Saturday, February 20, 2010

SAR #10051/Weekender

"Our neighbors are our neighbors."Salaad Nur

Olympic Speed:  In January, US bank lending fell by $100 billion, a record annualized decline rate of 16%, the fastest rate on record.  This will make it hard for an economy that runs on credit to make to the podium.

Hidden in Plain Sight:  In the excitement about the 30,000 increase in new unemployment claims and the comfort found in having continuing claims unchanged (well, not much comfort for the 4.56 million that make up that number), what was missed was this:  The backlog of total unemployment claimants jumped 280k to 11.7 million.  As high levels of long-term unemployment become the norm, Goldman Sachs with exquisite timing and its patented tin ear, issued a report this week called "The Labor Market: Crawling Out Of A Deep Hole."

Patches: If the Greek debacle leads to some sort of hurried patch for the Euro and the European Monetary Union, it will eventually (and not all that eventual, either) lead to more patches.  They should either give up now or make it truly a single currency – the currency of a single nation.  Then the question would be, how long before the civil wars break out?

Inflation edges higher: If you are one of the diehards that continues to buy groceries and gasoline, your CPI rose 2.6% over the last year.

Innumeracy: Some are claiming that the end of the foreclosure crisis has arrived because – for the first time in 3 years - the number of homeowners falling behind on their loans is declining. Before you get all excited, consider this: Every month for the last 27 months the pool of homeowners has been depleted by foreclosures. Maybe the reduced number of delinquents simply reflects the greatly shrunken pool of candidates. Even the worst bankers must have made some good loans.

Little Boy Blue... Come blow your horn, the sheep's in the Meadow and Wall Street is planning another raid on Social Security.  Arm yourself with this quick but superb history of previous raids.  And Obama isn't looking after the sheep.

Just In Time:  It used to be that companies would first hire a few temps then later increase their staffing.  Now it seems that using temps has moved from “interim solution” to “solution”.

Can't Make This Stuff Up:  Goldman, under investigation for helping Greece hide the extent of its indebtedness and perhaps guilty of helping hide another $85 billion or so, has managed to get one of its alumni appointed as Debt Czar where his job will be to hide GS's involvement while increasing their profits.

Quoted:  "By failing to demand that torture stop and those who ordered it--like Cheney--be held to account, Americans are complicit in war crimes, just like the Germans who failed to stand up to Hitler were complicit in crimes against humanity."  I think he's talking about you.  And me.

Bandwagon:  Joining those health insurers already singled out for large (like 56% and 32%) rate increases, now the Medicare private plans that were going to be so much better than the government's plans and save you money too are... jacking up the premium 14%.  Stop worrying about peak oil prices and concentrate on peak premiums.

Closeout Sale:  For the 9th consecutive quarter new single family housing starts declined – to 71,000 started in Q4 2009, less than the 82,000 new homes sold.   An inventory clearance sale – prices reduced – everything must go?

Shock:  Wal-Mart same-store sales fell 1.6% last year. If not at Wally-world, where are folks shopping? Ah, there's the problem. But profits were up 22%, which makes you wonder...

Christening: Why do we have to call the war in Iraq anything other than what it is: Our War in Iraq? Do the innocent bleed less if Obama rebrands it? Can the guilty get away with even more?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can't Make This Stuff Up:

Goldman North too, in CANADA. Goldman shill and flunky, Mark Carney was appointed to head the Bank of Canada. Few objections from Canadians who are apparently ignorant of the depredations of Goldman globally. Probably too busy watching hockey goons. Even the Socialists were eerily quiet. No Trojan Horse here, move on.