Bernanke bets the house on QE3 as Saturn tests the limits of monetary policy

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“We don’t have the tools to solve the unemployment problem.”
“I personally don’t think it’s a panacea; I personally don’t think it’s going to solve the problem.” – Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at his press conference after the release of the September 13, 2012 FOMC statement

  • High commodity prices counteract the benefits of the “wealth effect.”
  • While the kitchen sink is rusting, the Fed should consider buying REAL assets.
  • The wealth effect creates spendable income is an illusion.
  • While the Fed buys 80% of available agency MBS, the pressure on the unbanked population increases.

Despite his own admission that the Federal Reserve cannot lower unemployment, the central bank is giving it one last try. While devaluing the dollar can help increase U.S. manufacturing and expand exports, it is demand - not financial alchemy - that creates jobs.

When unemployment is high due to a severe lack of demand, the government should embark on massive infrastructure projects to create jobs. This should consist of a foundation of infrastructure consisting of enhancements to the electrical grid, the internet backbone, and all methodologies to carry energy from their sources to where they are required. In addition to our roads, rails, and bridges, these infrastructure enhancements would create the foundation for the next generation’s economic revival following the conjunctions in 2020 of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In terms of political stability and basic energy and electrical services, the U.S. has created the right environment to foster both intellectual property as well as manufacturing over the last century. But now we are beginning to lose our edge.

If the Fed really wants to create jobs, it would buy nontraditional assets such as bridges and toll roads, renovate them, and collect income until it sells them when it’s ready to shrink the money supply.

Chairman Bernanke said the Fed’s actions should lower borrowing costs and motivate investors seeking higher yield to buy riskier assets. Higher prices for homes, stocks, and other assets create a “wealth effect.” If people feel wealthier, they are more likely to spend money on goods and services; higher demand could increase employment.

The Moon is how we feel and describes consumer and market sentiment. The Moon represents our emotional and physical needs (food, water, shelter). The impulsive and aggressive action of Mars conjoining the Fed’s natal Moon in Scorpio in the sector of speculation in the Fed’s chart aptly describes Chairman Bernanke’s explanation for QE3 and purchasing mortgage debt this time around.

Jupiter and Saturn are the primary economic indicators. Jupiter and the sign Sagittarius is optimistic, expansive, exaggerated, and inflationary. Saturn and the sign Capricorn is cautious to pessimistic. Saturn’s energy describes conditions that can range from contracting, deflating, or stagnant to slow growth which is sustainable if it has been built on a solid foundation. Jupiter is more concerned about the present and short term gains while Saturn is focused on the long term.

Venus represents assets and wealth. The Fed’s progressed Venus in Mars-ruled Aries squaring natal Jupiter in Capricorn describes the Fed is taking its biggest and boldest gamble yet; dogmatic in its belief a failed policy of the past (trickle down economics) will work. (A 2007 post analyzing the chart when Congress established the Fed’s dual mandate shows business leaders and political leaders benefit the most.)

Jupiter in Gemini conjoining the Fed’s natal Saturn and progressed Moon opposing natal Mercury in Sagittarius and squaring progressed Mercury in Pisces describes the communications component of QE3 is likely to have a far larger impact than the asset purchases.

All of the planetary energies described reflect the Fed has thrown the kitchen sink into QE3:

1. The Fed began purchasing agency (Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie) mortgage-backed securities on September 14, committing to purchase $40 billion per month through year end (see #2).

a) Continue its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency MBS.

b) Continue Operation Twist which the Fed renewed in June and is set to end December 31.

2. The new agency MBS buying program is open ended. Starting in 2013, the amount of agency MBS the Fed purchases each month could remain the same or be increased, decreased, or temporarily halted. The Fed will “continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate” until the labor market “substantially” improves.

3. “The Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens.” (The Fed does not intend to tighten even if inflation in the intermediate term runs well above the Fed’s 2% target rate.)

4. The Fed added a six month time extension to its “extended period,” pledging to keep interest rates between 0 to 0.25% “at least through mid-2015.”

In a June post followed up with “Full Moon Over the Fed and ECB”, I explained the planetary and practical reasons why I thought the Fed would not launch QE3 at this time. Barring an emergency crisis, talk therapy could have kept the market appeased until at least the December 12 meeting.(2)
The signs (planetary and in the media) were certainly there, but I was more focused on the potential consequences that could result if the Fed took such additional actions now.

To put things in perspective, first I’ll briefly touch on the planetary influences in play when QE1 and QE2 were announced. Then I’ll explain why Saturn’s exact square to the Fed’s natal Neptune, the USA Pluto, and conjunction to the NYSE Neptune when the Fed announced QE3 September 13 strongly suggests monetary policy has reached its limit in its ability to shape fiscal policy and inflate asset prices.

