“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, August 05, 2011

Congress is so Good, We Need a Super Congress


  1. How could Congress ever possibly get it? They are public employees. Public sector employees are wealth takers not wealth creators, understand that and you may begin to see what the solution is.

    The banks should have been left to tank with depositors being protected - simple as. What should be happening NOW is that the banks should be lending to businesses and business people but they are not. The self-employed are getting hammered out there by later and later payers (I know, I'm one of them) but the banks will not help by way of temporary overdrafts - it's sick, sick, sick.

    We actually don't want a growing economy at the moment because we import everything and all that money goes out to China and stays there. We need to start making things here first before we stoke things up.

    People are carrying too much debt for the country to function primarily because of mortgage commitments or the high cost of renting. If you want to "stoke" some part of the economy then start building houses on land owned by the banks, with money provided by the banks to be bought by mortgages provided by the same bank. Land is at zero on any bank's books at the moment so chuck that in at nothing, build the house (never been cheaper to build at present) and then set a valuation figure that reflects the labor and material cost + 20% for profit. That gets people into work and creates a supply of stock at a buy price that is a much lower % of monthly household income - that means more money in a homeowners pocket to buy things or save as they wish. Those who bought at inflated & stupid valuations - tough, simply extend the mortgage period to 35yrs.

    I think that people are obviously being very careful about expenditure but recovery will only be able to take place when we start to make a few more things here for sale here - any exports would obviously be a bonus.

  2. 'Tis Unconstitutional

    But such considerations haven't stopped much of late.

    Pisses me off.

    We got to get rid of the Pirate of the Potomac in 2012.

    Stocks tanking overseas.

    Hope for change, folks.


  3. Cash-strapped state and local governments are drowning in health-care costs because they offer "Cadillac" benefits to their employees and pay more for medical coverage than private employers, according to a study.

  4. Aren't Pelosi and Reid on this superduper?

    How have we come to this. Might as well put that comedian from Minnesota on there too.

    What a farce.


  5. Good Morning V I E T M A N !....

    It a new day in AMERICA...

    Armed militias up and down the mississippi!

    Roving gangs in our cities looking for copper and man hole covers to steal...

    Homeless people hooping the whitehouse fence looking for leftovers....

    And of course the new American Terrorist? Those pirates of the heartland.... Us Tea Partyiers.., seeking governmental cutbacks of 3%!

    Shiver me tiimbers maties!

    3% real cuts inour budget would be at least a TRILLION a year in actual cuts...

  6. Roseanne Barr for President

    Let's face it this might just be a step up from what we've currently got.


  7. There's a huge Seasonal Adjustment built into these July Jobs Numbers (concerning Teachers, that will, "presumably," be going back to work in Aug/Sept.) Could lead to a "downside surprise" in a month, or two.

    That said, today's number was a chance to exhale. Perhaps we Don't die, Today. Which is all you can ask for, right?

  8. Right now, first step, I'd like to see Congress get busy "repatriating" those Overseas "Profits."

    Then we can get ready for step deux.

  9. We're going to get a little temporary relief at the gas pump. $3.50 is not going to feel like $2.50, but it's not going to feel like $3.75, either.

  10. There is a huge fundamental shift going on in the world. P&G announced large increases in "Capital Investment," but remained non-commital about jobs. Translation: more automation - less employees.

    Foxconn replacing 1/2 of their workforce (500,000) with robots - Over 3 short years.

    I've been saying for a couple of years, now, that we're facing a true, honest to God, "Paradigm Shift." These only come along every four or five hundred years, but they're happening more often, now (our last one was only a little less than 100 years, ago.)

  11. Bill Hussein O'StalinFri Aug 05, 09:55:00 AM EDT

    Maybe as a planet we need to stop defining our economic health based on what the damn markets are doing?

    Especially when the whole system is rigged. Who can even take this stuff seriously any longer.

    Another recession?? With unemployment at record levels, and 100's of thousands more to be laid off in the coming year, did it ever really end?

    I guess I don't need the S&P, CNBC and Dow Jones to tell me that.

  12. Bill Hussein O'StalinFri Aug 05, 09:57:00 AM EDT

    Honestly, the stock market is now just a giant casino. Why not make it a legal obligation to hold any shares bought for a minimum period of time? A week, month? That would eliminate people who just sit around switching money in and out of stocks and commodities, often in milliseconds to gain a small profit.

    The stock markets' original purpose was to finance business; they have been taken over by greed and are now driven by nothing more than profit and to hell with the consequences. Casinos must be better regulated.

