by Greg Valliere, AGF Management Ltd.
THE THREAT OF A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN will dominate the weekend talk shows — but we think it can be avoided just before the Oct. 1 deadline. Neither party wants its fingerprints on a shutdown, so a continuing resolution (CR) is likely, keeping the government open for a few more weeks.
IN ORDER TO GET THIS DEAL, Democrats have to drop their insistence that a debt ceiling hike should be included in this CR. Passing a “clean” CR would keep the government open, but a debt ceiling crisis still looms by late October.
THESE TWO ISSUES HAVE OBSCURED the other major conflict — the infrastructure tax and spending packages, which have a chance of passage in the House next week, only to stall in the Senate, where there simply isn’t enough support for spending $3.5 trillion or more.
SO THESE ISSUES WILL fester this weekend, into early next week, as Congress kicks the can down the road until an epic battle in late fall that raises the debt ceiling, keeps the government open, passes about $1 trillion in basic infrastructure outlays, and probably approves a greatly-reduced social spending bill.
THIS WON’T BE EASY — it will be complicated, and key players in both parties will have to make compromises. We continue to believe this will look so dysfunctional that the Federal Reserve may have to wait until winter, when there’s fiscal clarity, to begin tapering its asset purchases.
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THE SEMICONDUCTOR CRISIS WORSENS: Rising Covid infections in Southeast Asia have further slowed production of semiconductor chips, causing more production delays. Auto and electronics companies are suspending production, according to a sobering article in this morning’s Washington Post.
TOP INDUSTRY OFFICIALS WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE yesterday with this grim prediction: the chip shortage won’t improve until 2023; this will have a major impact on automakers, most of which are cutting production. Eventually there will be federal funding for chip makers, and Intel is about to announce the construction of two huge chip factories in Arizona, costing $20 billion. But this won’t make a difference for another year or two.
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STOP THE PRESSES — BIDEN WON ARIZONA !! After insisting that he won Arizona, Donald Trump faces a repudiation today: the shadowy vote counting firm that was determined to find fraud didn’t uncover anything special. Biden won Arizona, just as he won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, etc.
YET TRUMP’S FANATIC BASE will cling to a narrative that the election was stolen; about 70% of all Republicans believe that Biden was not legitimately elected. One problem: there’s no credible evidence.
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This post was first published at the AGF Perspectives Blog.