Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SAR #9258

The potholes are getting bigger.

Yea, Boo: Retail sales in August rose 2.3% m/m but were down 5.3% y/y. Less the automobile giveaway, sales were up just 1%. In the excitement don't overlook Best Buy's same store drop of 3.8% even though the Circuit City store across the street went out of business. In London, last month's retail sales were the worst in over four years.

Three out of Five Doctors: The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 62.9% of physicians support the 'public option' as part of healthcare reform, even though they know that Medicare does not reimburse them as generously as private insurance. Seems they actually care for their patients – even if it hurts their own pocketbooks.

Excellent Question : Why was the Detroit bailout so different from the Wall Street bailout? Why did the Federal government humble the auto industry while showering billions on Wall Street?

Simpleton's Truth: Most of us are afraid of the unknown. We're are afraid of our own fragility faced with the collapsing economy, rising unemployment, ridiculous healthcare expenses. We're afraid of those immigrant terrorists. And change; we're afraid of change. There's lots to fear and the cynical eagerly seize on it and turn it to their own ends, revealing Obama to be a socialist, foreign-born imposter, intent on ruining the American Way. And, oh, he's black.

Cue the Crocodile: Bankers complain that proposed regulations requiring they notify customers before gouging them will cause 1,000 to 2,000 banks and credit unions to fail. So?

Grammar Lesson: Scientists point out that the rise in temperature now underway is "largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop". About 40% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans this century will remain in the atmosphere at least a thousand years after a zero emission state is reached. Note the passive voice.

Belly Up to the Bar: Like alcoholics without a twelve step program, the world's financiers, thirsty for new risks, guzzeled derivatives totaling $426 trillion in the second quarter of the year. The BIS says they are no less opaque than before and pose “major systemic risks”. But don't worry, the financiers tell us, they've got it under control and can stop if they want to. They just don't want to.

Carbonated Beverages Clean Battery Terminals: Fully one third offall the CO2 we've thrown into the air since 1800 has settled into the oceans, where it has increased the acidity of the oceans three times over the average for the previous 20 million years. Putting key marine organisms, those at the bottom of the sea's food chain, in ever increasing acid baths is not working out very well for them, and eventually, us.

Greed, a Pre-existing Condition: Half of the big health insurers in a number of states will not pay for that broken arm, battered face or any other injury a battered spouse ends up in the ER with, because the personality of the disturbed, violent partner developed years ago and is a pre-existing condition and thus the injuries are not covered.

Four Beats Three : GM's Chevy Volt has 4 wheels, a battery and nearly unlimited government funding, therefore anything with fewer wheels and a battery that wants some government funding is obviously not a car and doesn't qualify for any of the funding that GM wants all for itself. Clear?

Prescription: To have a future we must desist from those things that have no future, rescale our daily lives to meet the constraints of the future, and rebuild those things we have abandoned that will permit daily life to continue to function, at some level, into the future.

Wish I'd Said: “The American people have been taken hostage to a broken system. A system that corrupts the most basic principles of competition and fair play, principles upon which this country was built.” And it goes on. Dylan Ratigan gives good rant.

Trickling Down: According to the WSJ, economic inequality in the US has never been a problem and if it once was, it's not now, so we neither have to worry about it nor do anything to curb the continuing bifurcation of the country into the few who have and the many who are tickled pink to get the crumbs.


jfwells said...

Four Beats Three : GM's Chevy Volt has 4 wheels, a battery and nearly unlimited government funding, therefore anything with fewer wheels and a battery that wants some government funding is obviously not a car and doesn't qualify for any of the funding that GM wants all for itself. Clear?

I didn't click through, but if they are referring to the Aptera, it actually isn't a "car". By having three wheels, it is classified as a motorcycle and is exempt from many of the safety regulations that end up causing cars to be much bigger and heavier.

That doesn't mean Aptera shouldn't get some Government love, though...

The Anecdotal Economist said...

Re: Excellent Question...

The answer, Part A, apparently, is that banks, unlike Detroit automakers, don't have powerful unions representing bank employees, which directed huge amounts of campaign cash toward electing the current White House occupant, and quid pro quo, expected a century of corporate bankruptcy law to be overlooked while the automakers were overhauled at taxpayer expense.

Part B, the big banks and investment companies and insurance companies, unlike the automakers, have hundreds of grossly overpaid, well-bonused executives and traders who contributed wheelbarrows full of campaign cash to both presidential candidates last year, knowing one of them likely would win.

Bill said...

Three out of Five Doctors: Here's another poll that indicates the exact opposite.

"Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors' own lobby — the powerful American Medical Association — both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.

It also calls into question whether an overhaul is even doable; 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration's claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.

The IBD/TIPP Poll was conducted by mail the past two weeks, with 1,376 practicing physicians chosen randomly throughout the country taking part. Responses are still coming in, and doctors' positions on related topics — including the impact of an overhaul on senior care, medical school applications and drug development — will be covered later in this series.

Major findings included:

Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration's claims that doctors are part of an "unprecedented coalition" supporting a medical overhaul."

CKMichaelson said...

Bill - Hmmm, a poll by a well known independent foundation published in the New England Journal of Medicine comes to different conclusions than a poll run by a marketing firm for a financial newspaper. Will wonders never cease.