This note was originally published at 8am on April 06, 2011. INVESTOR and RISK MANAGER SUBSCRIBERS have access to the EARLY LOOK (published by 8am every trading day) and PORTFOLIO IDEAS in real-time.
“Lincoln’s ability to retain his emotional balance in such difficult situations was rooted in an acute self awareness.”
-Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team Of Rivals
I’m still grinding through this American classic, “Team of Rivals – The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” The aforementioned quote from Kearns Goodwin comes from Chapter 23 which is titled, “There’s a Man In It”, which dissects the subtleties of leadership qualities that were uniquely possessed by both Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
It’s an outstanding chapter in American history to reflect upon not only because of its constitutional gravity – “give me liberty or give me death” – but because it reminds us that this country is built on the backs of American character and resolve. What you are seeing from the said-leaders of US Government today looks nothing like it. These pretending patriots remind me more of pigs at a trough than Leaders At The Front.
If Timmy Geithner wants to go moral-compass on me for writing that, bring it. My definition of leadership on the ice, at my firm, and in the community is a heck of a lot different than his, and I’ll stand up and say that to his face. YouTube the man. Watch him mimic the hand gestures of Larry Summers. Geithner doesn’t have a sense of self awareness. He is a bureaucrat - not the leader America needs on the front lines of this US Debt-Ceiling Debate.
As we predicted, the US Government Shutdown and Debt-Ceiling Debate has replaced Japan and the Middle East as top headline news. This “news” is real-time – and the entire world is watching. If we think that we can call Europeans “pigs”, point fingers at other countries for The Bernank’s inflation, and come out of this generational debate about deficits and debts smelling like a rose, think again.
So let’s rethink…
One of Bloomberg’s top headlines this morning = “Geithner Says Failure To Raise Debt Limit Would Trigger a Financial Crisis.” And, expanding upon his leadership thoughts, this is what our squirrel hunting bureaucrat had to add to the global risk management conversation:
“You will shake the basic foundations of the entire global financial system… I’m totally confident that Congress will act to avoid that… It will be inconceivable that lawmakers will not act in time…”
Well Mr. Unaware, conceive reality – this government could (and should) shutdown. During both Bush and Obama’s administrations (you advised both), you worked tirelessly at putting America’s balance sheet in this position. Shame on you for reverting to your go-to move of fear-mongering so that we can do more of what got us into this colossal disaster of fiscal sense. Shame on you Geithner. Shame on you.
I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. So instead of looking for an angle on me Timmy, why don’t you take a good and hard long look at what Mr. Macro Market is telling you about your Patriot Pig commentary:
- Dollar DOWN: Trading down for the 11th out of the last 15 weeks (and down -15% since Geithner became the head of the US Government office that is supposed to be protecting it) the US Dollar Debauchery continues to stoke The Inflation to new economic-cycle and YTD highs (CRB Commodities Index, Food, and Oil both hitting fresh highs this morning).
- Euro UP: After registering its best quarterly performance versus the US Dollar since the Euro’s inception in 1999, it’s hitting new YTD highs at $1.43 this morning and smoking all Patriotic Pig name callers in the US out of their holes – reminding Americans that our fiscal issues are worse than Europe’s. And that’s saying something…
- Short Term US Treasuries DOWN: Not that the Secretary of the US Treasury should hold himself accountable to massive percentage moves in the prices of US Treasuries, but into and out of Geithner’s fear-mongering comments, 2-year UST yields are ripping higher (up +39% since March 21st, 2011) as US government shutdown default premiums rise alongside inflation expectations.
Of course it takes two to tango in Burning The Buck - both a fiscal and a monetary policy central planner. Tag, Bernank and Timmy, you’re it – and either your boss (who has read Lincoln quite closely from what I hear) has “an acute self awareness” of what the American people think about finding fiscal “change we can believe in”, or he doesn’t.
As for the rest of us, Yes We Can.
The most obvious way to make money on this in 2011 has been to be long of The Inflation Policy of the US Government (short the US Dollar, and short US Treasury Bonds). But, Dear Americans and Canadians alike, please don’t confuse our profits with patriotism. There are 44,000,000 Americans on food stamps (all-time high). While a small some of us are getting paid, most of us are getting plugged.
But be careful out there levered-long traders of the risk management gridiron - being long The Inflation Policy isn’t a new idea. Hedge Fund net long exposure to commodities recently backed off its YTD high, but that was an all-time high (which is saying something given how much our industry was chasing commodity inflation in 2007-2008 as The Bernank’s “shock and awe” interest rate cuts delivered us $150/oil). All-time, is a long time…
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, that inflationary period of 2007-2008 also gave birth to the first time that US Import Prices from China were UP on a year-over-year basis. That is, the first time until now – and Americans are going to take this in more places than the pump.
For these reasons, fully loaded with the long-term causality associated with creating them (burning our currency and credibility at the stake), Mr. Geithner it’s you who may very well “trigger a financial crisis.” And, perversely, most modern day politicians of the 112th Congress are longing for more of that.
My immediate-term support and resistance lines for oil are now $106.22 and $109.78, respectively. My immediate-term support and resistance lines for the SP500 are now 1322 and 1341, respectively.
Best of luck out there today,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer