Saturday, February 7, 2009

SAR #9038/Weekender

Does it bother you that the Treasury still won't tell us

who they gave what to, or the conditions?

Devil / Details: Paulson paid $274 billion for $176 billion worth of stocks and warrants under the TARP program. These assets may end up worthless. Captain Renault is shocked.

Cliff Notes: A deadly serious debate about how to save our economy has been turned into hackneyed political theater by Republicans who act as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened. It's hard to exaggerate how much economic trouble we're in. Most economists warn that in the absence of government action we're headed for a deep, prolonged slump, an economic abyss in which the economy ends up stuck in a prolonged cycle of deflation feeding on itself. Everything depends on what we do next, what Obama does next.

Planning Ahead: The Treasury has hired two law firms to "advise on the restructuring" (i.e. bankruptcy) of GM and Chrysler.

Today's Word : Pre-consumption. As in "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Americans have gone into unpayable levels of debt to satisfy their consumption needs far into the future. They've been pre-consuming their income.

Headline Only: "Landlords Drop Demands For Murdered Woman To Pay Back Rent"

Water Shortage: The worst drought in 50 years has left 4 million Chinese without adequate drinking water, and threatens the summer grain harvest. As if 25 million newly unemployed peasants wasn't enough of a problem.

Another Headline: "The Other Unemployment Rate: 13.9%"

Public Speaking: "Don't come to the table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped to create this crisis... We're not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that, for the last eight years, doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face, that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, or the soaring cost of health care, or failing schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees. I don't care whether you're driving a hybrid or an SUV -- if you're headed for a cliff, you've got to change direction." President Barack Obama.

More of Less: Research shows that high-yielding veggies and grains provide less protein and minerals than the unimproved, lower yielding (and better tasting) types. Progress through biochemistry.

Real Counterfeits: If your Bally shoes, Burbury coat, Louis Vuitton bag, are the real thing, they most certainly are not made in China, right? Wrong. They are assembled - mostly- where they are supposed to be; but they are made in China. And no matter what the label says, 60% of the honey in the US is imported, half of that from China. Read the label, carry salt.

Quoted: I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane.

Synchronized Sinking: Everybody's tanking. There's no safe place except the mattress. GDPs here, there and everywhere are negative. Protectionism has been sighted. Roubini strikes again, there is no place to hide.

Coup d’etat: We didn't get here by accident; such a glorious ongoing transfer of wealth to a relative handful while beggaring the planet has been determinedly underway for a decade or more. The pieces fit together.

Porn O'Graph: US economy going strong; too bad it's going downhill.


Rolandovich said...

In Synchronized Sinking:

"One senior Brown ally told The Independent: "He needs to use simpler language to explain the measures we are taking. He keeps repeating phrases like 'global recession', but that is too much jargon. He needs to say, 'We're facing problems. The whole world is facing problems. But we're helping to sort it out.' The average man is not going to understand our message if it contains too much economics."

That was a tough one to swallow. Is the problem really that "global" and "recession" are concepts inaccessible to people?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is an excessive amount of pessimism about the economy and the job loss. Without a doubt the economy is in a very tenuous position but isn't now the time to believe in our inherent ability to overcome, survive, and thrive?

Instead of wasting too much time figuring out where blame lies (analysis of past mistakes is necessary to a degree) lets spend time developing solutions for ourselves and perhaps more help the people around us.

Now is a time to tighten our belts and push forward believing in our inherent ability to succeed.

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - I agree we should not spend too much time repairing the old system, but we should have a robust discussion of what to replace it with. I'm not sure clicking our heels and making a wish is going to cut it. And I'm not at all convinced of "our inherent ability to succeed"; which hope is just that, a hope, and depends far too much on facts not in evidence these last 30 years.

Anonymous said...

"More of Less: Research shows that high-yielding veggies and grains provide less protein and minerals than the unimproved, lower yielding (and better tasting) types. Progress through biochemistry."

If you buy gasoline, you have a measure of value: OCTANE.

If you buy a carrot, you buy on appearance, there is no measure of nutritional value. However as the article indicates, all carrots are not equal.

Hmmmm. Why is this?

If there were a measure of Nutrition, then all the carrots and most of the "food" in the supermarket-agribusiness complex might be revealed as having the value of an MBS Tranche.

The Agri Fraud is much bigger and more damaging than the Financial Fraud.

Anonymous said...

It's laughable you're coming down so hard on the Republicans. Do you really think the Dems are much different? We have a one-party system: Kleptocrats. You probably believed Obama would really bring about change, like the other sheep. Come on now.

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - The Republicans are no laughing matter. When (and if ever) the Dems do something, anything, worthy of comment, comment will be served. As for hope & change, it will be interesting to see if Obama can wriggle out of his contract with the kleptocrats - signed as the price of admission. So far he seems intent on keeping the small promises, while serving his masters on the larger issues.

Steve said...

Re: "O'Graph": labels, description, meaning?