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Dow Plunges, Stocks Tumble

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 350 points this morning and 830 points in the past two weeks. Stocks are tumbling. The S&P Index is also down. More here. What's the cause? The LA Times says:

The debt ceiling debate, economic reports and Europe's government-debt crisis contribute to Wall Street losses.

Nice going, Congress and President Obama.

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Take Raising Medicare Eligibility Age Off the Table, Please

The ink isn't even dry yet on the horrid compromise budget bill which was supposed to shield Medicare beneficiaries, but already there's renewed talk of raising the eligibility age for Medicare, which now likely will happen since Obama has already said it's okay with him. It will probably be one of the first things the gang of 12 congressional henchman will agree on.

The Wall St. Journal today: [More...]

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Senate Passes Debt Bill, Obama Speaks at 12:15

They passed 60 votes, the Debt Ceiling bill is passed. Dems voting no: Sen. Harkin and Lautenberg. Dems voting yes included Udall, Bennett, Boxer, Feinstein and Franken.

The Senate votes at noon on the debt bill. 60 votes are needed. Obama will speak at 12:15.

You can watch the vote here on C-Span2 and Obama on C-Span.

The White House Fact Sheet on the bill is here.

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The Text of the Budget Control Act Amendment

Tired of reading bullet points and opinions as to what's in the budget deal? Here's the Congressional link to the text of of the 74 page bill.

Medicare isn't mentioned until page 51. All it says is: [More...]

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Meanwhile, Back At The Economy . . .

Now that the Beltway is satiated with their Debt Ceiling Follies, consider this:

Stocks on Wall Street briefly followed European and Asian financial markets higher Monday, but any relief over the last-minute agreement on a framework in Washington to raise the United States debt limit was short-lived. After a short burst that put the three main Wall Street indexes up more than 1 percent, they turned negative as the reality of the challenges ahead for the recovery caught up with investors.

The dip coincided with the release of new data that showed American manufacturing growing more slowly. [. . .] “Now that the debt-ceiling deal, assuming it passes, has averted an imminent catastrophe, attention can return to the underlying state of the economy,” said Nigel Gault, the IHS Global Insight chief United States economist. “The news there isn’t good.”

(Emphasis supplied.) Which explains why we are cutting government spending of course. Insanity from the VSP.

Speaking for me only

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Obama Says Debt Deal Agreed to By Leadership of Both Parties

It's a done deal with Congressional leadership, says Obama.

The "bipartisan" deal will be unveiled tomorrow, in all it's glory (not.) You can still make your voice heard. Harry Reid says:

"To pass this settlement, we'll need the support of Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate. There is no way either party, in either chamber, can do this alone."

What did Boehner tell Republicans tonight?
“There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles," Boehner told House Republicans. "It’s all spending cuts."
Here's the slideshow of Boehner's presentation.

What did Obama say?

Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we have to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare, to make sure they are still around for future generations."
You can watch Obama's statement here. The full text of his comments are here. [More...]

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Deal or No Deal: Why is a Default so Bad?

Nancy Pelosi says the Dems are withholding judgment and may or may not support the deal.

From the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (via the WSJ):

"Seeing a Democratic president take taxing the rich off the table and instead push a deal that will lead to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefit cuts is like entering a bizarre parallel universe--one with horrific consequences for middle-class families.

Via the National Journal: Boehner is holding out for less defense cuts, and Dems are claiming they want to protect Medicare and Social Security: [More...]

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Sen. Harry Reid Delays Budget Vote Until 1pm Sunday

Sen. Harry Reid has decided there's no more jams to kick out tonight for the Senate. The 1:00 am vote has been postponed until 1:00 pm Sunday to give everyone more time to make bad decisions.

Negotiators told National Journal that progress was made on the toughest remaining issue -- a so-called trigger to ensure that spending cuts of up to $2.4 trillion would, in fact, be instituted by a special committee the debt-ceiling bills in Congress would establish.

Here are the details on the 12 member Joint Commission proposal (Section 301 of H.R.2693.) The Commission must finish its report with spending cut recommendations by Nov. 23. They will be voted on by Dec. 23. No amendments will be allowed. Also, no motions to postpone or move on to other business, no motions for points of order.