    Pls note that this is NOT to blame the stock markets for the crisis; that is the fault of STUPID GOVERNMENTS.

  13. Bloomberg just came up with a good fact to illustrate the scale of yesterday's Wall Street selloff -- there were 100 sell orders for every single buy order.
    Isn't that a contradiction in terms? A sale needs a buyer? Who's buying??? Am I missing something?

  14. Does anyone believe the unemployment rate went down? How is that possible?

    Hiring picked up slightly in July and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent. The modest improvement may quiet fears of another recession after the worst losses on Wall Street in nearly three years.

    Employers added 117,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. That's better than the past two months, which were also revised higher.

  15. A sale "order" is not a "Transaction," anon.

    Ex: 100 people say "sell XYZ at $10.00," but only 1 person says, "I'll Buy XYZ at $10.00"

    One lucky seller says "Bingo;" 99 Would Be Sellers say "Shit."

  16. Deuce, I haven't gone over and looked at the "Household Report" - that's where they get the unemployment number, yet, but I'm assuming a few more people "left" the labor market (they just gave up looking.)

    That would account for the anomoly.

  17. An unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent is pure fiction and therefore misleading. How many long-term unemployed have given up looking, and by statistical hocus pocus are dropped from the tabulation? With the current resolution of the debt crisis certain to have a negative impact on economic activity, America in the next two years will be looking at an unemployment rate in the twenty per cent range--all with a badly damaged social safety net. It will not be long before we see actual destitution, begging in the streets, and homelessness. The world is watching, and no amount of teleprompter rhetoric can disguise the moral bankruptcy of both major parties.

  18. Honestly, the stock market is now just a giant casino.

    This is right on the mark, congruent with my much beloved dart throwers vs. "the experts" example.

    I'll take the dart throwers.

    You can't argue with success.

    And, I'm still sticking with alfalfa futures.

    Least I can see what I've got.


  19. Okay, here's what happened:

    193,000 Left the Labor Force.

    That explains the 0.1% drop in unemployment.

  20. .

    Governments around the world have so far proven themselves incapable of righting the wrong they have contributed to.

    Still, it is telling to note that at this time of risk and uncertainty the governments in Europe and in the US are on vacation.


  21. Many of us would count that as a "Good Thing."

  22. The "Civilian Labor Force" has Shrunk by 400,000 since July of last year.

    If that 400,000 were still out there looking for jobs the Unemployment rate would be more like 9.4%.

  23. .

    The Dems and the Pubs are both talking the same language now (or at least using the same words): tax reform, repatriating profits, cutting loopholes, cutting subsidies, and tax breaks, coming up with job creating initiatives.

    One would think solutions would come easy. However, the same words have different meanings to differen people.

    Dem Tax Break: Cut breaks for corporate jets.
    GOP Tax Break: Cut break on mortgage interest.

    Dem Subsidy: Cut subsidy for oil.
    GOP Subsidy: Cut subsidy on ethanol.

    Dem Job Creating Strategies: Invest more money in infrastructure.
    GOP Job Creating Strategies: Cut business taxes and regulations.

    Dem Cut Spending: Cut the military.
    GOP Cut Spending: Cut Pell grants and Medicare.

    It's like to, too, and two. The Pols on both sides all spout the same generalities and sound bites even use the same words but each one means something entirely different.

    This super-commission in November ought to be another circus.


  24. Civilian noninstitutional population is Up 1,781,000 in the last year.

    The number actually employed to some extent is up 405,000.

  25. The increase in "civilian noninstitutional population" doesn't mean a bunch of babies were born. Children under 16 aren't counted.

    We're, basically, talking "people that are available to the work force."

  26. Whitman County Farmers Eligible For Biofuel Program

    Signups for Biomass Crop Assistance Program begin Monday

    Whitman County farmers can sign up beginning Monday to participate in a Biomass Crop Assistance Program that if offer by Farm Service Agency and two regional biofuels companies.

    The program stems from the 2008 Farm Bill, and provides financial incentives for regional farmers to grow camelina, an oilseed crop, for biofuels production.

    BCAP will help offset the risks associated with growing a new crop and will help insure biofuels producers have a reliable feedstock, according to Whitman County FSA Director Kathy Wolf.

    Seattle based AltAir Fuels LLC has 10,000 acres available for BCAP in eastern Washington, while Beaver Biodiesel LLC, based in Albany, Oregon is offering 1,000 BCAP acres in several Oregon counties in addition to Whitman County in Washington.

