Friday, January 9, 2009

SAR #9009

Welcome to the consequences of industrial growth.

Richard Heinberg

Collateral: The UN reports that food aid shipments to Gaza were halted after Israel attacked a convoy killing 2 Red Cross workers. The UN also reported that at least 257 Palestinian children have been killed during Israel's invasion.

Wish List: Obama's stimulus is Bush's tax plan. Been there; it does not work. When will Democrats stop being afraid of Republicans? Reducing help to the typical American family to for more of what brought us here - another $310 billion Republican tax cut just to get them to play nice - is cowardly. The GOP does not play nice, it plays politics. And plays to win. And wins. So much for change.

Just Asking: What if Russia isn't 'withholding' gas? What if it just can't meet the demand?

Mirror Mirror: Economic historians Rogoff and Reinhart advise that housing will not bottom until 2012 or later, unemployment will soar over 11%, the market will resemble a doormat for quite some time and we're not as smart as we think we are.

XII Sales Data: Williams Sonoma -24%, A&F -24%, Saks -20%, Gap -14%, Sears -13%, Limited -10%, and Wal-Mart + 1.7%. Don't worry about the numbers, the recession is all in your mind.

Circles: The Fed has started buying mortgage-backed securities from Fannie and Freddie - the first of some $600 billion. They've hired outside firms to do the actual purchases, in order to drive up the cost and provide profits to the financial sector. All this to make mortgages more affordable. Lower prices are not an option.

Bullies: Background, foreground and ground under the heel - or US, Them & The Others in Gaza. Another fine Jeff Huber essay; if you didn't read it yesterday, read it now.

New Shoes: Obama's warning that the Bush bailouts will lead to "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come." That's the optimistic view. First the Treasury will try to get the money for free, then it'll raise interest rates, to keep China interested, then it'll turn on the printing presses.

Yada Yada Yada: Economists are still debating whether markets are rational or irrational, which is why most of us ignore the noise coming from that corner.

Connections: Yes, it's getting cold in Europe, and more expensive to stay warm. But later on, the gas delivery cuts may drive up the price of food, for nitrogen fertilizers are made from natural gas. Reducing fertilizer making to let people heat houses is noble, but it will drive up the price of fertilizer, and thus food, later on. You do have a dog in this fight after all.

Norse Myth: Norway, feeding the peak oil myth, said its production would fall 9.7% this year, the 9th year of continuing production declines. Between 2009 and 2013 Norway, now the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, expects "significantly reduced oil production."

Money for Free: Fed Funds are below 0.25%, Ten Year Treasuries are 2.5%, Yet most corporations pay over 8% to borrow. Money's free to the government; the real economy doesn't seem to be important to the recovery.

All Wet: A report by the US agency for coordination of climate change research predicts a sea level rise nearing 4 feet by 2100. The last IPCC projection had been for a rise of only 1.5 feet, but global ice melting, as detected by satellites, indicates the rise will be far more severe and much quicker than previously thought. Rising Pacific sea levels are expected to increase migration difficulties for Australia, while port cities around the globe, including NY and Boston, will face flooding.

Point Missed: There's a discussion going on over the question of making money from other people's misery. Of course it's immoral, but we're talking capitalism here so morality has nothing to do with it.

Porn O'Graph: Down the stairs, out the door, get a job! Employment 2008.


CC said...

Regarding your second item. You can argue whether or not tax cuts work, but to single out the Republicans as the ones who "don't play nice" or "play politics" is disingenuous, both major parties are guilty of that.

CKMichaelson said...

Ah, my point exactly, CC - We've seen the US become a one party nation and I'd like us to have at least two - I do not understand why the Dems can't learn to do politics as well as the GOP. They're the majority, why not act like it? Maybe the winners should not take all, but they shouldn't give it all away, either.