Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SAR #9147

What's better, shattered dreams or shattered lives?


The First Cut Is the Deepest: State after state, needing to reduce their deficit-laden budgets, turn first to cutting spending on education, employee healthcare, pensions, and eliminating public health support, Illinois is even cutting state troopers. This is what comes from the GOP Starve the Beast campaign. Are states cutting here in order to get Congress to bail them out? Welcome to the twilight zone.

What Caused This Rally? Big boost in consumer confidence drives up the market even though housing continues to drop and oil options suggest a further fall in prices as the economy slows. Really, all I want is a believable explanation.

Misprint: The GOP is accusing Obama of thinking the Supreme Court should "protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process." They also suspect the nominee will erode the property rights of the unborn or something like that...

Who Ya Gonna Trust? The same bunch that did not have a clue that there was a housing bubble, or that the credit scheme supporting it would crumble and destroy the economy, now are absolutely, positively, 110% sure the recession will end this fall. October 17th is the predicted date.

Cliff Notes: House prices continue to fall at a 19% y/y rate and will eventually drop 40% or more from the peak (down 30% now). Prices are falling about in line with the bank stress-test 'worst case' scenario. Nation-wide the median nominal price is about $140,000.

There Goes the Sun: The economy is doing in the sunshine business. Suntech Power - the world's largest maker of solar-power modules - reports 1Q profits fell 96% on reduced demand. A planed expansion of module production has been delayed. “Solar demand dried up.”

Vive La Difference: Accepted more or less as a religion in the US, in France Scientology is accused of being a money-making scam. Just how this disqualifies it as a religion is not clear.

Halloween Part II Between November and February, delinquent, in foreclosure and/or REO prime mortgages increased by 473,000, Alt-A mortgages increased 159,000 and subprime increased 14,000 - in total the three categories jumped 60% in dollar terms, to $717 billion, on which losses are expected to be over $300 billion. Then we can start talking about the derivatives and tranches and such that will fail...

Leg Up: A little help, please: Yesterday a CSMonitor article cited "some indications that the Obama administration may have leaned on banks not to release the entire foreclosure inventory at once..." Anybody got an original source for this?

Deceptive Advertising: Send me your poor.. it says on the plaque. Just as long as they don't vote and don't expect to get their fair share of the pie in this ever-more class laden classless society.

Olduvi: Richard Duncan has long claimed that one of the first signs of the end of our current technological civilization will be a decrease in electrical production. I mention this because the International Energy Agency is forecasting a 3.5% drop in electricity demand this year. Russia's demand is set to drop 10%, OECD countries nearly 5% and China about 2%. This is the first decline ever in global electricity supply.

Help Wanted: Why are folks paying any attention to the pundits? Especially the consensus view - whatever that might be? The consensus view missed the housing bubble, the credit bubble, assured us it was 'contained' to the sub-prime sector, and has generally missed every important financial point in the last 20 years.

Down is the New Up: The constant change in nature is astounding. Just now I learned that the natural rate of unemployment in the US economy from henceforth will be 8%, not the silly 5.5% that replaced the earlier 4%. And the new normal for GDP growth will be 2%, not that silly old 3% we'd hoped for.

Bubble? Some Russians put $200 million into Facebook, raising its "valuation" to $10 billion. Where's the value & don't tell me it's in the advertising revenue.

Quoted: "Of all the things to worry about in today’s world, the prospect of Social Security shortfalls several decades from now doesn’t rank high on the list. But there’s a whole generation of Very Serious People who think that worrying about entitlements is how they demonstrate their seriousness — while worrying about climate change is hippy-dippy... declaring that saving the planet is, you know, expensive, so let’s not.

Collector's Corner: Dow 6500 in 6 Months or Less? Where Are The Markets Going? All Indicators Show Down Why We'll Probably See Another Serious Equities Sell-Off Downward Correction Could Be in Store for the Markets

Porn O'Graph: The national case.


TulsaTime said...

Re Olduvi: I just clicked thru to read Duncan. We peaked with Apollo and have been in glide phase since then. Dang!

Fate has cast us a cruel lot. To be but a decadent lot of pretenders, never to fill the shoes of the giants behind us. Von Braun, Goddard, Nixon(?? god no!)

Rob said...

The notion that somehow we are "starving the beast" seems absurd given that governments such as the State of California have seen massive increases in tax revenues over the past decade due to the real estate bubble. A better description would be: the beast has had to cut its calorie intake from 20,000 calories per day to 3,000. Still a hearty amount, but not gorging itself as it has been.

Anonymous said...

Re: Starve the beast:

Yeah, the politicians always cut the programs that people need or depend on. It's the political class's way of blackmailing the general public. You know close DMV on Saturdays so you need to take time off of work. That way they cause such a clamor with side issues that the public doesn't riot over the number of state workers and the outrageous pay and benefits they receive.


OSR said...

What Caused This Rally?.... Really, all I want is a believable explanation.The current rally was caused by either:
1. The discovery that Fort Knox is really filled with the most valuable substance known to man; Golden Girls Memorabilia.
2. 401(k)/IRA mutual funds are doing precisely what they were intended to do; generate artificial demand in the equities markets by blindly buying. After all, who's a better bagholder than the American public.