Published by WallStreetWeather.net
Several Republicans in Congress are unwilling to agree to raise the debt ceiling now since they don’t believe Armageddon will occur if the debt limit is not raised by August 2. Because Treasury Secretary Geithner has found ways to further delay the day of reckoning, Republicans are much more confident they can continue playing with fire for awhile longer before the nation really starts to feel the heat.
Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke warned that “using the debt limit as a bargaining chip is quite risky.” The Fed Chairman pointed out that the market could lose confidence if it believes Washington won’t reach agreement in time and that “the worst outcome would be one in which the financial system was again destabilized as we saw following Lehman."
Wall Street and most of corporate America proclaimed that economic “uncertainty” had been removed after Republicans took the House and gained seats in the Senate in the midterm elections. Now there are indications Republicans are creating unneeded uncertainty. Economic growth and global investor confidence in America could be jeopardized if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling in time. House Speaker Boehner’s recent speech to the Economic Club of New York received a cool reception when he remarked that increasing the debt limit needs to be accompanied by “significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt.” Meanwhile the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers are part of a coalition of 62 business groups who sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to act now. Businesses fear that government contractors will receive a lower priority for payment than interest on the debt, Social Security and Medicare payments.
With the Treasury around $24 billion away from hitting the $14.294 trillion limit, Republicans are wasting energy challenging Geithner’s projected debt ceiling due date while overlooking the fact that the Treasury has already taken steps to create the extra time so Congress could reach agreement before the Treasury is forced to make more difficult choices. They know the debt ceiling must be raised so the government can make good on obligations already appropriated by Congress.
The Treasury has already suspended issuance of “SLGS” which will increase borrowing costs for state and local governments, and on May16 will begin suspending funding to federal pension plans. Although Republicans want the Treasury to start selling off financial assets beyond the already planned AIG offering, holding a fire sale would only end up increasing the deficit. The Republicans motive might be to force a loss on the automotive and other financial bailouts.
Yet regardless of the Republican’s rhetoric, the debt ceiling will have to be raised since no one in Congress has a plan to balance the budget. But before they agree to do so, Republicans are hoping to extract concessions related to their ideology of government not interfering with the freedom of large corporations and the plutocrats (wealthy individuals). While polls show the public wants Washington to get its fiscal house in order, the enthusiasm for deficit reduction with the goal to balance the budget sharply declines when people are asked if drastic changes and cuts should be made to Medicare and Social Security. While the public may think it’s a good thing to not increase the debt ceiling now, let’s see how if they feel the same way if no agreement is reached by August 2 which could then force the government to delay entitlement benefits.
Debt, entitlements/subsidies, taxes, and insurance all come under the domain of Scorpio and its planetary ruler Pluto. The Treasury expects the debt limit to be reached on May 16 when the Moon (domestic security) is in Scorpio, the day before the Scorpio Full Moon.
Full Moons represent a culmination point as what was begun two weeks earlier at the New Moon reaches intensity as the bright light of the Moon acts as a spotlight to draw everyone’s attention. And no Full Moon is as emotionally intense as the Scorpio Full Moon since nothing pushes people’s buttons more than the Scorpio/Pluto issues I’ve already mentioned. Other subjects that comprise Scorpio/Pluto’s domain include wealth extremes from billions to bankruptcy, M&A, power tripping, death, and sex.
Pluto and Scorpio like to operate in secret, which is why understanding the true dynamics behind all of these issues can be difficult to penetrate. Emotions (Moon) on all these issues run deep. Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024) demands delving deep down to the very roots of these issues. The nation’s fiscal situation needs to be solved in a equitable, sustainable way. Benefits need to be bestowed on the entire nation rather than just the plutocrats, the largest corporations, and other special interest groups that comprise the status quo.
The Full Moon in Scorpio opposes the Sun in Taurus. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planetary energy that rules money, net worth, banking and values.(1) At the time of the Taurus New Moon, Treasury Secretary Geithner announced that an unexpected increase in revenue would enable the Treasury to delay reaching the debt ceiling until August 2 (more on the meaning of that date in a minute!). Jupiter exactly conjoining the Treasury’s progressed Sun in Aries accounts for this.
The chart for the Taurus New Moon calculated for Washington DC together with Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars in the sector of the chart naturally ruled by Taurus/Venus reflects an increase in revenues from tax receipts. (Since Venus rules the opposing sector/the natural domain of Scorpio in the chart.) However, Mercury and Venus opposing Saturn in Venus-ruled Libra and squaring Pluto in the sector representing Congress, together with Mercury and Venus conjoining Mars and Jupiter (all in Aries) reflects that the government is burning through incoming revenue at a rapid rate. Saturn represents delays and limits. Its location in the sector of the chart ruling debt indicates that the federal government will have technically hit the current debt limit during the Taurus New Moon cycle (May 3- June 1), but can be temporarily delayed.
