The Only 3 Charts Needed To Understand The Fiscal Cliff Resolution Process

Tyler Durden's picture

Arguing semantics over cuts here, taxes there, we are close, etc. misses the entire premise of the entire political debacle that is now replaying in Washington. The simple fact of the matter is that our politicians will not cross the aisle, will not compromise, will not 'come together', will not 'rise above', will not 'think of the children' - until the market (that critical arbiter of everything that appears relevant to the elites) forces their hand. The following three charts should help clarify that for all market savants.


1. Political Polarization has never (NEVER!) been higher - and so expectations of any of these so-called men doing what is right is a joke...


2. Our Stock Market can do no wrong - thanks to Bernanke's (and Draghi's) visible hand, any concerns over downside scenarios are now so unambiguously removed from the distribution of policies that the supposedly efficient markets no longer reflect any discounting but merely the marginal veracity of the next flashing red headline (as we noted earlier).


3. Until Our Stock Market Sends The Message - just as with the debt ceiling debate, hope and belief and some level of "they'd never let us, would they?" phantasma remains in the US investors' psyche still - that is until the politicians cross the line. At that point, our markets recognize their role and reflexively react and enforce discipline and action in Washington



(note: we first showed this 2011 analog two months ago and were met with the usual derisive comments with regard - that could never happen again - seems like we are following a very similar path of hope and belief and now a little fear)


Unless and until we see a major correction in stocks, we highly doubt that any actual resolution will be announced - no matter what the spin or hope on every conference call and press conference.

Bonus Chart: it's not just Stocks that are following last year's Debt Ceiling debacle - VIX is following along very closely. The following chart shows the term-structure of VIX is moving exactly as it did last year - i.e. a higher point on the chart means the short-dated VIX is rising relative to medium-dated (and if it is >1, then short-dated VIX costs are greater than longer-dated) - clearly the current cliff debate is raising short-term risk concerns in a similar way...

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Please........make me continue to write bad checks.

Manthong's picture

Cliff, schmiff..
Here is something to be concerned about:

“Protects” legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
 Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
 Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
 Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons
 Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
 Background check of owner and any transferee;
 Type and serial number of the firearm;
 Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
 Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and 
Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration 

WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot's picture

That is a recipe for disaster. Surely she must know what such legislation would lead to if passed (hint: NOT a safer society, and certainly NOT a more peaceful and compliant populace).

That leaves two options: either (1) she knows that a new, tougher AWB would lead to more violence, unrest, and political/social fracturing and either accepts or intends that result, or (2) has no idea how severe the potential reaction to a new AWB will be. Either way, she is not fit for office.

This is not 1994, and given the highly fractured electorate of 2012, a large percentage of the population will not stand for such legislation and will see it as a direct and unacceptable assault on their freedom. And not in the way some people view taxation as an assault on their freedom. I mean a direct, targeted, specific and immediate threat against their personal freedom and security. The kind of attack that gives rise to discussion of justified self defense against those who seek to deny essential freedoms.

Hopefully it will not come to that, but it seems everywhere I turn these days, I hear that kind of talk - and no legislation has even yet been formally proposed - whether on the internet or in bars or just out in general. The general population is on edge - especially about 49.4% of the population who is justifiably concerned about the next four years. Now is not the time to lob a political molotov cocktail into the tinderbox.

rwe2late's picture

We can only hope the proposed registration fee will induce criminals to surrender their weapons.

The “war on guns” is well under way.



Hungry? Turn in your gun.

Legally registered? Shame on you.

Guns for food   


Handgun owners publicly listed   


BoNeSxxx's picture

Not to further a thread hijacking... but I will.

Do any of you ZeroHedgers recall either an article posted here on ZH or linked in the comment section containing the stats for civilian deaths following government gun confiscation?  It was fascinating, I meant to save it, I recall reading it here, but days later I can't find it nor does Google bring anything similar up.

It is one of the top 3 things drving me crazy today.  I should not have smoked weed as a kid...


rotagen's picture

Only one sentence to describe the phony "fiscal cliff":  The Creature from Jekyll Island has you and obama by the nutsack.

Milestones's picture

Just sign them O'blah blah--he'll understand.        Milestones

Super Broccoli's picture

"Until Our Stock Market Sends The Message"

what message ? Do we reset ? Do we go for a lot of pain and blood until we restore a sound economy ? Or do we just print more ignoring the whole story ?

GMadScientist's picture

the message: "if you take me off life-support, i'll kill you!"

sotto's picture

We continue to print more money because that's all they've got and then we get this:

derek_vineyard's picture


reading between the lines then this could be the buy the dip orchestrated market crash opportunity of a lifetime???

fuck the fiscal _________ .       i cant say it anymore

muppet_master's picture

tylers gone bullish??

i hope not = will be painful for them...

just know this...on 3-2009 spx @ HUGELY pumped to 1400+...= sell !!!

