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Fri, 26th May 2017

Anirudh Sethi Report

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Archives of “united states congress” Tag

Trump To Order Corporate Tax Rate Cut To 15%, Loading Up To $2 Trillion In Extra Debt

Ahead of Trump’s much anticipated tax announcement on Wednesday, the WSJ reports that the president has ordered his (mostly ex-Goldman) White House aides to accelerate efforts to create a tax plan “slashing the corporate rate to 15% and prioritizing cuts in tax rates over an attempt to not increase the deficit” which means that without an offsetting source of revenue, Trump is about to unleash the debt spigots, a proposal which will face fierce pushback from conservatives as it is nothing more than a continuation of the status quo under the Obama administration, and may well be DOA.

The WSJ adds that during an Oval Office meeting last week, “Trump told staff he wants a massive tax cut to sell to the American people” and that it was “less important to him if the plan loses revenue.”

Hoping to add a sense of dramatic urgency – after all his 100 day deadline hits on Saturday – Trump told his team to “get it done,” in time to release a plan by Wednesday.

Translation: Trump’s massive tax cut will be funded by debt, and as a result, will be at best temporary as it will be in breach of the revenue constraints in the reconciliation process; at worst it will never happen as it will now require Democrat votes.

Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad Voices Support for Nuke Deal, Says Iran has Nothing to Fear From US

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who recently surprised everyone by joining the presidential race, has given an interview in which he called Iran a “powerful country” that the “US administration cannot hurt” and voiced support for the nuclear deal deal struck between Iran and global powers in 2015.

In his interview, Ahmadinejad ruled out that the recent US missile strike on Syria was a message to Iran.

“I do not think it has a message for Iran. Iran is a powerful country and people like Mr. Trump or the United States administration cannot hurt Iran,” he said.

He speculated that the missile strike was instead orchestrated behind closed doors and depended little on the man in the Oval Office. Should Democratic contender Hillary Clinton have won the presidential race, the strike would have happened anyway, he said, but noted that the persona of Donald Trump fits the interests of the shadow government better.

“Those who are the directors must give the role [of president] to a person who can pull it off best. A woman cannot put up a good war face,” he said. “A man can do that better. They need to come up with a figure and say he is very dangerous.”

Here Are The 26 People Responsible For Today’s Market Plunge

As we noted first thing this morning, and as we, and others, have been warning since December, the passage of Trump’s tax plan is conditional on the effective repeal (and/or replace) of Obamacare, which is set for a vote on Thursday.  And yet, it was only today that the market, and the press, appeared to notice that the biggest threat for the market – a market which has long ago priced in the successful passage of Trump’s tax cuts – is that Trumpcare may not pass not only the Senate, but also the House, which in turn would stall Trump’s tax plan schedule well into fiscal 2018 (if not later) as the following Reuters headlines confirms: “Worries about Trump tax plan sink stocks.”

And, unfortunately for Trump and bulls, despite the president’s trip to the Capitol this morning, he failed to whip holdout Republicans. In fact, according to the latest NBC News roll call, there are at least 26 Republicans who as of this moment, 48 hours before the House vote to repeal Obamacare, are either opposed, or lean “strongly against” the health bill despite its recent revisions.

So, for all those who are looking for someone – or someones – to blame for today’s selloff, which is shaping up as the worst of 2017, here is the list of 26 Republican house members who are jeopardizing Trump’s entire domestic agenda. As a reminder, the GOP can only afford to lose 21. If the list below holds, Trump’s biggest legislative push will be a failure on Thursday.

Trump Releases His First Budget Blueprint: Here Are The Winners And Losers

Update: echoing comments made by Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the top House Democrat said that the Trump budget proposal is “dead on arrival.

Today at 7am, Trump released his “skinny budget”, his administration’s first federal budget blueprint revealing the President’s plan to dramatically reduce the size of the government. As previewed last night, the document calls for deep cuts at departments and agencies that would eliminate entire programs and slash the size of the federal workforce. It also proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, which the White House says will be offset by the other cuts.

