We are the last of the affluent, innocent no more.
Cliff Notes: Bernanke gave a long, important speech at the London School of Economics in which her reviewed the steps he had taken to date, their effect and the possible steps to be taken in the future. Summary: Nothing is working so we're going to try some other stuff.
Without a Net: Top ten housebuilder Beazer Homes reports a net 53% decline in last quarter's house sales and a 56% decrease in orders for new houses.
Judgment Disbursement: The second-half TARP release seems to be needed in a Very Big Hurry. After all Bush is out and Obama in just a week from now. What could happen, other than the collapse of Citi, between now and then that would require that much money? Oh. Right.
Morning After Pill: Ben's in the backseat, whispering in the economy's ear, "Don't worry, I know how to stop inflation if it gets started."
One Forward, Two Back: Obama's plan may find some $20 billion in 'shovel-ready' projects, but that doesn't replace the over $60 billion decline in non-residential construction, much less all the folks who aren't building houses anymore. How about slum-prevention by hiring ex-financial advisors to take sledgehammers to empty malls and such?
Now and Then: With easy money to be made just by storing oil for a couple of months, why aren't the oil producers storing the oil right where it is, in the ground? Best answer is that they are all desperate for cash, some cash, any cash. Think about that, then imagine a world where the major oil producing countries collapse.
Dropouts Wanted: Some of those who transferred balances to Chase for a low rate on the transfers are being hit with a $10 a month fee just for having a the card. The minimum payment has also been doubled. Apparently Chase does not want cardholders who can actually read or do simple math.
Porn O'Graphs: Paul Kedrosky's current collection, "Strong slowdown in _____ "
Deja Vu All Over Again: Sleazy sub-prime lenders are taking advantage of the government-backed home loan market to ply their predatory trade once more, and the government is unable to prevent this. Talk about recycling.
Nuked: New nuclear plants will carry a cost of 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour - three times the current rate and higher than either solar or wind generated power. The industry will seek governmental support for this vital companion to ethanol.
Tell Me True: Of all the reasons not to release the second $350 billion the best is that they don't know what they did with the first $350,000,000,000.00 of my money.
The Good Old Daze: Bernanke now says the discarded original purpose of TARP - to buy bad assets from the banks at inflated prices - is a Good Idea that should be followed through on even though Paulson
gave away disbursed $350 billion following some other theory that hasn't worked. Banks still suspect each other of lying because they know they are.
Debatable: The question is, "Does Capitalism Need Adjustment?" You have 30 seconds to come up for a defense of the negative, starting now. Time's up.
Porn O'Graph: US Non-Farm payrolls - a drought.