I can’t say I understand how economies work. I certainly don’t know what all the terms mean, and how one thing affects another. I don’t know if that’s an advantage or a disadvantage, because one thing we all know from recent events is that the ‘professionals’ can get it spectacularly wrong, in ways that someone with their eye on a bit of basic bookkeeping would not get wrong. It’s a classic case of the Emperor’s New Clothes. I always like it when it becomes apparent that the layperson’s opinion is just as valid, if not more valid, than that of the ‘professionals’.
This is where it helps to be Aquarian, because you’re less likely than most to buy into the professionals’ desire to be seen as the experts. It’s likely to get worse for a while under Pluto in Capricorn: the power (Pluto) of the professional (Capricorn). People often have much more innate sense and wisdom than they realise.
Anyway, all this gives me and you the right to comment on the state of the world economy and what we think the cure might be. What I’ve got in mind are the latest proposals of President-elect Barack Obama, from yesterday’s Financial Times:
‘Obama set to push 'big bang' reform package
US President-elect Barack Obama intends to push a comprehensive programme of social and economic reform beyond an immediate emergency stimulus package, Rahm Emanuel, the next White House chief of staff, indicated yesterday.
Mr Emanuel brushed aside concerns that an Obama administration would risk taking on too much when it takes office in January. He said Mr Obama saw the financial meltdown as an historic opportunity to deliver the large-scale investments that Democrats had promised for years.
"We can't afford to wait on moving forward on the key priorities that I identified during the campaign, including clean energy, healthcare, education and tax relief for middle-class families," said Mr Obama. "We also need a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provides relief to families watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear."
Economists have estimated the US budget deficit could more than double next year to almost $1,000bn, raising concerns about whether Mr Obama could deliver on expensive campaign promises including $150bn in investments in alternative energy over the next decade and a $60bn-$110bn plan to provide universal health insurance for Americans.
In contrast to 1992, when Mr Clinton postponed longer-term investments in favour of urgent budget deficit reduction, advisers to Mr Obama, including Mr Summers, who is tipped by some as his first Treasury secretary, are tilting towards investments. They emphasise that Mr Obama will stick to a medium-term goal of restoring fiscal discipline.
So what do you reckon? Obama is certainly being bold, though you can see the sense in Clinton’s approach of balancing the books before you start spending. On the other hand, government spending, even when it’s borrowed, can stimulate the economy. Britain was effectively bankrupt after World War II, but that didn’t stop a Labour government setting up the National Health Service. In his first term as Prime Minister, Tony Blair was cautious about the reforms he wanted to introduce, particularly in increasing spending on health and education. He eventually got round to it, but by then his political capital was not what it had been, and he was not able to reform to the extent he would have liked.
So it makes political sense for Obama to begin reforms immediately. He will have a huge amount of power to start with, and he needs to take full advantage of that. As I wrote in my last blog, he has a strong Saturn, so I think he can be trusted not to overspend.
Boldness is a Mars quality, and Obama’s is in practical, analytical Virgo, and trine to his prudent Saturn. The Saturn-Uranus opposition will be lining up along his Mars for the next year, so we can expect to see a series of initiatives that are bold and ground-breaking, and yet considered and prudent.
The US Venus is at 3 Cancer. Venus governs wealth, and Pluto - which also governs wealth - will be opposing this Venus next year. The last hard aspect from Pluto to the US Venus was in 1972/73, when there was a stock market crash followed by the oil crisis and then a recession, as the world adjusted to the higher price of oil. So we can expect to see a big change in the nature of the US economy over the next 2 years as it adapts to changed conditions.
It will be interesting to see what steps Obama takes over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for these are Mars issues for both himself and the US. The US Mars at 21 Gemini is being similarly impacted by Saturn-Uranus in 2009, as well as being square to Obama’s natal Mars. So we can expect new and unexpected strategies and developments that challenge the US’s traditional military understanding and view of itself.
General David Petraeus, who has recently assumed command of the entire Middle East theatre, has Mars at 19 Capricorn (a classic Mars sign for a general) in a t-square with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Though his Mars is not currently under a major transit, it is trine to Obama’s Mars, and he also has a natural and dynamic understanding of the Saturn and Uranus principles as applied to Mars. So he should be able to work well on a military level with Obama and any new ideas he might have.