Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SAR #9139

I have seen the future, and it won’t work. Paul Krugman

New Normal: The US faces a long slow descent to a calmer and more rational standard of living. It's not a depression ahead, it's a return to living within our means - which is scary enough. It's not a "bottom" we're looking for, to bounce off and begin another climb. It's a leveling off at some sustainable level. You never really thought sneakers should cost $165 a pair, did you?

Bar Quiz: Can you (a) Name the seven dwarfs ? (b) the eight reindeer ? (c) the thirteen guilty?

Predation: The absolutely never-fail, never-miss Predators have failed us again. Twenty-nine people were killed in North Waziristan by two drones and nine more on Monday. How can this be true? The Air Force told 60 minutes that drones were foolproof. Or something about fools, anyway.

Final Grades: Fitch lowered some Citigroup RMBS from AAA to CCC- in one step; some Bear Stearns RMBS got the same treatment. But the toxic waste is, remember, worth far more than 27 cents on the dollar...

Bright Side: Athens created the art and philosophy on which western civilization is based after it lost wars to Persia and Sparta; maybe there's still hope for America.

Revival: The random walk theory looks better and better as an explanation not just for the market, but nearly everything - the economy, politics, US foreign policy, American Idol...

Get Out Of Jail Free: Good thing the Nuremberg Trials took place before the US Supreme Court ruled that if Bush didn't hold you down while Ashcroft poured the water, you cannot sue either for things they had their underlings do.

Just Go Away: Those about to be evicted are offered $1,000 by Uncle Sam to mail in the keys and quietly go away - without trashing the place

Small Comfort: The good news is that the projected rise in sea levels from the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf has been trimmed from 5 meters to 3.5 meters. That's' from 16 feet 4 inches to 11 feet 6 inches, on average. Big sigh. However, the report noted that the sea levels along both US coasts would rise by 14 feet 6 inches.

Tea Leaves: China's electricity production fell in early May by 3.9% y/y. Electrical generation is a proxy for economic activity.

Cliff Notes: The US housing bubble has brought prices down to 2000-2003 levels, and will fall another 17% from peak for a total decline of 40%. There will be no recovery, as tight credit, unemployment, and housing over-supply for a long while - 3 to 5 years. Or so says Deutsche Bank.

My Question, Exactly: "Why Are We Bailing Out GM And Letting Them Ship Jobs Overseas?"

Fine Print: Visa is marketing a gift card that says, in the small print, it cannot be used for 24 hours after purchase. If an attempt to use it is made, the card is automatically canceled and the money reverts to Visa. Well, it's certainly a gift.

Dark Spots: Hidden in the unemployment data is the 10% decline in employment for engineers, and a 9% decrease in employed computer professionals. There has been a sharp uptick in census counters.

Onward Christian Soldiers: The covers.

Back In The Sadle Again: The Street is spreading the meme that not paying the top guys gazillions is ruining everything and they'll hold their breaths until Obama gives in and lets them gorge themselves again.

Tautology: Niall Ferguson maintains that because regulation wasn't really tried, it didn't work, and because it was subverted, it didn't work, and thus shouldn't be tried again, because it won't work. After all financial crises happen. Relax and enjoy them.

Porn O'Graph: Reversion to the mean, applied.


TulsaTime said...

ckm- if ever there was a company that needed to slip beneath the waves, it is GM. and chrysler is little better. they have both sold garbage to the public for years and need to close

this hole dang circus is one huckster after another, lies and gov't statistics but i repeat myself

let the pile BURN !!!!!

OSR said...

I'm not so sure the new Normal is going to be so normal. So many service economy jobs are entirely unnecessary, that I think double digit unemployment may be permanent.

CKMichaelson said...

OSR - I agree, both with the ephemeral nature of most service jobs and the possibility that double digits will become the accepted level for "full employment" in the economy after 2012.

I'm saving much of my comment on this idea for later in another format, but I suspect the new normal economy will continue to produce enough stuff - just without a non-tax way of getting purchasing power to those who are not needed in the productive economy. We actually need to either spread the jobs around or find an acceptable way to have about 20% of the adult working-age population gainfully unemployed.

Messy thoughts, still assembling them.

fajensen said...

find an acceptable way to have about 20% of the adult working-age population gainfully unemployedAcceptable to Whom?

The traditional Way of The Failing Empire would be to forge all the deadwood into an army, then send it to get wiped out or perchance gain some "lebensraum" (and stay there!) in some misbegotten place.

The last bubble is the Military!