Guest Post: Jesters, Economics, And American Dollar Supremacy

The debt debate has been going on all summer, a 2 months and running theatrical experience of court jesters parading about while the United States economy teeters on the edge. On both sides of the aisle have been ridiculous solutions that are showing the world daily, America is willing to sacrifice its citizens for the profits of the corporations. The problem is, why will the rest of the world continue to support American multi-nationals, when they have their own. As dollar supremacy begins to wane, and oil prices rise as the dollar’s value descends, maybe it is time to talk about the horrendous policy decisions of these politicians in hopes it opens up a way to point us in the correct direction. Otherwise, when August 2nd comes and the deal is passed anyway, cause it has all just been a “watch this hand” moment, we might find ourselves not understanding why the Social Security check seems meager compared to before.

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What I’m trying to say with all of this is that the US welfare state, or the notion of politicians dishing out handouts in exchange for votes, is soon coming to an end. Social security, Medicare and many other government spending programs will be cut in the coming years. Regardless of your feelings regarding these programs, they are not funded and with tax receipts falling (and will fall further as the Depression deepens) the US will simply not have the money to pay for these programs.

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: August 1

Markets reacted positively to news that the White House and senior Congressional leadership had agreed, in principle, a deal to raise the US debt ceiling, which provided support to European equities, and weighed on Bunds, whereas the Eurozone peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads narrowed across the board. A renewed appetite for risk provided strength to WTI and Brent crude futures, and spot Gold prices came under pressure. Elsewhere, commodity-linked currencies, including AUD, NZD and CAD, remained the prominent beneficiaries at the cost of safe-haven currencies, such as CHF, JPY and USD. In other forex news, GBP came under extensive pressure after manufacturing PMI data from the UK demonstrated a contraction, and reached its lowest level since Jun'09. Moving into the North American open, the economic calendar remains thin, however markets look ahead to the ISM manufacturing data from the US. With regards to the US debt debate, focus now shifts to whether the US debt ceiling deal can go through the House and Senate before an August 2nd deadline, and any reaction from major rating agencies pertaining to US's sovereign ratings.

The Bipartisan Debt Deal Fact Sheet: A "Victory" For The Republicans, The Democrats And, Of Course, The White House

Hot off the presses, here is the White House's very own "debt deal" fact sheet, which is apparently a "win for the economy and budget discipline." Which is great since we already know it is a win for the GOP and the Democrats. In other words, the only thing better than a Win-Win, is a Win-Win-Win... in which the only loser, of course, is America. We caution readers on high blood pressure medication, on blood thinners, those on dialysis, and those prone to incontinence or murderous acts of rage to please skip this post.

Meanwhile The Global Economy...

While the biggest winner of the ongoing political melodrama is C-SPAN, whose ratings have likely never been higher, and the broad audience is logically largely distracted by the hourly lack of development out of the White House, what we do know is that QE2 has failed to generate any growth in the economy, with both Q2 and Q1 GDP crashing spectacularly to a point where post another revision Q1 will be the inflection point where America re-entered another recession. Furthermore, we have seen a stark example of the economic snake eating its tail, whereby the more than proportional increase in the price of commodities, courtesy of Bernanke's policies, has offset any potential incipient growth germs that may have been lingering in the economy in Q3 2010 through Q2 2011. Yet all of these are backward looking indicators. The question is what happens to the global economy going forward? For the answer we again turn to Sean Corrigan, who remarks on some very disturbing developments in the global macro arena, which when tied in to core tenets of the Austrian Business Cycle theory, indicate that the global soft landing may be a mirage, and that the downslope we are already in, may convert into a stall from which the global airborne Titanic does not recover.

Lights Out For The US Economy As Its Biggest Cheerleader Hangs Up The Towel

When Deutsche Bank's Joey perma-LaWronga finally gives up on his call that has been wrong for about 3 years now, it may be time to i) panic or ii) buy everything with three hands (thank you Fukushima). We are leaning to the former, especially after the upcoming downgrade forces the Fed to launch QE3 in about a month.

Contagion Spreads To Sleepy Denmark, As CDS Surges By 20% Overnight

When one things of Europe's default contagion, one traditionally thinks of the Club Ded countries along the Mediterranean. It may be time to change that after Denmark's CDS has surged by nearly 20% overnight, from 74 to 88, and by over a third since June 7, making it the worst performing government in the past month. The reason for this is that the country, which unlike other European nations, has allowed its insolvent banks to actually fail without masking their poor state. This in turn prompted S&P to come out with a report yesterday that as many as 15 more banks could default. In its report, S&P said that "In our base-case assumption, we estimate the gross loss due to additional bank failures to be Danish krona (DKK) 6 billion-DKK12 billion over a given three-year period. If the losses are larger than we expect, we would have to reassess our ratings on individual Danish banks, based on the impact of the fallout on each. Eleven banks have failed in Denmark since 2008. Although the banks were small by international standards, it is nevertheless an unusually high number for a developed market where bank defaults are generally rare events and extraordinary government support mostly averts losses to senior creditors. While the Danish regulatory authorities accept the concept of systemically important institutions, they have so far given no formal indication of which institutions fall under this definition. In our opinion, the banks we rate would be considered systemically important and therefore may receive extraordinary government support, beyond that defined in the country's established bank resolution scheme." So according to the rating agency any country that dares to avoid the Paulson-Summers TBTF doctrine is in prompt need of annihilation if we read this right. Either way, this latest black swan means that the crisis is creeping ever closer to German, which now has to fund two insolvency fronts: a southern and a north one. And when S&P finally puts France on downgrade review, the time to panic will have come and gone.