“This is the ‘America First’ budget,” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who made a name for himself as a spending hawk before Trump plucked him for his Cabinet, adding that “if he said it in the campaign, it’s in the budget.”

In a proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia. Trump’s budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just “discretionary” spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents’ budget plans.

Trump wants to spend $54 billion more on defense, put a down payment on his border wall, and breathe life into a few other campaign promises. His initial budget outline does not incorporate his promise to pour $1 trillion into roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure projects.  The budget directs several agencies to shift resources toward fighting terrorism and cybercrime, enforcing sanctions, cracking down on illegal immigration and preventing government waste.

The White House has said the infrastructure plan is still to come.

Japan Press : Coming not so soon: Trump’s ‘historic’ tax plan

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s bluster on “historic tax reform” and $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, his visions still remain short on specifics, while the Congress appears headed to an epic clash over a contentious corporate tax plan.

American stocks surged in euphoria after Trump said Feb. 9 that he would announce something “over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax.” Yet his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, his first, contained nothing but generalities — a far cry from the promised “phenomenal” plan.

Female lawmakers in the opposition Democratic Party wore white at Trump’s address Wednesday to show support for women’s rights. © AP 

During the campaign, Trump called for cutting the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have drawn up a proposal of their own that would introduce a 20% border adjustment tax to fund a corporate tax rate cut to 20%. This plan would impose no taxes on exports but would bar companies from deducting import-related costs from taxable income.

Trump has not taken a clear stand on the border adjustment tax, and Tuesday’s address only alluded to the issue. “When we ship products out of America, many other countries make us pay very high tariffs and taxes,” he said. “But when foreign companies ship their products into America, we charge them nothing, or almost nothing.” Read More 

Iran Holds Massive Naval Drill Over 2 Million Sq. Kilometer Area

With little active US presence in the region (see latest naval map below), on Sunday Iran launched a massive naval drill at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said even as tensions with the United States continue to build after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.

Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, quoted by Reuters. Today’s drill marks the last phase of war games that started in 2016, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. The exercise, codenamed ‘Velayat 95’, kicked off in Iran’s south following an order from Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

Apart from the main drills, Iran’s Navy commando units are conducting special operations in the southeastern Makran region. Last June, Sayyari said that Tehran was planning to carry out 20 military drills before March 2017. Iranian officials insist that the war games do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 signed in January of 2016.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has been found to be in full compliance with the nuclear deal, but the report comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Earlier this month, then-US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said that “Iran had been put formally on notice” after Tehran fired a ballistic missile. Later in February, President Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” promising that he won’t be as “kind as [former President] Obama” and warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.

In response, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blasted the US, saying Tehran remains “unmoved” by threats, but will use weapons “only in self-defense.” Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian military ships that were allegedly approaching them at high speed near the Strait of Hormuz.

The latest US naval deployment shows that while the South China Sea has been a recent focus of the US navy, the only US ship in the region is the LHD 8 Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, although the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is currently headed for the region.

Federal Judge Grants Partial Block Of Trump Immigration Order

Symbolic war broke out between the Judicial and Executive branches shortly before 9pm on Saturday evening, when federal judge Ann Donnelly in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn issued an emergency stay halting Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven mostly Muslim nations entering the US, and temporarily letting people who landed in U.S. with valid visa to remain on US territory, saying removing the refugees could cause “irreparable harm”.

The court’s ruling was in response to a petition filed on Saturday morning by the ACLU on behalf of the two Iraqi men who were initially detained at JFK International Airport on Friday night after Trump’s ban, and were subsequently granted entry into the US.

The ACLU issued the following statement following the court ruling:

 A federal judge tonight granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s new Muslim ban. The ACLU and other legal organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of individuals subject to President Trump’s Muslim ban. The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the United States.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said:

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, had this reaction to the ruling:

“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country. Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.

