Monday, February 11, 2008

SAR #8043

Three possible responses to Peak oil are:
Produce, Pilfer, or Perish.

At My House: When the government takes money from working people, it's called taxation. When the government gives money to working people, it's called panic.

Tea Leaves: Margin borrowing by speculators reached a peak in 1999 having grown 63% in a year; then the S&P fell 50%. In the year ended July 2007, margin borrowing increased 69%. If the phone rings, tell them I'm not here.

Budgeting: My wife's shoe budget for FY 09 is a modest $247. Of course that only takes us to April 1st, which seems appropriate. Likewise, Bush's FY 2009 budget plan asks for only $70 billion for his various wars. But that only covers until he's tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. Funny, the budget for buying stuff from his father's friends covers the whole budget year.

American Pie: Home ownership fell in 4Q07 to its lowest level since 2002. There are a million more vacant houses today than just a year ago. The bulk are foreclosed homes, with many more to come. It's the American Dream aka "the Some Left Behind Society," as brought to you by Wall Street, Alan Greenspan and the Laffer curve. Some laughter would be good about now.

Dead Horse: I see Chertoff is out trying to scare up some fear about "earth shattering events" that might could happen maybe someday and warning that after not finding the Sabre- Toothed Tigers in downtown Indianapolis in the last six years we must increase our funding of the War Against Nobody in Particular.

Conservative Principles: They say the $400 billion deficit for FY 2009 is tiny compared to our GDP. But it is $4,000 for each non-government worker in the country. The budget, at $3.1 trillion comes to $31,000 for each non-government worker in the country.

Hidden Cost: E85 gasoline -- the kind many cars and trucks now can burn -- is less efficient, cutting mileage by about 25 percent. That takes your SUV down to 8.5 mpg.

Accents: The G7 finance ministers now predict that European losses in the current crisis will be $400 billion, including losses on subprime, Alt-A, and negative amortization mortgages. In the US we're still just talking about the $125 billion in subprime losses. One potato, two potato.

Lost In Translation: AIG (Car Insurance, Retirement Plans, Loans) admitted to the SEC that "... AIG is not able to reliably quantify the differential between spreads implied from cash CDO prices and credit spreads implied from the pricing of credit default swaps on the CDOs," and they were not going to guess, either. "Don't know" has finally become the right answer to a math question.

Where's The Beef ? Treasury Secretary Paulson told the G7 meeting that the US welcomes investment by sovereign wealth funds as a source of capital for credit-stressed US banks. In that their problems are solvency issues (they're broke) not liquidity ones, the Fed is incapable of dealing with them until they are bankrupt and need liquidating. We are yet again dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Top Ten: "We really don’t need a lot of law..." says Huckabee. "There are only 10 basic laws that we need … the reason that the law is more complicated is because we try to find clever ways around those 10." Especially the one about separation of church and state; he definitely needs to find a clever way around that one.

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