Monday, August 17, 2009

SAR #9229

Change is inevitable. Improvement isn't.

That Thing in the Living Room: It's not really a credit crunch, it's a lack-of-income crunch that has lead to excess industrial capacity worldwide. Plants to make steel, cars, dolls and salad-shooters were built and overbuilt. Output outstripped incomes. Profits grew and grew while real wages fell and fell – to the point where it takes two incomes just to be poor. Until the plants are liquidated and/or the real purchasing power of the proletariat is revived, things will keep on keeping on. It's called a deflationary spiral. Bad things have been known to happen during deflationary times.

Fine Print: Got miles? Not if you miss your credit card payment. On top of the late fees, some card companies donot give you 'reward points' during a month you miss a payment. And they won't let you use the points you've accumulated until you bring your bill current.

Teachers' Pets: The back-to-school season seems to be skipping the traditional back-to-school-shopping.

Supirse, Suprise: The American Petroleum Institute has been caught with its memo down – the one where they plan a “public groundswell” against any attempt to slow global climate change – and thus their profits. The got the idea from the health care industry.

Just Sayin': Happy, well-fed folks who see they are treated fairly by the system do not take to the streets. It is the poor, the downtrodden, those who see the tremendous inequality between us and them that revolt. At this point I'd like to mention that median income per capita has stagnated for 30 years and is now headed lower, and that income inequality in the US has never been higher.

So-So News: Consumer prices have fallen more in the last 12 months than in any of the last 60 years. Great news for those who still have jobs and income to spend.

It's In The Bag: Your right to enjoy the Commons does not trump my right to make a profit. Or so the story goes if you live in Seattle and I make those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags and have spent $1.4 million to overturn the dirty commie do-gooder fees imposed on my profitable but polluting product.

Ah, Diagnosis: Investors Should Stop "Worrying" About Consumers: They Don't Have Any money.

They're Good For It: The Fed has purchased just over $1 trillion in mortgage-backed securities from Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae so far this year. I know you might be a tad concerned, what with these agencies underwriting 90% of mortgages and nearly 40% of mortgages being underwater – but relax, these guys are professionals.

Not What It Used to Be: If you are happy thinking the past is prologue and that life will go forward pretty much as it has in your lifetime, you haven't lived long enough or you aren't looking back far enough.

Biggest Loser: One of Antarctica's largest glaciers is thinning 4 times faster than it did just 10 years ago. It is now losing 16 meters of thickness a year – and the loss is ice melt that flows into the ocean.

Snowballs in Hell: The Treasury says it will prevent insiders from illegal insider trading and wanton profiteering in the PPIP program – the one where they put up $10 billion and the government puts up $40 billion and the insiders get to keep the profits. Why would they need to cheat?

Porn O'Graph: Change is personal income.


K Ackermann said...

That excess capacity will get reeled in by the banks not lending, and people not buying. I'm going to go way out on a limb and predict unemployment will rise.

I base my bold prediction on account of all the companies that have to go out of business.

Oh, hold it... they can't go out of business. That would mean the market didn't allocate resources in the most efficient way. I must be wrong.

As for an anti-global warming campaign by the oil companies... they don't have far to go. Fear is the easiest emotion to appeal to, and half of America loves to be afraid of just about anything.

The people who deny the possibility of global warming say the scientific evidence just isn't convincing enough. Plus, the earth has gone through warm periods in the past. How do we know that? Well... the scientists told us - you know, the believable kind... the kind that exhale.

I tried to explain in a blog post once how different compounds have different absorption rates at different parts of the energy spectrum. CO2 is nice and transparent in the visible light energy band and lets all that low-entropy, high-energy sunlight pass right through it.

I then explained the earth has to re-radiate the same amount of energy back into space as it gets every day from the sun. It can't just keep absorbing energy and heating up.

Using familiar props, I mention how rocks and roads become hot during the day, but miraculously lose that heat at night, and they do so without shining in the visible light spectum. They give up their heat in the lower-energy infrared spectrum... a spectrum that CO2 is not so invisible in.

It doesn't matter if it's man-made or natural, higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere must nessesarily hold more heat than lower concentrations, all things being equal. The earth will still re-radiate the same amount of energy that it recieves ONCE EQUALIBRIUM IS REACHED. In the meantime, anything that can hold more heat (like oceans) will hold more heat, because more heat is available to hold.

My (more detailed) post was answered by people telling me how effing stoopid I was, and it was too bad my mother met my father, but there is still time for me to do something about it myself.

Not wanting to be accused of being one of those global warming nuts, I tried to offer some ways the earth might get rid of the excess energy. Is there a way to get some energy out of the IR band and back into the higher energy bands such as visible light? Maybe.

