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The top story for the week is the pending Friday deadline that would furlough 30,000 inessential workers from the Department of Homeland Security. The remaining employees of the federal agency, whose implementation was expedited in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, will be forced to work without pay. To the surprise of no one, many workers indicated that they would stay home in the absence of a profit incentive. However, the larger implication is political. Similar to the government shutdown fiasco of 2013, the furlough is a result of a Washington gridlock, this time over a fierce battle regarding immigration policy. The current Obama administration is in favor of a road to citizenship for illegal aliens and their families, while Republicans for the most part remain staunchly opposed.

The primary challenge for conservatives is that they are running counter against popular opinion. According to a recent article from the Fiscal Times, which cited survey results from the Public Religion Research Institute, a majority of Americans are supportive of immigration policies that allow illegal aliens a transition to citizenship or permanent residency given certain conditions. With a scope that spanned 50,000 respondents, 77-percent answered in favor of an accommodative policy. More significantly, every state in the union voted positively, with even the ultra conservative state of Wyoming voicing support to the tune of 52-percent. In fact, the findings reported by the PRRI confirmed similar sentiments discovered by a 2013 Gallup poll, which asked a representative sample of American adults if they were in favor of granting illegal immigrants citizenship if they met specific requirements, including paying taxes, passing a background check, and learning English.

But the unspoken truth in this raging dilemma is the effectiveness of the left’s hegemonic control of the political framework. By expanding the power of the executive branch, President Obama is able to contextualize any opposition to his authoritarian privileges as unnecessary political hardball hurled by conservative factions. Such low-brow strategies proved effective in the 2013 government shutdown, as well as the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Weary of yet another political crisis, the GOP finds itself in a similarly uncomfortable position. Either they will uphold their long-standing principles of national security and concede ground to the Democrats, or they will deem the expansion of executive power as an intractable assault against Constitutional checks-and-balances, an affront that they will challenge at any cost.

However, the aggregate scope of the upcoming Homeland Security shutdown is massive. An estimated 200,000 employees will be forced to work without compensation, including 40,000 active-duty Coast Guard members, and 4,000 Secret Service agents. An additional 40,000 Customs and Border Protection employees would be asked to work without pay, as well as 13,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Together, these two agencies represent the front lines against illegal immigration, with a perceived attack against them possibly too great a risk for any politician to take.

Financial News

In financial news, the domestic equities sector softened in momentum as concerns over a weak oil market weighed on investor sentiment. The Dow Jones lost 10 points on Thursday under choppy trading while the benchmark S&P 500 closed down to 2,110 points. The precious metals complex continued its downtrend, although the scope of volatility slowed down considerably, with gold maintaining the 1,200 dollar mark while silver continues to hold the line above 16.50. On the other hand, palladium bucked the trend by moving above 810 dollars on the ask, buoyed by supply concerns. Finally, in digital currency news, bitcoin is attempting a slow comeback, with the price settling just under 240 dollars at last count.

And that will do it for this edition. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week!