Mars transits the same sign about every two years. Mars was in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius at nearly the same degree when QE1 (November 25, 2008 – June 30, 2010) and QE2 (November 3, 2010 – June 30, 2011) were announced.(3) Mars favorably aspecting the Fed’s natal Uranus in Aquarius described the Fed’s first unconventional action to inflate asset prices to promote economic growth.

The Sun symbolizes the leader. QE1 and 2 occurred when Pluto the planetary energy ruling interest rates, debt, and financial extremes conjoined the Fed’s Sun. Mars conjoined Chairman Bernanke’s natal Mercury/Venus conjunction in Sagittarius when the QE programs were announced. Born with the Sun in Sagittarius opposite Jupiter in Gemini, Chairman Bernanke is naturally predisposed to pursuing an aggressively expansionist monetary policy; the Fed’s dual mandate is his license to “print” money.(4)

The Fed’s natal Jupiter is in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, the sign of government and big business. QE1 occurred when the Fed was experiencing a Jupiter return (an almost 12 year cycle). Venus conjoining Jupiter describes a large expansion of the money supply.

Chairman Bernanke has said several times that the purpose of the previous two quantitative easing programs was to prevent deflation. In QE1, Saturn in Virgo opposing Uranus in Pisces describes using unconventional policy tools to help reflate asset prices that had sharply declined. QE2 was reprised when Venus was retrograde in Pluto-ruled Scorpio. Venus interacted with Pluto in Capricorn as both planets impacted the Fed’s natal Sun. The Fed’s purchases during QE2 were confined to U.S. Treasuries to drive down longer-term interest rates as an additional insurance policy against deflation. Deflation is obviously not a concern now with the Dow and S&P close to their 2007 record highs and elevated commodity prices despite weak global demand.

Saturn’s infamous rings represent boundaries and limits; Neptune dissolves them. Saturn in Venus-ruled Libra in an exact square to the Fed’s natal Neptune September 13 strongly suggests the Fed has reached the limits of monetary policy. By adopting an open-ended QE, the Fed wants to project the illusion that monetary policy is unlimited. Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, the Fed seeks to assure the market there are “additional policy tools” that can be conjured from its toolbox.

Neptune dissolves boundaries to illustrate how everything is interconnected. The Fed’s Neptune is in Cancer, the sign ruled by the Moon (which rules the Fed’s chart). These energies rule water. Just as water seeks its own level, the money the Fed pumps into the economy seeks its own level without the Fed being able to control where the money flows. Stocks and home prices rise along with commodity prices, raising the cost of food and fuel. If a greater portion of the household budget goes towards those Moon-ruled necessities there will be less money available for discretionary spending - just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The Fed’s policy of trying to fuel people’s perception they are wealthier by increasing the value of their homes and retirement accounts does not actually create spendable wealth for the middle class. Saturn represents the small number of people at the top; its square to the Fed’s Neptune shows the reality that the wealthy become wealthier and the middle class poorer as higher operating expenses for food and fuel are the only thing that trickles down from the top.

This is the WRONG WAY to work these planetary energies! Saturn works from the ground up, NOT from the top down! The Fed must enact policies that put pressure on commodity prices by restricting excess liquidity used for speculation. By reducing operating costs for poor and middle class families, the Fed would create more spendable wealth that would boost the economy from the ground up to the very top.(5)

Saturn in Libra squaring the Fed’s Neptune in Cancer begs the question: Does making a person feel wealthier actually cause them to spend in the real economy cash they do not actually have and/or is inaccessible?

Neptune brews bubbles which ultimately burst; the Fed’s Neptune in Cancer describes an asset bubble in real estate (as well as bubbles in food and energy prices). The only way an asset bubble creates demand is when you can extract cash from the asset being bubbled up. The key difference between feeling good about your 401(k) and feeling good about your home’s value is that during the middle years of the prior decade, middle class families were able to extract actual cash from their inflated home values.

Neptune rules credit. Saturn squaring the Fed’s Neptune in Cancer reflects the refinance boom has reached its limits as those who qualify to refinance have already done so. A slight reduction in mortgage rates is outweighed by the costs incurred to refinance again. Millions of homes remain underwater as tighter lending restrictions and higher credit standards prevent more people from refinancing.

Chairman Bernanke said at his press conference that “credibility is the key tool that central banks have.” Saturn’s square to the Fed’s Neptune indicates that in going way beyond the boundaries of traditional monetary policy, the Fed has limited their ability to continue propping up asset prices.

