Behind the Curtain: After Iceland's voters rejected their politicians' attempt to force them to come up with $16,400 each to make good the losses of greedy British investors in a failed private bank, the politicians happily announced that the vote and voters were “obsolete” and that another version of the same bill would be rammed down their throats without their consent. Nice toe see that Bush and Obama's examples have been noted; democracy is obsolete.
Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt: Credit is sneaking back in the door. In January overall indebtedness on the part of the American consumer increased for the first time since Bear Sterns fell into the ditch. But the gain was in revolving credit (think cars) not in credit card debt. But the credit bubble is showing sighs of revival – celebrate!
Killing Fields: Why are so many banks calling in construction loans, forcing smaller builders to forfeit their properties? And why the rush to complete these write-offs by the end of 2Q – something the FDIC said? Or plans to do in the Third Quarter?
Bouncing Ball: Find a small, accredited college in serious financial shape. Buy them for a few million (of borrowed funds). Turn the place into an Internet diploma mill, growing “attendance” from 700 on campus to 188,000 worldwide on-line. Charge outrageous tuition and help 75% of your 'students' get government grants and loans for their tuition. They'll drop out and never pay the government back, but you'll be rich. Lesson learned.
The Gap: The CBO estimates that the US budget deficit will remain above 4% of GDP for “the foreseeable future.” How long before the US can only make the vig? What happens when it cannot even cover that?
Rose Colored Statistics: Your neighbor who spends all day out in his garage could be our salvation, becoming one of the biggest job creators ever. And even if he doesn't, we'll be okay. S ure, the 40% who are the long-term unemployed are never going back to work, and neither are those useless dropouts whose jobs went to China. But the college grads – those who sit around in offices and play with computers all day – why, only 4.5% of them are unemployed. We gotta get those dropouts office jobs.
Like Father, Like Son: To earn a merit badge in either Corruption or Investment, the 11-year old son of the president of Azerbaijan has spent $44 million on mansions in Dubai. Not his allowance, for dad only makes $228,000 a year as president. Maybe he has a paper route.
Quoted: "The underlying 'principle' here seems to be that it's fine to pass tax cuts for the wealthy on narrow votes but an outrage to use reconciliation to help middle-income and poor people get health insurance." E.J. Dionne Jr
Leftovers: Saudi Arabia is unlikely to reach its targets for electrical generation, even though it is increasing the domestic use of petroleum to keep the AC running and the lights on. Remember, we only get to fight over the leftovers.
Line in the Sand: The Hadley Center reports that no natural phenomenon, from volcanoes to sun spots, can explain the significant and persistent warming of the planet over the last 50 years. Game over.
The Daily Petard: “In fact there are some studies that have been done that show people stay on unemployment compensation and they don't look for a job until two or three weeks before they know the benefits are going to run out." Tom Delay, ethically challenged x-GOP House Majority Leader.
Porn O'Graph: Not getting worse is not the same as getting better.