Stock markets are soggy today because the governments of the two largest Western economies, the US and Germany, appear stuck on polarizing political issues. It’s not at all clear that the Republican Party has 51 votes in the Senate for a tax bill that would be acceptable to the House, given the near-certain defection of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and the likely opposition Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
The Bangor (Maine) Post writes, “Republicans in the U.S. Senate have altered their tax reform plan to include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all Americans have health coverage or face a penalty. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins doesn’t like that. The Maine Republican isn’t saying that’ll make her vote against tax reform (yet), but it makes the path toward ‘yes’ harder. The moderate Collins already has helped kill two of her party’s efforts to repeal the health care law this year.”
Meanwhile Germany’s long-grinding negotiations for a coalition government among the Christian Democrats, Free Democrats and Green Party missed their deadline today. Negotiations will continue through the weekend. Issues with deep emotional resonance divide the German parties, including what to do with the million and a half Middle Eastern migrants, or whether to spend more on social programs or cut taxes for business, as the Free Democrats advocate.