Rhetoric. It's cheap, expect lots of it.
Tone Deaf: Obama, to make up for pandering to Wall Street, reportedly will announce plans to pander to the middle class. The trouble is, those of us who used to be in the middle class do not want to be pandered to, we'd like to get what was promised on the election trail. Besides, over on the Hill, Harry Reid's fast becoming a deficit hawk and this stuff isn't going to get past the GOP's 41-59 Senate majority. How's this fit with Obama's plans to announce a three year spending freeze as part of his budget/SOU outing on Wednesday. The freeze will save nearly $25 billion a year on the $4 trillion budget – that a savings of 0.6%. If Congress approves, which it wont, because the freeze only applies to that 17% of the budget that is 'discretionary' – for which you can read 'pork-barrel spending'. The liberals won't like it, the conservatives won't like it, and the economists – those who remember 1937 – won't like it either.
Point of View: Walmart announced it was firing 11,200 employees – 10% of its staff. Its stock shot up, of course.
Status Report: Our democracy is broken and the situation will quickly spiral out of control as what little leverage the people had dissolves into jingles and advertising. Is it fixable? Probably not, for few remember what it was supposed to look like.
Bipartisanship: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), seconded by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, "made it clear that the only starting point for bipartisan compromise would be for Dems to drop their health care plan and embrace the GOP one."
Footnoted: Apple reported improved sales and profits. It was unclear if profits and sales had actually improved, but Apple adopted new accounting procedures which lead to the ability to report improved sales and profits.
Buy the Numbers: Even with the extension of the 8% tax bribe to new buyers, existing house sales fell nearly 17% m/m in December. This is the largest m/m decrease in 40 years. Existing houses are 90% of the housing market. Real estate professionals, not believing their lying eyes, still believe the worst is over.
The 'In' Thing: Poverty is the latest fad to sweep the country, with 30% of Americans taking it up as a lifestyle. Over 90 million Americans have taken up the challenge and are living on $10,800 a year (single) or $14,500 (single mom and one child).
Fighting Words: Experts claim there will soon be another al-Qaeda attack because of the words used in a tape purportedly from O.B. Laden match his style. Or maybe it's the grammar. Even worse, two men (out of tens or hundreds of thousands on the list) on the “no-fly” list were stopped from boarding a US-bound plane at Heathrow. But then, my mother-in-law's on the no-fly the list and her grammar is impeccable.
Quote, Quoted: In explaining how dangerous the financial sector has become, Jesse uses this clarifying observation: “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing a people to slavery." Thomas Jefferson
Porn O'Graph: Borrowing trouble.