Is despair the only reasonable response?
Proud Mary: It's not rocket science. Corporations are citizens, citizens are permitted to buy politicians, thus corporations are permitted to buy as many as they can – and that's most of 'em. The Supremes have spoken, the Constitution (in the redacted, secret portion) intended for corruption to be rampant, and so the money will keep on rolling in.
Prognosis: The nation's largest health care insurer's profits were up 30% in 2009. These folks are as tone deaf as Goldman Sachs.
Unemployment Weakly Claims: Do not adjust your set, the BLS has done it for you: Seasonally Adjusted (SA) initial claims, 482,000 up 36,000. Non-SA 650,728. Over 2 years unemployed: SA 4.4 million, Non-SA 5.2 million. The total acknowledged unemployed, NSA, 10,660,000.
Godot: It was not a GOP victory but rather part of a wave of disgust at all politicians that is rolling over the country, aimed at anyone in power. The public is mad as hell. It does not run on party lines, nor is it focused on health care, unemployment, or any other single issue the politicians keep avoiding. It is dissatisfaction, the same dissatisfaction that brought Obama to power. The people want action, not just words. The country is desperately in need of leadership and all Obama has given them is a big smile as he dissolves like the Cheshire cat. Why is it that Brown wins with 52% of the vote and the Democrats can't pass a bill in the Senate with 59% of the votes? Bush was able to govern with a 51/49 majority – where's the beef?
Barbershop: The take-away from this week's bank earnings reports is this: Consumer credit is shrinking by 5-7% a year. Just a little off the top.
Budgeting Rescue: It must be comforting to our pilots and soldiers to know that if they are captured or kidnapped, one of eight highly trained, highly paid ex-Special Operations guys will come to their rescue. But be patient, for these guys are part-timers working for Blackbird Technologies, which will be paid $11.3 million a year for this service and for “non-attributable internet research.”
Multiple Choice: Why is the Fed desperate to keep Maiden Lane III's details secret? (a) They don't want the public to know how much the banks got away with. (b) They don't want the public to know how much the Fed let the banks get away with. (c) both a & b.
De Rerum Natura: Things grow, die, decay and become food for the next generation. That's nature. Farming removes the things that grow from the land and replaces them with nutrients and fertilizers trucked in as the trucks haul away the land's productivity. (And now they want to put the leftovers in our cars!) This can go on just as long as the inputs – the fuel, the fertilizer, the nutrients – can be made or mined and hauled around the world and dumped on the land – and will not last long if essentials, like phosphorus, become scarce. And we're running out of phosphorus.
Unexpected Turbulence: In 2009, passenger revenue dropped 18% for the major US airlines – worst ever. Underwear sniffing dogs had nothing to do with it.
Earplugs: There's another 'independent commission” on its way to the microphones. This one is on deficit reduction and is no more intended to do anything than the banking reform commission. Expect a lot a blather about Social Security and entitlements and taxes and recipes for apple pie. Yawn.
There's a Sign Up Ahead: In the US, the Dems get the dubious privilege of increasing the debt limit another $1.9 trillion – gotta pay the bills even if the tax revenue isn't there. The states are mostly forced to both raise taxes and cut services as tax revenue fall. Ditto in most OECD countries. No one wants to admit what most of us know: The party is over. Our high consumption, high energy way of life is headed into the Twilight Zone – so let's all look the other way and pretend.