Some House Republicans are out to destroy the country’s economy. I can’t think of what else it could be. The stock market finally is giving up the ghost, despite a valiant effort to stay afloat until the end of the year. Yesterday stocks went into a tail spin. The outlook for today isn’t much better.
Wall Street is finally waking up to the troubling prospect that lawmakers may not reach a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” before the new year, with stocks swinging dramatically Thursday in response to news from Capitol Hill.
Financial markets had been climbing in recent weeks on the expectation that President Obama and the Congress would reach an agreement, adding further momentum to an economy that has been gaining strength.
But with the final days trickling away before the year-end deadline, the markets Thursday experienced their greatest volatility since the summer. It was also the fourth consecutive day of losses on Wall Street.
Investors responded almost instantly to pronouncements from leading lawmakers. Shares plunged in the morning after Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) predicted a deal would be unlikely by Tuesday and, with investors grasping at a straw of hope, bounced back in the afternoon when House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would call members back to work Sunday.
Analysts and economists said investors were finally recognizing that a typical last-minute Washington deal could prove elusive and instead lawmakers were gearing up for hand-to-hand combat over the weeks to come. If there’s no deal before Tuesday, taxes would rise for most Americans and deep government spending cuts would begin, dealing the economy a painful blow.
“There’s a realization sinking in,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley. “It’s a learning process. People are beginning to think that the cliff is with us for a while longer.”
The American people simply cannot understand why Congress can’t do its job. This is a self-inflicted wound that could have been avoided. The Republican Party is at war with itself. The financial well-being of the country cannot be held ransom. We will all be the victims–the American people.
Also Thursday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that he would call the House back into session this weekend. And in perhaps the most significant development, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the first time was engaged directly in talks with the White House. He signaled an interest in cutting a deal.
“The truth is, we’re coming up against a hard deadline here . . . and Republicans aren’t about to write a blank check for anything Senate Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff,” McConnell said in a speech Thursday afternoon on the Senate floor.
Yesterday marks the 5th time that Congress has been called back early from Christmas vacation. Meanwhile, we will all watch the bottom drop out of our retirement funds and investments. More importantly, huge retirement funds like VRS, still reeling from the financial crash of 2008, take substantial nose-dives with the impending fiscal cliff just days away.
If House Republicans want to be the most vilified humans in America, they can continue on this track. If they want to redeem themselves, they can go in and follow their house leader and give John Boehner the votes he needs to strike a deal with the President.
For now, we just get to watch some absurd political theatrics being played out while Republicans continue their own internal civil war. Boehner is even trying to poke a stick in the eye of Harry Reid. I guess he just doesn’t have enough people to fight with. Meanwhile the Speaker has said the serenity prayer. His is not an enviable position.