Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SAR #9244

Most see global warming as a problem, someone else's problem.

How Much Was That Doggie in the Window? The costs of the First Timers house Allowance and the Clunker Cash programs can be approximated by dividing the cost of the program by the inumber of houses or cars sold that would not have been except for the generosity of the taxpayers. Best estimates are that it comes to $43,400 per house and $7,200 per additional car sold.

Perspective: What do a liberal education, Tiberius, Sir Thomas of Hoo, the British 7th Armoured in 1945 Berlin, and football hooliganism have to do with Afghanistan? Quite a lot. Plus another chance to experience Michael Yon's jounalism.

Mormon, Mammon : A group of 'investors' – many of them Mormons – put up $50,000,000 to sell 20,000 tons of Israeli gold to Arab buyers.

The Gap: The world's three richest people control more wealth than the poorest 48 nations put together; the 225 richest have more wealth than the poorest third of all the people on the planet put together. That Americans think they are different, somehow exempt from the predations of the rich is a tribute to the effectiveness of the propaganda of the media.

Voting With Their Feats: Corporate insiders are selling stock as fast as they can and no one on the inside is buying. The ratio has risen to 30:1.

In The Name of The Senate and The People: Choking prisoners until they pass out, pouring water down their throats to drown them into submission, hang them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated and their lungs compress (rather Biblical, no?), forcing them to breathe smoke until they vomit, clubbing them with rifle buts, dousing them in cold water and confining them to concrete cells with no clothing, cover or heat. Oh, and threatening to rape their wives and kill their children if they don't confess. Defending democracy.

Illustration: Norwegian oil output is down 13% from last year and down 38% since 2000. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate predicts that by 2013 production will drop to 1.62 mbd, down 15% from this year and 48% from 2000. File under depletion, right next to Mexico.

Recession-Proof Job: Florida has joined 18 other states in having to borrow funds to pay unemployment benefits to their citizenry. Officials estimate it will need to borrow over $1 billion this year, more next. The career counselor never told me about becoming a moneylender...

Turn Of Phrase: “This is more likely a ski-jump recession, with short-term stimulus creating a bump that will ultimately lead to a more precipitous decline later.”

Word Order: There are now more than 3 million mortgage loans 60+ days delinquent. The Hope Now program covers approximately 73% of the total industry, so the total delinquent is probably over 4 million. The 'cure' rate is in the single digits, so for most of these it's not Hope Now, but No Hope.

My Question, Too: “How exactly do the banks think they'll be paid back? Who will earn the money to pay the mortgage payments...

Patience: Moody's is predicting that California real estate prices will not return to the 2006 peaks until 2030. Sounds impossible until you realize that that would be a compound growth rate of 3% - which is more or less the historic norm for real estate appreciation. Your mileage may vary.

Poor Me: The reason banks do not want the $592 trillion derivatives market to be regulated is because they figure to make $35 billion this year from mucking with them. Besides, it's the last place they can make triple-digit returns for doing nothing productive. How long can you pull rabbits out of the hat?


Anonymous said...

Astute, cynical yet full of humor.

Your site is a beacon of light in dark days :)

rumor said...


Bill said...

The Gap: Good article. Two comments:

First, similar to the 1930s, this "decession" has somewhat mitigated the disparity.

Second, why does our progressive tax code max out at such a low income threshold and why isn't the estate tax not more progressive?

I'm a die-hard capitalist, but wouldn't hesitate to endorse several more income tax tiers at, for example, $5 million and $10 million.

I have no beef with Walmart, and Sam Walton deserved every penny of the wealth he accumulated. But, as a capitalist, I believe you have to earn your wealth. Dynasty is a television program, not a birthright. In other words, I don't get the school of thought that makes it okay for the Walton heirs (and similar heirs to other fortunes) to inherit obscene amounts of money.

kwark said...

Re: Turn of a Phrase: But the "oh shit" moment is the phrase ". . .because of risky loans to the Baltic States and Latin America, many Swiss and other European banks are arguably worse off than their US counterparts as well." Ouch.