Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Limits and Conservation

Politicians continue to focus more on limits as the larger bear market continues to unfold. Back in July 2011, the GOP advanced the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill during the debt ceiling crisis, which was approved along party lines in the House, but was scuttled in the Senate. The formation of a "Super Congress" was a result of a debt ceiling deal, which has been tasked with cutting the deficit by over a trillion dollars over a decade.

Just four months later, the "Super Congress" has been unable to reach a deal on a deficit deal as strife and discord continue to cause division in the committee. In spite of the increase in strife and discord, the austerity trend is spreading beyond the red states. Even some blue states are participating in the austerity trend. A case of point is Gov. Chris Gregoire (of the state of Washington) pushing for $2.3 billion in budget cuts that will have a substantial impact on the state's subsidized health care, increase class sizes in schools, and cut the length of supervision for inmates released from prison.

The latest example of limits and conservation is the Balanced Budget Amendment, which is not only endorsed by the GOP and the Tea Party, but also has support of "Blue Dog" democrats as well. The austerity trend has spread beyond the GOP and the Tea Party and even the Democratic Party is beginning to take part in the austerity trend. Economists are already recognizing the implications of such an amendment, stating that the amendment would result in the loss of 15 million jobs, and that is before considering the effect of businesses and corporations imploding due to a cascade of debt defaults. This scenario fits with the forecast of the destruction of 36 million jobs during the course of Primary wave [3] down (2011 - 2016), pushing the unemployment rate (U6) up to 40% by 2016.

The austerity trend, which is now becoming more and more bi-partisan over time, is indicative of a bear market in progress, as people tend to focus on limits and conservation during bear markets. The latest attempt at a balanced budget amendment is expected to be scuttled (most likely in the Senate) as there is not enough bearish social mood for the amendment to pass. The most likely time frame for a balanced budget amendment to pass is 2017 after a massive wave of voter anger (larger than 1932) throws most of the liberal progressive politicians out of office in all levels of government in the 2016 election.

On the shorter term, one of the possible events in the political arena that could signal the peak of Minor wave 2 up is the "Super Congress" successfully reaching a deal in cutting the deficit. Such an event could generate a short-lived euphoria, much like the Greek deal in late October 2011 that resulted in banks taking a 50% haircut on Greek debt. Such a euphoria would be short lived as the bearish social mood associated with Minor wave 3 down would take over in very short order.

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