Saturday, March 29, 2008

SAR #8090

"Better a miserable ending than misery without end."
Quoted by: Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Arrogance and Incompetence! The headline: Bush Says Basra Offensive Shows Iraq's Progress Quotes: "Civil war is a healthy sign of a free democracy." Or some such hogwash. Our Only President went on to say this was "helping Iraqis reclaim security and restart political and economic life.'' and that Iraq was "striving to build a modern democracy on the rubble."

9/10th's of the Law: The Fed, a private bank authorized to create money out of thin air, will soon be our Central Financial Planing Office. Controlling interest in the Fed is owned by: Rothschild (London), Lazard Brothers (Paris), Israel Moses Sieff (Italy), Warburg (Hamburg) Lehman Brothers(NY), Chase Manhattan (NY) and Goldman Sachs (NY). Will the trains run on time?

Second Thoughts: When a prospective buyer signs a contract on a house, the government counts it as a sale. If the customer backs out of the deal, the government still counts it as a sale. The average cancellation rate is currently 43%. The surge is working, too.

Storage Sites: It is bad enough there is a Texas sized clump of plastic in the mid-Pacific; now we're told that plastic in the ocean tends to concentrate poisons in the water near them. Assignment: For the next 24 hours carry a pen and notepad and write down all the ways you, personally, are corrupting the environment. For extra credit, do something about it.

Lascaux: We've been to see this picture before; there are lots of different explanations as to why this is not worrisome, but the "non-borrowed reserves" of US banks have reached -$61.7 billion. Chart is here.

All Things Being Un-Equal: For the fourth straight year, those at the very top made large gains (up 44% - an increase of $1.9 million each) in income, while everyone else (the bottom 90% of us) got gruel (3%, or 1% after inflation). The average 30 year-old makes 12% less than his father did at 30. What time is the revolution?

Supply/Demand: The price of oil is set by the laws of supply and demand. Not the demand for oil, the demand for cash. The Saudi government spends $55 a barrel to provide welfare to its citizens. Venezuela, $97, Iran, Nigeria - $75. The social costs and the actual costs of producing the oil makes $100 a barrel oil a break-even undertaking. They're not getting rich, they are going broke bribing their citizens so they can stay in power.

Returns: Maybe the average citizen is not as dumb as his financial advisors. Over the last ten years, the stock market - DOW, S&P - has gone nowhere. Meanwhile, inflation has lowered the value of savings by 30%. Makes the plasma TV, SUV and McMansion look like a better investment than a 401k.

Definitions: Big investment banks have "whittled their holdings" of LBO bonds this year by "offering the debt at discounts" as large as 80 cents on the dollar. I can think of other words to describe taking a 80% loss.

Murder, Inc. Private companies are installing "traffic violation cameras" at intersections at no cost to the community. Pictures of vehicles running red lights are taken, the owner of the vehicle is ticketed and part of the fee is kept by the firm providing the service. Why not contract out murder investigations, with a payment going to the firm catching the (or at lease a) perpetrator? Competitive policing!

Scale : Some worry about what we'll use for energy when the oil is gone. A bigger concern: what do we do with all the infrastructure that is built to run on oil and gas? Where do we get the capital to replace whole industries? Peak oil is not the end, it is the beginning of the end. The end will go on and on and on...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The 'Supply/Demand' link is incorrect, pointing to a link on your own computer! I'd like to read the article, but ...