early 9th inning.
Marilyn Tavenner, head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, plans to step down at the end of February, she told her staff in an e-mail. As Bloomberg reports, Tavenner didn’t say why she was leaving. In November, she acknowledged that her agency had made a mistake in its calculation of the number of people enrolled under Obamacare.
- Earnings Pessimism Jumps as Oil Threatens S&P 500 Growth (BBG)
- It’s Amateur Hour in the Booming Chinese Stock Market (BBG)
- France mobilizes 10,000 troops at home after Paris shootings (Reuters)
- European Stocks Gain With S&P 500 Futures While Oil Drops (BBG)
- Nasdaq Looks to Operate Dark Pools for Banks (WSJ)
- This Guy Called Bonds in ’14. You Listening This Time? (BBG)
- Paris attacks boost support for Dutch anti-Islam populist Wilders (Reuters)
- OPEC price war in Asia intensifies as oil falls below $50 (Reuters)
"By adopting these resolutions, Congress can make 2015 the year America begins reversing the long, slow slide toward authoritarianism, empire, national bankruptcy, and economic decline..."
The 114th Congress formally convened yesterday. In what follows, Goldman Sachs presents its views on some of the central questions regarding the political and policy outlook for the coming year. In general, Goldman expects most of the deadlines Congress faces over the coming year to result in only limited uncertainty, though the debt limit increase that will be necessary later in 2015 is the main potential exception. Additionally, they expect legislation to "audit" Fed monetary policy decisions is likely to pass the House again in 2015, but enactment looks less likely.
Death and taxes are both inevitable, but at least the experience of death does not repeat itself every year...
The more capital that is driven into risk assets, the greater the financial devastation when the asset bubbles all pop, which they inevitably will--and not in some distant future. It is impossible for everyone to sell at the top before the implosion; the assets are owned by someone all the way down.
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
Einstein advised “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”. Yet that’s mostly what I see happening today on many levels.
As Politico's Michael Grunwald writes below (we believe non-satirically), the midterm election’s discontent was illegitimate. The point is that Americans should cheer up! And whose fault is all the collective doom? Well, Bill De Blasio already explained that, as Grunwald confirms, the press has a problem reporting good news. So sit back, grab a drink (though swallow it first) and enjoy reading why "everything is awesome" in America (apart from a record 101.5 million Americans not working, record numbers on foodstamps, record numbers on disability, a record wealth divide, a record - and deadly - racial divide, record poverty, and record child homelessness).
- Japan inflation slows to 14 month low, output slips (Reuters)
- Russia says ruble crisis over as reserves dive, inflation climbs (Reuters)
- Ruble rebounds sharply from lows as exporters sell dollars (Reuters)
- Xbox, PlayStation Networks Attacked, Hackers Claim Credit (BBG)
- Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Packs Theaters Without Violence (BBG)
- Oil edges above $60 as Libyan output slumps (Reuters)
- Shoppers’ Late Rush Gives Hope to Retailers (WSJ)
- Japan says close to deal with South Korea and U.S. on North Korea defense (Reuters)
- NYPD Arrests Seven for Threats After Slayings of Officers (BBG)
"My name is Jasmine and I support President Obama's move to give affordable auto insurance for everyone."