The government has bailed the free enterprise system
right out of existence.
Tea Leaves: The US DOE is predicting that the global demand for oil will fall through 2009 and that a sharp recovery from the bottom does not seem likely. In an economy that literally runs on oil, this is the same as saying the economic downturn will continue through 2009 with no sign of recovery.
Tumble Dry: This fall's decline in US clothing sales has caused the number of world-wide suppliers to the US garment market to shrink by 70%.
Temptation: Now that the Treasury is being paid to go into debt ($30 billion of T-bills, at 0% this week & 3 month notes where the government gets paid to hold onto your money), don't you worry that the US will view it - and spend it - as free money?
Fallen and Can't Get Up: The National Association of Realtors says that pending home sales are "in a stable range." Flat on the floor, comatose.
Expecting? The Russian press is reporting that US merchant vessels in the Black Sea are being insured against military risks until March of '09. Whether this anticipates armed conflict in the region or is the result of a general risk assessment for the area is unknown.
Lay That Burden Down: Consumers have carried the US economy as far as they can. A 1% drop in consumer spending is projected for 2009, the biggest drop since Pearl Harbor. By mid-year the economy will have been in recession for the longest time since the GD (we're forbidden to utter those words). Think it's going to rain?
Grim, Very Grim: In an attempt to get identification to match the person during the coming hard times, Indiana will no longer permit people to smile for their driver's license pictures.
Accidentally on Purpose: No small group could be so wrong so often by chance. What if the leadership of the Fed, Treasury and Goldman Sachs are not stupid bumblers? Consider for a moment that they rose to their positions through skill, knowledge and hard work. Suppose they know what they are doing, and are doing it on purpose. Hmm?
Well Enough: The price of oil is dropping due to lack of demand, they say. They also say the US is importing more oil than a year ago, and is doing so while the economy (and demand?) collapses.
Not Alone: It's not just Wall Street and Detroit; Korea's exports fell 20% last month, as did Taiwan's. Taiwan's exports to China fell 42%. Intra-Asian trade is in free-fall. Over 1,000 Japanese companies went under last month, and Japan's industrial output is expected to fall over 8% in this quarter.
Contest: The contestant submitting the best guess as to the date the Nigerian economy craters will win the usual accolades. Extra points for properly predicting the price of a barrel of oil on that date.
The Little Engine That Didn't: Freight traffic on US railroads was down 10% in November. If the manufacturers don't make stuff, ships don't have stuff to bring and there's no stuff to put on the trains. Or shelves.
Recidivists: Of US mortgages that have been modified to keep borrowers paying their mortgages, over half become delinquent within six months. Quick, tell Congress before we waste another trillion dollars. Of course there's the Corzine plan , where Fannie buys mortgages and doesn't foreclose even if you don't make payments. They could even buy MBS and CDOs from, say, Goldman Sachs - where Corzine once was chairman.
Bernanke & Company, Printers: Reports say the Treasury is too busy selling Treasuries to cover its own debt to keep shilling for the Fed. So the Fed is considering printing up and selling its own debt to finance its trillions in giveaways. They could call them Federal Reserve Notes....
Porn O'Graph: Shall we dance?