Nine of the 10 executives who received top bonuses from US insurance giant AIG have agreed to return them. This is amazing news. It’s the sort of thing that just doesn’t happen. Mind you, we’ll probably never know what sort of leverage was used on these executives.
But it’s a great example of the current Venus-Pluto dance at its best. (And probably Saturn-Uranus as well. And Jupiter-Neptune!) Venus is retrograde in Aries, 10 days off an exact square with stationing Pluto. Money-men do not behave like this, period, never, never, never. Unless the review (retro) of remuneration (Venus) leads to a huge power shift (square to Pluto.) There was no legal requirement for them to return their bonuses – and one of them did not – but the cultural requirement had become huge, and eventually they had to bow to it.
In my piece on March 20th I wrote about the mass-protest against the bonus-culture being a defining moment for Pluto in Capricorn, a point at which we can see that the culture really is beginning to change. These executives returning their pay shows that we have moved beyond demands for a change of culture and into an actual change of culture.
What’s encouraging about it is that it didn’t move into a personalised witch-hunt followed by a bloody battle through the courts to extract it from them. With Venus in Aries square to Pluto, it could easily have been like this. The vote by Congress to impose a retrospective 90% tax on these people – which Obama has reluctantly declared unconstitutional – would have taken us down the nasty road. But it hasn’t happened like this. It’s the US business culture saying OK, we’ll change without a war.
Whatever the legal situation, those executives were up against the collective in a big way, there was a tide carrying everything before it, and Pluto had to be yielded to.
So if the Venus-Pluto square is affecting you, this shows what can happen. Your big issues around money and relationships don’t have to result in a prolonged struggle. The way Pluto works is that events reach a certain point, the pressure has been there for some time, and you realise there is an inevitability there, a necessity, or a fate if you like, that can’t be fought against. And with Venus backing into Pluto, now is the time when these shifts can happen.
In my piece on March 10th I wrote about the period up to April 3rd (the exact Venus-Pluto square) being a defining moment in the attempts by the US government to get the economy moving again. And it is proving to be so. Timothy Geithner has just released his latest bail-out plan to get the banks lending again, without which the US economy cannot begin to recover. The plan seems to involve the government subsidising the buyout of 'toxic debt' (a whole pile of nearly worthless mortgages) that are currently owned by the banks. These shaky assets are heavily compromising the banks' balance sheets, and so restricting their ability to lend, because you need a stable capital base from which to lend.
Geithner's reputation is on the line over this issue. It would seem that his plan has to succeed in order to keep his job. If it doesn't work, it is hard to see what the US government can do next, under the present economic paradigm, at any rate.
I suspect, for astrological reasons, that it won't work. His solution effectively belongs to the old Sagittarian economy: throw government money at the problem. But we are no longer in that era. And Venus (the economy) retrograde in Aries square to Pluto says this is not a time for initiatives but for becoming aware of the new power, the new reality governing the economy, and bowing to that. This may indeed mean that the banks are stuffed for a lot longer, and that the recession deepens. And this is very difficult for a politician who is expected to produce results. The astrology is saying we need to sit and wait and take our time, because this is such a new situation. The public and Congress want results right now.
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With Sun, Mercury, Node, Uranus conjunct in Leo, Geithner has the brilliance and originality to see what the new situation requires. He is the right man for the job, but his political skills may let him down. His natal Venus - popularity - is opposite Saturn, so he needs to learn (Saturn) how to present himself. Obama has had to step in and help with the presentation of the current plan, because Geithner has shown himself not to be adept in this department.
So it's tricky. Geithner could be the man to guide the US - and to some extent the rest of the world - into the new economic era. But he is under intense pressure to produce quick results, and he needs better presentational skills. Neptune and Chiron are currently opposing his Leo Sun, so this could go either way. He could heal the nation, or Obama might have to sacrifice him when the Americans do not get the quick result they want.
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Obama was born 2 weeks before Geithner. He has MC at 29 Scorpio, and Node at 25 Leo. So both he and Geithner are strongly affected by this year's Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in Aquarius, which also strongly affects the US people (Moon at 27 Aquarius). So there are big hopes and dreams resting on Obama and Geithner, their fates are intertwined. These hopes and dreams are going to be tested for their reality as both Neptune and Jupiter circle around each other from May onwards in late Aquarius. The first test will be between now and then, as the world waits to see if Geithner's latest economic measure works. With natal Sun square Saturn, the US is not a patient nation. I don't think the Obama team is incompetent, so with any luck the outcome of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction will be more realistic expectations about Obama and Geithner, rather than a premature sense of disillusionment.