Finally an encouraging sign from DC

By Duru

March 12, 2003


Just as I am wailing and whining about the lack of fiscal responsibility coming out of DC and the deepening hubris with respect to America's attitude toward the world, two small signs poke out of the darkness:


First, I see that members of Congress are beginning to move against the President's budget which proposes deficits for at least the next 10 years. These politicians, Republicans and Democrats, are instead aiming to get the books balanced by 2007. The devil will be in the details though because if they preserve the tax cuts by slashing spending, we could sink the economy even further into a rut and undermine a lot of the social support nets for those who fall on hard times.


Second, the U.S. at least giving the appearance of lobbying hard for world support on its desire to blast Saddam away. However, I do remain skeptical since what probably got the US frightened this week is that our staunchest friend and ally, Tony Blair from the United Kingdom will face some serious trouble at home if he takes his country to war without approval from the U.N.


But during all the hand-wringing about our poor markets, what has to-date escaped me is how BAD things are going everywhere else! Read the following snippet:


"7:11AM Morning Briefing : U.S. equity futures dragged into the red by European market freefall. The UK's FTSE is down 3.6% on the day; Germany's DAX falls 2.75% to lowest level in 7 yrs amid heavy selling in blue chips... While uncertainty of war keeping investors around the world on the sidelines, several analysts are taking to the field with upgrades this morning." (from, March 12, 2003 as seen on {Addendum: more specifically --> "Amsterdam is the worst, down nearly 32%, Germany is down 24% and France is off 22% for the year. Compare this to about a 10% loss year-to-date for the S&P 500}

Not mentioned here is that the Japanese markets finally cracked 8000. At least a FIFTEEN year low I believe (for reference, the Nikkei was at 39,000). Amazingly, the European markets are doing a LOT worse than ours at the same time their currency is doing a lot BETTER. Makes little sense!


I had earlier stated that I would begin turning my attention to global events - there is not a lot new to report on what's going on here, and the global story is increasingly becoming more important. But I am obviously off to a poor start for missing THIS action! My current interpretation is that the rest of the world is clued, even as Americans seem to be mildly oblivious: the global economy is coming apart and no one country or set of politicians has any good answers for the malaise. The distractions of a regional war could serve to temporarily blind us all to the fundamental weakness worldwide and perhaps even make things worse from neglect. A big win on the terrorism front could even get the economy going for a brief spell before it tumbles back for lack of support.


Surely, time will soon tell, but it is not our friend right now.... 

Ó DrDuru, 2003