Vote on Tax Cuts and Jobless Aid; Support for Euro: Advisor Briefing for the Week of Dec. 13, 2010

This week the Senate is poised for a cloture vote on the afternoon of Dec. 13 and a likely final vote on Dec. 14 on the Obama-Republican compromise on extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels while also extending unemployment benefits for a year. Over the weekend, Bernie Madoff’s older son hanged himself on the same day that the deadline for filing lawsuits against Madoff passed and on the second anniversary of Madoff's arrest. In Europe on Sunday, German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble voiced support for the euro in a published interview in Bild in which he said calls to restore the German deutschemark amounted to “unrealistic nostalgia.”

On Monday, Dec. 13, the Senate is scheduled to hold a procedural vote on the compromise bill worked out between President Obama and Republican leaders that would extend the EGTRRA and JGTRRA Bush-era tax cuts for another two years for taxpayers at all income levels in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for another year. The compromise, which many Democrats have criticized, would protect more taxpayers (at lower income levels than previously was the case) from paying the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for two years. There is also a one-year payroll tax cut for Social Security; and temporary cuts on limiting itemized deductions and personal exemptions.

On Tuesday, Dec. 14, the Senate is poised to vote on the tax bill; since the Democrats have a wider majority in the House, Senate passage is tantamount to final enactment, despite the public protestations of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic caucus. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets in Washington; the U.S.and China begin the 21st round of Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks in Washington.

Economic reports include the producer price index (PPI), retail sales for November from the Census Bureau, and business inventories for October. 

Reports due out on Wednesday, Dec. 15, include the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and industrial production for November. The Dail, Ireland’s parliament, is scheduled to vote to accept the EU-IMF bailout plan for its banks, while taxes and budget deficits should be on the agenda for President Obama’s meeting with a group of CEOs at the White House.

Likely market movers on Thursday, Dec. 16, include an appearance by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at a TARP Congressional Oversight Panel, and a meeting starting at 9:30 AM Eastern of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during which the CFTC is expected to roll out a revised rule regulating speculative positions by futures traders. Economic reports include November housing starts and the Dept. of Labor’s weekly first-time claims for unemployment benefits.

The business week ends on Friday, Dec. 17, with release by the Conference Board of its leading economic indicators for November.

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