    "Here in Whitman County it's going to be interesting because we have both projects," Wolfe said. "Producers are going to have to decide which one is best."


  27. We are getting wind turbines above the river canyons and camelina in the fields.

    Something is happening here, that never happened here before.


  28. Remember, we're still paying farmers to Not Produce Anything on 30 Million Acres.

  29. BCAP is a relatively inexpensive, and potentially Very Valuable program.

    Envision a farmer out here that has a couple of hundred very "marginal" acres. Not great land, but they'll show a small yield on soybeans, or milo, most years.

    This guy might be amenable to planting some switchgrass, for example, but it takes 3 yrs to get a really good yield. The BCAP is designed to help him get through the first couple of years until his crop matures.

    Or, you've got the guy with some land in CRP (conservation reserve program.) He might make more money off the land by planting switchgrass, or camelina, but that $40.00 or so an acre from the CRP is a sure thing. Why gamble?

    The BCAP takes "some" of the gamble out of the proposition.

    As I said, moneywise, the BCAP is a very small program, but, it could be essential to getting the cellulosic ethanol industry off the ground.

    Needless to say, while the Republicans aren't paying much nevermind to the Billions we're spending on the CRP, they're fighting the BCAP fiercely.

    Not hard to figure out where their loyalties lie.

  30. This guy might be amenable to planting some switchgrass, for example, but it takes 3 yrs to get a really good yield.

    I'd like to buy a hydrogen car, but there's no hydrogen gas stations.

    Farmers would like to plant switch grass but there's no switchgrass refineries.

    Chicken and egg problem, both times.

  31. Eh, kinda, T; kinda, not.

    Abengoa, Poet, Dupont, and some others are, actually, contracting for biomass, now. They have all committed to beginning construction on their biorefineries this fall (a few political loose-ends have to be tidied up, first.)

    A couple of other, smaller, cellulosic plants have started construction.

  32. Anyone ever pay attention to the fact that job gains are monthly, while unemployment claims are weekly...We are bleeding jobs, and Obama fiddled the first two years of his Presidency away passing health care that no one wanted. The Democratic Senate passed no budget for the last 2 years. 2010 was a great start in consigning the Democratic Party to the dustbin of history. In 2012, the American people need to finish the job.


  33. But, you are, of course, right; there is a "chicken/egg" aspect to the overall picture.

  34. I think it is disgusting and totally unfair that a place wasn't provided for Al Frankenstein on the Super Committee.

    What's a farce without a little laughter, after all.


  35. .

    We have heard people calling for a program of repatriation of corporate overseas profits to help the economy. Saw a lady on CNBC saying that repatriation wouln't work because it wouldn't create any jobs. So I checked out the last time we had done it in 2004.

    What I found was that all it really amounted to was a huge tax break for the multinationals with little proven benefit for the economy.

    One example,

    Does Repatriation Help? If So, Who Des it Help?

    Corporations favor repatriation because they end up saving on taxes. However, they offer no guarantees on investment. They merely say "Trust us."

    Some suggest that we need to tie any money repatriated to investment in this country. If you spend a dollar here with repatriated funds, you get a tax break. There are of course problems with this. First money is fungible. How do you know it was retriated money being used for the investment? How do you know the money wouldn't have been spent here anyway? I'm sure there are probably other issues.

    However, if there was a way to overcome these technical issues, I would like to see the latter approach being implemented. Not because I think it would work, but because we would soon see that the whole "high tax" meme is pure bullshit used by big business and their enablers in the GOP to increase corporate profits.

    We would quickly see how much money came back into the US for investment. Strictly my opinion, but I doubt it would be very much. There are a lot of things besides taxes that go into investment decisions by these companies.

    While I do believe that changes in the tax code can, long-term, help in keeping investment in the US, I just don't see that repatriation, either a straight rate cut or one tied to requirements on investment here, would help anyone but the multinationals.


  36. Of course, the reasonable course of action is just to reduce U.S. Corporate Tax Rates to a level that's competitive with the rest of the World, and make them "Payable Now."

    This bullshit of allowing GE to transfer all of its profits to offshore subsidiaries, and then allow said profits to remain "untaxed, and uncollected" until GE, for some incredibly stupid reason, decides to "bring the money home" is inanity of the very highest degree imaginable.

    I would suggest a Corporate Rate of 15% to 20%, payable Now.

  37. .

    Of course, the reasonable course of action is just to reduce U.S. Corporate Tax Rates to a level that's competitive with the rest of the World, and make them "Payable Now."