However, while some media reports present the court ruling as a wholesale victory over Trump’s order, the stay only covers the airport detainees and those currently in transit, and it does not change the ban going forward.

Judge Donnelly has ordered the federal government to provide a list of all people currently held in detention. Where the stay falls short is that according to the ACLU’s lawyer, there still can be no new arrivals from countries under the ban, but the ACLU and other organizations are working to file additional suits to roll back other portions of the order.

* * *

A detailed read of Judge Donnelly’s ruling, per Josh Blackman, reveals that the order states that petitioners have shown a “strong likelihood of success” and that their removal would violate the Due Process and Equal Protection clause, and cause irreparable injury. (Note, this order only applies to those already in the country, and thus protected by the Constitution; the same analysis does not apply to those outside the United States).

As a result, the court issues what is effectively a nationwide stay, enjoining all of the named respondents, including President Trump, Secretary Kelly, and the acting director of the CBP, from the “commission of further acts and misconduct  in violation of the Constitution as described in the Emergency Motion for Stay of Removal.

The key part is what they are enjoined from doing:

Emerging Markets -An Update

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he won’t seek a second term.
Korea’s parliament voted 234-56 to impeach President Park.
Czech National Bank raised the possibility of negative rates to help manage the currency.
A Brazilian Supreme Court justice removed Senate chief Renan Calheiros from his post, but was later overturned by the full court.
Brazil central bank signaled a possibly quicker easing cycle.

In the EM equity space as measured by MSCI, UAE (+6.2%), Poland (+6.0%), and Mexico (+5.9%) have outperformed this week, while Czech Republic (-0.6%), Hong Kong (-0.2%), and China (+0.6%) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, MSCI EM rose 2.8% this week while MSCI DM rose 2.8%.
In the EM local currency bond space, Brazil (10-year yield -60 bp), the Philippines (-59 bp), and Indonesia (-40 bp) have outperformed this week, while India (10-year yield +20 bp), China (+5 bp), and Czech Republic (-1 bp) have underperformed.  To put this in better context, the 10-year UST yield rose 3 bp this week to 2.41%. 
In the EM FX space, BRL (+3.1% vs. USD), COP (+2.9% vs. USD), and CLP (+2.8% vs. USD) have outperformed this week, while EGP (-2.3% vs. USD), CNH (-0.8% vs. USD), and SGD (-0.7% vs. USD) have underperformed.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he won’t seek a second term.  He cited family reasons.  The next chief executive will be selected in March by a committee of 1,200.  China has veto power over the final selection, and so it’s clear that another establishment leader will be chosen. 

FBI clears Hillary Clinton on classified emails

FBI Director says the case against Hillary Clinton mishandling classified emails is closed again

FBI Director James Coney released an official statement saying that Hillary Clinton has been cleared, or that “we have not changed the conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Hillary Accepted Qatar Money Without Notifying Government, While She Was Head Of State Dept

Three weeks ago, when we first reported that Qatar had offered to pay the Clinton Foundation $1 million after a hacked Podesta email disclosed that the ambassador of Qatar “Would like to see WJC [William Jefferson Clinton] ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011”, we said that in this particular case, the Clinton Foundation may also be in violation of State Department ethics codes.


SecState Hillary Clinton, left, meets the Prime Minister of Qatar

Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani in 2010.

As we said in early October, while this has been seen by critics of the Clinton Foundation as yet another instance of influence pandering and “pay-to-play”, this time there may actually be consequences for the Clinton Foundation: according to the State Department, the previously undisclosed donation suggests there may be an ethics violation by the foundation, even though the State of Qatar is shown on the foundation’s website as having given at least that amount. There is no date listed for the donation.

Underscoring the potential flagrant abuse of ethical guidelines if the Qatar payment is confirmed, Hillary Clinton promised the U.S. government that while she served as secretary of state the foundation would not accept new funding from foreign governments without seeking clearance from the State Department’s ethics office. The agreement was designed to dispel concerns that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by donations to the foundation.