Dollar and Yen lose safe haven appeal, but not for the same reasons

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As the Dollar and Yen lose their luster for now, partly due to positive news and partly due to political uncertainty (in Japan primarily, but to some extent the US), I want to take this opportunity to rant.

I have been involved in the markets for the better part of 15 years. I started my career as a stock broker and find myself now a staunch advocate of the Forex.

I have weathered turbulence in the markets, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” speech (which ironically sent the markets on the biggest rally in 50 years), the internet bubble burst and now the “biggest recession since the great depression.”

I lived through 8 US presidents, saw two of the greatest leaders – economically speaking – in Reagan and Clinton and saw miserable failures like Carter and the senior Bush.

But, in my life I have never witnessed such irresponsibility and lack of basic understanding of free market thought, as I have with the current president, Barack Obama.

Carter was a failure, not because he held such liberal policies as many would have you believe, he failed because he was weak, in domestic and international relations he was viewed as timid and non-confrontational.

Perhaps, had he been more assertive he would have succeeded in reforming the system to his liking – and I would be blaming him for killing capitalism. And, as much as people compare the two – Obama is not a Jimmy Carter.

We need to look at the core of the man - Carter was weak, Obama is strong. Carter had the support of the US Congress, but was not able to achieve, because he sought bi-partisanship which he did not get.

Obama does not care about what the other side thinks, as long as his side is on board it is fine. But Obama has another tool at his disposal that enables him to push his agenda through, without the help of the Congress, the Czar.

In the US, cabinet members need to go through a vigorous vetting and approval process by both branches of Congress. A Czar is not a cabinet member. First introduced by Ronald Reagan to head up the war on drugs, a Czar has broad powers to do – and answers only to the president.

Reagan created this role because he did not believe the drug war would go on for so long and therefore adding a cabinet post, a move that takes a constitutional amendment, would not be necessary.

Obama however has gone beyond this level, appointing 33 Czars, each with an average salary of $250,000 and annual budget for office and staff of over 10 million. This is the single largest expansion of governmental agencies ever – and the fun part is this is not part of the government as the Czars answer only to the president.

It is shocking – and it is why Obama is not like Carter – he has the power to achieve what he wants, whether congress says yes or no to the idea, he has a back door to his goals if he needs it.

I am not sure if the American public should be more upset at the wasteful 340 million plus that this group is costing them, or the fact that Obama has given powers to a group of people that subvert the system of checks and balances that has made America unique and safe from tyranny.

Congress gave Reagan the approval for this post for logical reasons - quick and decisive action was needed, and waiting for congress to approve each mission was pointless.

Obama has exploited this rule and it will be to the detriment of the US populace. Take for example the idea that his health czar is proposing – taxing the rich 5% to pay for health coverage for everyone else, or his employment czar, extending benefits to the unemployed by and relaxing the rules so that they do not need to be seeking employment while getting the benefits (their rationale for this: “it is a hard job market you know – it might demoralize the unemployed to have to keep searching for a job in this tight market”).

And just how do they pay for this unlimited benefit? You guessed it, taxing the rich. This makes no sense. Why penalize those who work and reward those that don’t? all you do is make the productive less ambitious to be productive and you make the non-productive dependant on a system that is willing to care for them indefinitely – so in turn there is less productivity by default.

In my opinion, you don’t need a stimulus that will give people money to do nothing; you need a stimulus that will spark production – as that is what will save the economy over the long haul.

For Forex traders and Forex Online enthusiasts what does this mean? It means the US is moving in the direction of China and Russia and Venezuela, in which there is a central government that controls all things. So what does this mean for the Dollar? Only time can tell, but it does not look too good.


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