If the extra energy produces more storms, and those storms generate a lot of lightning, then that might be one path, but I don't know how much light from a lightning flash makes it to space. There is not a lot of literature about it.

I was then told I should directly slit my throat because everybody knows that this summer has been cooler than usual. I made the mistake of mentioning a warmer atmosphere might rotate more air over the poles and deliver cooler temps in some places for a short period of time, and let me go look up the temps at the poles. Sure enough, they have seen the largest temp rises.

I was told that would be a good thing, because all that air can keep rotating over the poles to keep things cool, and I gave up trying to reason with one-step-and-rest thinkers.

Bill said...

Snowballs in Hell: Downright frightening and unfortunately more right than wrong.

In light of the taxpayer money being thrown at the financial crisis/housing problem, the so-called stimulus bill, the impotent cap-and-trade legislation and a $1+ trillion healthcare reform are boneheaded and irresponsible!

Let's clean up the mess threatening to undermine the economy and address our bankrupt entitlement programs before spending money on new initiatives.

Whenever either party has control of Washington, the entire country pays the price.

I believe what both parties are doing will destroy the Republic, as the Optimates and the Populares destroyed the Roman Republic. The main reason is that they both have placed their parties ahead of the nation. Neither is anti-America or treasonous; they are simply exercising extremely poor judgment and a disregard for the Constitution. Still, in a Democratic Republic, with a Bill of Rights, they have that right.

When either party reaches "critical mass," the damages are amplified.

fajensen said...

The people who deny the possibility of global warming say the scientific evidence just isn't convincing enough

Well, then there are also people who argue vehemently that The Solution is to abdicate all to The Market - which happens to be the very same people who blew up the financial system so they should now be trusted with regulating the climate (assuming that can be done by CO2-quotas, which I don't).

In My Opinion that is Peak Insanity - the very best outcome of that strategy will be trillions of EUR transferred to option dealers; the worst outcome is that the ecosystem goes the way of our pensions!!

Anonymous said...

Cautionary Tale: Andrew Cuomo, in taking on Schwab over ordinary financial chicanery, doesn't seem to have learned from watching Elliot Spitzer sit on the hot stove

As in Boxing, Andy picks a stiff, Schwab, to take a dive and embellish the record (to run for Governor on) Hey, folks, yer bein' sucker punched. I've been reading about these Criminals for years and have rarely heard Schwab even mentioned. But, hey, Schwab wanna be my Leona Helmsley?

Meanwhile, Goldman Suchs walks off with the Buchs! In broad (sorry, Eliot) Daylight. "You're doin' a heckuva job, Andy!"

These Criminals are ever more emboldened by the lack of the massive prosecutions which are needed. Crime pays and carries no penalties.

K Ackermann said...

Anon 3:01, you have a great point about Schwab. As Wall St. goes, they are quite honest.

I'm certain Wall St. has the highest concentration of criminals on earth.

A while ago, I Googled 'Citi Fined', and here is 0.1% of what came up...

Citi Fined $250,000 by NASD Over Bogus Hedge Fund Marketing

Citigroup Fined $100 Million for ARS; ABCP Fiasco

Citigroup Fined $25 Million for European Trading Practices

Citi Fined $6.25 Million For Bogus Mutual Fund Trades

Citi Global Markets fined $300,000

Citigroup fined $70 million for loan violations

Citigroup will pay $2.65 billion to settle WorldCom suit

Citigroup fined £721,000 for Insurance Fraud

Citi Fined $500,000 for supervisory failures on its precious metals trading desk

Citigroup fined $350,000 by NYSE over inaccurate e-mail

Citi Fined $120 Million Over Enron Books

Citigroup Global Markets to Pay Over $15 Million to Settle Charges

Citi Fined $16.29 Million for Indian Stock Market Scandal

Citigroup Unit Fined $26 million for Mutual Fund Fraud

Citigroup Fined $350,000 Over Research Disclosure

Citigroup Inc.’s Smith Barney unit was fined $1 million by the New York Stock Exchange for failing to supervise brokers

Citigroup Fined $16,250 for Violating Cuban Blockade

Citi Fined $50 Million over Market Timing Violations

Citi Fined £52,500 over Insider Trading

Citigroup Fined $2.25 over Documents Violations

Citi Fined $5 Million over Misleading Reports

Citigroup Division Fined $275,000 Over Investor Advice

Citi Fined $400 Million over Fraudulent Research

The above list was from typing "Citi Fined" into Google, and filtering duplicate reports. I got to hits 101-110 out of 111,000. 0.1%. They are lousy citizens, and habitual criminals.