    The average corporate income tax rate in industialized countries is somewhere around 25%. Reducing the rate to 15-20% would likely be a huge inducement for keeping investment here. It would likely help.

    However, I am still skeptical. I believe the whole tax meme is a phony issue when it comes to which countries a company invests in.

    There are those that argue that the US is actually a 'cheap' tax county. Most large companies don't pay the top marginal rates here anyway. Plus, they are not hit with any consumption taxes like in many of the other industrial countries. Also, while the companies may put their headquarters, possible design functions, soft assets, etc. here to take advantage of the tax rates, it doesn't mean they will put many jobs here.

    They have a lot of flexibility as to what units they designate as their key cost centers. They are doing it now. And while lowering rates might help tax revenues, there is no guarantee it would create more jobs.

    Again, wouldn't mind seeing the rates adjusted (well, maybe not 15%) just to disprove this whole joke about how low taxes create jobs.


  38. On the other hand (there's Always an "other hand:)") there are health insurance costs in the U.S. that aren't present in many other potential investment countries.

    I'm a little ambivalent on what we do with profits that are actually "earned" in other countries. It just chaps my ass when the profits are earned here (with the help of our publicly funded infrastructure, college research labs, under the protection of Our Armed Forces, taking advantage of Our trade laws, etc,)

    and, Then "charged off" to an overseas mail-drop, and, in turn, invested in Communist China, or Socialist France.

    The Big Shareholders think this is just the cat's meow, in that it would seem to be beneficial to their "stock prices," and "dividend payments."

    They might very well be right (although, it's not a complete given, I think,) but I think the Average American is "taking it in the ass."

  39. Switzerland pays price for fiscal sanity

    Like it or not, everyone's in Obbie's big boat - the one with an enormous gash below the waterline and defective pumps.

    O, and like it or not, this is the position the rest of the world will be in when the sewage hits the fan in the ME.

  40. from The Economist online --

    Guessing in the Dark

    Aug 5th 2011, 8:29 by Buttonwood

    MORE sellers than buyers was the explanation that a wise old colleague used to give whenever the market fell. And of course that's the only explanation that counts (more willing sellers than buyers would be more precise). Analyses of such declines, including my last post, tend to be a bit post hoc ergo propter hoc, seizing on any plausible news item to explain the fall.

    I was watching CNBC last night as the talking heads tried to explain what was going on. "There is going to be rip your face off rally" proclaimed one commentator, who even seized on a temporary rebound in the Dow (from down 400 points to down 340) to say "it is happening". (The market ended 512 off.) Since such short-term moves are essentially random, such commentators are on a hiding-to-nothing, although the producer could help; one presenter claimed that gold was down 15% when it was actually down just $15 or less than 1%.

    Anyway, all eyes are on the non-farm payrolls today and it's possible that traders might indulge in a "rip your face off rally" if the number is better than expected. But that doesn't solve the longer term problem; the markets have been too dependent on government stimulus and the authorities are running out of options. QE3 is what's left. since the central banks have been propping up equities for 25 years and since Ben Bernanke has cited higher equity prices as a successful by-product of QE2, the odds on another round must be rising.

    But to go back to yesterday's events, I suspect that there may be a non-economic explanation. Some of the biggest falls of the last 25 years have been down to market dynamics, from programme trading in 1987 to the LTCM crisis through August 2007's quant blow-up to May 2010's flash crash. We will find in a few days or weeks that someone was a forced seller. But that's not the kind of information that feeds through to analysts or journalists on the day.

    Man after my own heart, might as just as well toss darts at the stock pages.


  41. Meanwhile, our youthful entrepreneurs are drowning in a cesspool of regulations and outrageous fees.

    Our Nation's War On Lemonade Stands

    And, they are not sending their money overseas to some tax haven and cheap labor.


  42. I can assure you that there is no 'grand plan', there is no grand scheme -there are no 'wealthy elite' who are secretely orchestrating this right
    now. The world is a highly complicated and unpredictable place with thousands of competing variables which make it entirely impossible to control and very challenging to influence in any meaningful way.

    I'm very sorry to also inform you that Elvis is dead, we did land on the moon and 9/11 was not an inside job.

  43. I am, also, loathe to tell you that oil exports available to the U.S., and other importing countries have been falling steadily since 2005, and that the prognosis for future exports is downright horrible.

  44. .