Fiscal Impact of QE3
With Neptune in Cancer exactly opposing the USA Pluto in Saturn-ruled Capricorn in the sector of the USA chart representing banks, assets, wealth, and general economic conditions, the Fed has nurtured bubbles that have contributed to an ever more frequent cycle of booms and busts. The Fed strives to project the image monetary policy benefits the public. But when the bubble bursts, the wealth of millions of Americans is evaporated. Yet the wealth of the few at the top (the plutocrats), ultimately rises out of the ashes to even higher levels.

Saturn in Libra’s square to the Fed’s Neptune and the USA Pluto indicates monetary policy impacts the structure  - the plumbing - of the financial system. QE3 is unlikely to have a direct economic impact given that the majority of the funds used to purchase agency MBS will likely end up right back on the Fed’s balance sheet through excess bank reserves.

As I predicted, the Fed has sopped up such a huge chunk of longer-term Treasuries that it could no longer do another QE exclusively using Treasuries. The Wall Street Journal estimates the Fed’s purchases will encompass 80% of the current issuance of agency MBS.

QE3 will crowd out commercial banks from holding short and intermediate term agency securities, along with the other zero risk-weighted Treasury securities. Given that the banks are having trouble fully lending their balance sheets, any remaining options would involve banks increasing their average risk weighting. This will have a direct effect on the efficiency of capital deployment for financial institutions.

Saturn’s square to the USA Pluto describes the fact that monetary policy has severely contracted banks’ net interest margin (NIM). As if it wasn’t bad enough that the Fed has destroyed savers ability to earn interest on bank deposits, now banks are substantially raising their fees and minimum balance requirements for individual free checking (and even savings) accounts.

Neither political party wants to address the fact that the Fed is to blame for the rapid rise of the “unbanked” population. Low income earners who cannot afford to maintain a bank account are forced to resort to paying high fees to alternate sources such as checking cashing stores and using prepaid cards to conduct financial transactions. Their financial safety is at risk without the security and FDIC insurance of their money that a bank account provides. Not being able to establish credit, the unbanked have no access to lending except through a pawn shop or a loan shark.

From the unbanked, to savers, to pensions, Neptune in Cancer describes the Fed is in fairyland when it comes to how monetary policy affects the general public. What exaggerates the Fed’s unrealistic behavioral attitude is that the Fed’s natal Neptune opposes Jupiter in Capricorn. Upper income earners and large corporations are the biggest beneficiaries of rock bottom interest rates and expanding the money supply; the Fed hopes the gains made at the top will “trickle down” through the pipes of the financial system to those below. Jupiter in Capricorn also indicates monetary policy is overly influenced by traditional academic economic theories.

Neptune rules credit (“to believe”). The day after the Fed announced QE3 as Saturn in Libra exactly squared the Fed’s Neptune and the USA Pluto, credit rating agency Egan-Jones downgraded the USA’s credit rating to AA- from AA due to the Fed’s actions. Egan-Jones said “the increased cost of commodities will pressure profitability of businesses, and increase the costs of consumers thereby REDUCING consumer purchasing power.”

Pluto’s energies were particularly potent September 13-22 as Pluto appeared motionless in the sky, turning direct September 18 after being retrograde since April 10. Pluto’s direct station September 18 coincided with its second exact square to Uranus in Aries. While the Fed’s actions have been aggressive and extremely unconventional, their purpose is extremely traditional as it promotes the same old failed policy of trickle down economics.(6)

History repeats itself if we fail to learn Saturn’s lessons. The Reagan revolution ushered in the era of trickle down (a.k.a. “supply side”) economics which began the last time Saturn was in Libra. The last time Saturn in Libra exactly squared the Fed’s Neptune and USA Pluto occurred on November 8, 1982 – the same day Saturn and Pluto conjoined in Libra. These energies describe the push to lower tax rates which in turn necessitated closing tax deductions and loopholes benefiting upper income earners.

The call for limited government one Saturn cycle ago did not reduce spending as the U.S. spent billions to assert its status as the world’s top superpower. The Reagan tax cuts in 1981 together with increased federal spending created a huge budget deficit. In legislation that perfectly described the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Libra the sign of balance, President Reagan signed the Tax Equity & Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) which RAISED TAXES by closing loopholes. (President Reagan called them “revenue enhancements” to avoid admitting he raised taxes.)

