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Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Spending Bill,

Things are starting to break loose in the houses of Congress.  Years of gridlock have taken a toll on the American public, and the attitude toward the nations capitol was turning sour.  Mistrust, and disbelief were becoming the norm.

It was a helpless, feeling of dreadful impotence watching the elected officials who were supposed to be guiding the country through stormy, dangerous times.  With an economy that was languishing in the early stages of recovery, and the world slowly slowly setting itself on fire, America watched with hopeless despair as Washington bickered from one congressional recess to the next.

Now, there seems to be some movement, a slow fracture appearing in the stonewall that had been built over the last several years.

A spending bill has been written and approved.  The nation rejoices, a spending bill, a government shutdown has been averted, and the noose seems to be loosening slightly.  Oh, sure, there is a lot of work to be done, but progress is progress.

Included in the spending bill are provisions to reduce funding for the IRS to punish them for indiscretions involving tax exempt political organizations.  Previously, the IRS was free to indulge in inquisition style audits, and that was alright, private citizens are not really that important.

Wall Street got an early Christmas present, in the form of reduced regulation.  This will make it so much easier to turn a tidy profit trading risky, marginal derivatives.  Derivative is defined as "not original, secondary."  In banking this seems to mean investing money in things generate profit from a secondary source.  Similar to buying a wallet, hoping it is filled with money, that would be nice.  Buried deep inside the spending bill is a provision to bring back Lehman Brothers, and they are hiring Dr. Frankenstein to perform the resurrection.  Just kidding, about Dr. Frankenstein.

But, the real winners are members of Congress, themselves, who somehow managed to sneak a bit of campaign reform past congress.  It was a masterful bit of maneuvering by wily politicians using the pressure of a looming government shutdown to allow politicians to take huge donations from individual donors.  How congress ever got that past congress is a mystery that will take years to unravel.

Here is a graphic representation of the new landscape of American Politics.  It is a brave new world.