“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”
These words, spoken by U.S. President Barack Obama in various forms and iterations, have become a running joke amidst the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. All across the country, hundreds of thousands of citizens are receiving cancellation notices in the mail. The stringent requirements for insurance plans under the new edict are curtailing many individual policies. A simpleton can grasp the economics: you prohibit something, it goes away. And yet, for years prior, the White House ignored the oncoming train and is now slowly inching away from the wreckage.
This was not the unforeseen consequence of good-intentioned legislation.
Curious why algos suddenly are buying because other algos are buying because other algos are buying, pushing the S&P higher by 10 point in virtually no time? Simple. It appears at least one vacuum tube decided to scan the news archive, and fell upon the Politico story from 7 AM Eastern which said that the Republicans and Democrats had met in a secret meeting.
Overnight asset classes got a jolt following a report by Nikkei that Obama was moving toward naming Summers the next Fed chairman, citing “several close US sources,” pushing stocks modestly lower in Europe, with bond yields higher. According to the report, Obama is to name Summers as next Fed chairman as early as late next week, after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Otherwise, risk is still digesting the news of the confidential Twitter IPO, as it is becoming quite clear that some of the largest names (Hilton also announced yesterday) are seeking to cash out in the public markets. Is this the top?
While trading during US hours is all about the Cliff On/Cliff Off debate, the rest of the world is simple: the overnight session begins (and largely ends) with whether or not China has done another reverse repo (if yes, then PBOC will not lower rates, and inject unsterilized billions into the market) and whether the Shanghai Composite is up or down. Last night, after jumping by 3% the session before, it was down 0.13% to 2029. Was this it for the great Chinese "bottom?" Japan may or may not figure in the equations, although with the 10 Year future just hitting a record overnight, it is amusing to see how the bond complex is indicating record deflation just in time for the market to anticipate a surge in inflation. Ah, the joys of frontrunning central planning's monetization of government bonds. And then we move on to Europe, which is a whole new level of basket case-ness...
Spoiler Alert: They’re mostly still in office (so much for building suspense).
On October 3, 2008, 338 elected officials (263 House reps, 74 Senators and 1 President) took it upon themselves to save America from certain financial doom by passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, completely ignoring the will of the American people, opting instead to fulfill a Thomas Jefferson prophesy:
“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
~ Thomas Jefferson
Independent from Congress … or from the American People?
The first session of this 112th Congress was spent with Democrats and Republicans at loggerheads over the debt ceiling, taxes, spending cuts, the deficit super committee, appropriations bills and finally the extension of unemployment compensation and a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. Standard and Poor's downgrade of the United States' federal debt was due in part to all the haggling over how, and actually whether, to reduce the debt. No One Is Willing to Pay the Political Price to Cut Spending This year Obama asked Congress for, and was given, an additional $1.2 trillion of borrowing authority, which will increase the debt limit to $16.4 trillion, just enough to get him past the 2012 election. It could be close, however. If budget projections prove to be overly optimistic, Obama could face another cliffhanger over a further increase in the debt ceiling in the midst of the presidential election in November. How embarrassing to have to say "re-elect me – and by the way, I need to borrow some more money to pay this month's bills."
A short time ago, the House of Representatives rejected (by 239-176 though not enough to avoid Obama's veto) the $1.3tn increase in the federal debt limit. As Reuters notes, this vote seems like 'a largely symbolic vote aimed at staking out election-year positions on government spending' as we know by now that Timmy G will underfund yet another pension plan (on the promise to transfer-pay it all back very soon) if it ever came to that. The Hill also adds Democratic comments that this was clearly 'a political stunt' as the House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says "This is a game that will say, see, I voted against debt." Where the sound-and-fury is laughable of course is that both the House and Senate need to 'disapprove' of the debt ceiling hike that is already 'pre-approved' in last year's Budget Control Act (and the Senate is widely expected not to disapprove). As politician after politician sought media-time, Ron Paul echoed his sensibilities (though not really helpful in this situation) that "we're in denial", and "you can't solve the problem of debt by accumulating more debt."
The American people are becoming more educated... and more angry...