Squares motivate the need to act to resolve the challenges the planetary energies involved represent. The Treasury has decided to interpret the Mercury/Venus opposing Saturn square Pluto by delaying the day the debt limit is reached so Congress has more (Saturn-ruled) time. Frankly it would probably be better if Congress felt the pressure (Saturn) of a debt deadline (Pluto) that came now while the planetary energies are easier.
In my post on “S&P Downgrades US Outlook to Negative For Not Learning Saturn’s Lessons,”
I wrote that Vice President Biden was leading negotiations with Congressional leaders beginning May 5. On this day the planetary energies offered an opportunity that would be favorable to begin work to reach agreement. The Full Moon exactly conjoins the Vice President’s natal Sun in Scorpio. Although Biden is most famous for speaking quite candidly, the Full Moon exactly conjoins his Scorpio Sun which conjoins Mercury and Venus. Combined with his natal Moon at the beginning of Taurus squaring Pluto in Leo, the Vice President could be a good financial facilitator. Biden’s natal Sun/Venus opposite Uranus in Gemini has the ability to bring wildly differing ideologies into agreement. This goes largely unnoticed since the Vice President’s chart reflects that most of his work takes place behind the scenes.
President Obama is also deeply engaged since the Sun and Mars in the Full Moon chart reflect behind the scenes activities. Additionally, the “Gang of Six” senators have been working since early March to come up with a deficit reduction deal.(3) The Full Moon squaring Neptune the planetary energy that naturally rules the sector of behind the scenes activities indicates in this chart that both political parties are not quite ready to reach agreement as they (and especially the media) would prefer to keep spinning their ideologies. Now at the Full Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars have moved from Aries to Taurus. The downside of the luminaries and planets in the fixed signs of Taurus and Scorpio is the high level of stubbornness as neither side wants to give an inch that could benefit the opposing party.
The planetary alignments of Saturn opposite Uranus (Election Day 2008 – July 2010) and Saturn square Pluto (November 2009 – August 2010) are being reactivated now through early July. Instituting changes to reduce the deficit to enrich the plutocrats and corporate special interests is at its peak now just as Uranus in Aries starts to square Pluto (exact June 2012 – March 2015).
The seeds of public discord could begin to sprout when they realize that the tradeoff of less government for increasing the debt ceiling will not benefit the majority. The plutocrats and special corporate interests will benefit at their expense. The only way to reduce the deficit and work towards balancing the budget is to enact reforms that are in the best interests of the nation as a whole. Real transformation will require a radical overhaul of Pluto/Scorpio-ruled issues.
Republicans want to lower corporate tax rates, but the problem is that they want to lower the rates without eliminating any deductions, subsidies or loopholes as they view even a reduction in tax breaks as a tax increase. After President Reagan achieved some semblance of tax simplification (under a Democratic Congress no less), every Administration and Congress since then has gone back to further polluting the tax code. And while many Democrats are in favor of reducing several of these breaks, you’d be hard pressed to find a Democrat in favor of eliminating every single one of them.
Meanwhile neither party is talking about lowering individual tax rates in exchange for eliminating ALL deductions, including that sacred cow the home interest mortgage deduction which has been shown to only benefit upper income level individuals. And for all the Republican whining about what the GSEs are costing the government, shouldn’t Republicans be pushing to at least drastically reduce the absurdly large loan limits the government guarantees?
The majority of the federal deficit can be attributed to the enormous cost of fighting two wars and all the associated costs connected with the sharp increase in defense spending after 9/11. A Bloomberg analysis (“Bin Laden’s Death Won’t End Toll on Taxpayers”), calculated that “this year alone taxpayers are spending more than $45 billion in interest on the money borrowed to battle al-Qaeda.” “One of every four dollars in red ink the U.S. expects to incur in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 will result from $285 billion in annual spending triggered by the terrorist scion of a wealthy Saudi family.” Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics Inc. estimates that Osama bin Laden has cost the federal government and American businesses $2.5 trillion/$250 billion a year, and doesn’t expect the death of Osama bin Laden to stop these costs from continuing “ad infinitum into the future” due to all the legacy costs. Somehow all the costs and bureaucratic paperwork stemming from the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 regulations is not considered by the Republicans to be “burdensome” or “job killing.”
A growing level of distrust has started over House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare for the reasons I outlined in “Ryancare: Obamacare For Seniors” and “Congressman Cantor: Privatize Palin’s Death Panels!” True Medicare reform can only begin by having a real “adult conversation” about reducing the cost of end of life care. Equally important to Medicare reform is determining which medical treatments provide the best outcome for the lowest cost which is a provision included in the Affordable Care Act. (Yet another cost saving measure Republicans are vehemently against.) Maintaining our uniquely American free market health insurance system that excludes millions more Americans each year costs the nation more money than if everyone was covered under a Medicare For All system.
