Staggering Russian Losses; Biden May Move Soon on Student Loans

by Greg Valliere, AGF Management Ltd.

Insights and Market Perspectives

RUSSIA IS MAKING SLOW PROGRESS in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, but intelligence reports indicate that Moscow’s losses have been staggering — once again raising the issue of whether Vladimir Putin will seek an “exit ramp.”

THAT INCREASING LIKELIHOOD is suggested this morning by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who has been exceptionally plugged in during the war. So have British intelligence experts; UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace reported the following on Monday:

ABOUT 15,000 RUSSIAN TROOPS HAVE BEEN KILLED, a high percentage of them officers, 2,000 armored vehicles have been destroyed, and 60 helicopters and jet fighters downed. Russia’s massive invasion army of 120 battalions has suffered a 25 percent loss in combat strength, Wallace said.

THIS HAS BEEN ACCOMPANIED by mysterious fires at Russian military installations and factories in recent days, according to media reports. This indicates that Ukrainian agents may be infiltrating the Russian homeland. And the Russian economy is in free fall.

AT WHAT POINT WILL PUTIN SEEK a face-saving exit? The date to watch is May 9, the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe in 1945. Not that Putin can be believed, but he has always stated that Russia’s objective is control of the Donbas, and he could declare mission accomplished on May 9 — even though a guerrilla resistance would prevail for months or years to drive the Russians fully out of the Donbas.

WITH RUSSIAN TROOP MORALE AND SUPPLIES in question, the U.S. and NATO have changed their objective: it’s now clear that there’s enough resolve in the West to actually win this war. It’s not imminent, but Russia’s battered military must be thinking about declaring victory and going home.

* * * * *

DESPERATE FOR AN ELECTION-YEAR BOMBSHELL, President Biden apparently is close to announcing sweeping student loan relief. Liberal Democrats have been urging him to act, and despite his reservations, Biden may issue an executive order soon, bypassing Congress.

IN A WHITE HOUSE MEETING YESTERDAY with Hispanic leaders, Biden indicated a willingness to forgive perhaps $10,000 in debt for middle and lower income borrowers, and he may extend the moratorium on loan paybacks past the latest deadline, on Aug. 31.

THIS WOULD INFURIATE Republicans — not to mention millions of student loan debtors who paid back every last dime. But all you need to know about this issue is that fresh polls show a sharp drop in Biden’s job approval rating among young people. They would welcome loan relief, as would the reeling Democrats.




The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies.

The views expressed in this blog are provided as a general source of information based on information available as of the date of publication and should not be considered as personal investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy and/or sell securities. Speculation or stated believes about future events, such as market or economic conditions, company or security performance, or other projections represent the beliefs of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of AGF, its subsidiaries or any of its affiliated companies, funds or investment strategies. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in these commentaries at the time of publication; however, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Market conditions may change and AGF accepts no responsibility for individual investment decisions arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained herein. Any financial projections are based on the opinions of the author and should not be considered as a forecast. The forward looking statements and opinions may be affected by changing economic circumstances and are subject to a number of uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the forward looking statements. The information contained in this commentary is designed to provide you with general information related to the political and economic environment in the United States. It is not intended to be comprehensive investment advice applicable to the circumstances of the individual.

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This post was first published at the AGF Perspectives Blog.

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