Sunday, September 29, 2013

Obamacare under threat as government shutdown looms

(29 September 2013)  It was another bad week for President Obama as House Republicans voted for a one-year delay of Obamacare as part of its spending bill.  The delay of the unpopular health care plan has put the GOP on a collision course with the White House.  Obama will veto the bill to delay its launch and this will then result in a government shutdown as funds will not be available to provide basic government services. US government shutdowns are not that uncommon, however, and usually last only a few days.  Financial markets are actually more concerned with the threat posed by the debt ceiling debate as money is due to run out by October 17th.  If the debt ceiling cannot be raised, then the US government would default on its debt.  This is far more disruptive to financial markets than a shutdown.

To some extent, the current bad mood in Washington is the result of the ongoing Saturn-Rahu conjunction.  This has been in effect for much of September and is carrying over into October as it is activated by the transits of faster moving planets such as Mercury and the Sun.   As I have discussed in previous posts, this conjunction is afflicting Obama's natal Mars (frustration, confrontation) and is likely undermining his Sun (confidence, leadership) since the Saturn-Rahu conjunction sits atop his Neptune.  Neptune is in a close square aspect with his Sun (Sun-Neptune=weakness, indecision) and so this malefic activity on his Neptune has a clear channel of energy from which to flow to his Sun.  While Saturn is slowly moving away from Obama's Neptune, it will also tighten its square aspect to his Sun in October.  This aspect makes any quick or clear victory more unlikely as his leadership and popularity will continue to suffer.   As transiting Mars conjoins his Rahu and then squares his Moon (with the help of transiting Neptune (8 Aquarius), Obama will likely see more headaches and setbacks in October.

The ACA health care bill has its own chart and shows the current stresses fairly well.  Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010 at 11.56 a.m. in Washington.  The resulting natal chart is really quite afflicted although it is powerful also.  The Moon rises in Gemini but is involved in a very tense Grand Cross alignment as it is opposite Pluto, squared by Saturn and also in a 90 degree alignment with the Sun.  That Moon on the Ascendant is therefore quite afflicted and speaks directly to the unpopularity of Obamacare.  Even if it is eventually implemented, it seems likely to increase health premiums for many people even if coverage is more inclusive. Note that a debilitated Mars in Cancer sits in the 2nd house of wealth and assets and it is disposited by that very afflicted Moon. 

Its prominence in American public life is reflected by the fact that the Sun sits high in the chart in the 10th house conjunct Uranus (innovation, fame) and its Ascendant ruler Mercury is also in the 10th house (albeit fallen in Pisces) with Venus, which is exalted.  All four planets are opposed by Saturn, however, so that may be a key factor why most of the news and high public profile of Obamacare is critical and negative.   Saturn's pivotal aspects on both the Sun and Moon means that Obamacare is perhaps better described as infamous rather than famous.  Its difficult natal chart also suggests it may not be a positive legacy for the Obama presidency. 

As we would expect, the current transits to this chart are not good.  The Ascendant ruler Mercury is under pressure from the ongoing square aspect of Uranus and Pluto.  This is one reason why Obamacare is such a focus of attention and lightning rode of opposition.  The combined influence of Uranus and Pluto means that the roll-out will not be smooth sailing and that it will be basically unstable and tentative for the next year or so while these slow moving transits are still in proximity of that Mercury.  Even more problematic is the transit of Rahu to the Moon-Ascendant in the Obamacare chart.  This is still approaching its exact trine aspect so that is one reason to think that there will be still more birthing pains in the coming weeks.


But is this enough to translate into a one year delay?  The planets look equivocal on this question.  While the Rahu aspect to the Moon/Ascendant is likely quite difficult, one would have expected more affliction to the chart if there was going to be a formal delay.  Such a delay would be quite embarrassing to Obama and the Democrats and would keep hope alive for the GOP that repeal was still possible down the road.  The current dasha period in this chart is Rahu-Mercury.  Yes, Mercury isn't in the best shape, but it is also not strongly afflicted by transit at the moment.  So I am agnostic on the prospects for a delay.  The chart is under pressure at the moment, but it may only be the latest bump in a very bumpy road for Obamacare.  

I do think that Obamacare's future is uncertain, however.  The Rahu-Ketu dasha period begins in January 2014 so that should see more opposition and problems emerge with the program.   The transits also offer support to the notion that there will be more opposition to the program during this time.  The Saturn station at 10 Scorpio in March 2015 will line up on the equal 6th house of the natal chart and suggests a time of extreme stress.  Given that this will shortly follow the 2014 mid-term elections in November, it suggests that there may be a renewed movement to oppose and repeal Obamacare at that time. 

All this uncertainty was bad news for stocks as financial markets anticipated some short term turbulence from the possibility of a government shutdown and a disruptive debt ceiling debate.  US stocks lost 1% while Indian stocks slumped 3%.  The  negative outcome was not surprising given the ongoing Mars-Venus aspect through much of the week.  Thursday's more bullish Venus-Jupiter aspect did generate some optimism but it was fairly muted. 

There are two key patterns to watch this week.  On Wednesday and Thursday, the Sun will form a close alignment with Saturn, Uranus and Pluto.  This looks quite potent and could move markets significantly in either direction.  Saturn's presence here means that there is perhaps more downside risk.  In light of the shutdown showdown in DC, this pattern would seem to suggest more difficulties for government as Sun (government) is in alignment with Saturn (blockage), Uranus (sudden developments) and Pluto (power, coercion).   The other thing to watch is the entry of Venus into sidereal Scorpio on Wednesday.  Stocks have generally done well during the transit of Venus through favourable  Libra which began on September 6th.  But Scorpio is more hostile territory for Venus, so this could amount to a weakening of the planet of money.   Venus transits Scorpio from October 2 until October 30.  While probably not especially positive, this transit is not necessarily negative in itself.  The larger point here is that once it leaves Libra, it may expose the greater negative potential of the Saturn-Rahu conjunction.