Must there always be an enemy?
Shhhh! What are the odds that the info Tiny Tim wants kept secret about the results of the banks stress tests is good news?
Big Surprise, Duh: General Odierno regrets that there are still Iraqi's who do not love having the US Army occupying the country, so we will have to continue occupying the country until they like us better. Petraeus's goal for the surge was “not to bring the war to a close” but “simply to show enough genuine progress that the American people would be willing to stick with it even longer.”
Open Houses: Census Bureau data: 14 million housing units- 1 in 9 - are vacant (not including vacation units). 9% of houses built since 2000 are vacant, but only 2% of older,
better built, houses. This includes some 600,000 homes repossessed by banks but not offered for sale on the market.
Banks Are Doing Grrrrreat! While bank stocks rally, Oppenheimer analysts suggest that Bank of America will need another $37 billion in additional capital this year. Wonder where the money'll come from?
Foreclosures Forecast: The expiration of foreclosure moratoria - Fannie/Freddie and California's SB1137's for example - means that the foreclosures that would have occurred over the last six months or so will now occur. In a lump. A big lump.
Only Half There: In the US, less than half the 13.2 million who are out of work and are actively trying to find a new job are receiving unemployment benefits. Great nation, or what?
Indigestion: The CBO reports that ethanol is not profitable without the 45 cents a gallon subsidy it gets, barely replaces any imported oil, and is of little if any benefit to the environment. But growing corn for ethanol did increase food prices about 15%.
Asked and Answered: "Does Obama Really Work For Wall Street?" So far.
Balance Beam: The Fed sees the US economy falling deeper into recession in the near term. Only massive government spending, they say, can reverse this trend. The same policy gurus also say that the government must start planning now to cut back on spending in order to avert runaway inflation.
Pop corn: Concerned Ohio officials are warning that global warming will mean lower yields for corn - which prefers relatively cool growing temperatures.
Cutting Back: US non-petroleum imports are down 25% YoY. Auto imports are down 50%, as are imports from Japan. The US trade deficit is at its lowest since 1999, at $26 billion for February, down from $36 billion in January. Good news, Americans are too poor to buy imports anymore, even from China.
Straws: British manufacturing is so weak that a decline of 0.9% is greeted as good news.
Happy Days, Not: Tea-leaf readers specializing in the spread between Aaa and Bbb corporate bonds foresee US production falling another 17% by year's end, with the loss of another 7.8 million jobs. Yet a survey of 52 private economists showed that 86% of them believed the recession will end in the second half of 2009.
Comes the Dawn: We are economically more vulnerable than Sweden or Japan ever were, for we cannot rely on external consumer demand to rescue us. We make relatively little the world wants and less they need.
Growth: Thirty-five companies defaulted on their bonds in March, the highest number in a single month since the Great Depression, and a total of 79 have defaulted so far this year. At the end of last year the default rate had nearly doubled to 7% as worldwide $1.3 trillion was lost on failed corporate borrowings.
Reserve Reverse: Two-thirds of the worlds reserves are in dollars - a fiat currency issued by a country which is undertaking actions that will inevitably lead to its debasement. Some nations may soon feel this is no longer a Good Idea.
Happy Motoring: Chinese car sales hit an all time record in March and even US auto sales were up. Even if global car sales fall to 60 million over four or five years, that's another 250,000,000 more cars burning up petroleum. Will there be sufficient petroleum to fuel them? And sufficient refineries? And sufficient money to pay for the gasoline?