Wednesday, January 9, 2008

SAR #8010

The invisible hand of the market raises its middle
finger, telling the world's poor exactly where to go
Ron Patterson.

Pro Life : Cheap fossil fuels created the delusion that science could always feed another mouth. Cheap energy led to cheap food led to an ever increasing population. Cheap people. When the fuel goes away, the food goes away, and then the people. Forbidding contraception, birth control and abortion guarantees that war, disease and starvation will limit population.

Scrooge : The result, if not intent, of the housing bubble has been to take the only asset the bottom 80% of Americans had - they owned 34% of total housing equity but only 9% of stocks - and transfer it to the rich, who already had 80% of the stock but only 45% of the home equity.

Pipeline : The Energy Information Agency reports that our crude oil supply is 282.8 million barrels (mb). Our daily use is 20.6 mbd , so everything's fine. Except it takes 270 mb just to fill up our pipelines and the supply data includes the oil in the pipes. Which leaves us with less than a 24 hour supply. Hope the 'just in time' guys are spot on, or else that the outages occur in North Dakota.

Big Bother : The Chinese government says it is banning shops from using plastic bags from June this year, in a bid to curb pollution. End of discussion.

The Wasteland : Sanitation workers in Naples have been on strike for more than a week. The army is being sent to retake control of the garbage clogged streets. People tried burning the stuff, but it gave off so much toxic fumes they had to stop. More and more Italy looks like the miner's canary for our ongoing multiple crisis, based on peak oil and peak financial stupidity. The end result will likely be a series of system collapses, here and abroad, so it’s good to get a glimpse at what collapse looks like. Seems to be the only preparation we're willing to undertake.

Tumbling : Venezuela has cut the "net due" payment period from 30 to just 8 days. The value of the dollar has been dropping t0o fast to wait 30 days. Remember the old phrase "Cash on the barrel head ?"

Scofflaws : Half of all US bankruptcies are a direct result of medical problems experienced by the employed middle class. Three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. High co-payments and deductibles cause financial ruin.

Passing Gas : We hear lots about the coming oil shortage, but look: 22,754 natural gas well were drilled in the US last year - just to keep the supply even. Some 60 new holes every day. When does the increase in the cost of drilling get to the point where it isn't profitable to drill 60 new holes every day? How long before they run out of places to drill 60 new holes every day?

One Size Fits All ! For 30 years the GOP has done a Robin-Hood- in- reverse, giving to the rich while robbing the middle class. (The poor don't have anything worth stealing.) Using but one argument, they are remarkably flexible in the economic debate. If the economy is doing well, they claim it is the result of tax cuts for the rich. If the economy slows down, the cure is... tax cuts for the rich. This will turn out to be the cure for the mortgage problems, too.

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