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Converging On The Horizon

July 25, 2011

This week’s Outside the Box is with an old friend to long-time readers, Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research. Ed is usually on the bullish side, but his research of late points to a few warning signs that say some cycle convergences may be pointing to problems. And that coincides with my macro concerns. As usual, lots of charts and data, but easy to read and understand. And, for those with stock market investments, very thought-provoking and timely.

I write this at 34,000 feet on the way back to Dallas. I met with a few Congressmen this morning and then ten Senators (!) this afternoon. It seems that some of them had read Endgame and rounded up a rather impressive group to come hear me speak for about 90 minutes. No Powerpoint, just off the cuff, with lots of very pointed questions, and they were taking notes (mostly). Some have been my long-time readers (go figure). It was bipartisan. Actually tripartisan, as independent Joe Lieberman was there, and asked some very hard questions. They cut me no slack and I gave no quarter. It was a very frank discussion. This is a group that is quite worried (I should say seriously worried) about our future, and they let me know there were more like them. On both sides of the aisle. It was actually somewhat encouraging, except that they are not optimistic. There was a sense of palpable concern that nothing might be done until we have a crisis, and so they realize the need to act. They are working to get their fellow Senators on board. Maybe there is hope. Without naming names, I was particularly impressed with the questions from a “Tea Party” Senator when I talked about the “glide-path option” and what going too fast would mean – as in a depression. I think he got it. We’ll see. He took the most notes, although Portman (who ran OMB so has a serious resumé and credibility on budgets) was going through paper rather fast as well.

They grilled me on the debt ceiling, and I gave it my best; but I think the debt ceiling is a temporary sideshow to the whole deficit issue. They truly were getting the “hitting the wall” if we don’t get the deficit under control. I left a lot of books and was surprised that more than a few came with their own copies to have me sign. Senator Dan Coats set up the meeting, and Rob Portman helped round up the group. Getting that many Senators in a room is not easy. And a few of my heroes were in the room, too. It was a very humbling experience for your already humble analyst.

As an aside, neither the Congressmen (some of whom are in the GOP leadership) nor any of the Senators have a clue as to how the debt-ceiling issue will work out. There were lots of guesses and speculation. One of the “Gang of Six” was there, and he had no idea what would happen.

Small self-promotion: you should get Endgame and read it. If Senators are reading it and marking it up, maybe you should take a look. http://www.amazon.com/Endgame.

Ok, we are landing, so it’s time to hit the send button. More later.

Your can’t believe this life analyst,