Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SAR #9323

What part of being taxed to support Wall Street bothers you?

Hound of the Baskervilles: Our intrepid TARP watchdog has belatedly discovered that not all of the billions the ex-Goldman boys washed through AIG went to Goldman. But even counterparties who agreed to settle for less were forced to accept 100% reimbursement.

Pan/Fire: Electric cars are not the magic elixir they might seem. The increased demand for electricity would be met by burning more coal, pouring more CO2 into the atmosphere. Still no free lunch.

Priorities: At the end of the Bush Administration 49 million Americans were 'hungry' and 17 million had 'low food security' – which means they were not sure where tomorrow's supper was coming from. Since then things have gotten worse – U6 unemployment is over 17% and getting worse, not better, and a record 36.5 million people were receiving food stamps in August. Aren't you glad we bailed out Wall Street? Aren't you delighted that they're going to extend TARP into next year, to keep helping out the un-needy?

Please Explain: GM reported a 3Q loss of $1.15 billion and announced it would soon begin repaying the bailout money it got. The check's in the mail?

Old Cape Croaker: The warming waters of the North Atlantic are inviting croker, hake and summer flounder to replace cod as New England's signature catch. Renaming the Cape may take a while.

Ahhhh, Now I Get It: The GOP held up passing the extended unemployment benefit legislation by a month – but that month insures that a lot of people get screwed over while the Republicans can claim they (eventually) voted for the extension. The year-end filing deadline will prevent anyone from getting the final six weeks of the extension – there's just not 20 weeks left in the year! The GOP teaching point is that the unemployed have to suffer or the work ethic will.

Slowing Down: At the end of September, 6.25% of US mortgages were at least 60 days delinquent. That's the first step to foreclosure, and it is up 58% y/y and up 7.6% from the previous quarter – which is an improvement, so things are going to hell, but slower.

Ground Rules: If the recession is over and retail sales are up, how come the sales taxes collected on these improving retail sales are still dropping?

Better Luck Next Planet: There is not enough time now left – after successful US foot dragging – to reach a binding climate treaty in Copenhagen in December. So an agreement has been reached to meet in a year or so to see if an agreement can be reached to schedule another time and place to sit down and put off doing anything about global warming.

Reminder: Away – that magical place where unwanted plastic crap goes – is a floating garbage heap twice the size of Texas lurking about 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii.

Oily Days: The media is in full cry once again, baying at Peak Oil as though it were well treed and no longer a threat. The uproar started with the IEA's 2009 report and the claim that the report was fictionalized to keep the US and Big Oil (but I repeat myself) happy. Daniel Yergin, a consultant to big oil famous for his errant predictions, assures us there will be no peak before 2030 and no decline even after that. He then makes fun of Ken Deffeye , who correctly predicted production of crude oil would peak in 2005. (He joked it would happen on Thanksgiving.... ). Crude oil production (just crude oil, not stuff made out of corn, condensed out of natural gas or squeezed out of sand) peaked in 2005. In 2006, 7, and 8 crude output was below that rate. Some say all we have to do is throw more money at the problem and more oil will be found and/or retrieved. These same people say there is no hunger in the world, the food's in the wrong place and the folks that need it can't afford it. Same with oil. We've already seen what $147 a barrel does to the economy. Twenty-five percent of the world's oil comes from about 20 big fields, most of which are in serious decline. Just today Kuwait said OPEC will keep production steady. Either they do not want more money or they cannot pump more oil. Your choice. Remember, “the one thing depleting faster than oil is the credibility of those measuring it.”

Porn O'Graph: We've only just begun...


kwark said...

Ahhhh, Now I Get It: One of the commenters at the Hullabaloo site noted that the tax breaks tied to the bill are equivalent to 4 times the much ballyhooed amount earmarked for the unemployed. Don't know it that's true but I haven't seen that little detail mentioned in the MSM! But then most people, including journalists, are so brainwashed that the mere mention of the words "tax break" momentarily halts all higher brain functions.

Anonymous said...

writing the check for the taxes hurts my feelings the most of all