War is one way of expressing human vanity and idiocy.
First Step: In twelve-step programs, the first step is to admit you have a problem. A couple of Regional Fed Presidents, Plossner and Lacker, have taken the podium and admitted “uncertainty over whether the Federal Reserve is willing and able to promptly reverse that expansion...” in time to prevent rabid inflation.
A World Turned Upside Down: Unconditionally surrendering, Obama has conceded control of the military, the Afghanistainian adventure, his second term and the US budget to the necons and their pet generals.
Phone Tag: Not to be outdone by Sprint's announcement that Big Brother had tracked about 20% of its customers via the GPS chips in their phones, Verizon and Yahoo want you to know they're also doing their best to help the watchers watch you, but feel the details might 'confuse' you.
Six of One... According to the Labor Department, unemployment has increased in half of the country. The recovery is presumably underway in the other half.
Instant Replay: Remember 'covenant lite' loans? How about payment-in-kind, where the debtor pays the debt by issuing more debt, or 'dividend-recap' where the money to pay dividends is borrowed? These less than savory practices, which led to losses not so long ago, are back, helping to overheat the credit markets. There'll be a different ending this time. They say.
Double Strength Placebos: Climate change scaremonger and respected scientist Dr. James Hansen says that no treaty would be better than the cap and trade charade likely to emerge from politicians gathered in Copenhagen. A simple and straight forward direct tax of fossil fuels that eliminated any chance of massive shell games – such as occurred under the Kyoto treaty – would be ideal. Too bad it's not an ideal world, but rather one that is still warming.
Looking Ahead: Goldman Sachs says that in 2011 (no, not 2010) unemployment will peak at 10.75%, GDP will grow 2.4%, and inflation will remain flat, along with the Fed's zero % interest rates.
Neverland, East: In Dubai, the ubiquitous cranes are frozen against the sky, rows of buildings stand half-finished, or empty, water leaking from the ceilings, tiles falling into the desert below. Move along. Nothing to be seen here.
Borrowed Trouble: As if we didn't have enough bad news now, here's some from Diana Olick/CNBC for next year: The housing market won't begin to recover until the second half of the year, mortgage rates have nowhere to go but up, the number of foreclosed houses will be higher than predicted, and commercial real estate isn't going to do well either. And if you think house prices are rising, she suggests you think again.
Small, Smaller, Smallest: California's Department of Water Resources has offered its 25 million customers in the southern part of the state only 5% of the amount of water they had requested.
Too Big To Flail: In the US the problem of too-big-to-fail banks was solved by letting a select few gobble up the rest. In Europe the big have gobbled up the small and now at least 15 European banks have assets larger than their home country's economies. An amazing 353 European banks are bigger than they were when they helped bring down the world's economy.
Because I Said So: The FHA, with reserves at but 25% of their required levels, is adamant that it is not the next “sub-prime”. It was responsible in its actions, it says. That's why it seeks to raise its lending standards and make it harder for folks to get mortgages. Because it's not going to be the next “sub-prime”. We have their word on it.
Porn O'Graph: Bird in the
golden brass cage.