Saturday, January 31, 2009

SAR #9031/Weekender

Appealing to our better nature assumes facts not in evidence.

Only the Little People Pay Taxes: No, not Leona Helmsley; Tom Daschle. On December 11th, Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader, was nominated as head of HHS. On Jan 2, 2009 he filed amended tax returns for 2005, 6, and 7. He neglected to report $250,000 in income over the three years. He also 'restated' his claimed charitable contributions by $15,000. A born leader.

How in hell.. At $8.5 trillion, the bailouts have already cost more than all US wars plus the New Deal and Marshall Plan, NASA and the interstates, Alaska, the Louisiana Purchase - in inflation adjusted dollars. Now we're going to add another $0.3 trillion from TARP, $0.8 trillion as a stimulus, and yet another $2 to $4 trillion for the banks.

Fate Worse Than: A fired employee attempted to destroy all the data held in Fannie Mae's 4,000 computer servers nation-wide. The economic damage, had he been successful, would have dwarfed that done on 9/11.

Gross, Very Gross: The US economy dropped at an annualized 3.8% rate in 4Q09. It would have been worse, but the unsold inventory piling up in warehouses and on the nation's car lots are counted as a Good Thing. The real number is somewhere south of 5.3%.

Efficient Markets: Some say the last depression was the direct result of politicians following incredibly bad economic advice. That's certainly true of this one.

Liberally...: The Republicans, who lost the last two elections, still dominate in one place: The liberal media. Cable news invites The Opposition to express their voter-rejected views twice as often as the other brand. It's all about ratings and ad revenue, not news.

New Neighbors: Now that the Cheneys have stopped doing secret things in the back yard, Google can once again provide a clear satellite picture of the Veep's home.

Indigestion: The oceans soften the effects of all the CO2 we dump into the air by absorbing much of it. But the process makes the seas more acidic. The acidification is accelerating; by 2050 most of the oceans will be too acidic for corals to grow and shells to form.

Stay Out Of Jail Card: Just before running off to the suburbs, George W. issued Karl Rove and Harriet Meyers good conduct letters exempting them from ever having to respond to a subpoena and confess to their Good Deeds. Or his. Like so much Bush did, it is not legal but will take years to undo.

Alternative Medicine: Electric grid operators, who have skin in the game, say that reducing carbon emissions would either cut profits or raise prices by $6 to $36 billion a year. And they're not going to lower profits. So, you want to pay for the surgery or let the gangrene eat up more of your leg?

Overlooked: In the Rush to Rescue, we overlook that economic disasters have political and social consequences. Ask Iceland, Greece, France, any victim of the IMF in the last 25 years...

The 'Pop' in Population: There will be half again as many people in the world by 2050 as there are today. If they attain even a third of the consumptive lifestyle of today's citizens of the West, the demands on energy, food and resources will double. The supply will not.

Snow No Show: Snowpack on California's mountains is 40% short of a normal year's supply of water. Another epic drought is anticipated for the growing season in a state that grows half the country's vegetables and fruits. The main system feeding water to farms and the states large cities may be able to supply only 85% of demand.

Peak Oil Production: Schlumberger CEO Andrew Gould "At current prices most of the new categories of hydrocarbon resources are not economic to develop. We expect 2009 activity to weaken across the board with the most significant declines occurring in North American gas drilling, Russian oil production enhancement and in mature offshore basins." In other words, you can't get there from here.

Past, Prologue ? On the bright side, housing prices may stop falling in a couple of years. On the less charming side, during the previous depression the economy did not pick up for 8 years after house prices leveled off.

Counterintuitive: The growth in US sales of distilled spirits slowed last year. It's not my fault.

Construction Ahead? Why are the folks in Washington tinkering with the frayed edges and ignoring the huge stains in the middle of the room? Why advocate a few minor regulatory changes when what's needed is to rip up the carpet and start over? If greed's the problem, a seriously progressive tax system can pretty much curb that - or at least make it harder to keep the ill-gotten gains. (In 2006 the top 400 incomes averaged $263 million and paid taxes at a 17% rate.) Forget it, it's not on the agenda.

Porn O'Graph: The Ice have it, or don't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last night I was trying to remember the two new deep funds trading centers. Surprise

Under "Who we are," gosh. what a surprise. Most of the banks who received bailouts. If I can remember the name of the second deep funds account, I'll post it here.