    I can assure you that there is no 'grand plan', there is no grand scheme -there are no 'wealthy elite' who are secretely orchestrating this right

    Sure. We've all seen posts from "Doug", a cute little pineapple head from Maui. We've heard his naive, folksy outlook on life and all things political. We laugh at much of his political philosophy.


    How do we know he is not just a secondary computer feed passing on messages forwarded from the golden microphone at EIB Central or from the Vatican Radio Station?

    Is there really a Doug? And if so, is he really a naif as he purports to be or is he in reality a dark, sinister presence attempting to subtly lure us all to the dark side?

    Is he a happy Hawaiian or a dark immenence leading this country to hell one Elephant Bar patron at a time?

    I can assure you that there is no 'grand plan'...

    Nice try Dougo, or whoever or whatever you are, but I'm not buying.


  45. I'm here to tell you the price of alfalfa is pretty much the same year after year, one thing you can more or less count on in a sea of chaos. Them cattle and hosses gotta eat.

    I'm here to tell you that if you're buying alfalfa from the landlord share, let it dry out some for you weigh it in, not green and watery outta the field. An old trick.

    I'm here to tell you the wolf hunting is going to excellent this year, and that's most important of all.

    Wolf Slayer #243

  46. There is a grand plan, an's got to do with Russel and Company, an' the Illuminati, an' Davos, Switzerland, an' shit like that. The Jews are involved too. Only a fool would think otherwise.

    The Conspirator

  47. E-mail from my friend Dale --

    (pass it on)

    Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop?

    35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government

    Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

    This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.

    This is an idea that we should address.

    For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

    If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

    Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ."

    They also need to repeal any law that has already been passed with exemptions!!!!!


  48. I's the Lemon Growers of America and their bought boys in Congress puttin' all them little kids in handcuffs over their lemonade stands, and that's for sure.

    Little Kids for a Capitalist American LLC

  49. Little Kids for Capitalist Americans LLC, obviously.

  50. It's not a rite of spring
    About which I write
    But a movement in mid-most summer
    The tiger stripped tom
    (I had seen his tail once
    Hanging out of the dumpster)
    Followed close the wanderings
    Of female feline of the svelt body
    Around the fitzers they went
    Then cross the sidewalk
    Under a Chevy 4 by 4
    Emerging she lead him again
    My way by my massive 4 by 12
    Gated veranda
    Motionless as stone
    They noticed me not
    Otherwise occupied
    And suddenly he mounted her
    Full bore she unresisting
    Entering deep
    He did not hump
    But pushed in and stayed firm
    Biting her neck
    And clawing her ribs lightly
    For three minutes or more
    Holding in tightly
    Until nature told her
    That suffices
    Then she spat at him
    And growled at him
    And hissed at him
    And he off off she was darting
    Into the fitzers
    And I can report
    It was all very nonchalant
    And natural
    This making of
    A new generation of feral felines

  51. Nother red hot email from Dale -

    (he can't stand 'that thing')

    And I'm disappointed in Crap-O too, for not understanding the issue fully.

    Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, "The Constitution and federal law require that, among other things, only native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who were both American citizens) may be President of the United States. In President Obama's case, some individuals have filed lawsuits in state and federal courts alleging that he has not proven that he is an American citizen, but each of those lawsuits have been dismissed. This includes a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to not review an "application for emergency stay" filed by a New Jersey resident claiming that the President is not a natural born citizen because his father was born in Kenya. Furthermore, both the Director of Hawaii's Department of Health and the state's Registrar of Vital Statistics recently confirmed that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and, as such, meets the constitutional citizenship requirements for the presidency. If contrary documentation is produced and verified, this matter will necessarily be resolved by the judicial branch of our government under the Constitution."


    Poet Lariat

  52. S & P downgraded us to AA+.

    We deserve it. Debt now exceeds GDP.

  53. IRS: Not enough rich to cover the deficit
    August 5, 2011 by Don Surber

    Soak the rich, eh?

    They do not have the money.

    A report from the Internal Revenue Service found that the rich — 8,274 people with incomes of $10 million per year or more — earned a total of $240 billion in 2009.

    Even of you confiscated every dime they earned, you would barely have enough money to cover government spending for 24 days.

    Of course, about a quarter of that money already goes to the federal government for federal income. So make that 18 days.

    Another 227,000 people earned $1 million or more in 2009.

    Millionaires averaged taxes of 24.4% of their income — up from 23.1% in 2008.

    They, too, did not earn enough money to come anywhere close to covering the annual deficits that are $1.5 trillion a year.

