A lifetime of farming is sustained by not being overextended even when everyone claims we (the USA) could never default. October 17th is fast approaching, but that date doesn't necessarily scare me. What I'm concerned about is the process that led up to this point, and in particular November 1st. The tax revenues are in place for continued short term operation, but beginning on the 1st we have significant outlays; I truly wonder as a country if we're ready to have a hard conversation of what we fund and what we don't. Do we pay the debt obligations, do we pay Social Security, Medicare, the military?
I maintain the prediction of a 50/50 chance of default; at this point every financial farmer should have cash on hand as well as either a fully or partially hedged portfolio in the event of October 17th passing without a deal. In the event of a deal getting passed, I suspect it would be a short term extension at best and ultimately we'd still be left with the same systemic problems in the federal budget. The "good" news, regardless of whether a deal is cut or not, I don't see any possible chance of the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy; not at the next meeting, the one after, or even well into 2014. The economic recovery is still too nascent and obviously there are far bigger political problems that need to be solved. The two charts below help illustrate the challenge this country faces ahead; how do we bridge the spending and revenue gap while sustaining our yearly outlays?