Monday Clutter: Kevin McCarthy, President Biden, Interest Rates, NFL Playoffs, Aaron Rodgers, Miami Dolphins, Boston Red Sox, Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston, Janet Jackson, and more
Welcome back, and a happy Monday to you all. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your weekend. No complaints on this end, although I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked last night. Fortunately, BDH and Little Buddha made sure today's to-do list isn't that long. I have to drop off the car at the mechanic again (please let this be the last of that for a long time), and then I'll take care of a few errands while I wait.
It should be about 30 degrees today, which isn't that bad, especially when you compare it to what's coming on Friday/Saturday, but I'm getting ahead of myself. We've got the whole week to get through first, and it starts with checking out the latest headlines. The guys made coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Clutter.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was so desperate to land his new job, he's allowing consideration of a radical proposal to abolish federal income/payroll/estate taxes and replace them with a national sales tax. If that became law, much of your life would become 23-30% more expensive. Of course Democrats would kill this in the Senate, but this proposal is galling. This is how out there the GOP is, and how they're willing to sacrifice 99% of the country to serve the economic top 1%. They're not a serious political party, they're slaves to the wealthy, with McCarthy as the top puppet. That's the only reason they're in Washington. The United States can't allow this kind of assault on ordinary Americans.
Speaker McCarthy is a weak man who will push any proposal to appease the far-right. (pic via abcnews.go.com)
Speaker McCarthy and President Biden will meet on Wednesday. McCarthy is trying to act like he's the reasonable one when it comes to the debt limit, and that President Biden needs to compromise. The White House has made it clear that Biden won't negotiate with economic terrorists, and that he expects McCarthy to make sure the government doesn't default on its debt obligations. Once again, McCarthy gave away the store in order to get the speakership.
Let's review this one more time: The (arbitrary) debt limit doesn't increase government spending. It allows the government to borrow money to pay the bills it already owes. If the GOP wants to cut spending, that's what the appropriations process is for. Republicans can propose any reduction they want during that debate, although the American people won't like them, without threatening the national economy.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said he's considering a 2024 presidential bid. This is despite a new poll that shows Sununu losing the Granite State to Ron DeSantis. The fact that Sununu is talking about this is noteworthy, but it feels mostly like an attempt to raise his profile to gain the attention of the next Republican president.
Investors are waiting for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again at the end of their next meeting on Wednesday. The expectations are that it will only be a 0.25% hike this time. However, the Clutter investment team expects chairman Jay Powell to continue to state that while the increases are slowing down, the cuts aren't coming any time soon. That won't be received well, because so many people continue to ignore the Fed every time they say this. Thus, the team expects stocks to take a dip right before the weekend. That's fine with our crew, because the S&P is already up 6% for January, which feels like a full valuation. A brief pause in that growth wouldn't be the worst thing.
The good news about yesterday's NFL playoff games is that we went 1-for-2 with our predictions. The bad news is that we're not getting the Super Bowl we were hoping for, although this one should still be fun.
First, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game yesterday. San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy was knocked out with an elbow injury on the sixth play of the game. That forced the 49ers to insert 4th-string QB Josh Johnson, which was probably the end of the game right there. Johnson ended up getting a concussion in the third quarter, which forced Purdy to return. However, he couldn't throw the ball because of the injury, so Philadelphia is your NFC representative for the Super Bowl.
That was a fitting end to San Francisco's season, considering all of the quarterback injuries they dealt with this year. "Mr. Irrelevant" Purdy was one of the best stories in the NFL, and we hope he gets the chance to compete for the starting role in training camp.
Someone at the Empire State Building decided it would be a good idea to celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles' win. We can only assume that person was drunk at work and has subsequently been fired. This would be like Fenway Park celebrating the New York Yankees going to the World Series.
Next came the Kansas City Chiefs beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the AFC Championship Game. In hindsight, we underestimated Patrick Mahomes' ability to play through a high ankle sprain, while we overestimated Cincinnati having to play three backup offensive linemen. The Bengals hung in there, and they had their chances, but Kansas City was just too much for them to overcome. We wish the Chiefs the best of luck against the Eagles, but the Bengals are our #2 team to root for after the New England Patriots.
The Green Bay Packers are reportedly finally ready to trade Aaron Rodgers. It won't be easy to move Rodgers, because the 39-year-old quarterback is currently due $119 million in guaranteed money over the next two years. However, he has apparently expressed a willingness to restructure his deal if necessary. Here's hoping Green Bay can find a trade partner soon, because this soap opera needed to be cancelled years ago.
Not sure what to make of this situation: The Miami Dolphins are reportedly not interested in Tom Brady, because they're committed to Tua Tagovailoa. We get why the team might say they're sticking with their guy right now, but who knows when he's going to be cleared again, after suffering multiple concussions this season. Whether Brady is the next guy or not, we wouldn't bet heavy money on Tagovailoa being Miami's starter next year.
If the Dolphins are off the table, what are Brady's prime remaining options? Anything besides the Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers? Some folks want to believe that the New England Patriots making Bill O'Brien their new offensive coordinator could increase the chance of a Brady-Bill Belichick reunion. Best-case scenario: It improves the odds from 1% to 2%.
Start the countdown: Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to camp two weeks from Wednesday. The Sox have plenty of starting pitching options to start the year. However, apart from Nick Pivetta, none of them can be counted on delivering a lot of innings. If the team is lucky, maybe a bunch of these guys will come through, and this will be a competitive season. Otherwise, this could be a mess right out of the gate.
FoxSports.com has the Boston Red Sox listed at #6 on their list of teams most likely to acquire Shohei Ohtani, who becomes a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. That's probably about as close as the Sox will get, but it's fun to imagine them getting the two-way All-Star. We'd trade almost anyone on the team (except probably Rafael Devers) to get Ohtani, and getting him would eliminate the bad press ownership has been getting for months now. It's a pipe dream, but it's a fun one.
Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston are reportedly teaming up on a body-swap comedy. We don't have any further details at the moment, but let us know when that one hits Amazon Prime Video.
We're sorry to hear Annie Wersching died yesterday after battling cancer. The actress appeared on numerous TV shows over the years. You would likely recognize her face even if you didn't know her name. We best remember her mostly from 24 and General Hospital, but we just saw her in ads for The Rookie. Wersching was only 45 years old. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. Let's have Janet Jackson ease us into the new week with, "Every Time" for today's, "Song of the Day."
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It was great to see you, as always. Enjoy the rest of your day, be good, and we'll catch up with you again soon. Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.
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