    Barack Obama was the first president to sign a budget with a $1 trillion deficit into law.

    In fact, all the taxpayers — including the ones who get a refund check bigger than the withholding taxes they paid — have the money.

    From Reuters: “Total adjusted gross income reported on tax returns, measured in 2009 dollars, was $7.626 trillion, down from $8.233 trillion in 2008 and $8.989 trillion in 2007. Total adjusted gross income was up only slightly from the $7.475 trillion reported in 2001, when there were 10 million fewer taxpayers. Adjusted gross income is the amount on the last line of the front page of a Form 1040 tax return.”

    Individual tax collections totaled $1,175,422,000,000 in 2009 — or 15.4% of all income.

    Doubling federal income taxes for everyone would still leave us $400 billion or so shy of balancing the budget.

    We must cut. We cannot afford to buy everything we want.

  54. The best way to collect more taxes, AND spend less (unemployment benefits, food assistance, Medicaid, etc) is to Grow the Economy.

    Also, collecting a few taxes from corporations, for a change, wouldn't hurt any.

  55. If we could actually Cut expenses by $350 or $400 Billion yr (winding down Iraq, and Afghanistan would get us about half of the way there,) and get some jobs coming back online we would be a long way toward where we want to go.

  56. We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade…

    The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year’s wide-ranging debate, in our view, the differences between political parties have proven to be extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability…

    When comparing the U.S. to sovereigns with ‘AAA’ long-term ratings that we view as relevant peers–Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K.–we also observe, based on our base case scenarios for each, that the trajectory of the U.S.’s net public debt is diverging from the others. Including the U.S., we estimate that these five sovereigns will have net general government debt to GDP ratios this year ranging from 34% (Canada) to 80% (the U.K.), with the U.S. debt burden at 74%. By 2015, we project that their net public debt to GDP ratios will range between 30% (lowest, Canada) and 83% (highest, France), with the U.S. debt burden at 79%. However, in contrast with the U.S., we project that the net public debt burdens of these other sovereigns will begin to decline, either before or by 2015.

  57. When comparing the U.S. to sovereigns with ‘AAA’ long-term ratings that we view as relevant peers–Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K.

    Fuck S&P. These are the same corrupt, worthless cocksuckers that graded MBSs as AAA five years ago. Why should we believe a word that falls from their filthy, whore mouths?

    Our government is a den of corruption populated with incompetent malignants, this is a fact. However, since we have learned that S&P is far from objective and works for ulterior motives, there is more to this downgrade than meets the eye.

    Could be payback to USGOV for previous transgressions. Since they are advocating we model ourselves to be more like our impotent, statist European counterparts, I find this too convenient for the shit-for-brains in the executive branch and the FIRE sector contributors that bought them their offices.

    The banks are now pointing their gun into the heads of the pesky resistance. It's time to shut up, sit down and let the statism roll or we murder the economy. Let's raise some taxes, spend our asses off, and guarantee some income streams to the DNC and RNC top contributors.

    Welcome to the plantation.

  58. US financial stocks and emerging markets are going to show the biggest falls tomorrow as the impact of the US debt downgrade hits global financial markets.

    The move by S&P to lower US debt below triple-A for the first time in history came after the bell on Friday so equity and bond markets have not yet had a chance to vent their fury about this loss of value in the world’s most widely held asset class.

    US financials

    ArabianMoney reckons US financials will get the biggest beating. Quite simply the US banks are the biggest holders of US treasuries and will feel the heat most. Ditto China as the largest foreign holder of US treasuries and because it and other emerging markets are almost always more volatile to the downside.

    By contrast there should be a flight to safe havens like the AAA-rated bonds of other sovereigns and gold. We are not sure whether silver will be treated as a precious metal or industrial commodity tomorrow, and it could first behave like the latter and take a turn for the worse as it did on Friday.

    Clearly readers of our newsletter who bought our short ETF program will have a very good day (subscribe here). Is it too late to go short? That is always an issue as markets collapse. Stock brokers can becoming strangely hard to contact and IT systems crash. It may be hard to put a short position on.

    US dollar

    We will also be watching closely what happens to the US dollar. There are contradictory forces at work with the pull down from the credit rating and the push up from an equity market rout, for as stocks are sold dollars are bought.

    If readers are not out of the markets after last week then it is probably not too late to sell everything, and we will be surprised if looking back in a month or two that is not also the right course of action with hindsight.

    Hanging on while the world drops away can leave you dangling from the upended Titanic as it takes its last dramatic plunge.