Politics In 60 Seconds


Good morning. Here’s the news:

1. The rise of political “volatility” in the United States is an increasingly destabilizing force in the world of capital markets. US Treasuries, long seen as the “risk free” benchmark, are no longer that.

2. Factories around the world are scaling back production, according to reports on manufacturing in Asia and Europe. Fears of a “second global recession” have consequently grown more acute.

3. US manufacturing, however, offered a taste of positive news. The Financial Times reports: “The Institute for Supply Management’s survey of purchasing managers – the single most important measure of the sector’s health – reported an index down to 50.6 in August from 50.9 in July. Readings above 50 signal expansion.”

4. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Several major auto makers reported strong gains in U.S. new-vehicles sales for August, lifting confidence the auto industry’s recovery is continuing despite worries about the economy.”

5. Talks between Greece and a visiting inspectors from the IMF, the ECB and the European Union were suspended today amid a dispute over Greece’s ability to meet its deficit targets. Greece’s continued access to bailout funds depends on the successful resolution of these negotiations. 

6. The Washington Post asks: Is austerity killing Europe?  “After more than a year of aggressive budget cutting by European governments, an economic slowdown on the continent is confronting policymakers from Madrid to Frankfurt with an uncomfortable question: Have they been addressing the wrong problem?”

7. The New York Times reports: “The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.”

8. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page offers warm words for Amb. Jon Huntsman’s “good economic plan” calling it the best so far offered by any presidential candidate.  The positive review came as welcome news to the Huntsman campaign, which has been stuck in neutral since the candidate made his announcement of candidacy.

9. Peggy Noonan thinks that next week’s GOP presidential candidates’ debate at the Reagan Library in California will tell us a lot about the new front-runner, Rick Perry, and his (now) prinicipal challenger, Mitt Romney. She notes that the two men could hardly be less alike and that each views the other with barely concealed disdain.

10. The Washington Post reports that Republican primary voters “appear more passionate about illegal immigration” than they do about economic issues. “To a sizable chunk of those who will pick the GOP’s presidential nominee, immigration is an urgent issue, even a litmus test.”

11. Republican chances of regaining control of the United States Senate in 2012 appear to have improved. 20-three seats held by Democrats or their allies are up for election next year, compared with 10 for the GOP.