August 2 is the projected date the Treasury expects to reach the debt ceiling. The Moon will be in Mercury-ruled Virgo then as Mercury the planetary energy of communication, commerce and movement, turns retrograde at the beginning of Virgo. As I explained in this post (see under “this week’s influences”) and this post written before agreement was reached on the current fiscal year budget, Congress tends to procrastinate until Mercury turns retrograde since the U.S. and the federal government were born when Mercury was retrograde.
Mercury will be a dominant planetary player between June and August as the June 1 Solar Eclipse will be in Mercury-ruled Gemini which in the chart set for Washington DC will be in the sector ruling debt (the natural domain of Pluto/Scorpio). Mercury co-rules this sector as well as the sector representing Congress. Mercury in Taurus squaring Neptune means that any legislative proposals (Mercury and Gemini tend to represent more than one) being debated by Congress could be masquerading as something they’re not. Exacerbating this influence is that Neptune’s energies will be extra strong now as it appears to turn retrograde from Earth’s vantage point on June 3, the same day the Mercury/Neptune square becomes exact. Neptune ruling the sector of the stock market in this chart suggests the market will be far from immune to this (as well as other types of rumors). Due to Mercury turning retrograde August 2, Mercury will oppose Neptune three times between late July and early September which can make reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling more elusive as each side’s ideologies tend to get in the way.
Mercury at the June 1 eclipse squares Mars in Aquarius as the Gemini Solar Eclipse squares Saturn in Pisces in the chart of the federal government and the June 15 Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius squares Mercury in Pisces and also squares the USA’s natal Neptune in Virgo. This is a further indication that Congress will be taking action to propose legislation to prevent a government shutdown. If an agreement to raise the debt limit has not been reached, Congressional leaders and the Treasury could seek to assure foreign creditors that under no circumstances will the U.S. default by not paying interest as scheduled on the debt.
Mars in Gemini (June 20 – August 3) will reactivate the energies I have described as it squares Neptune June 22, conjoins the June 1 Solar Eclipse July 6, and opposes the June 15 Lunar Eclipse on July 25. The USA was born with Mars in Gemini, and Mars will return to its natal position in the USA chart on July 21, reinforcing the USA’s Mars/Neptune square. Anytime the USA’s natal Mars/Neptune square is activated has a tendency to correspond to some type of financial and/or military crisis. (See the links to Lehman Brothers and bin Laden earlier in this post.) Mercury rules the signs the USA’s Mars/Neptune square is in and the USA natal Mercury in Cancer is in the sector of the USA chart that is the natural domain of Pluto/Scorpio which opposes Pluto in Capricorn located in the sector of the USA chart that is in the natural domain of Taurus and Venus. These planetary energies indicate that the USA’s idealization (Neptune) of war (Mars) is a major contributor to the national debt.
While it is unlikely the government will default on its debt, Uranus squaring Pluto indicates that when it comes to dealing with the debt, we shouldn’t be surprised about anything that happens since these planets at the same time are forming challenging alignments to the USA’s natal Venus and Jupiter in Cancer.
As explained in the previous posts cited, the USA is currently experiencing its eighth Saturn return as a nation (December 2010-August 2011). The final pass is when Saturn in Libra returns to its natal position in the USA chart on August 28. This is the day of the Virgo New Moon. As the Moon begins a new monthly cycle it is also the time that the U.S. government embarks on a new 29.5 year cycle where sustainable economic growth can only come by rebalancing our fiscal priorities for the general welfare, as opposed to large corporations and plutocrats.
(1)Like everything else in the universe, money is a form of energy. And like every other type of energy that exists, it’s our choice how we express that energy. Venus, Taurus (and Libra) also rule the most powerful energy in the universe: LOVE.
(2) Mercury is the planetary energy of communication. Biden’s Mercury harmonizing with Jupiter in Cancer indicates his free flow of emotional expression, especially as Jupiter is the planetary ruler of his chart since he has a Sagittarius Ascendant. (The Ascendant represents the zodiac sign rising over the eastern horizon at birth. The Ascendant describes the outer personality and the initial impression people have of the individual, and also describes physical appearance.)
(3) “Gang of Six” Senators: Democrats: Mark Warner (lead), Kent Conrad, Dick Durbin; Republicans: Saxby Chambliss (lead), Tom Coburn, Mike Crapo.
Taurus New Moon: May 3, 2011 2:51 AM EDT Washington, DC
Scorpio Full Moon: May 17, 2011 7:09 AM EDT Washington, DC
U.S. Treasury: September 2, 1789 time unknown NYC
USA: July 4, 1776 5:10 PM LMT Philadelphia, PA
Federal Government: March 4, 1789 12:01 AM NYC