Cycles repeat themselves and bring similar themes but not in the exact same way since it would take nearly 26,000 years for all of the planets to return to the exact same configuration they were at any given moment in time.(7)

Libra is symbolized by the scales. Both transits of Saturn in Libra represented record breaking extremes of monetary policy. In the last Saturn cycle, Fed Chairman Paul Volcker tipped Libra’s scales to the opposite extreme using record high interest rates to combat high inflation. With his natal Mars conjunct Neptune in Libra, Chairman Bernanke is breaking Libra’s scales, believing the Fed’s policies will reduce the cost of repaying record high levels of household, business, and government debt.

Saturn describes conditions that have reached their peak. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.8% during the simultaneous influence of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Libra squaring the USA Pluto. The contracting nature of these influences also marked the peak of a severe recession that began in July 1981.

Like a New Moon, the 1982 conjunction of Saturn and Pluto marked the start of a new cycle that lasts until the two planets conjoin again in Capricorn on January 12, 2020. We are in the last phase of the Saturn/Pluto cycle which peaked when Saturn in Gemini opposed Pluto in Sagittarius (August 2001 – May 2002). Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Fed dropped interest rates to what was then an ultra low 1% to help spur housing growth (Transiting Jupiter in Cancer conjoining the USA Sun in September 2001 marked the birth of the housing bubble).

Saturn’s cycle this time around shows the Fed has reached its limit to how low rates can go and is frustrated that what worked in the past is likely to fail this time. The severe recession of the early 1980s was Fed-induced. Once inflation was tamed and interest rates began to decline, the housing recovery was once again able to lead the economy out of the recession. Home values were rising from a bottom and people were purchasing homes they could afford. Housing cannot lead the recovery this time around since the U.S. entered the recession when housing peaked and this was not an interest rate induced recession like the prior Saturn cycle. The Fed’s most potent tool - enhancing home construction and the new appliances and furnishings that accompany it, is currently impotent.

Chairman Bernanke regularly talks about the structural issues impacting employment but has failed to address the structural issues affecting consumption. The Fed’s Sun in Capricorn opposes Pluto in Cancer; monetary policy is used to spur speculation as a vehicle for growth. The financial crisis erupted when Pluto entered Cancer’s opposite sign Capricorn in 2008. Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries have now completed their transits to the Fed’s Sun and Pluto.

And now as Uranus and Pluto square off, the Fed has still failed to grasp the winds of change and that the financial crisis has radically transformed people’s aspirations. People learned the mantra that “real estate always increases in value” was b.s.; current homeowners lack the desire to trade up, and the ratio of demand to population has shrunk. Young people especially view home ownership as restricting their mobility to pursue the best career opportunities. Most of the housing stock is out of sync with what today’s homebuyer wants and where they want to live.(8)

Due to a planet’s retrograde period, a planet usually makes three passes over the same degree. Each pass expresses the themes related to their energies, with the final pass usually exerting the greatest impact. President Obama gave a speech explaining why trickle down economics doesn’t work just prior to the first square of Saturn in Libra to the USA Pluto on December 21, 2011.

Pluto rules interest rates, debt, and taxes. Saturn squaring the USA Pluto describes the tremendous amount of pressure the Fed is exerting on the financial system to keep interest rates as low as possible to reduce the amount of interest added to the federal deficit.

The deficit reduction agreement reached last August between President Obama and Speaker Boehner occurred when the USA was undergoing its Saturn return. Saturn represents peak conditions since it rules places of high elevation such as mountains. Saturn’s square to the USA Pluto indicates the federal deficit is peaking as the bulk of the deficit was caused by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases on individuals earning above $200,000 that the two leaders agreed to last August will go into effect January 1, 2013 as the Sun conjoins Pluto in Capricorn.

Neither Wall St. nor Washington should count on the Fed alleviating the “fiscal cliff” since Chairman Bernanke candidly admitted during his September 13 news conference that he “doesn’t think the Fed’s tools are strong enough to withstand a fiscal shock.”

Forget the overhyped fiscal cliff hysteria. Beyond providing liquidity to the system, the Fed really doesn’t have the tools at this point in time to offset the impact of any unexpected shocks to the financial system.

Stock Market Impact of QE3
Saturn in Libra’s conjunction to the New York Stock Exchange’s natal Neptune as it simultaneously impacted the Fed and USA charts is the third confirming planetary indicator the Fed’s ability to inflate stock prices has reached its limit.(9) The Fed hopes fundamentals (Saturn) will catch up to inflated asset prices before the bubble (Neptune) bursts. That never happened with the dot com or housing bubbles, and it’s unlikely to happen with this Fed-induced bubble either.

