11/16/2011 6:37 PM ET|
Will DC wreck the economy again?
Held in low regard
While our leaders won't face international pressure to abdicate, as we saw in Italy and Greece, the U.S. electorate isn't impressed; it gives Congress a record-low approval rating of 13% right now, according to Gallup. Nor are the Chinese: The Dagong rating agency said this week that it may downgrade the U.S. credit rating again (it cut our rating back in August) on a failure of elected leaders to deal with the deficit. Wall Street isn't impressed, either.
A deadlock in Congress now, one that likely wouldn't be broken until after the 2012 election as divisions harden, would result in a cascade of failures that will continue to pummel stocks, confidence and the economy. Merrill Lynch/Bank of America economist Ethan Harris expects at least one U.S. credit rating downgrade in late November or early December as a result of a failure by the supercommittee to create a "credible" deficit-fighting plan.
Even if the bare minimum $1.2 trillion deal gets passed -- likely with accounting gimmicks such as overly optimistic economic growth projections -- a number of other major decisions loom over the next year that will require hard-to-come-by bipartisan support. These include expirations of the $90 billion payroll tax cut, $40 billion in extended unemployment benefits, tax incentives for business investment and the Bush tax cuts, as well as another decision on the U.S. Treasury's debt ceiling.
In the months to come, if the two parties battle as the economy burns, the solution embraced in Italy and Greece-- unelected technocrats -- may look more and more attractive as the deus ex machina to get us out of this mess.
Greek philosopher Plato warned of this more than 2,400 years ago in ancient Athens, claiming that the absolute freedom of democracy and the freedom of speech and license to do as one wishes can devolve into an unmanageable state. He compares such a place to a dilettante with no discipline; a hedonist with neither order nor necessity nor an appetite for sacrifice and self-control.
The country, drunk on the insatiable desire to have no master in any facet of life, becomes intolerant of any whiff of elitism, fiscal responsibility or denial of any earthly desire. Leaders aren't allowed to place the least bit of austerity on their people. To stay in power, they must be pliable and provide plenty of what the people want -- namely, low taxes and lots of government spending.
Otherwise, they are punished. Think about that when the 2012 elections roll around.
More immediately, on the investing front: I've been advising trade-minded subscribers to my newsletter on ways to try to catch the market's ups and down for the last few months -- ups and downs that are set to continue, and require quick action to try to play.
For average investors, it's much tougher, because the market is moving based on politics and macroeconomics rather than anything a particular company does. There are also few attractive alternatives. Treasury yields are in negative territory and are likely to underperform over the long haul. So for now, hang on.
Be sure to check out Anthony's new money management service, Mirhaydari Capital Management, and his investment newsletter, the Edge. A free, two-week trial subscription to the newsletter has been extended to MSN Money readers. Click here to sign up. Mirhaydari can be contacted at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @EdgeLetter. You can view his current stock picks here. Feel free to comment below.
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Will Washington D.C. wreck the economy again?
Is the Pope Catholic? Are politicians engaged in insider trading?
Lets start with pay cuts for congress and the president, all of them , not just the active ones, but the retired ones too!
Stop wasting money on "the war on drugs", it's not working! Drug use has to be eliminated on the demand side, not the supply side. There will always be a supply as long as there is a demand for it. You can't stop it. Focus on prevention ,education ,and rehab!!!
Cut other wasteful grants to the rich and spending on "rich man's follies".
Stop acting as the world's police. It's not our job, and we do not have the right to tell other nations how to live.
This country will not be righted until we remove ALL of the current politicians and we start from scratch again. Our "trusted servants" have been bought and paid for by private interests.
It is treasonous that a congressman or senator would sign a pledge to ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
How could we let them proudly tout that they signed a pledge to Grover Norquist?!?!?!
Seems like there is a conflict of interest to me. NO politician to go into office that way. It should be the American People's interest they are there to serve, no matter what. If it's best for the country to raise taxes, then so be it. If it's for the best of the country to lower taxes, then so be it. The issue should dictate the resolution, not some treasonous pledge to Grover Norquist.
Simply stated, the problem is: Too many politicians making too many promises, and spending too much money that they don't have.....with no way to pay it back.
That's the European problem in a nutshell. And the American problem as well.
I especially loved the line in the story about austerity being "politically unpalatable". Translation: The politicians are more concerned about saving their jobs than solving the problem.
When you spend over 800 billion dollars perpetuating a lie it does the economy no good.The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the major causes of our debts. that and run amok spending by Congress and their entitlements. We had no reason to go into Iraq and Afghanistan other than the idiots in Congress were duped by Bush and his band of idiots. We spend/handout billions to foreign countries to help with their infrastructure, education and socila programs while here at home we have returning verteran unemployment at 12%. We have people living on the streets, our roads and bridges are crumbling, our education system is worse than that of some third world countries. I say "AMERICA FIRST"!!!! We need to stop being the worlds policeman, we need to stop being the social conscience of the world. When we have every citizen here fed, EMPLOYED, housed and all our needs met here for our country and people then maybe we might look at helping the rest of the world. Until we reach that point we need not to hand out money to help out foreign countries. And if Congress cannot do the wishes of the people then they need to be replaced. We hired them, WE CAN FIRE THEM! But the American people`s needs must come first before some foreign country plain and simple. I myself don`t care what the rest of the world thinks about us. Do you?? I served my country in the military and have seen some of this. It is time for a change!!
Until this administration understands the following, nothing will change. It will only continue to deteriorate.
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody, anything that the government does, takes first from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they worked for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
This scenario is being played out in Greece, Italy, Spain and France. If we don't get our own house in order quickly it will soon becoming to a theater near you.
Vote the bums out in 2012!!!!
I am willing to accept a cut in my Medicare when Washington eliminates their pension plan and increases their benefits contribution to at least 40% of the premium we taxpayers are stuck with!!
That will never happen because of their greed! They believe they are entitled to as much of our hard earned wages as they want!
Rigs1950....good points...I totally agree that an uneducated electorate put us in the mess we are in voting on promises made by lying politicians.
The politicians in DC have not just wrecked the economy, they have wrecked this country and we the people better wake up and stop what is going on before it is too late.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended the midweek session with slim gains after showing some intraday volatility in reaction to the release of the latest policy directive from the Federal Open Market Committee. The S&P 500 added 0.1%, while the relative strength among small caps sent the Russell 2000 higher by 0.3%.
Equities spent the first half of the session near their flat lines as participants stuck to the sidelines ahead of the FOMC statement, which conveyed no changes to the ... More
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