Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Committee Epic Fail; Ron Paul Weighs In; New Government in Spain; Last Days of Euro?

Despite rumors of some kind of "a new idea" from senator Max Baucus that the congressional super committee would reach some kind of deal - a rumor that boosted stocks from their midday lows - there appears to be no deal in the works before the Wednesday, November 23, deadline.

Americans should have expected no less from a congress that hasn't met the public's perception of actually doing their jobs in well over a decade, some say longer. After all, they only had three full months to reach agreement on a plan that would cut the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years, a paltry $120 billion per year.

The stranglehold by Republicans' refusing to authorize any kind of tax increase at all has boondoggled the entire effort, so that automatic cuts, mandated by the debt limit debate of the past summer, will take effect, though not until 2013, making cutting the budget deficit - by tax increases or program cuts - an election year issue of grandiose magnitude.

Congress' inability to get anything done caused stocks to sell off sharply, with the deadline just two days off and prospects severely limited.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul suggested that congress and the president take a few steps back and adopt the same budget that passed in 2004, on the premise that 2012 expected federal revenue ($2.3 trillion) roughly matches the budget from eight years ago. Paul's idea is brilliant in its simplicity, though probably a non-starter for most of the brain-dead congressional members who would have to vote on the idea.

Meanwhile, across the pond, European "leaders" saw the sixth change in government since the debt crisis began as Spain elected into office the conservative Popular Party. Spain follows Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece and Italy in ousting parties that could not navigate Europe's ongoing crisis.

A report by Credit Suisse called “The ‘Last Days’ of the Euro,” warns that the 12-year-old currency may be under enough excess strain that the entire currency experiment could collapse soon, as the ECB struggles to create a funding mechanism that would take some of the pressure off Germany and, to a lesser extent, France.

All of these events and ideas led to a serious drubbing in US stocks, though the main catalyst for decline was surely the inaction by congress. As it has failed so many times in the past, expect this latest fiasco of central planning to escalate into finger-pointing, name-calling and another lurch toward anarchy in the USA.

Congress, state and local governments (mostly though the fascist attacks on "Occupy" protesters) have repeatedly shown that they have a general disdain for the people of America, preferring to focus their efforts on gaining re-election. Thus, they are, slowly, but surely, losing the ability to govern. If economic conditions don't improve in a dramatic way soon, or deteriorate further, expect the wheels of government to begin the process of grind to a halt before finally falling off completely.

It's a testament to the failed politics of crony capitalism and support for only the wealthiest Americans that are causing serious dislocations and mistrust of government at all levels. Elected leaders can stop it if they so choose, but they seem all too caught up in ideology to do anything constructive.

For this market, the old fascist line, "the beatings will continue until morale improves," seems oh so appropriate.

Dow 11,547.31, -248.85 (2.11%)
NASDAQ 2,523.14, -49.36 (1.92%)
S&P 500 1,192.98, -22.67 (1.86%)
NYSE Composite 7,134.73, -147.74 (2.03%)
NASDAQ Volume 2,063,252,500
NYSE Volume 4,050,063,750
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 908-4780
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 45-275 (oopsie!)
WTI crude oil: 97.41, +0.11
Gold: 1,678.60, -46.50
Silver: 31.12, -1.30

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