Spencer Bachus

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Rant Time

As is almost always the case, the price of gold was leaned on at the standard PLAN A time in London when The Gold Cartel traders reported for work, but their nudge was thwarted pretty quickly. Gold took off again going into the Comex trading hours and managed to reach $1200 where it was stopped dead in its tracks. James Mc early this morning…

Key Events In The Coming Busy Week

Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.

Congress Prepares To Limit NSA Spying Reach

Late on Friday, with little fanfare, the government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) reported that the secret FISA court - the "legal" administrators of the NSA's assorted domestic espionage programs - would be granted an extension of its telephone surveillance program. And while so far the US public has shown a stoic resolve in its response to learning more details about how the US government spies on its day after day, things may soon be changing. As McClatchy reports, "Congress is growing increasingly wary of controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance programs, a concern likely to erupt during legislative debate - and perhaps prod legislative action - as early as next week." Among the measures considered are legislation to make those programs less secret, and talk of denying funding and refusing to continue authority for the snooping.

Citi's Worst Case Scenario Coming True: House To Amend Bill, Send Back To Senate

UPDATE: *LATOURETTE SAYS CANTOR WON'T SUPPORT BILL 'IN CURRENT FORM'

It seems all is not going according to plan in D.C.. Perhaps it was the $4 Trillion deficit rampage the CBO just scored, or that the Republicans awoke from their slumber but as House meetings end, it appears Citi's worst case scenario is about to take place - the bill is going back to the Senate with spending cut amendments. As Politico notes, amending the bill would throw into serious flux the carefully negotiated agreement between Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. While headlines noted the possibility, Rep Spencer Baucus (via Robert Costa) just confirmed the deal will "go back to the Senate."

  • *BACHUS SAYS HOUSE REPUBLICANS 'THERE' ON TAX PROVISIONS
  • *BACHUS SAYS HOUSE MAY SEND BILL BACK WITH SPENDING CUTS ADDED

One thing is clear, Politico adds: there is serious disdain among House Republicans for what the Senate did in the middle of the night. Retiring Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio asked House Republicans why the House would “heed the votes of sleep deprived octogenarians,” according to a source in the meeting.

2012 Year In Review - Free Markets, Rule of Law, And Other Urban Legends

Presenting Dave Collum's now ubiquitous and all-encompassing annual review of markets and much, much more. From Baptists, Bankers, and Bootleggers to Capitalism, Corporate Debt, Government Corruption, and the Constitution, Dave provides a one-stop-shop summary of everything relevant this year (and how it will affect next year and beyond).

Guest Post: America’s Hijackers – Where Are They Now?

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

Republicans Demand Block Of US IMF Funding To Bail Out Europe

Which is why we were delighted that after months of modest confusion on the topic, the Congressional Committee on Financial Services (including subcommittee chairman Ron Paul), have demanded that not only Geithner make his stance on a US-funded IMF bailout of Europe crystal clear, but that they are openly opposed to "American taxpayer dollars being used to bail out Europe...through additional contributions to the IMF." We are curious to see just how Geithner will weasel his way out of responding to this: perhaps the only logical stall tactic is to reply that he will be busy helping Mitt Romney in his tax "revisions" over the next several months.

Presenting 2011's Top 10 Most Corrupt American Politicians

When it comes to corruption, cronyism and general muppetry in Washington D.C., the only real question is 'where does one start?' Yet one has to start somewhere to conclude with a list of the ten most corrupt and despicable marionettes in D.C. Which is precisely what JudicialWatch has done in its annual compilation of the "Top 10 Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington D.C." for 2011. And confirming what everyone knows, that both the left and right are merely irrelevant names for the same general social affliction, or should we call it by its true name - wealth pillage - the split is even between democrats and republicans. In no particular order, the winners of 2011 are...

Live Hearing On Whether Insider Trading By Congress Should Be Illegal

Only in a banana republic would Congress be "forced" to hold hearings on whether to ban itself from illegal (for everyone else) insider trading. Which explains why below readers can watch precisely that, live from the house Committee on Financial Services.The legislation in question relates to bill H.R. 1148, the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act." We wonder how long until Congress manages to scuttle this latest effort to keep the playing field between the muppets and everyone else. After all, someone has to leak critical rating agency information (such as the FT's break of a key S&P leak yesterday, or Nancy Pelosi knowing weeks in advance that Moody's would not downgrade the US) to the media and/or trading entities.

Congress Shocked To Find That Being CEO Of A Bankrupt Company Is The New Killing It

Two weeks ago we reported with sheer disgust that the outgoing CEO of bankrupt Freddie Mac, Ed Haldeman, was to pocket over $4 million for his brief two year stay at the nationalized GSE, which money was to reward him for lots of hard work collecting bail out cash from the Treasury. $21 billion to be precise. Apparently it is not easy to beg from Tim Geithner which explains the compensation for a task which is essentially supervising a financial black hole with an attached run off portfolio. Nonetheless the optics of this farce are rather unpleasant which is why we said that this is the (one of many) reason "why people in America are very, very pissed." Today Congress, which has yet to ban itself from trading on inside information, has decided to at least rectify this one sticking point, and moved forward with a "bill to block multimillion-dollar executive pay packages at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even as their regulator defended them as necessary to retain top talent and limit taxpayer losses at the bailed-out companies." And where are they going to go: MF Global? Morgan Stanley? RBS? Jefferies? As for what new pay wil be: "The committee adopted an amendment that would use the pay scale that applies to independent financial regulators, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which allows for higher pay than at most federal agencies. Representative Al Green, who offered the amendment, said this would have the effect of limiting the highest salaries to about $260,000 per year." While still about 3 times more than what they deserve, this is a good start. And an even better one would be to if not unwind the GSEs, then to at least recognize that their $7 trillion in debt should be counted toward the US Federal debt, as Peter Orzsag suggested once. Naturally were that to happen US total debt/GDP would be over 150%, and the bond vigilantes would suddenly be confused whether their time is not better spent on this side of the Atlantic. Yet the biggest twist in this story, is that not only are the GSEs bankrupt, but as the NYT reported earlier, the FHA itself has a "close to 50% chance of requiring a bailout." Add to that that the corporate retirement guys (PBGC) and the post office (USPS) are now effectively broke as well, and very soon being the CEO of a bankrupt company will be the new killing it.