Political Crisis Contagion: Zapatero To Dissolve Government On September 26

Who says only America has a major political crisis that threatens to destroy the country. Following earlier press reports that Spanish PM Zapatero would dissolve government on September 26 in order to have a new general election on November 20, which were summarily denied by the government immediately, it only took about 20 minutes for Zapatero to make a TV appearance and admit that there will indeed be early elections. And judging by the recent surge in popular protests a government overthrow appears certain, which means that Spain's entire role in the Euro bailout mechanisms will transfer from asset to a liability (which is great for German leadership aspirations for a Fourth Reich in which the fate of the entire Eurozone depends on its, and not the ECB's every whim, broader population be damned), and that Spain can kiss future austerity plans goodbye. The immediate result, though, was another major move in the EURUSD, which tumbled by another 60 pips following overnight news of Spain's downgrade review by Moody's. Overall, the EURUSD moved from a high of 1.4360 on the Boehner news all the way down to 1.4230. Our heartfelt condolences to all FX traders. In addition the Spain - Bund spread is 348, +7 the highest in two weeks, while the Italy Bund spread moved higher by +13 at 332, matching last week's record high. Bailout #3 beckons, only this time the EFSF will be a cool two trillion.

Moody's Places Spain's Aa2 Rating On Downgrade Review

Just to make sure that we all get the message that a consolidated sell off across all asset classes is what the cental planning doctor ordered, here comes Moody's to not only trim all the gains in the EURUSD since the Boehner debacle, but to remind us that the Fourth Reich is coming, even as the US of Aa- still struggles to pass its 2009 budget. Oh, and as a reminder Moody's put Italy's Aa2 rating on downgrade review on June 17, which means the formal downgrade is due right...   about.... now.

Goldman On What A US Downgrade Will Bring: Spoiler Alert - Nothing Good (And Why It Is Nothing "Like Japan")

When it comes to sellside research ideas (no matter how wrong) being mysteriously converted into official policy nobody, and we mean nobody in the world, is more effective at this "task" than Goldman. In addition to being a herd leader of all the other momos on Wall Street (with Deutsche Bank being dead last), what Goldman wants, whether it is QE1, QE2, or the final layout of the eurozone bailout package #2, Goldman gets. Which is why people actually do care about Goldman's research: not because it is right, it rarely if ever is, unless of course one gauges its success with the bonus pool for Goldman Sachs itself in which case it has been a massive success without fail, but because everyone in DC reads it as gospel, and whatever is advised is eventually implemented. Which is why even as we have skipped numerous analyses of what would happen to the US should its rating be cut, Goldman's is a must read, not the least because Goldman finally puts all those economic illiterates who compares a US downgrade to that of US and assume off the bat that nothing bad can possibly happen. Wrong. Just ask Jan Hatzius: "It bears repeating that no two episodes are alike – nor is any historical episode a close parallel to current US circumstances." And while even he admits he has no idea what will happen, he doesn't get paid by the blank piece of paper so the Goldman economist did have to supply 4 summary conclusions of what will happen when the US is downgraded, sometime over the next 3-4 weeks: 1. A drop in equity markets, but probably a modest one, 2. Some weakening in the currency, 3. A steepening of the yield curve and a cheapening of Treasuries relative to OIS, 4. Some weakness in the financials sector. In other words, "we have no idea, but it won't be good." We totally agree. The full note is below for those whose brains aren't petrified enough to assume that the Japanese downgrade is in any way remotely comparable to that of the US.

Guest Post: Debt Ceiling Dilemma: The Foul Choice Facing Investors

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.


Dagong Says Will Cut US Rating As Early As Monday

And while our rating agencies still get their marching orders from Bill Gross and from Obama, in that order, China is not waiting. In a just posted Reuters interview, Dagong said on Thursday it plans a further downgrade as early as next week, even as politicians race against the clock to avert a ruinous debt default. Guan Jianzhong, Chairman of the Beijing-based Dagong Global Credit Rating Co, said he still believed U.S. lawmakers will clinch a last-minute deal on the U.S. debt ceiling, but the damage has been done. "We will react soon, probably next Monday or Tuesday. We need to look at whether they reach a compromise and the scope of the compromise, then we decide how deep the rating cut will be," Guan told Reuters in an interview in his spacious office. Naturally, this move will be aped by our own mockeries of a "rating" agency, leading to a very curious paradox: after all is it not the sock puppet at the top of it all - our very own distinguished tax evading eminence Tim Geithner himself who had the following exchange with Fox' Peter Barnes as recently as April: "Is there a risk that the United States could lose its AAA credit rating? Yes or no?” Geithner’s response: “No risk of that.”  “No risk?” Barnes asked. “No risk,” Geithner said." So... when the US is downgraded in a week or so.... does that mean it is time to fire Geithner?