QE3’s open-ended purchases, extension of near zero interest until at least mid 2015 together with a commitment not to tighten for a considerable time even after the recovery strengthens, has dissolved the Fed’s credibility to employ additional meaningful incentives. Extending the extended period for another six months and/or adding a few billion dollars more in additional QE is not going to be enough to satisfy the market’s addiction. The belief that interest rates can never be too low and stocks will continue to rise as long as the Fed keeps flooding the market with liquidity will turn out to be an illusion.

In the Leo New Moon Forecast I had predicted “the major averages are poised to make new highs for 2012 during this cycle” (August 17 – September 14, 2012). The major averages soared in reaction to QE3, closing at multiyear highs on September 14 as Saturn exactly conjoined the NYSE’s natal Neptune. (The Nasdaq reached its highest level since November 2000 - the last time Jupiter was in Gemini.)

After experiencing a small decline since September 14, the market has traded in a relatively narrow range as it tries to work its way back. Unless confidence increases in the belief that expectations for growth can be sustained, Saturn conjunct the NYSE Neptune describes artificially inflated asset prices slowly eroding.

In the Capricorn Full Moon Forecast, I wrote that “increased volatility between mid-September and mid-November could take the indices down to new lows for 2012.” These comments elaborated on what I wrote back in May that the Venus retrograde cycle in dualistic Gemini could indicate the market makes a new high AND a new low for 2012 during the second half of the year.(10)

Whether QE3 provides enough support so the market experiences a pullback rather than the correction I envisioned over the next couple of months remains to be seen. So far Saturn’s influence appears to be LIMITING the downside impact and muting the influence of the major planetary alignments that have already occurred during this aforementioned time period.

For example, the second square between Uranus and Pluto occurred on September 19 with Mercury in Libra activating their energies the next day. These energies tend to bring news driven financial events that create a spike in volatility, strong reversal potential, and large price moves that break through support and resistance levels. (Although the energies of Uranus and Pluto can go to either extreme, the overall risk to the downside is greater.)

The market closed moderately positive on September 19. Although the Dow reversed intraday to positive on September 20, the trading range of the major indices was very modest. September 25 was the only bearish day in September; the Dow only closed down 101 points which is pretty insignificant when it’s trading around 13,500.

Once again, the planetary patterns of September 25 signaled an increase in volatility, reversal potential, and bearish indications. The Moon in Uranus-ruled Aquarius accentuated the energies of Uranus in Mars-ruled Aries making a testy aspect (sesquiquadrate) to Venus in Leo and Mars in Scorpio as Venus and Mars were about to exactly square each other in the sky and impact the NYSE’s natal square between Mercury in Taurus and Pluto in Aquarius. After being positive in the morning, the indices reversed in the afternoon.

Stressful alignments between aggressive Mars and rebellious Uranus often bring protests and riots which erupted in Madrid that day. A frictional alignment between Mars and Pluto in Capricorn described the protesters were angry over Spain’s government announcing additional austerity measures. Spain and its leadership are the central focus now since the degree of the September 19 Uranus/Pluto square exactly impacted Spain’s progressed Sun in Capricorn.(1)

What caused the market to reverse that day was a midday speech by Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser. Plosser said QE3 is likely to be “ineffective” and he would have voted against it if he was a voting member this year. President Plosser believes the Fed will need to raise rates “well before” mid 2015 to prevent higher inflation expectations. Mars/Pluto describes the dissention within the Fed over QE3 and that action on raising rates will occur sooner than the Fed is alluding to.

The most notable influence on September 25 was Mars triggering the energies of the November 13 Solar Eclipse in Scorpio. The actions that occurred on September 25 will need to be dealt with in depth in November. Eclipses are a harbinger of major change, and the Scorpio Solar Eclipse initiates a two year cycle of eclipses in Scorpio and its opposite sign Taurus. Fiscal and monetary policies are the dominant theme of this eclipse cycle as Scorpio and Taurus rule the financial system (money and material assets, interest rates, debt, derivatives, wealth, bankruptcy, taxes, insurance, entitlements, wills/trusts).

Eclipse cycles repeat themselves every 19 years. For example, the Maastricht Treaty which formally established a common currency for the Eurozone went into effect on November 1, 1993, shortly before the Scorpio Solar Eclipse that occurred on the same day and in the same degree as the November 13, 2012 eclipse. This time around, the countries united by a common currency are likely to gradually move towards a single system of bank regulation.

The Fed’s extremely ultra accommodative policies have pushed Libra’s scales to the tipping point as Saturn completes its transit in Libra. Libra energy is not interested in venturing into dark and dirty places to see what really lies under the surface. If compromise cannot be reached, Libra energy would prefer that everyone agree to disagree to avoid making the difficult decisions needed to create a solid financial foundation for sustainable growth.

