Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.
Trump is clearly the most dangerous when he is hunkered down and connected to reality only by the thin thread of twitter. The last week has apparently felt even more besieged than usual, either out of exhaustion from his trip or in anticipation of James Comey’s testimony to Congress. Either way, the net result has been a disaster – and the worst may well be yet to come.
If it’s not yet clear to everyone that this man is not fit to lead anything it will be soon.
Unpatriotic! Unconstitutional! Treasonous! Illegal! The reaction to the letter signed by 47 Senators telling Iran that any treaty signed will be un-done in two years was swift and brutal. Some of the harshest condemnation came from those who oppose any agreement with Iran, too, so it wasn’t just Democrats this time. But was it really all those things that have been alleged?
The short answer is that today’s popular media always hyperventilates, so something this unprecedented had to test the limits of hyperbole. Sorry, this blasted through the stratosphere of outrage! But the real problem isn’t this one action, which we can be sure our foreign policy and our democratic-republic will survive. What is more troubling is the new standard set for obstruction and grandstanding that tells us nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to be accomplished in the next two years.
What does it take for international markets to panic? With the debt ceiling due to be hit in a little more than a week, the short answer is that the “full faith and credit of the United States” is still worth quite a lot. We’re only starting to see the first signs of a panic as an auction of 1-month TBills sold at a net rate of 0.355%. If that doesn’t impress you, it’s worth noting that it was one third that a week ago.
Stocks started falling, too, with the DJIA losing just over a percent.
Allright, it’s not much. Gold isn’t budging above $1330 or so per ounce and benchmark 10yr TBills are still comfy at 2.64%. These are probably the best standards to watch for signs of panic as the stalemate goes nowhere.
My friends ask me all the time about the Fiscal Cliff. The assumption is that, as a person who watches these things, I am supposed to know what is going on. I don’t, I admit it. The most reasonable thing I have heard on the negotiations came long ago from a source I can’t remember – that the staffers had more-or-less worked out a deal weeks ago, and it’s simply down to the final posturing by their bosses before something is finalized.
That’s probably over-stating it a bit, but certainly once the election was over the relative strength of the positions was known and there was little point in “negotiating” any more. Politicians in high office don’t get there by being stupid (usually). So before we head into the endgame of the year, we can look back on how the Republican position became weaker and weaker – and why they will probably wind up caving on all the most important things before this is over.
What’s the worst that can happen? As the deadline approaches for the Fiscal Cliff later this month, a lot of people are asking this question. It’s becoming common on both the left and the right to question whether or not we should just “go over” the edge and see what happens.
No matter where it comes from, this is a dumb idea. Let’s examine why.