Translation: Reid to Republicans:[More...]

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Here Comes the Last Minute Budget Capitulation

President Obama joined the negotiations this afternoon. Now we can get ready for the deal we all knew was coming. Prediction: The gang of 12 that presides over the second round of cuts which will include cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and probably raising the Medicare eligibility age, will be filibuster-proof and for all intents and purposes, veto-proof given the Republican-dominated House.

In other words, the Democrats are about to sell us out, as we've known for the last two weeks they would.

I could care less about the debt ceiling. I care about the cuts coming less than a year from now that no one will be able to stop. Obama is opening the candy store and letting Republicans eat all they want.

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Boehner Bill Passes House

The Boehner Bill has passed the House. 22 Republicans voted no. No Democrats voted for it.

Now it's on to the Senate where deal-making has begun.

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Stocks: How Much Will You Lose?

The stock market is falling quick. I wonder if Republicans and particularly the Tea Partiers in Congress have checked their brokerage accounts today to see what their radical obstruction moves have cost them personally.

Even with my limited grasp of economics, I'm surprised more people aren't focusing on the danger of the second round of cuts, which seem to be a given. They will be made by a congressional commission, and not only don't we don't know the specific details of what they will include, they may be filibuster-proof and for all practical purposes, veto-proof.

By all accounts that I've read, the second round of cuts will include Medicare and Social Security. The writing is on the wall that in addition to losing Medicare for two years when the age is raised to 67 (since Obama doesn't object to that), there will be cuts to social security benefits. And now we can add losses in retirement savings caused by the stock market tanking. [More...]

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GDP Growth Reports: 2nd Qtr 1.3%; 1st Qtr Revised Downward to 0.4%

While the debt ceiling debacle continues, the fact that the economy is tanking comes into clearer view. Today's reports:

Gross domestic product rose at a 1.3 percent annual rate following a 0.4 percent gain in the prior quarter that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1.8 percent increase. Household purchases, about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.1 percent.

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What An S&P Sovereign Debt Rating Is Worth

Via Dean Baker, a hill of beans:

Look at the chart - AAA S&P rated Australia's 10 year bonds are yielding 4.9%. A- S&P rated Malaysia's 10 year bonds are yielding 3.9%. AA- rated Japan's 10 year bonds, and currently holding a negative watch from S&P, are paying 1.1%. AA- China's 10 year bonds, currently S&P rated stable, are yielding 4.1%.

While as a general matter, the countries S&P has chosen to rate AAA face lower interest rates than countries with lower ratings, there is so much randomness that it is difficult to attribute any cause to S&P ratings. I think no one seems to pay attention to S&P on sovereign debt ratings. More . . .

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Obama Addresses Nation on Debt Proposals

President Obama will address the nation on the debt ceiling and budget cut issues tonight at 9:00 pm ET. If you're not by a TV, you can watch live here.

For Bachelorette fans, nothing to worry about. Show honcho Mike Fleiss tweets:

Good news! Tonite's show will be shown in it's entirety. You won't miss a single minute.

Good thing, because who wants to miss the Fantasy Dates in Fiji with JP, Ben and Constantine, even though we know from spoilers who goes home?

Back to Obama: Here's a pre-speech thread, all related topics welcome.

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How Our Debt Rose to $14.3 Trillion: Blame Congress

One thing our politicians don't seem to take into account is that the average voter (and I include myself in this group) has no idea about the financial big picture because we don't understand it. We only understand when it gets personal....when they threaten to cut something we expected to get (like social security or Medicare), when our health insurance premiums become obscene or when the Government makes us pay for something we had no voice in and opposed (like a few wars, here and there.) The result may be that we take our frustrations out on incumbents in 2012. All of them. Too bad for them, but they all deserve it.

We may not understand the spin and fancy words that the Government and journalists use, but when the numbers are listed by themselves, all in one place, the picture is becoming clear: Our Government is robbing us blind.

In 2001, our debt was $5.3 trillion. It's now $14.3 trillion. What did we do with the $9 trillion we borrowed in the last ten years and who lent it to us? [More...]

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