The number one issuing concerning investors is not the rising national debt, or the series of tax hikes and spending cuts that took effect earlier this year. It’s the tense relations between the White House and Capitol Hill.
The latest Investor Watch Survey released by UBS Wealth Management shows that 70 percent of respondents listed the broken political environment in Washington as their biggest worry, followed closely by rising health care costs and the national debt.
Surprisingly, the majority of respondents did not hold a negative view of the tax hikes brought on by the fiscal cliff deal negatively. In fact, 70 percent said they were “about right” or should have been higher. The survey also showed that older investors are more willing to pay higher taxes to reduce the debt burden for future generations, while younger investors are less willing. - See the survey results here
WALL STREET GOES GUN SHY Freedom Group, the largest U.S. manufacturer of assault rifles is for sale, but bankers are reluctant to front cash for its acquisition, fearing a public backlash from any attachment with the maker of the Bushmaster gun used to murder 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Conn. That’s right. Wall Street does not like being associated with the assault weapons business, even though a critical mass of senators—after blocking gun control legislation—are okay with the industry. Reuters Breaking Views Robert Cyran writes, “Making assault rifles, it turns out, has joined pornography on the list of activities with risks that money can’t hide.” - Read more at Breaking Views
NERVOUS BANKS QUESTION CFPB’S DATA EFFORT The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is accessing massive amounts of data to monitor how millions of Americans use credit cards, take out mortgages and overdraw their checking accounts. This freaks out some banks. Bloomberg’s Carter Dougherty writes “while the goal is to sharpen enforcement and rule-making, banking executives have questioned why the bureau is collecting so much without being more specific about the benefits.” - Read more at Bloomberg
POST OFFICE GEARS UP FOR MORE STAFF CUTS During a congressional hearing on Wednesday Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said USPS will need to cut at least 100,000 jobs through attrition to get back on sound fiscal footing. The agency, which is $20 billion in debt, has already reduced its workforce by 200,000 in the last three years. - Read more at GovExec
FURLOUGH FRENZY AT THE LABOR DEPT. In response to the sequester, the Department of Labor officially began furloughing 4,700 of its 16,848 employees this week. Furloughs will be in effect until Sept. 24, and the number of days employees are required to take varies depending on their position at the department. Other agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget are expected to start their furloughs next week. - Read more at GovExec