EXTEND & PRETEND: Stage I Comes to an End…The dog ate the report card
By: Gordon T Long
Both came to an end at the same time: the administration’s policy to Extend & Pretend has run out of time as has the patience of the US electorate with the government’s Keynesian economic policy responses. Desperate last gasp attempts are to be fully expected, but any chance of success is rapidly diminishing.
Whether an unimpressed and insufficiently loyal army general, a fleeing cabinet budget chief or G20 peers going the austerity route, all are non-confidence votes for the Obama administration’s present policies. A day after the courts slapped down President Obama’s six month gulf drilling moratorium, the markets were unpatriotically signaling a classic head and shoulders topping pattern. With an employment rebound still a non-starter, President Obama as expected was found to be asking for yet another $50B in unemployment extensions and state budget assistance to avoid teacher layoffs. However, the gig is up: the policy of Extend and Pretend has no time left on the shot clock nor for another round of unemployment benefit extensions. A congress that is now clearly frightened of what it sees looming in the fall midterm elections is running for cover on any further spending initiatives. The US electorate has been sending an unmistakable message in all elections nationwide.
The housing market is rolling over as fully expected and predicted by almost everyone except the White House and its lap-dog press corp. Noted analyst Meredith Whitney says a double dip in housing is a ‘no brainer’ with the government’s HAMP program clearly a bust as one third of participants are now dropping out. The leading economic indicator (ECRI) has abruptly turned lower, signaling the economy is slowing rapidly without the $1T per month stimulus addiction, which has kept the extend and pretend economy on life support.
The gulf oil spill that was initially stated as 1000 barrels per day has been revised upwards faster than the oil can reach the surface. It now appears to be north of 100,000 barrels per day. A 100 percent miss is about in line with the miss on how many jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was going to create. Also, it appears the administration can’t even get its hands around the basics of administration management during any crisis event. Teleprompter politics doesn’t work when real problems must be resolved. There is no credibility left for Extend & Pretend nor for this president and his congressional majority.
In foreign policy the Chinese decided to ‘unpeg’ the Yuan from the US dollar, days prior to the G20 summit in Toronto, taking the wind out of the US administration’s attack plan. Congress had been expectantly raising the rhetoric levels and making the Chinese Yuan the culprit. The market sold off hard the day the Chinese made the announcement, which tells you all you need to know about this administration’s understanding and abilities to formulate effective foreign and domestic public policy.
White House policies are unmistakably in shambles. We are rudderless with terribly outdated Keynesian zealots at the helm as the storm continues to worsen. Stage I of Extend & Pretend is over – RIP!