After Saturn starts its nearly three year transit in Scorpio October 5 it will become evident the structural integrity of the financial system’s plumbing is damaged and the only way to fix it is to go down into the sewers.

The eclipses in Scorpio/Taurus and the interchange between Saturn in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn in each other’s signs as Uranus squares Pluto, necessitates reform and transformation of existing financial structures. Saturn in Scorpio is about facing the cold hard reality that interest rates are as low as they can go; Uranus and Pluto impacting the Fed’s progressed Sun in Aries in spring 2013 indicates something unexpected could force the Fed to start reversing its policies. (The Fed is tightening policy if it stops buying securities.)

While the Fed wants to push everyone into buying risky assets, U.S. Treasury debt is used as an alternative currency in numerous financial transactions. In order to help prevent another collateral crisis that almost put AIG out of business, Saturn in Scorpio describes the new regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act that take effect in 2013 to bring much needed transparency to the secretive world of derivatives trading as participants will have to conduct their transactions on open exchanges. Since the Fed has essentially cornered the Treasury market, Saturn in Scorpio could create a shortage of certain issues of U.S. Treasuries needed to post collateral to back their bets. This could force the Fed to start selling Treasuries to relieve the pressure.

Saturn in Scorpio indicates that rock bottom interest rates are putting a squeeze on banks’ net interest margin. Monetary policy is driving banks to find ways to charge big fees to offset their fear of lending money. One of the ways banks are profiting is by charging high fees to lend their Treasuries out to customers to post as collateral to back their customers derivative bets in exchange for posting riskier securities which earns the bank more interest.(11)

An article by Wall Street Journal reporter Jon Hilsenrath (“How Bernanke Pulled the Fed His Way”) states that the “roots” of the Fed’s decision emanated from a March 26 speech when Chairman Bernanke “warned the U.S. economy wasn’t growing fast enough.” Saturn had just made an exact conjunction to the Chairman’s natal Mars/Neptune conjunction in Libra and was exactly impacting the “trio” (Fed’s Neptune/USA Pluto/NYSE Neptune) for the second time since December 2011. As Saturn in Libra was approaching its third and final pass over his Mars/Neptune conjunction, Chairman Bernanke was actively working to build consensus among Fed members to agree to push beyond the limits of monetary policy.

With the Fed’s Venus conjoining his natal Sun in Sagittarius in opposition to natal Jupiter in Gemini, Chairman Bernanke advocated making a big and bold preemptive move to prevent negative GDP growth. He would rather overdo than not do enough.

Saturn in Scorpio describes Bernanke’s legacy as Fed Chairman will be remembered for pushing interest rates down to historic lows and the Fed’s enormous purchases of sovereign debt and government sponsored MBS.

The Saturn return is a time of testing to see if the individual has learned the lessons of the past. Chairman Bernanke was born with Saturn in Scorpio; he will experience his second Saturn return during November 2012, May and August 2013. The market could be learning with him since Bernanke’s Saturn makes challenging alignments to the Fed’s natal Uranus and progressed Mars in Aquarius and the NYSE’s natal Venus in Taurus.(12)

The superior conjunction of Venus to the Sun on March 28, 2013 completes a four year cycle since the indices bottomed to decade plus lows as Venus in Aries stationed retrograde on March 6, 2009. The indices are likely to reach their peak for the year by spring and decline going into May as Venus appears in the evening sky in time for the third Uranus/Pluto square and the Solar Eclipse in Venus-ruled Taurus.(13) These energies could call into question whether the financial system can stand the strain of the Fed’s excessive policies.

A major emphasis on the water element during the next 18 months describes being awash in a sea of excess liquidity.(14) QE3 has created a leak in the pipes that will burst if left unattended.
With its Sun in Capricorn opposing Pluto in Cancer, the Fed is very aggressive about using its power to take preemptive measures to spur speculation to keep the economy afloat. Yet the Fed never takes preemptive action to prevent the bubbles it nurtures from bursting.

With QE3, the Fed has put all its eggs in one basket. Enacting QE3 at the time of the second exact square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn reminds me of the grand finale of a fireworks display. The sky is suddenly ablaze in a massive burst of spectacular colors.

And then the sky goes dark.

(1) Progressions move the natal planets and chart positions forward in time, symbolizing the individual or entity’s progression through life.

(2)Readers who want to get the first heads up on the Fed’s mindset should be reading Jon Hilsenrath’s articles in The Wall Street Journal. A link to his most recent article on the Fed’s decision to embark on QE3 can be found within the stock market section of this post.

(3)Mars in Sagittarius will conjoin the degree area when QE1&2 were announced October 13-16.