Milestones's picture

Oh yea of little faith! Havn't you heard--its all up from here!!! Yeah team.         Milestones

SanOvaBeach's picture

 politics is survival....their not going to put their balls on the chopping block to save the republic........why in fuck should they!.............would you when your paid so good in dc w/ regular raises and healih care.  a nice big fat pension and assorted other goodies.   keep printing or panic when the stock market starts circleing da drain and do a bailout.  every man and women for himself!    burma shave

Dingleberry's picture

I guess the Founding Fathers forgot to put the "DOW ABOVE ALL" amendment into the Constitution.  

GernB's picture

This can't be true. Obama is the first post-partisan president. I know it must bwe true because they said so in all the trustworthy news channels.

GMadScientist's picture

There is no "post-partisan" aboard the TeaPotDome Express.

GernB's picture

I see, so the priomise that Obama would be a post partisan president were predicated on the idea the oposition would just roll over and do what Obama wanted. The Tea party is clearly not a reaction to Obama's approach to governing and buildilng concensus.

GMadScientist's picture

The Tea Party caucus in the house has been vocally and intentionally divisive for years now, and well before Obama even sat in the seat; it's a cornerstone of their strategy, no doubt. I do not doubt their sincerity, it's their sanity that seems dubious.

In choosing this hard-line path (good for cameras and riling up troops, but very poor for achieving anything resembling governance), they've tied the hands of their less-naive counterparts in the senate and elsewhere in the house. Obstructionism has, in the words of their "thought leaders", "come home to roost".

Perhaps you don't remember the cries of "I hope he fails and America fails."...some do. I didn't vote for him, but that's because I saw him as the centrist puppet he has turned out to be in every way I'd imagined, not the chimeric hybrid of stalin and mussonlini with a side of illegitimate muslim brotherhood farce that the TEA PARTY insisted on making the focus of debate.

They had a chance at being meaningful and their 15 minutes were wasted on refusing to participate in finding solutions that didn't meet their poison-pill requirements.

A swing and a miss.

nmewn's picture

Perhaps you don't remember the cries of "I hope he fails and America fails."...some do.

Would you like to reveal which half of this is a direct quote or by whom?

economics9698's picture

Fuck that fascist pos in the WH.  Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.

Zap Powerz's picture


Im with you bro.  Anyone that doesnt think like me is crazy and should be excluded from participating in "our" country.  Its our country, bro, not theirs.  They are crazy.  Crazy because they are different and different is really fucking scary right bro?

I mean, if they werent crazy, they could see how dumb they are.  Only the enlightened ones, like you and I, can see the brilliance of Obama and the democrat party.  If only those stupid, crazy Tea Party Republilcans werent around to foil our plans!  Why, if they werent around, everything would be just perfect.

Bro, lets start a petition to make people that arent as smart as you and I are illegal.

You with me bro?!

csmith's picture

That's a clown question, bro.

csmith's picture

Scorched earth, bitchezzz.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

You do realize the Tea Party didn't enter the lexicon or hold any seats until January 2011?  That's 2 years after Obama was inaugurated.

knukles's picture

Where in the world do people come up with shit like that?
If I didn't know any better (Which I do not.) I'd think that a comment generated by the Liberal Wing of the MSM.  Thanks for pointing it out to the rest of the world.

NotApplicable's picture

post partisan = one side damaged beyond credibility

Don't worry though, the desire of polarity ensures a reversal at some point. Will the R's recover? Nah, it's just that the D's will self-destruct in the limelight next.

tooriskytoinvest's picture

America Is Rapidly Becoming A Nation Of Takers, The Number Of People On Welfare Exceeds The Number Of People With Jobs In 11 States: : California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico and Hawaii.

Lets just go off the cliff, it will solve alot of problems!

GMadScientist's picture

Only if you assume that everyone on foodstamps isn't also working, but way goal-seek a conclusion and back-fill reality as needed.

"Unsurprisingly, three-fourths of California’s welfare recipients are 18 years old and younger."

"This year, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed to cut the time limit to two years. It remains to be seen whether or not Brown’s plan will pass, or whether it’s enforced even if it does become law. "

Zap Powerz's picture

GMad, if there were no food stamps then no one would be on them.  Is that not a correct statement?

For example, there is no system in place to ensure free access to SCUBA gear.  As a result, we dont have a large population of people on SCUBA stamps.  In fact, there are exactly ZERO people on SCUBA stamps becuase there are no SCUBA stamps.

