The economy runs on two things: optimism and cheap energy.
Round & Round: They say the crisis is over. They lie. The recovery, if there was one, is a 90 pound weakling. A group of experts say there will be another crisis – much worse than the current one – because we haven't fixed any of the problems, banks have resumed willy-nilly risk-taking, and investors are chasing ever higher returns in a stagnant economy. They see a "doomsday cycle" where banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management – and when the risks go wrong, the banks expect you to bail them out again. But the odds are you won't, and “a calamitous global collapse" will follow.
Equal Representation: The GOP says the Democrats are not representing the will of the people when it comes to health care. Maybe, maybe not. But Democrats in the Senate represent 63% of the US population. And those in favor of the bill represent 61% of the US population. Majority wins by a supermajority.
Advisement: For those hyperventilating over imminent inflation and hyperinflation, could we suggest you'll have to wait until the deflation is over? CPI was flat in February after rising only 0.2% in January.
Pocket Change: Lawmakers are expected to soon announce a unique proposal to lower CO2 emissions by giving tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry to encourage them to produce more petroleum and natural gas.
Believe It Or Don't: Greece has drawn up a diet that will let them drop their deficit from a size 12% to a measly 3% in two short years. Drawing up the plan was the tough part, now all they have to do is stick to it. But Curious George Papandreou has told Germany it has to decide to bail Greece out this week or else. Anybody here know how to play this game?
Holding Hands: When the price of oil goes up, the economy goes down. The price of oil has been going up. Meanwhile, back at the plant, US factory utilization has risen from last June's record low 68.2% all the way to 72.6% - slightly above the previous low of 70.9% in 1982. Excitement fills the air.
Fractals: Ranting about fractional reserve banking, where a bank with $1 can loan out $10, is an old sport. Now Mr. Bernanke wants to do away with the $1 and let banks lend any amount they want, at any time, with no reserve requirement at all. Would someone please explain this in a way that will calm me down?
Go Away: Walgreens says it loses money filling prescriptions for Washington State Medicaid patients and will not take any new Medicaid patients in the state. The state had reduced its reimbursement payments because it is running out of money. Multiply by 50.
Precisely: The Labor Department joyfully reported that initial jobless claims had fallen 5,000 last week, to 457,000. For the math challenged, this is a 1% change and signifies not a damned thing other than that another half-million American lost their jobs.
Murmurings: Geithner & friends: "We do not expect substantial further declines in unemployment this year" but they see economic activity "continue to strengthen.” But then, they've never been right before...
Survey: Would you pay to keep reading SAR? What about news sites? Opinion pieces? The great majority resist paying for Internet news access simply because they never have. I don't mind, but some folks want to be paid for their time and effort. You?
The Pain in Spain: The Wharton School of Business suggests that Spain is the one to watch, not Greece. Given the size of its economy and the size of its debt, a Spanish collapse could lead to the breakup of the euro market and thrust the entire globe into crisis.
Porn O'Graph: If business is so good, why can't I get waited on?