Saturday, February 14, 2009

SAR #9045/Weekender

Would you prefer the frying pan or the fire? Joseph Price


This Can Not Be True: One out of 9 houses in the US is vacant. "The numbers are further documentation of the gravity of the housing problem," says Nicolas Retsinas, head of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Oxymoron: Democratic Leadership.

Soapbox: I'm tired of reading the largest US banks are being raised from the dead so they can "resume the ample lending needed to restart the wheels of commerce." Nonsense. When a business can make a product and sell it for a profit, then the wheels will start turning. That takes customers with actual money - not credit, money. And that will take digesting the bad debts, followed by the gradual accumulation of capital. It's capitalism, not creditism. And it is a long and dreadful ways off.

Repeat After Me: Carbon Tax, carbon tax, carbontax. A tax based on carbon emissions. Say it several times, to get comfortable with an idea whose time has come.

1 + 1 = The Realtors report that house prices fell 12.4% YoY in 4Q08, with 45% of sales being from the 2.3 million foreclosures last year.

Totaled: Christophe de Margerie, CEO of French petroleum giant Total, says that the ability of the industry to increase future production will be below 90 million barrels a day. "The capacity that the oil industry has to go to 93-95 million barrels per day is already over." Turn out the lights when you leave the room, the party's over.

Still Going Up: Climate-warming atmospheric CO2 has now reached 392ppm, the highest level in the last 800,000 years. The larger portion of this gas will remain in the atmosphere, warming the earth, for well over a century. A gift to the grandkids.

Me Too ! Whatever subsidy Obama and the Gang of 60 come up with for folks struggling with oversize mortgages on oversized houses that they could not afford in a reality based economy, I want a chicken in my pot, too.

Just Asking: How does the Treasury providing $50 billion of "assistance to prevent avoidable foreclosures" differ from the Treasury buying $50 billion in bad assets from the banks?

Diet Soda: GM is making "world's first large luxury hybrid SUV". At $73,000 each the Irony will get better milage than the standard Escalade by nearly a half mile a gallon. you want fries with that?

Tantrums: GOP House leader John Boehner threw the stimulus bill - the nation's hope to avoid ruin for millions of working folks - on the floor in disdain. The House's GOP caucus chair, Tennessee"s Glen Casada, and three other TN GOP members have joined in a court suit trying to overturn Obama's election on the basis that he is not a citizen and is not Barack Obama, either. And the new RNC chair admits that citizens "have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point."

Fair Fight: In an attempt to level the playing field, the US military has let a third of the quarter million weapons given to the Afghan government to go AWOL - most likely to the Taliban.

Among the Missing: On a list of the 25 people to blame for this mess, not including Mr. Peak Oil is strange. Did not the high prices of 2008 and the leveling off of production not have a great deal to do with the collapse? If petroleum availability has stopped growing, so too must economies.

Hunger? What Hunger: Fully 33% of the 2009/2010 US corn crop will go to make ethanol.

Revenge of the Serfs: Gazprom Neft reports a 2.4% YoY reduction in petroleum exports and a 10.8% YoY reduction in the export of oil products. The decreases were due to increasing domestic consumption. Right in line with Export Land Model predictions.

Deal Us In: Some of the world's leading airlines claim they want to make sure that any regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is "pragmatic, fair and effective". Not really, for under such a program most flights would be abolished.

Porn O'Graph: Working steadily, or at least being paid that way.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama is a lightweight and will be a failure. His ineffectiveness can be seen already. He can't stand up to his own party in congress. He pushes for a stimulus bill that is just pork for his party. He has no vision and no plan. That America elected him is crime.

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - And your point is?
ckm

TulsaTime said...

Just imagine what the stats for the rest of the year are going to look like in any category, considering that the recession was just getting started at this point last year. There is the wave of ARM adjustments getting ready to hit, the wave of state bankruptcies that are being studiously ignored by the press right now, to say nothing of the reduction in GNP, employment, spending, shoping, eating-out, and general carousing.
Snif-snif....can you smell the cooking going on in all those reports yet? Smells like rainbows and butterflies, good news on the horizon! Is that a light at the end of the tunnel????

CKMichaelson said...

TulsaTime - I suspect the light at the end of the tunnel is coming from a bunch of angry peasants with torches and rope.

Anonymous said...

CK:

My point is... I have never been more fearful and depressed about the future of America than I am now. I used to always assume that in time things would work out but, I never feel that way anymore. It doesn't matter who is elected because the people we elect seem to be either corrupt or just dumb. The private sector (big business) is just as loathsome as the political class. There seems to be only one end point to our current situation and that will be some sort of violence. Whether the people revolt against the privileged class or against each other remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

CK:

My point is... I have never been more fearful and depressed about the future of America than I am now. I used to always assume that in time things would work out but, I never feel that way anymore. It doesn't matter who is elected because the people we elect seem to be either corrupt or just dumb. The private sector (big business) is just as loathsome as the political class. There seems to be only one end point to our current situation and that will be some sort of violence. Whether the people revolt against the privileged class or against each other remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

"Tantrum:" Bohner dropped the bill on the floor after stating that the Dems didn't put the bill out for the American people for 48 hours before voting and after pointing out that not a single member of the house read the bill before voting. I don't know if this is a good or bad bill but, I sure wish our representatives read the darn thing!

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - I suspect that this big unread bill will be as full of surprises as the last one - The Patriot Act. Any problem that takes 1000 pages of legislation should probably be 10 pieces of legislation.
ckm

Merry-will-go-round said...

"This Can Not Be True: One out of 9 houses in the US is vacant."

A walk around any Chicago neighborhood would provide at least anecedotal evidence for the potential accuracy of that stat. My leg research reveals a vacancy / abandonment rate that is noticeably higher than either number of current MLS listings or current market prices would suggest.

Your suggestion to reduce the size of bills moving through Congress is fraught with common sense. The purveyors of shock-and-awe democracy would find someway to connect a demand for smaller bills with socialism, terrorism, or lack of patriotism. Just as they can be counted on to create a fictional enemy or massive confusion so as to distract the peasants carrying torches and rope.

Anonymous said...

@Anon February 14, 2009 11:07 AM:
That Obama is a lightweight and will be a failure should not worry you quite as much as the plain fact that there was no one else!. The US has simply run out of capable, honest leaders and until someone like well Vladimir Putin comes along to deal the cards anew you just have to do what you can with what you have got!

Demetrius said...

There is a new economic theory on the block relating to the way Governments construct and manage economic policy. It is called Das Fliegen-Schwein economics, or “Flying Pig”. In essence it means that governments and states are prone to launch flying pigs as the basis for their policies and actions. They might think that the pigs will remain airborne, but inevitably they all come to ground sooner or later, harder or softer. My thesis is that this theory is so far better than all the other ones.