As war is to diplomacy, politics is to economics.
Ten Cent Apples: The coming budget deficit will be $1.2 trillion - the previous record is Bush's $455 billion. And the $1.2 trillion does not include the $1 trillion 'stimulus' nor the $1 trillion bailout for the states. So the coming budget deficit will be well over $3 trillion. And will stay over $1 trillion "for years". Or forever. Or until the collapse of the dollar. Whichever comes first.
Discipline: In a break with tradition, OPEC members have cut oil supplies for 4 months in a row and missed meeting their goal of 27.3 mbd by only 60,000 barrels a day.
Heroes, Lack Of: Hamas had the bad taste to beat America's puppet in what most of the world accepted as an especially fair election (for one in which the USA was heavily involved), so Cheney told Bush to let Israel attack Hamas. No one in this or the next administration is earning merit badges over this. If the US cuts off the money, Israel will stop using the jets, helicopters, tanks and starvation against a population that has no defenses.
Friend of Bernie's: Ramalinga Raju, chair of Satyam Computer Services confessed to cooking the company's books to prop up the company's stock price. Don't relax yet, there'll be more.
Shocking Stuffers: ADP says 693,000 American employees got Christmas cards saying "You job has been eliminated. Happy New Year."
Save Me: The GOP will ensure the stimulus plan includes a 'buy American' caveat. Protectionism is said to have contributed to the depth and length of the Depression. The Republicans also demand that there be identifiable and quantifiable benefits from every penny - a burden of proof never imposed on the Bush tax cuts.
Pilot Lights: Europe used to get a lot of natural gas from Russia, but that was way back in December. Some suspect this is just a bunch of hoods running a protection racket, others blame it on teaching capitalism to the Russians. Six of one...
This is not the Good News: Soothsayer Meridith Whitney, channeling Anne Oakley, says we ain't seen nothing yet. Deleveraging has just begun, the world economy is just starting down the slope, and there's more to come.
Danke: Germany tried to auction off €6billion in 10 year notes, the first step in an attempt to raise record amounts. 'Tried' is the operative word. And Germany is in far better shape than the US. Great Britain also fears 'overwhelming' the market with its needs. What about all the smaller nations, states and cities that need to raise money? How much interest will it take? What happens when they can't raise the money?
When Down is Up: Faced with "massive decreases in demand" (or so the MSM keeps saying) US refinery output was up 332kbd last week, gasoline production rose as did distillate fuel production, while crude oil imports were up 1.2 mbd. Over the last month total crude oil imports are down 210 kbd - that's about 1% of US daily demand and perhaps 1/4th of 1% of global demand.
The Bigger They Are: Bank of America is getting out of its big investment in the China Construction Bank. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) and UBS (Switzerland) are selling their Bank of China holdings. The shine is off the
Future Bright! Free marketeers are sure the government rescue of the free market system will work and that no-one will have to pay for it - well, the workers, but we're all capitalists here - and the Dow will go Wow! If, that is. If the despised government can quash rising unemployment, if the interfering government can stop the increase in bankruptcies, if the incompetent government can slow the on-rushing default of prime mortgages and if the inattentive regulators do not put most of Wall Street in jail for their recent frauds and thefts.
The Check's in the Mail : Remember the old days, when welfare cheats rode around in Cadillacs? (I know they didn't, really, but it builds to the joke.) Well, they still do. Down Wall Street. Under the Obama version of the GOP wish list, companies can write off current losses against taxes paid in the previous 5 years. That Citi is about the only company with losses that large is neither here nor there, right Mr. Rubin?
Porn O'Graph: Look, Ma, I found the TARP!
[It may help to read comment#2 before looking at the chart!]