An IRS scandal, yet another debt ceiling and a Teflon market make headlines in May.
It’s one thing not to let the door hit you on the way out. It’s another to get a pink slip and immediately be summoned to Capital Hill for a grilling. Shortly after Obama made now former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller the sacrificial lamb of the Tea Party scandal, he was subject to aggressive questioning before Congress, a particularly harsh exit interview of sorts.
The scrutiny now turns to whether Congress was “misled” as asserted by Paul Ryan, “rotten to the core” as delicately described by Representative Dave Camp or simply provided “horrible customer service” as the ex-Commissioner volunteered.
When asked what could be done to improve the agency’s customer service, Miller wasn’t shy in requesting additional funding to ease the burden on his prior coworkers. It seemed an inappropriate setting to request more money but the IRS has never been particularly bashful in that regard.
There is some evidence to suggest revenue agents have been busy of late. Strong tax revenues are being credited with the deficit running ahead of projections. It wasn’t enough to avoid eclipsing yet another self-imposed debt ceiling last Friday though. The deficit spending wasn’t newsworthy however because “emergency measures” will again allow for business as usual until the Fall, at which time the debate begins anew. Investors appear generally uninterested in yet another debt debacle, seemingly bored with the theatrics of last-minute political gamesmanship and insignificant reform.
The IRS scandal and debt ceiling were largely a side show as all economic-related news in May was perceived as good news for stocks. Weak economic data reinforced the notion that the Fed won’t abandon the market anytime soon while indications of economic growth are seen as equally bullish.
Talk of a Teflon market raises the question as to what might derail this market’s push to 16,0000. The lack of a catalyst for a dip is stirring conversations of a melt-up, the presumably favored relative of a melt-down, though to some equally as irrational. The most likely source of concern appears to the Fed itself as there are rumblings that the Fed may start to moderate Chairman Bernanke’s easy money policy.
And finally, it wasn’t easy, but Cincinnati’s own “Tom and Chee” continue to prove that uncertainty and dysfunction in Washington is no impediment to earning their slice of the American Dream. Investors on ABC’s Shark Tank committed $600,000 to expand their offering of grilled donut and cheese sandwiches. No word yet if the indulgences can be packaged with Skyline, Graeter’s and LaRosa’s for out-of-towners needing a Cincinnati fix.
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