The consumer is not resting. It's a dead customer.
Rumor Mill: GM is to be sent off to bankruptcy court next week with a plan that includes billions of additional taxpayer funding "sources said." But the same sources also said GM then would re-emerge as a global competitor.
Rehearsal: On a Thursday night - Thursday, mind you - the FDIC spent nearly $5 billion (and obligated itself for up to $10.7 billion as a gift to Carlyle, Blackstone and WL Ross ) putting Bank United FSB of Coral Gables out of and back into business. Long weekend coming up.
Hyperventilating: Headline hype 'Unemployment Claims Drop'. Well yes, from 643,000 new claims to 631,000. Exactly 1.866%. The 4-week moving average was 3,500 down at 628,500, a decrease of one-half of one percent. What's the margin of error? How many folks got the flu and couldn't make it to the labor office? Who stopped for coffee? Continued claims are now at 6.66 million - an all time record.
Silly Question: "Can America's Debt Get Too Big to Pay?" Does this dress make me look fat?
Here's An Idea: Tired of bailout nation? Frustrated? Tired of hoping for change? "I'll tell you what we should do. Stop paying our taxes. And our mortgages. They can't throw us all in jail! They can't evict us all!" Back in the 19th Century they were called Rent Strikes.
Sticks and Stones: Netanyahu, after calm and serious consideration of the recommendations from President Obama, VP Biden, and Secretary Clinton, deemed their ideas stupid, childish, and juvenile. And he complained that the promised billions in aid were insufficient, also.
Pounded; How real is the spreading fear that more and more governments are less than sterling risks? So far this year Greece, Ireland, Japan, Portugal and Spain have had their credit ratings cut. Now the UK is "under negative review". Add to that the jump in US bond yields and the euro's climb back to $1.40 and you could get a little jumpy, too.
The Biggest Question: Will the world really, really bail the US out?
Supply/Demand? Crude is back in the $60 range and gasoline in the US about $2.30. Either way, it's still a lot cheaper than bottled water. Crude is up about 50% and gasoline about 35% from their lows - during a time of immense oversupply even though stocks have dropped a bit lately. Strange.
Rogers That: Jim Rogers, generally known as 'the legendary investor', alleges the market will fall more, bottoming out "later this year, next year, who knows?" Governments, he says, have papered over the problems with new money, not by solving the problems. Rogers doesn't understand how the problem of too much consumption and too much debt can be solved by cheaper credit to encourage more consumption and more debt.
Slippery Slope : Obama is considering the need for “preventive detention” to be legally established in the US - to incarcerate those who think bad thoughts. I suppose eternal incarceration is marginally preferable to starting wars of aggression against those who might some day call us stupid or otherwise disrespect the US. Amusingly, this was in a speech on civil liberties.
Time Travel: Rising unemployment will drive childhood poverty in the US to 27%, and over 50% for African American children. Not a surprise when unemployment among blacks will reach 28% in some states. When I was in college my mother was a foot-soldier in Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. It worked out about as well as the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. The war on the poor and the black in the US is older than any of those, and still goes on.
No Knock: If you have the convenience of a wi-fi net in your home, you've given the FCC permission to enter and search the place without bothering with a warrant. Better yet, they claim they've had this power since 1934.