(4)Chairman Bernanke was born without any planets in the earth element to ground his academic economics with the realities of everyday economics. Replacing Bernanke with Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen would yield similar results as she also lacks the earth element.

(5)Saturn rules the elderly. The Fed’s policies have severely contracted the interest income of savers and people living on fixed incomes. Chairman Bernanke acknowledged at the start of his press conference that although savers have been impacted by monetary policy, they benefit from higher real estate values and asset prices. (Assuming all their savings is invested outside FDIC-insured bank CDs and savings accounts.) Rather than advocating a balanced approach that helps borrowers and savers alike, Bernanke’s attitude is that seniors should sacrifice for the economic greater good.

(6)I personally prefer to call it tinkle down economics since Pluto (and Scorpio) rules the process of elimination. This economic policy has caused so much damage to the nation it is more akin to getting pissed on as the plutocrats now want to completely shut off the minute amount of water slowly trickling down from spigot.

(7)This alone demonstrates the uniqueness and significance of the horoscope since the chart changes every four minutes and also varies by geographic location.

(8)Radical new trends are emerging that are scaring the auto industry. Not only are many young people moving to urban areas so they don’t need to have a car, some of them don’t even want to learn to drive!

(9)Neptune conjoined Jupiter in Libra when the NYSE was founded on May 17, 1792 (time unknown). With both planets opposing Saturn in Aries, the U.S. stock market is particularly prone to big banking booms and busts.

(10)The Dow (12,101.46) and S&P (1,278.18) closed at their lowest levels of the year on June 4. This was the day of the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius, Neptune’s retrograde station, and the square between retrograde Venus in Gemini and Mars in Virgo. The Nasdaq has been moving higher since it began the year at 2,605.15.

On September 14, the indices closed at: Dow 13,593.27; S&P 1,465.77; Nasdaq 3,183.95.

(11)This is called “collateral transformation” which is pure Pluto/Scorpio! Bloomberg Businessweek’s “A Shortage of Bonds to Back Derivatives Bets” explains the risks this poses for banks which “could suffer losses if a trader defaults and his collateral is seized.” “The bank loses its Treasuries and is left holding lower-grade bonds that the trader posted in the collateral tranformation.”

(12) Chairman Bernanke will also experience a Jupiter return in May. Saturn and Jupiter returning to their natal positions at around age 59-60 can correspond to being at the peak of one’s professional achievements and earnings before retiring. (Bernanke’s term as Fed Chairman ends on January 31, 2014.)

(13)See my post, “The Twin Currencies of Venus in Gemini and the Venus/Stock Market Cycle” for more information on how the Venus cycle influences the stock market.

(14)Saturn in Scorpio, eclipses in Scorpio, Mercury retrograde in water signs, Jupiter in Cancer, Neptune in Pisces.

Federal Reserve:  December 23, 1913 6:02 PM EST Washington, DC
Ben Bernanke:  December 13, 1953 time unknown Augusta, GA
USA:  July 4, 1776 5:10 PM LMT Philadelphia, PA

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Akins, Ryan, and the Politics of Personhood

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To understand that a woman and an unborn are one and not two separate entities, all you have to do is look down at your own belly button to be reminded that you and the woman who gave birth to you were once united as one being. The cord connecting you to your mother could not be cut until the moment you could physically survive as a separate individual.

Until the past decade most Americans have been able to reach a broad consensus that a woman and the unborn growing within her were one entity up until a certain point in development. Broadly speaking, the separation point was considered to be the end of the second trimester of pregnancy.

The overriding question in abortion politics comes down to this: when does the unborn become a separate entity?

Republicans have been progressively pushing back the timeline from fetus, to embryo, and now zygote (a fertilized undivided cell) as their ideological basis for considering ALL abortions to be murder. In order to consider an abortion to be a murder, opponents of abortion must first establish that the woman and the unborn are two separate entities. Without that separation, the unborn is simply an appendage of the woman who should have unlimited control of it as a part of her body.

Once the argument went beyond when the unborn is considered a separate entity to being defined as a separate entity at the moment of conception, abortion is for all practical purposes considered to be murder at any stage. In order to justify abortion under any circumstances, the mother and unborn would have to be considered one entity rather than two.

One of the first pieces of business proposed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives was “The Sanctity of Human Life Act”(H.R.212) “to provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization.” This bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Todd Akin and Paul Ryan.

It has been widely reported that the draft approved by the Republican Party which will be adopted as their official platform at the Republican Convention next week includes a “human life amendment” allowing NO EXCEPTIONS for abortions (including from rape or incest). The human life amendment provides the unborn with the same protections under the Fourteenth Amendment as the born.

