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The speech made it clear there has been a shift to ‘fiscal responsibility’ with plans to pay back the 2 trillion in new debt, all well down the road. The spending freeze will pay half of it over time, and the rest from less specified sources that included tax increases for people making over 250,000, banks, etc. The health care plan is also supposed to reduce the deficit and paygo may be back.
And no additional fiscal relaxation of consequence apart from the current jobs bill working its way through congress.
The jobs initiatives mentioned were minor.
And rather than come up with a way for congressman inherently uncooperative due to the current institutional structure, there was simply a call for them to somehow act in the public interest.
So it looks like the economy is on its own for the most part, with an agonizingly slow and irregular recovery, and neither side coming up with substantially better ideas.
This isn’t a bad environment for stocks, as there’s nothing to suggest negative earnings shocks, and productivity gains can keep supporting at least modest earnings growth, and high unemployment helps keep down costs, and helps keep interest rates low which helps valuations.
The announced export push would be a negative for our standard of living and real terms of trade, but pretty good for stocks as well.
And clearly there’s nothing more the Fed can do, as it’s becoming increasingly clear the moves they have already made have had no positive impact on aggregate demand. They have only restored ‘market functioning.’
Removing some of their liquidity measures does mean there’s again a chance the pressures will appear in libor settings if something starts shaking the tree.
Like Greece, or Iran, or something like that.
Each time the President speaks I’m hoping for some meaningful new ideas but have yet to hear any.
But, again, not a bad environment for stocks, and interest rate forwards continue to look reasonably cheap as well, particularly as concerns about QE and 0 rates as causes of inflation subside.