Jupiter and Saturn: The Astrology of the Budget Battles
As everyone knows by now, the government came very close to a shutdown over ongoing disagreements in the scope and details of cuts to the 2011 federal budget, during a Mercury retrograde of course. What a lot of people don’t know is how this event and other current disagreements about budgets and deficits fit into a much larger pattern involving Jupiter and Saturn, which appear to correlate with our liberal and conservative instincts.
First we have to discuss the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. As depicted below, Jupiter enters into a hard aspect with Saturn every 5 years, completing a full cycle every 20 years. Since we are currently at a Jupiter-Saturn opposition in 2011, we know the last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction happened approximately 10 years ago, and it did, in Taurus, in May 2000. Every 20 years, Jupiter and Saturn will be in the same relationship to one another despite appearing in different signs. Every 59 years, Jupiter and Saturn will be in the same relationship to one another as well as in similar areas of the zodiac.
Across this roughly 60 year period, there is an even larger division of the cycle. If we start at a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, every 15 years Jupiter and Saturn will form their hard aspects in areas of the zodiac generally angular to the sign of the conjunction. What this means for the current Jupiter in Aries-Saturn in Libra opposition is that it does not just refer back to the previous conjunction in Taurus in 2000, but it is part of the larger Jupiter-Saturn series which started at the conjunction in Libra in 1981.
What This Means
The last Jupiter-Saturn square in this series happened in November 1995. Funnily enough, the last budget shutdown occurred on November 14th 1995, with Jupiter at 18 Sagittarius square Saturn at 18 Pisces. Virtually the same scenario played out, a Democratic President, a Republican legislature, the conservatives wanted steep cuts in domestic discretionary spending the president could not accept. How do the budget showdowns of 2011 and 1995 relate back to the events of the last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in 1981?
As historian Gil Troy writes: “During the first two months after his January 20 inauguration, Reagan, with his chief lieutenant David Stockman, launched the Budget Battles as the Reagan Revolution’s opening salvo.” A national liberal coalition stringently opposed the steep tax and budget cut proposals but on August 13th 1981, Reagan signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill and the Economic Recovery Tax Act into law. Together the bills enacted “Reaganomics”: a return to laissez-faire economic principles which in 1981, 1995 and 2011 came to a head in the public discourse about our social priorities as reflected in our budget.
This has all happened before. A whole Jupiter-Saturn cycle earlier in 1921, Warren G. Harding had just assumed the Presidency on a platform of returning to “normalcy”. This, like in 1981, consisted of adopting laissez-faire economic policies after three decades of progressive governance. Harding slashed the federal budget in half in the space of 2 years. On July 21st 1921, Harding signed the Budget and Accounting Act, which formally established the modern framework of the federal budget. Jupiter was conjunct Saturn in Virgo. So today’s Jupiter-Saturn opposition is actually related back to the conjunction under which the budget was first created. FY2011 is all done with. On to FY2012!
Barack Obama vs. Paul Ryan
The day after President Obama announced his candidacy for re-election, Rep. Paul Ryan, also the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, released his plan for the 2012 budget, called “The Path To Prosperity”. It plans to cut the deficit by $6 trillion over 10 years (the time it takes for a Jupiter-Saturn opposition to come to a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction). It does this mainly through deep spending cuts in entitlement programs which benefit the lower and middle classes and the elderly. Whether the ideas in it are meritorious or not, what is remarkable from an astrological point of view is the fact that Paul Ryan released his budget which tries to achieve prosperity (Jupiter) through austerity (Saturn), while Jupiter is opposed to Saturn in the sky, and to top it off, Paul Ryan was born with Jupiter opposite Saturn.
In a recent post, I postulated that Obama’s announcement of his candidacy for re-election would be most characteristic of the expansionist and benevolent tendencies of Jupiter going up against the stern austerity of Saturn (Sun-Jupiter opposite Saturn). That is exactly how he has positioned himself against the Ryan proposal while stressing that his own deficit reduction plan cuts the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years (a Jupiter cycle) through a combination of increased taxes on higher earners and spending cuts in other areas of the budget. Obama was born with Jupiter conjunct Saturn, the conjunction that occurred roughly 10 years before the Jupiter-Saturn opposition at Ryan’s birth. I also neglected to mention that Obama’s inauguration took place under a Sun-Jupiter conjunction, which makes his announcement for re-election at a Sun-Jupiter conjunction all the more timely. I knew the Jupiter-Saturn theme would reveal itself for the 2012 election, I just had no clue it would happen so soon.
Credits to Nick Dagan Best for graphics assistance!