So, if you want to SCUBA dive guess what?  You have to pay for the lessons and the gear.  Its like magic how it works.  People earn money and then go rent/buy SCUBA gear.  I mean, it totally blows my mind how people do this.  They have this want (SCUBA gear) and so they decide to labor and earn money to go out and buy said gear.  CRAZY SHIT MAN! CRAZY FUCKING SHIT!

Now, wrap your brain around this:  If people are willing to work for SCUBA gear, a totally non essential item, then why arent they willing to work for food?

If we ended food stamps I can promise you that people would figure out a way to earn the money needed to buy food.  Necessity is the motherhood of invention my friend.

As a soceity, we are devolving because we now lack evolutionary stressors.  Lets bring back those good old evolutionary stressors so that we can progress forward!

Ya with me bro?

NotApplicable's picture

Somewhere, deep within the bowels of some back-water DC office building, sits a person who is driven by this very deficiency...


of SCUBA stamps.

SanOvaBeach's picture

i'm a multi-millionaire. i don't give a fuck.  i'm gonna apply for food stamps next week.  obviously, i don't need it.  gonna lie on the app.  why am i doing this?  cause i can.  if it causes a row, got plenty of slime-ball attorneys that i'll do anything for money. burma shave!

Bob Sacamano's picture


The cliff is not a cliff.  The hyperbole by politicians and the MSM is stunning.  Going off the "cliff" would be a good step in solving the deficit problem.  We can not keep spending at current rates.  Everyone wants to avoid short term (1-2 years) economic pain of the "cliff" -- it is what's needed.  We need to reset prices and govt spending levels.

The ONLY way to get back to the Clinton era rates the left strongly covets is to let ALL of the Bush tax cuts expire.  So be it.  The right will scream, but the left will scream bloody murder (despite a decade worth of bemoaning the evil Bush tax cuts). 

buckethead's picture

I believe the comprimise was agreed to already... the rest is just theater so each side can report back to it's respective base that they stuck to their guns.

"It was those 'lunatics on the other side' that shoved us over the edge."

It is among the most responsible things Congress has done in quite a while, although that isn't saying much. It is still too little, too late.

NEOSERF's picture

When the 26th state has more on the dole than working, is the US officially Socialist?

Milestones's picture

Yesterday some one posed the proposition "Columbus was correct, the earth is flat and we are sailing off of it" To counter that proposition I would suggest"Darwin was wrong-we are devolving as a species."       Milestones

derek_vineyard's picture


fiscal _____?   now we get this drama queen bullshit until a mid year retro-active fix is enacted?  fuck fuck sick of it

sorry, tyler

muppet_master's picture

until OUR stock market

send the message...politicians will continue to fiddle...they have no idea, they are nuts, they have no clue!!!

dont' they know that they must continue to rape the 99% with debt + inflation and risk their creditworthiness to greek's credit level....IN ORDER TO PLEASE THE 1%ers casino !!!! what's "wrong" with them!!

oh i get it....the stupid "financial reporters" will squeal at higher decibels to make the politicians rape the the expense of the 1%....THE HORROR, THE HYPOCRISY OF THE LIE-BERAL "mainstream media"

by the way....just been riding my spx shorts..avg price 1420....for weeks i woke up @ 8:30 AM PST = 1130 EST...= NO I don't watch stupid "reporters"....watching looney tunes intead...dont' give a rat's behind what a stupid reporter has to squeal about.

SmoothCoolSmoke's picture

Looks like someone is trying to make it happen.  Dow under 13K.

headadoor's picture

During the Weismar rule the stock market also hyperinflated. This time will be the same because "the Berbank" believes we did the right things in the depression just not enough free money but he is correcting that today. Later gold confiscation, and debasement of the $US through repricing gold up as we try alast grasp (gasp?) at retaining the world currency designation. Timing is the only question.


kevinearick's picture

The Hunt: Physical, Emotional, & Intellectual Deprivation

Restak: [M]alnutrition is only the tip of the iceberg; below the surface lies a vicious cycle of malnutrition, an absence of environmental stimulation, impaired behavioral responses, and problems in quality of mothering…

Chavez: The better-fed infants were more playful and required more attention and more protection against accidents, thus causing the mothers to feel a greater concern about them. The mothers found that they had to talk to their children more often and had to begin what, under other circumstances, was rare in the community: establish closer emotional contact with their infants. Soon the participation of the father and the brothers and sisters became necessary.

Meisama: One sees that the rate of brain development in advanced species is relatively slowed down, perhaps for the purpose of allowing longer interaction with the environment during the critical periods of developmental plasticity of the brain. Consequently, the brain in these species is more complex and well-developed.

