Morning Report – Over the cliff we go 12/21/12

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1418.4 -22.2 -1.54%
Eurostoxx Index 2645.3 -13.0 -0.49%
Oil (WTI) 89.04 -1.1 -1.21%
LIBOR 0.31 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.38 0.116 0.15%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.75% -0.04%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 191.8 -0.1  

Stock index futures are getting crushed this morning after House Speaker John Boehner postponed a vote for Plan B, which would have raised taxes on millionaires, after he couldn’t get enough Republican votes.  He has scheduled a press conference for 10:00 am. This is probably the final nail in the coffin for a deal before the end of the year.  It also could mean Speaker Cantor.  

So, what are the options now on the fiscal cliff?  John Boehner could continue to work with the President on a deal that can garner bipartisan support in the House.  Second, the House could pass the Senate bill, with Republicans voting “present.” Finally (and probably the most likely outcome) is that we go over the cliff and immediately pass tax cuts in the new year. It goes without saying that all of this is dependent on the world not ending today.

On the economic data front, Personal Income and Spending came in better than expected.  Durable Goods were higher than expected and the Chicago Fed National Activity Index rebounded. Of course none of that matters right now. Bonds are up a point, while MBS are up 1/4. In view of what is happening in Washington, I wouldn’t want to be short bonds right now.

18 Responses

  1. The worst scenario is Boehner calling everybody back and passing a Son of Plan B on December 27 after he has strong-armed the holdouts. His leverage over the Tea Party has been proven to be non-existent and his value as a good faith negotiator is shot. Cantor or somebody is going to have to step in and guarantee votes or Boehner has to corral enough center-right Republicans (are there any?) to hold their nose and dance to Pelosi’s terms.

    We are in uncharted Machiavellian territory here where the ostensible leader has no power.


  2. To the surprise of nobody, BHO will nominate Sen. Marblemouth for SoS.


  3. Brown’s going to win that seat against the current crop of Ds — Markey, Capuano, Lynch. The Ds are going to have to resurrect Teddy to beat him. Maybe Deval Patrick could win, but he’d have to resign first.


  4. livestream of NRA statement

    citing lack of security. says politicians leave schools — and killers know it.
    and we have a protester.


  5. Well, since there is nobody to lobby, we’re headed to an early happy hour. Merry Christmas (and/or the holiday wishes most applicable) to all and I’ll see you all after the new year. I’m out of the office next week, unless something happens.

    safe travels to those hitting the roads or airlines (remember to opt out!)

    thank you for allowing me to be a part of this community of fascinating and insightful people.


  6. Enjoy your Christmas and the time off Nova. Hope the little guy brings you much joy during the holiday season.


  7. Mike, Weigel has something to say about that MA Senate seat. Being from the west coast I’m not all that familiar with East Coast state politics but he may have a point.


  8. Enjoy your holidays, nova. Pray for hockey to come back in early 2013.


  9. lms:
    I think Weigel’s analysis is flawed by focusing solely on Brown. It’s true that he’ll be running in a bad environment for Rs in MA, but you have to remember that this is the same electorate that voted for Brown over the D (Coakley) to serve the rest of Teddy Kennedy’s term. A flawed D candidate will do poorly against Brown, no matter what the political environment.


  10. Who else should Weigel concentrate on? I think Brown has the best chance of any Republican I’m aware of taking the seat but he just lost an election to someone that virtually no one thought had a chance of winning and look what happened. I also think the Republican brand is weak right now and while they may be able to compete at the House level the Senate has a broader base of voters. I think he’ll have trouble duplicating his win against Coakley, but we’ll see.

    Finished my last batch of cookies this morning……………….yay. I’m making a cookie wreath and a blueberry cheesecake tomorrow for a big party on Sunday. Did you make cookies or try that lime shortbread recipe?


  11. I think Weigel also should take into account the weakness of the D field. Lynch, I’ve never heard of. Markey has been around a long time with a relatively undistinguished House career (plus he passed on the special election last time). Capuano lost to Coakley in the D primary for Teddy’s seat. Not exactly a heavyweight lineup of politicians.

    I agree that the only R that could win the seat would be Brown. There was a lot of progressive support for Warren — lots of money pouring in from out of state and lots of support for Warren’s bank regulatory stances.

    I did make a few batches of cookies, just 7-8 dozen. But I did do those pistachio lime cookies — they were awesome! Thanks for the recipe! I was too lazy to go out and buy the food coloring though so the glaze was kind of clear/opaque instead of pale green.


  12. In case I don’t drop by again before Christmas I just wanted to wish everyone a great holiday. Hope all your wishes come true for yourself and others. I may not be here very often but I think of all of you frequently. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.


    • Merry Christmas to all of you. Lulu, you are always thought of fondly here.

      Steven Pearlstein is shelving his regular column, and for honorable and good reasons. I know JNC and I will miss him, and I think several of you concur. I think Pearlstein has been a fountain of lucidity compared with PK, the Nobelist. But that’s just me, I’m sure.


  13. Agreed on Steve Pearlstein, although I do understand that he finds it hard to top his Pulizer prize winning reporting on the financial crisis.


    • Thanks – it echoed a thought I expressed to a neighbor the other day.

      This is how the Texas Speaker, Joe Straus, operates. He will have the Ds in his pocket on many key votes until there is a D majority in TX b/c he is a moderate compared with all Rs who oppose him.

      He even appoints some D committee chairs. He is the Speaker, not the majority leader. He favors his party, but he does not slavishly obey it.

      For that strategy to work for Ds in DC there would have to be a private signal from Boehner that he was ready to be Speaker of the entire House. I agree this was an opportunity for Ds. It might also have been one for Boehner if he had the guts.


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