As the White House prepares to amplify the duties as a route to damage the Chinese economy, opponents are intensifying their efforts to counter what they say is a misguided attempt by the administration to portray the tariffs as anything but a tax on American consumers. “We’re paying that tariff. I want there to be no mistake that the consumer is paying for these tariffs. I wish China was paying them. I certainly would feel better about it that way,” Brent Bible, a soybean farmer in Lafayette, Indiana, said on Thursday on a call arranged by advocacy groups Tariffs Hurt the Heartland and the National Retail Federation. – Joe Williams, “Burdened by Trump’s Tariffs, Small Businesses, Others Mount Last Minute Plea.,” Fox News Network, May 9, 2019.
Don’t underestimate the power of the “Trump put.” Analysts say the stock market has been hanging in after trade talks with China hit a rough spot because investors believe a deal is coming, and they also expect President Donald Trump to take action if the stock market looks like it is heading for a real meltdown. The “put” is the belief that Trump will not let the stock market collapse, since he views it as a measure of his own success. On Friday, stocks cut steep losses and turned positive, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He were “constructive,” as they ended for the day. – Patti Domm, “The ‘Trump Put’ Saves Stocks as Investors Bet the President Won’t Let the Market Collapse.” https://www.cnbc.com, May 10, 2019.
Even Fox News started to turn against President Trump’s attempt to frame the tariffs as something “good” for America. It is becoming more apparent that if you cannot achieve your goals through diplomacy – because you have no aptitude for diplomacy – then the only way you think you can get something done is via threats. But is that really effective? Threats don’t lead to win-win situations in the long run. They only widen the gulf of trust versus mistrust between the two parties. Nobody rally benefits from higher tariffs, which is akin to a tax on the consumer who ends up paying higher prices, which can then become a precursor to inflation.
However, this is the economic signature of the Jupiter (in Sagittarius) square to Neptune in Pisces. Prices go up. Inflation begins to raise its head as everything begins to cost more. That fear led to the large selloffs experienced last week in the stock market (the DJIA dropped over 1200 points from its high the prior week to its low on Friday). On Friday, May 10, investors bought late in the day because they believe that Trump – not China – will soon be desperate for a deal because he measures his success via the stock market. The “irrational exuberance” of Jupiter square Neptune, when things appeared to be going so well, can quickly morph into hysteria and then panic when leaders began resorting to threats and counter threats over diplomacy as a bargaining chip. As stated before in this column, the only real danger to the economy and stock market is the political risk. The economy is fine otherwise. In this case, the administration was so close to a deal, and then once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by not allowing its diplomats to do their job – which is to negotiate diplomatically, recognizing that the other side is also likely to employ their own tactics towards negotiations to reach an advantageous outcome, and then call them on it – quietly, without humiliation – and resume the bargaining in good faith.
Thus, the question that looms as we start the weekend, is whether China and the USA can reach an agreement. There was an excellent chance, and there still may be through June 2. Agreements, and diplomatic efforts, are favorable, according to geocosmic studies, when Venus and its ruling signs of Taurus or Libra are highlighted. Jupiter’s involvement can help too, for its basic nature is optimistic and generous. Mars and Pluto, on the other hand, contain dynamics that can interfere with successful negotiations because they are inclined towards impulsive and overly aggressive behaviors, and maneuvers designed to take advantage and even cause harm the other side. Last week, May 9, there was a Venus/Jupiter trine, one of the best of all combinations for an agreement. Unfortunately (cosmically-speaking) Venus was also in a square aspect to Pluto the same day, which is not one of the best aspects for an agreement. This followed the square of Venus/Saturn on May 7. All in all, the optimistic atmosphere for a deal that was present during the strong Jupiter transits of April 8-15, and the hard aspects of Venus to Saturn/Pluto May 7-9, offered a preview of what to expect the rest of this year and then into 2020. Optimism, great hope, followed by disappointment via abrupt and disruptive decisions, resulting in a collapse of good will and global harmony. Somehow, this pattern has to stop or change if the world is to get its footing back, recover mutual trust for one another, and not risk an unnecessary collapse of the economy and stock market within the next few months.
Stock markets around the world fell hard last week, until late Friday when the U.S. markets started to recover in hopes of a trade deal soon, as described above. The concern about higher prices helped the Gold market, and apparently Bitcoin too, which soared to a new high for this year. In fact. Bitcoin has now appreciated over 100% since its low in December 2018, just five months ago. It fits with our outlook described in the Forecast 2019 Book, related to Uranus in Taurus.
