When people leave their foreclosed homes,
J. H. Kunstler
Wrong & Wronger: Politicians want to replace the expiring $8,000 new house buyer's bribe with a $15,000 gift for each and every homebuyer. The original idea was to get people to buy a house, but 4 out of 5 $8,000 recipients were already going to buy a house, the $8,000 was an unnecessary gift. Thus the “extra” house sold actually cost taxpayers $43,000. Under the new program it is estimated that for each person who the $15,000 bribe actually moves them to buy a place, 18 people who were going to buy a house anyway will get $15,000. That's $292,000 for each “extra” house sold. Progress in political economics – spending more money for ever smaller results.
Math Quiz: If 7,000 people exhaust their unemployment benefits every day (and they do), how many cars, buses and trains will it take to get them all to the big demonstration? And will it be on the Mall, or on Wall Street?
Dismounting from the Tiger: China's stimulus funds – equal to about 15% of GDP – has managed to stoke the Chinese economy along at an 8.9% rate. Chinese banks continue to pump funds into the marketplace, with no apparent plan as to how to wean the economy from easy money. Maybe they should ask Mr. Bernanke – he's positive he knows how to do it.
Fair's Fair: T. Boone Pickens told Congress that US oil companies are “entitled” to Iraq's crude oil because of the immense cost of our invasion and their incompetence at making weapons of mass destruction. He's a Texan.
Blindfolded: Citi borrows money from the Fed (It's a Bank!) for less than 1%. Citi customers pay 29.9% on their credit balances. But First Premier is the place to be – they offer a pre-approved MasterCard with a 79% interest rate. Wonder if you can charge tar and feathers?
Reality Check: In Indiana, five hundred people applied for a single $13 an hour administrative job at a truck driving school. Pass this on to anyone you know who works on Wall Street.
Quoted: “Successful societies maximize the creative and minimize the distributive. Societies where everyone can only achieve gains at the expense of others are by definition impoverished. They are also usually intensely violent.” If the shoe fits...
Record Increase! Ethiopia had 4.9 million starving citizens at the start of the year. Through careful planning during this the fifth year of drought, those in need of emergency food aid has increased by 25% to over 6 million. Exactly 159,410 tons of emergency foodstuffs are needed. I suppose suggesting these people stop having kids for a while – say until they know how they're going to feed them - is out of the question.
Don't Let the Door Hit You: Citi is letting customers using Citgo, Exxon, Phillips and Shell co-branded MasterCards know they can no longer pay at the pump, by letting them try. After they shut down the cards they mailed out letters, but many found out before the mail got there. Citi blames credit card reforms that may cut into their usury.
Let's Make A Deal: Steve Rattner – the US Car Czar – has got the good news and the bad news. The good news is that we the taxpayers have only lost 40% of the $50 billion 'invested' in GM. But it's early, we probably can manage to lose a lot more of it.
Oxymoron: “Jobless recovery.” All depends on whether you're jobless, or in recovery.