One US odds maker put the over/under line for the first three-day takings of the new Borat! film at $11m. This is the comedy in which Borat praises President Bush’s “war of terror”.

Under normal circumstances a foreign filmmaker taking the proverbial piss on American patriotism like this might spell commercial US disaster. However, the production ended up taking well over $26m in its first three days.

Democrats were forecast to gain 15 seats and control of Congress by most professional pundits in yesterday's US mid-term elections. The Borat result was an unscientific anecdotal reason to take the over; and so it has proved with Dems taking the House, as this is written, with a shade over 20 seats added (and it may finish with over 30 net adds). The Senate, somewhat unexpectedly given the few constituencies (33 of 100) contested, is within 2 seats of Dem hands also.

The result most desired by the markets is gridlock, thus preventing the emergence of grandiose legislative plans - ie no change keeps current trends as is. Unfortunately, that inexplicable expectation is a pipe dream: divided government has nearly always proved cheap as both sides act as spoilers to the spending plans of the other.

So expect a period of fiscal restraint should the Republicans cling on in the Senate; and coupled with anti-war sentiment it may be the Pentagon that ends up taking the brunt of said restraint, albeit over time. That appears likely to translate into a significant fiscal drag on the winds currently helping sail the US economy.

Of course, Democrats might end up taking both Houses. That sharpens the focus on more than dwindling war funds and simple control of the legislative agenda: it brings into stark relief the potential Dem agenda items of minimum wage hikes, protectionist measures and drug price-controls. The extent of their impact on the slowdown that is approaching (anyway) is more difficult to gauge; but it does not look positive.

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