The Republican Party platform provides NO EXCEPTIONS for abortion because the unborn are defined as a separate entity from the woman at the moment of conception. Any discussion of the circumstances that would “justify” abortion coming from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan or any other Republicans cannot be trusted because any justification for abortion under this definition is twisted logic.

Paul Ryan believes abortion should be illegal except for “cases in which a doctor deems an abortion necessary to save the mother’s life.” According to Ryan, Mitt Romney “has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.” Traveling on the campaign plane, Rep. Ryan described Gov. Romney’s position on abortion as “a good start.” Rep. Ryan is willing to accept what is less than ideal because he knows that every restriction that is imposed is one step closer to reaching the goal post of making abortion illegal.

The same day the draft of the human life amendment was formulated for the GOP convention, the Republican hierarchy was pushing for Rep. Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race (but not resign from Congress) over his remarks about “legitimate rape.” Definitions of rape are a sideshow and so are debates over whether or not abortions are “justified” under circumstances of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is at stake when a fertilized undivided cell (zygote) is considered to be a person that cannot be murdered. Under the auspices that one crime does not justify another, the innocent zygote should not be murdered to justify the rape of the woman.

Republicans are passionate advocates for states’ rights, and several states have proposed or passed legislation that makes it difficult to next to impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion. Even women who suffer a miscarriage could be charged with a felony under legislation (H.B.1) proposed by Georgia State Rep. Bobby Franklin unless they can prove “there is no human involvement whatsoever in the causation of such event.” H.B.1 does not define “human involvement,” but it’s clear that the woman is guilty unless she can prove her innocence. Even doctors are often unable to determine what caused the miscarriage, yet the woman’s doctor could have their medical license revoked if it cannot be proven there was no “human involvement.” Could “human involvement” even include exercise during pregnancy as well as improper eating (i.e. too many trips to Chick-fil-A)?

The ideology and actions by Republicans extend from the bottom to the top of the Republican ticket and the GOP hierarchy and is precisely why any discussion of the justification for abortion should not provide any assurances to the pro choice side of the equation. Now that Republicans have defined that a separate “person” exists from the moment that conception occurs, they are advocating that oral contraceptives are also murder. The legal availability of certain forms of pregnancy prevention especially emergency contraception and oral contraceptives could be in jeopardy even though these methods of birth control work by preventing the release of an egg from the ovaries. Without the egg, contraception cannot take place.*

If you believe in the two separate entities argument, then what responsibility does the woman have for the unborn entity? How well do you think the unborn is going to fare developing inside a woman forced to carry a pregnancy to term that she does not want? What do you think her mental and physical state would be, and do you think this is a healthy environment for the unborn to develop in? If the woman is married or in a committed relationship, do you think the woman’s spouse/lover is going to enjoy seeing the woman suffer from this – especially if she’s dying from it?

Beyond the pregnancy exacerbating any existing health issues or creating new ones which are life threatening (an ectopic pregnancy being one example), a pregnant woman could face criminal charges if she was in a car accident and the unborn was killed. A man in the same accident would face no such criminal liability. But men should take no solace for they could be accused of killing a fetus by being the driver.

Then there are the economic issues. First of all, who is going to pay for the woman and the unborn’s medical costs pre and postpartum? Since the Republicans still want to repeal Obamacare, how will adult women and girls get health insurance coverage? Until Obamacare is fully implemented on January 1, 2014, health insurance companies classify pregnancy as a pre-existing condition (which also extends to the expectant father).

Compound lost wages on top of medical expenses along with the potential of a career setback (especially if the pregnancy completely prevents the woman from performing her job). Pregnancy interferes with a girl’s education.

If a married woman is raped, are there financial and legal responsibilities imposed upon her spouse even though he is not the father of the unborn? Similar to the question I posed earlier, what impact do you think being forced by the government to continue a pregnancy resulting from rape is going to have on the couple’s relationship?

And I’ve only scratched the surface of all the potential individual and societal implications...

On the other side of the argument, if the mother and the unborn are considered one entity, then why are restrictions being placed on women that are not placed on men? For all of their so-called love of “individual freedom” and “choices,” Republicans are telling women that they want the government to have total control over a medical decision about their body!

Now the question becomes whose life is more valuable – the life of the woman or the unborn? Republicans and their social conservative base care so passionately about the unborn yet once the unborn becomes born, they want to remove the whole social safety net.

*That last sentence was not meant to insult the intelligence of my readers, but to state a fact that directly contradicts the inaccuracies spouted by Republicans and their “base” of social conservatives.

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