It’s back! It is time for yet another round of political infighting over the lovely state of our nation’s finances. Monday was bloodied by undertones of war or military intervention in Syria, but the real ongoing issue will be the arguments over the debt ceiling. The problem is that both sides are right in their arguments, while at the same time they both are wrong. The debt ceiling debate is just one of the current waves that could kill the bull market. Politics is messy, and it can cost you money or your career.
The debt ceiling, according to Treasury Secretary Lew, is likely to be hit in the middle of October. President Obama appears not to want to negotiate on the debt ceiling. Republicans will be hawks right up to the wire, if history is any benchmark of repetition.
As far as why both sides are right and both sides are wrong, let’s just say that this is a mess that neither side of the aisle really is trying to fix. Washington is spending too much of your taxpayer money, which is actually now your taxes for some year in the future because this year’s and last year’s tax money already was spoken for in some prior year.
Where the argument about the debt ceiling will get tricky is in how long Congress lets things stay out of order. If it cannot raise more money, you can rest assured that some misguided Congress member will threaten a U.S. debt default. The reality is that the U.S. government will have to furlough employees or not spend whatever they have to in order to make the scheduled debt payments. A U.S. default is the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch to the credit markets, and this is coming from a guy who believes that the government has to start living within its means.
The debt ceiling debate is one that keeps coming up, and as long as there is a split in the parties, it is an argument that will keep coming up each and every time. Just remember that much of the argument on both sides is pure grandstanding showmanship.
The debt ceiling argument will pass, but that does not mean that it will not come without pain and higher blood pressure between in the meantime. Despite the U.S. debt ceiling being so important, now we also have a possible intervention in Syria, a weakening in Greece and Italy, and a disaster in Argentina all coming at the same time as a slowing growth trend in the emerging market BRIC nations.
Maybe the reality is that this bull market just needs its big excuse for another sell-off. Stay tuned.
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