We know we should be worried...
Purity Postponed: Obama echoed St Augustine by putting forth a budget with a record $1.6 trillion deficit and saying he wanted deficit spending to stop – but not yet!
Gone Means Gone: Many (most?) of the jobs cut during this recession are never coming back. Companies have used the recession as an excuse to pare workforces to a minimum and then force the survivors to pick up the slack. Employment increases will be mainly due to new job creation. It takes a 5% GDP growth to lower the unemployment rate by 1%. Most soothsayers expect 2010 GDP to be in the 2.5% range. This is going to be a long process, while the laid off become the terminally unemployed and then slip into the underclass.
Disguise: Funny how much a gas pedal can look like a black swan, a billion dollar black swan.
New World Ordering: In the six days before the vote, banks spent $450,000 anointing Republican Scott Brown Senator from Massachusetts. Shouldn't they start wearing affinity patches on their suit coats, like NASCAR Drivers?
Entrails: Despite the booming 5.6% (for which read 2.3%) GDP growth, energy prices are moving lower. Energy drives the economy, or in this case, doesn't. Refinery capacity is being cut in Japan and the US . South Korea cut its petroleum imports for the third consecutive month. It takes energy to turn the wheels of industry...
How High is Up? A handful of economic thinkers understand that perpetual growth is not possible. In the end we will face at best a steady state economy and more likely, and much worse, a declining economy. The question should not be how to make the economy grow more, but what do we do when economies stop growing.
Well Said: "What we see in the United States and some other economies is a statistical recovery and a human recession." Larry Summers, Davos, Jan 30, 2010
Saving You From Yorself: The government sees you are incapable of handing your own money, so they're going to help you plan for retirement by requiring some (hefty?) portion of your 401k be invested in Treasury bond backed annuities. Now you know who has been selected to buy all the 30-year bonds that foreign governments and the Fed no longer want. This is too outrageous not to be true.
Asked and Answered: “Should Haiti's debts be canceled?” Yes, for if not we'll give them the money and they'll pass it on to Goldman Sachs. What Haiti really needs is a break on tariffs for their products and the establishment of protective barriers to encourage their farms and small industries.
Outsourcing: A machine has been developed that turns office paperwork into toilet paper. I thought that was pretty much what office workers did.
Heavy Lifting: Okay, so Obama can give a great speech. But when is he going to become a leader? And how smart is he? He says he wants to “lift the value of a family's single largest investment - - their home.” Nonsense, a house is a place to live; viewing it as an investment is part of the problem. And 'lifting the value' of America's houses was the basis for the housing bubble. Lifting the price of housing in the face of record unemployment and record repossessions by lenders flowing form about 3 million foreclosures in 2010 seems a dubious goal. More likely, housing prices will fall at least 12% this year.
Advantage: Not only does Goldman have the Treasury and the Fed, it apparently has the CIA working for it part-time.
Porn O'Graph: Deficit is as deficit does.