Restak: As a general rule, the more advanced an animal species, THE QUICKER ITS NEWBORNS ACHIEVE INDEPENDENCE…Cultural evolution is best thought of as a dynamic process in which survival considerations may encourage certain behaviors at one time and punish them severely at another…No doubt our culture would recoil at a society so overbalanced in one area and would condemn its geniuses to the modern equivalent of the hunt. (recursively doping the semiconducting fulcrum)

Lettvin: But if someone does the frog a ‘favor’ by killing the insects, the frog will starve to death. It is not so much insects as their movements which stimulate the frog’s visual perception.

Restak: Blakemore and Cooper placed newborn kittens into special chambers with either vertical or horizontal stripes. When the kittens were removed…[t]he horizontal cats…walked into the legs of the laboratory chairs. The ‘vertical’ cats…were incapable of jumping across from one table to another at the same height.

Jerison: The ‘true’ or ‘real’ world is specific to a species and is dependent on how the brain of that species works.

Held & Hein: [T]he first kitten, the active explorer, developed perception, while the passive animal remained blind.

Restak: [O]our conception of ‘reality’ is best explained as an act of construction based on statistical probabilities. When theses probabilities are skewed, as in the distorting rooms, our perceptions are wrong. But even then we can correct for errors, depending on our capacity to interact with the stimulus. (proprietary system crash is absolutely ensured, hence planned obsolescence)

Bower: The infant ‘forgets’ how to reach for an object, only to recover the capacity at a later date, based on more efficient mechanisms. [a] phase two infant can literally follow his hand to an object…while a phase one infant is dependent on vision [only], and thus is open to the effect of illusions and tricks played on it by perspective. Such a change…acts to increase the likelihood of a smooth transfer from one skill to another. (recursion)

Gregory: When his handicap was swept away as if by a miracle, he lost his peace and self-respect. He learned to rely on his [new-found] vision, once he had it, but this very reliance cost him his self-respect. As a blind man he had gotten on very well, but when he finally could see, his previously remarkable achievements seemed paltry and his position almost foolish. He felt that he had lost more than he gained, by the recovery of sight.

Careful when you awaken the Cyclops, and all his children on the hydra. Better to be recognized as a janitor than the next Newton at the end of an empire, which you may readily measure by the extermination and replacement of the family, and associated small businesses, by government.

The empire offers resistance inconsistent with human biology, employing emotion against itself. Space will have many resistors. You are not going to learn anything about building and programming the reactor in a government school for what by now should be obvious reasons. Until the chain reaction of negative feedback backlash reaches your position…

What poses for intelligence in this country is no better than a stupid DC computer, which is why the real economy is contracting, income inequality is growing, and the middle class is being wiped out. Control artificial complexity, hiding ignorance from itself, is extinguishing curiosity, closing the social mind to anything but artificial diversity.

Do you want pink tennis shoes or polar bears? Do 3D printers solve the inconsistency?

kevinearick's picture

aw, voted off the island again....funny how the island keeps shrinking.

more formula and other manufactured food coming right up, along with an automated stroller that will grow with your child until it becomes an adult, with a automatically jumps out in front to stop traffic.

davidsmith's picture

 until the market (that critical arbiter of everything that appears relevant to the elites) forces their hand


This is myopic.  The fact is that the Tea Party has formed a hedgehog defense.  Their only hope is to destroy the government, which they will do.  No tax bill, and no raising of the debt ceiling.  Obama will have to declare an economic emergency, which, the Tea Party will say, is breaking the Constitution and thereby authorizing tax strikes, general strikes, disobedience civil and uncivil, and in general, a right wing coup.


You're wrong to think that a collapsing stock market will force a compromise.  The collapse of the stock market is part of the Tea Party's plan to take power.

Zap Powerz's picture

Wait, everyone tells me its Obama that wants to destroy America.  Now Im confused.

I know its not possible for red statism to be as bad or worse than blue statism.   Gosh, who do I put my hope and faith in to save me?

Please, David Smith, who will save me from the evil Tea Party and/or the Evil Obama?  I need someone to saaaaaaave meeeeeee!

Its just so hard to pick the right team nowadays.  Sad face.

Milestones's picture

Denver Broncos.          Milestones

nmewn's picture

lol...Look!...I'm running with scissors and my hairs on fire!!!

apberusdisvet's picture

The main mantra of the Tea party is limited government, a fact with which most on this site seem to agree.  The ad hominem attacks on the TP are woefully misplaced.  In the last 40 years, in spite of massive funding, our educational standing in the world places among banana republics rather than the premiere place we had in the 60s.  The poverty rate has escalated instead of diminished.  Both of my son's businesses have had their gross income impacted by at least 20% because of totally unnecessary state and federal regulations.  Look no further than the government policies regarding the housing debacle, aided and abetted by the criminals at the FED and their owners in the banking cartel.  Lately, bigger government seems poised for full totalitarian control.  What ever happened to freedom from an oppressive and psychotic government that was emphasized once in school curricula?