|MMA Comments for the Week Beginning November 14, 2011|
|Written by Raymond Merriman|
Review and Preview
Neptune was certainly prominent last week as expected. It was in opposition to Mars last Monday and then it went stationary direct on Wednesday, As stated in last week’s column, “It (Neptune) is also the planet of rumors, distraction, and deception. It will be interesting to see how Herman Cain handles allegations of sexual harassment under this dynamic. It will be interesting to see if Governors Perry or Romney will flip-flop, or fall deeper into conflicts on any more issues this week… Sincerity will be at a premium this week, and those who stumble in this area of behavior may look really bad…. Politically-speaking, some candidates may start to drown.”
Here is what happened. Prior to the Republican presidential debate last Wednesday, two more women alleged sexual harassment by candidate Herman Cain – and still no proof. Mitt Romney was highlighted for yet another flip-flop. In fact, Friday’s Wall Street Journal had a front page story about his policy shifts in 2005. At the debate, Rick Perry had a brain freeze and lost his train of thought in the middle of a response, which made him look really bad.. He probably lost his chance to be nominated. Figuratively-speaking, his campaign is drowning.
It was all Neptune, god of rumors, flip-flops, and brain freezes. But the most striking of all was a false S&P report that France’s credit rating had been downgraded, throwing a huge loss on its Treasury markets. This report was denied immediately afterwards, but damage was done. Also stunning were the resignations of the prime ministers of Greece and Italy, as the Euro zone starts its own version of the “Arab spring,” but in a more Neptunian fashion than Libya and Egypt, which were more in line with Uranus in Aries – a sign placement that won’t end until 2018..
But it wasn’t just Neptune in action last week. The dark cloud hanging over everything we do today is the approaching Uranus-Pluto waxing square. Everything is headed into that “form- shifting” vortex, especially those things which relate to the 4 D’s: debt, deficits, downgrade, and default. Last week Jefferson County, Alabama filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States over a failed sewage deal. Many leaders will be forced to step down due to their inability to handle their nation’s finances well, grant freedoms and opportunities being demanded by the masses, or else they risk being removed more forcefully under a revolutionary obsession to “tear down and get rid of the rot.”
Yet financial markets didn’t do too badly. Well, actually they had the one horrendous down day last Wednesday, November 9, as Neptune turned direct. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 400 points and the Euro currency suffered a massive pullback of nearly 400 points from its high on Wednesday to its low on Thursday’s full moon. But aside from that, equity markets, precious metals, and energy markets did fairly well. Crude Oil is now testing 100.
The markets were a little ragged last week as expected under the Neptune transits. And although stock markets fell hard from Tuesday’s high into Wednesday’s low, that decline held slightly above the lows of the prior week. They were right back up to their weekly highs again by Friday in the DJIA. Last week’s column stated, “If the markets aren’t down too severely by then (the full moon on Thursday), I see light coming through the clouds, and the fog begins to dissipate.” The week ended on a sunny note, up 170 points for the week in the DJIA.
Longer-Term Thoughts and Personal Transit Tales
In honor of all the Neptune transits in force in the past week and the correlation of Neptune to hopes, wishes, altruism, utopia, and fantasy, let’s resume our make-believe discussion between President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on how the USA might really get a handle on its ballooning debt crisis.
So, after asking the Federal Reserve Bank to take a 50% “haircut” on the U.S. Treasuries it holds – similar to what European leaders asked of its largest banks in order to tackle their monstrous debt crisis - Big Ben replies to B.O.: “Mr. President, I will raise you one higher. We will forgive the USA all of the $3T (or more) USA debt we have on our books if, in exchange, you and Congress agree to do what I have been requesting for the past two years. That is, be more responsible on your fiscal policy. Specifically, create a budget - your first budget since taking office nearly three years ago! Not only that, but create a balanced budget. Otherwise you will just fall into the same trap and things will be worse in just three years. At the rate of $1T+ budget deficits each year since you’ve been in office, the $3T loan we forgive will mean nothing in less than three years. The country’s debt will be right back to where it is today. On the other hand, if we forgive the $3T we lent you from money we created out (and charged you for), and at the same time you actually show fiscal responsibility and produce a balanced budget, then we can reverse this trend and start a new healthy momentum that will lead the USA – and the world – into a much more positive financial direction. We can solve this debt crisis right now.”
“But Ben,” say B.O., “I can’t do that unless I can raise the taxes on those millionaires and billionaires that make $250K per year. And the Republicans won’t let me do it! How can I create a balanced budget if I can’t raise revenues by taxing the rich?”
Big Ben thinks about this for about 5 seconds, because it is not a particularly hard question to answer when you understand finances. “Sir,” says Ben, “First of all you really must learn to count. After all, numbers mean something. An income of $250K does not a billionaire - let alone a millionaire - make. When you mangle numbers like that, it destroys your credibility as a serious negotiator. Second of all, you don’t negotiate by making non-negotiable demands. You make an offer that actually takes into account what the other side wants. You want to tax rich, and the rich don’t want to pay taxes to a government that it sees as wasteful and fiscally irresponsible. Offer these high income earners a deal. They want a government that is financially responsible. You want taxes to help solve the debt crisis. Offer them this: if I (the President and Congress) promise to create a balanced budget, and the Federal Reserve Board agrees to forgive the USA debt it holds on its books, would you (the high income earners of say $200K or more) agree to a modest income tax hike as I suggest? And use the word ‘suggest,’ and don’t ‘demand,’ or ‘threaten to veto if you don’t give me what I want.’ Stay away from those intractable statements when you negotiate, B.O. That’s how Clinton and Reagan got things done. They negotiated. They made deals that gave the other side something it wanted. The thing is, I believe the American taxpayer would be willing to pay their ‘fair share’ if they believed you were committed to financial sensibility and not spend more for programs than you cannot afford. Everyone wants to help this country. But you have to demonstrate that you and Congress are also willing to get America back on a sound financial path – which this deal would do. Get your finances straightened out, get the support of the American people behind you by believing you are sincere in wanting to solve this problem, and then see what you can afford. Don’t go on these over-the-top spending sprees until you know where you stand. And don’t continue with this ridiculous mantra that we have to spend more (and tax more) in order to cut our deficit. You know, put the horse in front of the cart, not the other way around.”
Of course there is an underlying geocosmic reason why the Fed chair might want this to happen. With Uranus and Pluto coming into their waxing square in 2012-2015, history shows that mass protests against both governments and banks occur, and in many cases these protest movements have turned from demands for more equality and opportunities into mobs and riots that unleashed destruction. Banks have been burnt down and bankers have been executed under similar aspects in the past. Big Ben is no fool and he knows his history, and most likely he wants the central bank of the United States to survive. But he can see the writing on the walls and where these protests of today are headed, and it doesn’t look good for banks. The Fed is going to have a hard time surviving this decade if the class warfare rhetoric leads to social uprisings, as bankers (a profession ruled by Pluto) are increasingly cast into the drama as a huge part of the problem.
Could this idea work? Why not? As the deli girl said to me last week when I tried to buy some sliced organic turkey and she wanted to know what my number was, “Answer me that!”
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