Bedtime Story: To accept the current Wall Street surge as anything but mass hysteria, a few loose ends need be explained away. Why, for example, will Obama give you $8,000 to buy a house and $4,500 to buy a car, on top of $30 or $40 a month extra slipped into the paycheck of those who still have jobs? How can the lending and borrowing resume when the consumer debt still stands at 128% of disposable income and nearly 1 of every 10 workers is jobless? How can a rising Dow be justified when most economists expect it to take 5 or 6 years for employment to regain some semblance of 'normal'? Why buy a house when house prices will continue to fall - will people actually volunteer to take out mortgages knowing the house will soon be worth less than the mortgage? Can we put the recovery on our credit cards while the banks are writing off nearly 10% of the balances already? And just how can investors get so excited while one third of America's industrial capacity is idle, much of it never to be restarted?
Emphasis: According to the talking heads, Obama's poll numbers (50-58% approval) put him right down there with Georgie boy (22%). They don't mention that only 41% of the very same Americans support the idiocy in Afghanistan.
Down Boy! The unemployment data was better than expected, but it is still bad. There are 4.965 million long-term unemployed, up 13% from last month. 53.5% of the unemployed have lost their jobs permanently. In the ten years since August 1999, the economy has lost a net 35,000 jobs. For every graduate did someone retire?
Obesity Epidemic: The US budget deficit passed $1.3 trillion for the current fiscal year in July with two months to go. That's about 3 times Bush's last effort. Next year we're going on a diet. Or the year after.
Succinct: "The Health Insurers Have Already Won"
A Special Treat: Having been introduced to Afghan war correspondent Michael Yon's blog, I cannot help but encourage each of you to click on the link. Ranks in this veteran's estimation along with someof the best war writing since Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.
I wish I'd said: "If the pharmaceutical companies are willing to save $80 billion as a favor to Barack Obama, that suggests there's a lot more than $80 billion that could, and probably should, be saved."
Democracy: The GOP is inflaming the credulous and encouraging them to disrupt Democratic meetings. The purpose is to create confusion, discredit their opponents, force events to be canceled and in general to bully and scare those who disagree with them. Worked for them in 2000 in Florida and in 1994 when they killed health care reform. And Munich in the 1920's.
Does This Survey Make Me Look Fat? Despite massive piles of data showing dramatic increases in obesity in the US, most Americans do not think that they, personally, have a weight problem. They same percent doesn't seem to own mirrors, either.
You Get What You Pay For: AIG is paying $1.1 billion of our money to retain those key members of the staff that drove the company into the ground in the first place. It also announced it had made its first profit since 2007, by reversing certain mark-to-market accounting losses. That's another way of saying they used an eraser.
Porn O'Graph: If we fixed the problem, why's it still here?