Thursday, March 12, 2009

SAR #9071

We've mastered the art of turning carbon into obese humans.

What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? Company sponsored pensions disappeared even before Social Security became a vanishing species. Now the 401(k) - America's retirement plan - is being undermined. Coca-Cola, GM, Fed Ex, GM, J.Crew, Motorola, Reader's Digest, Sprint/Nextel and even AARP! are leading the way by suspending payments to their employees' 401(k) plans.

Monopoly: New houses sold at an annual rate of 300,000 in January, down from an annual rate of nearly 1.5 million at the peak in 2005.

Am-Bushed: Seymour Hersh claims that under Bush/Cheny (1) The CIA "was very deeply involved in domestic activities against ... enemies of the state." (2) The Joint Special Operations Command operates without oversight by DoD or Congress, reported directly to Cheney's office, and operated as " an executive assassination ring". Mr. Hersh always cites multiple sources for his reporting.

Heck of a Job: The world's wealth has dropped by 45% in the last year. Where did it go?

Damned If You Do... Scientists have become far more assured in reporting their findings and far more strident in explaining the implications; the seas are rising higher and faster than predicted, permafrost is melting releasing methane, the oceans are becoming too acidic for much sea life to exist, the destruction of rainforests threatens desertification, much of the southern US has entered a long term drought, and worst of all, if Obama actually takes the necessary steps to control CO2 he will cause a "revolution."

Unanimity: Economists argue that copyright and patent laws should be abolished because they "are a drag on the economy." On the other hand, economists could be abolished on the same grounds.

Chinese Checked: Chinese exports fell over 17% in January, YoY, and a further 25% in February. And they're going to grow their GDP 8% in 2009?

Children's Crusade: If you are a first-time house buyer Uncle Sam will underwrite the first $8,000 of depreciation on your new house. A consolation prize for losing your virginity in the housing market. After the price drops 5%, you're on your own.

Wasted Days & Wasted Nights: Looking back at ten years of quixotic attempts to keep people from being people, the UN is concluding that the War on Drugs has been an abject failure. If they'd held the meeting in Juarez instead of Vienna it would not have taken so long to come to this conclusion.

Good Question: Where are the co-conspirators?

Peanut Butter & Whiskey: It now costs as much to buy protection against a US default on Treasury notes as it does to insure those of France. Is the protection on the dollar written in terms of dollars? If the dollar folds, I'd prefer to be paid off in booze.

Words of One Syllable: The economy is tanking because no one has the money or the credit to buy anything. So the GOP wants the government to cut back on its spending, too. Fair's fair and taxing the rich to create a stimulus to put the unemployed back to work simply isn't fair.

Resourcefulness: Each US citizen goes through 25 barrels of oil a year. In Japan it's 16 barrels. In China it is 2 barrels a year and in India about 1. As oil supplies decline, who's going to miss them most? Which economy will suffer most?

Back Yards: A Democratic proposal would create a new federal agency to oversee the placement and construction of new long distance power lines as part of the push for alternative energy. That sounds fine, until they decide the pylons are going to go in your back yard.

Pressing Matters: The Bank of England started printing £2 billion as its "quantitative easing" gets underway in an effort to inflate a new bubble boost the economy.


TulsaTime said...

Another rich load of smirky-ness and chortles, as usual. You don't suspect that the Chinese cook their statistics like we do, do you? I'll bet they can make that 8% and then some.....

Steve said...

It appears that USA CDS are quoted and settled in euros, and that the required collateral to provide protection in the event of coverage being triggered is placed with a trustee outside the US.

Further, 'default' could mean things less severe than total repudiation of a US Treasury payment; more like technical default than actual default.


So in that event, there may still be a bank or two that'll convert your Euros to dollars, but at that point, why? (dollar would be tanking)

I agree - I'll take mine in gold, guns and butter.

pmr9 said...

Controlling CO2 emissions doesn't require a revolution - all it needs is a carbon tax of about $20 per ton CO2 (equivalent to $400 per capita in the US) to make coal-fired power uncompetitive with new-build nuclear.

RBM said...

"Heck of a Job:"

The wealth wasn't destroyed it never was there! Debt, of which the past 15 years of "growth" was predicated on, can never, ever, ever create wealth. Only production of material goods can create wealth. Debt by nature destroys the wealth building process of a nation.


buermann said...

"until they decide the pylons are going to go in your back yard"

But they'll be remote backyards!

Merry-will-go-round said...


Your Uanimity quip was positively priceless. Please add the same re: Lawmakers as a drag on the economy.

From Market Watch: The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative GOP lawmakers, believe that instead of pumping billions to bail out banks, lawmakers could save the economy by simply eliminating controversial mark-to-market accounting rules, which require daily revaluing of assets…

CKMichaelson said...

Merry-will... Thank you, thank you. And the Market Watch item is being promoted to tomorrows blog.