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Ceiling Uncertainty?

10/14/2013

As someone who tries very hard to keep political opinions out of his writing, I’ve always respected The Kiplinger Letter for keeping their political opinions private.  However, their newest letter said “For now, Republicans favor ideological purity over winning . . .”  I’m trying to judge whether their political opinion is showing or whether that is a simple statement of the facts.

It also predicts more continuing resolutions than budgets to fund the government, which is unfortunate.  Without doing budget planning, there is no curtailment in entitlement spending.  We really do need a “grand bargain” with entitlement cuts and revenue increases.

Also, with small increases in the debt ceiling, there will be even more opportunities to create a crisis, and it will make it seem debt is rising faster than it really is.  “That, in turn, will embolden the staunchest conservative Republicans to fight against the increases.”

While the latest newsletter doesn’t speak to the potential default, if the debt ceiling is not raised this week, it doesn’t seem overly-concerned about it, just mentioning it in passing.

If I were a historian, I would also treat the debt ceiling lightly, as Congress has always done the right thing and raised the ceiling to pay for the spending they have approved.

If I were a psychiatrist, I would argue that rational people connected to reality can never negotiate successfully with irrational people who have only a tenuous connection to reality.

If I were a market strategist, I would continue to buy all this week as the market goes down, as it will.  If we do break the debt ceiling on Thursday or Friday, the market will fall badly . . . for awhile, which is time to do even more buying.  After all, fourth quarter earnings are expected to rise 9.4%.

Make no mistake, breaking the debt ceiling is simply idiotic.  It is a self-inflicted wound and a seriously-bad economic event, but we will survive.  Prepare to be scared  . . . but keep buying slowly.

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