U.S. debt has climbed to an alarming level, according to DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach. “People are starting to realize that the deficit and debt are totally out of control,” Gundlach said on Tuesday. “The economy is in such bad shape to withstand a downturn again. The national debt is exploding while we’re having some of the best GDP year over year that we’ve had in recent years.” Despite GDP growth and strong employment if and when a recession does hit, Gundlach said the U.S. economy is in no shape to handle it without resorting to drastic measures. – Kate Rooney, “Bond King Jeffrey Gundlach Says the National Debt is Totally Out of Control,’ “ https://www.cnbc.com, May 7, 2019.
Despite the cosmic reality that one of the “best aspects” for an agreement just passed on May 9, there are still other fairly strong signatures present through June 2 that could coincide with a trade deal. After that, it gets very nasty, and far deeper concerns for the future of the American economy – as described by Jeffrey Gundlach above – could gain greater attention.
Let’s start with the good news: the optimistic possibility now present. The time band of April 22 through May 18 is one of the most heavily populated periods of geocosmic activity in 2019. It is book ended by the Sun/Uranus conjunction of April 22 and the Venus/Uranus conjunction of May 18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average topped out April 23. Indices remained high through May 1. The S&P, for instance, made its all-time high on May 1 and the DJIA made a double top to its high of April 23. That was when the USA President and Treasury Secretary kept announcing that the China-USA trade talks were going well and close to completion. A deal was coming. That was positive diplomacy and optimism, consistent with the message of Jupiter. But then, Mars began its T-square to Jupiter and Neptune, April 27-May 5. The bubble was pricked as interference with the diplomatic negotiations erupted. Pluto and Saturn went retrograde during this time too (April 24-27), and the momentum began to change. By the time Mars opposed Jupiter last weekend (May 5), the rout was on. It just kept escalating as Venus then squared the stationary Saturn and Pluto, May 7-9. But now we are nearing the end of this volatile time band on May 18, when Venus will conjoin Uranus. This suggests that the craziness (for Uranus is just a bit crazy, and coincides with acts that many would consider slightly tilted towards ill-advised, if not even bordering on insane), is about to take a break. Things can return to more “normal.”
More “normal” and constructive can even occur this weekend, as the Sun will make a favorable trine to both Saturn and Pluto, May 11-13. This is followed by the ingress of Venus (diplomacy) into the sign it rules on May 15, which implies more sanity, more appreciation for others in the process of diplomatic negotiations. The month ends with Venus then also making a trine to Saturn and Pluto, May 31-June 2. A deal is possible during this period. If one (or a few) works hard towards a resolution and a long-term agreement, you can find few aspects coming up as good as that.
However, if an agreement cannot be reached by then, the symbolism of the cosmic turns considerably more challenging. Some might read it as more “nasty,” and the consequences of another squandered opportunity may this time lead to an even greater crisis in the stock market, an even greater crisis in faith in one’s leadership, or style of leadership. This time band of great challenge can begin anytime after June 2 (perhaps as early as June 4-8), and last through July. It may be most notable June 9-24, which is when the second passage of the Jupiter/Neptune waning square takes place (June 16), and includes the Sun making a T-square to it (June 9-10), Neptune turning retrograde (June 21) and Venus making a T-square to the Jupiter/Neptune square (June 23-24). As if that is not enough, Mars will make an opposition to both Saturn and Pluto, June 14-19. Lack of an agreement prior to this cosmic vortex can very easily explode with unbounded hostility and offense caused by a sense of deception and acts of bad faith in negotiation, of feeling forced to give in to the relentless and coercive demands of one party over another, and the resentment that is unleashed as a result. This is a series of aspects that says something like: “This is good for you, and if you can’t see it, then get the hell out of my way because I am done with you.” The only problem is that this is all projection and a setup. You fall into the trap, and everyone sees your mistake, your misjudgment.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Trump’s birthday falls right in the middle of this period on June 14. In astrology, this is known as one’s “solar return.” The best advice for the President? Take a long-deserved vacation during this period (June 9-24), stay out of the news, and let your seasoned negotiators handle the process. Stay away from stress and the temptation to do something Martian, impulsive, that may not be well-thought out. Come back regenerated and fresh. In fact, that is advice under those aspects that would probably be wise for all of us to follow.