Saturday, March 13, 2010

SAR #10072/Weekender

The power of technology depends on there being power.

Sausage:  The Democratic leadership in the Senate, having enough votes to pass meaningful health care reform with a public option is doing everything it can to prevent the passage of a meaningful heath care reform bill with a public option.  Scam is one word that comes to mind.  Obeying the health insurance industry is why.

At Long Last:  Fitch Rating Service just woke up to the fact the housing market will come tumbling down when the Fed stops supporting it.  No wonder they make the big bucks.

Peter, Meet Paul:  States have had to borrow billions from the federal government in order to make payments to the millions of unemployed citizens.  Now the same states will have to raise taxes on employers to pay back the borrowed money.  This will take money from the companies, reducing their incentive to hire and possibly causing further layoffs.  Rinse and repeat.

Forget It:  Researchers are trying to determine how Toyota vehicles know there is a senior citizen driving the car.

Anti-Climax:  As we all knew all along, Germany will bail out Greece under the guise of the ECM, it will demand severe cutbacks in spending, and Greece will pretend to make severe cutbacks in social programs.  Move along, nothing to see here.

Picture This:  There are 33 wars going on right now.  And remember that the US is the worlds' largest arms supplier.

Yessiree Bob:  "I think it might not be a bad idea to examine the faith-based assumption that the US has a virtually unlimited supply of natural gas from shale formations that can be extracted at a low price for the indefinite future."

They're Back!  February retail sales are up 0.9% from January and 3.5% from a year ago. Take a good look, Junior, that's what it's like when the customer is rushing deeper into debt!

Tomorrow, The Sun Will Shine Tomorrow: Changes to the accounting rules have made it easier for banks to pretend that their $1.7 trillion exposure to commercial real estate is fine, thank you, just fine. Because after the loans fail the government will make the banks whole, and everything will be fine again. Just fine.

Asked and Answered:  Will the stock market rally last?  Yes, then No. Yes, because a lot of people haven't invested their last dime yet.

Read'n, Write'n and God Bless the USA:  Ten Texas Republicans, several of whom are rumored to be literate, and one idiot have adopted an extreme right-wing conservative curriculum for social studies instruction that ignores Jefferson, cannonises Ronnie, makes a Christian out of Ben Franklin, erases blacks and Hispanics, and questions the need for affirmative action, evolution, and governments.  Better yet– Texas' standards become the defacto standard for textbooks across the country.

Language Lesson:   “The FDIC expects the number of institutions under its control will expand this year due to increased financial pressure...” and thus they are going to quickly dump the crappy home loans it has picked up from failed banks. In other words, the FDIC has figured out the stuffing is going to hit the fan, and plans to toss its stuff into the fan first.

Red Queen Rule:  The appellate court ruling that “Under God” is not a prayer doesn't stand a prayer of a chance of passing the smirk test.

Essence: American soldiers in Afghanistan are 12,000 miles from home and do not speak the language.  The Taliban live just down the road and grew up speaking the language.  Game, set, match.

Baby Steps:  PIMCO's El-Erain says that solving the Greek sovereign debt problem is just a warm-up exercise, the main event will be the United States.

Porn O'Graph:  What peak oil would look like if there were such a thing.


Anonymous said...

RE: Forget It

A swedish commenter asked if this was only a problem in the US and if so why. Just because the US Government owns Toyota's biggest competitor surely has nothing to do with it.


Anonymous said...

Peter, Meet Paul: States have had to borrow billions from the federal government in order to make payments to the millions of unemployed citizens....

OR will the States sell off or cede Rights to the Feds for their Bailout? One big issue is a VAT Tax (sales tax) which most Western nations have but the US does not. They need the States on board to get a VAT Tax. Roberts Corporate Personhood steal now has resulted in lawsuits by the corporate suits to roll back laws which restrict their State Influence. Also on the table may be an Internet Tax for which the States will also be needed.

So, States, you want some Honey, you will have to hand over, bend over. By the way, how did that Putin Grab in Russia work wherein he was going to appoint the Governors of the various parts of Russia?

It truly is remarkable that with this massive Crime Wave not one of the Fifty States has reacted proportionately to the amount of the ripoff. Shows the power of the Criminals to Spitzer folks who get in the way.

(Maybe all the above explains the need for a Crash: to reorganize the US politically. It has been done before under other regimes.)

Anonymous said...

Yessiree Bob:

And what about Water Destruction?

Here's a good quote:

"REPORTER: For over a decade, gas companies have been intensively tapping unconventional plays in western states like Colorado. Drill rigs have brought a lot of wealth, but at the same time they’ve dredged up a host of environmental problems – contaminating water supplies and drying up aquifers.

The culprit is a practice called hydraulic fracturing. It’s never been done much in New York. But it’s the only way to get gas out of the Marcellus Shale. Basically the driller blasts the bottom of the well shaft with water, sand, and chemicals, under very high pressure in order to free up the gas. Hydrofracking demands a huge amount of water of water – up to six million gallons per well."

The story above also mentions "regulatory complexities". Should be no problem as we already have immense experience with "regulatory complexities" in Finance.

What happens if aquifers and rivers disappear down the Gas Rabbit Hole?

TomOfTheNorth said...

If Germany (or EU at large) bails out Greece, will they also lend Spain a hand? My reading suggests they can't afford to. Which would tend to preclude them helping Greece. Hello square one...

BadTux said...

I am amused by the notion that businesses will lay off workers because the price of unemployment insurance rose from $100 per worker to $237 per worker. This presumes that employment is price-bound. It's not. It's demand-bound. Businesses are not charities. They have the least number of workers necessary to meet demand, that's how they maximize their profits, which is the whole point of the matter, remember? If insurance rates rise they'll shrug and raise their prices to match. Which could, of course, reduce demand -- but if *everybody* is having to raise their prices at the same time, then instead what we get is price inflation across the board, which has little effect upon aggregate demand, something we learned from the stagflation of the 1970's to the dismay of Keynesians who predicted that inflation would cause increased demand.

In short, the only thing that will cause businesses to lay off workers is if the demand for their products goes down so they don't need as many workers (or if they improve their efficiency so they don't need as many workers, something which has been happening for decades now). There is a marginal case where the cost of a worker is currently lower than the cost of an efficiency improvement but a slightly higher tax will make the cost of the efficiency improvement less than the cost of a worker, but $137 doesn't buy a whole lot of efficiency improvement. So I don't expect the hike in the unemployment tax to affect employment in any significant way, its primary effect will be price inflation. GIven current deflationary pressures in our economy, it's hard to be too upset about that.