Hope, like gullibility, is a renewable resource.
Making Allowances: The business boosters are claiming the US is going to make an $8 billion profit from Citibank. Right. But that's just on the stock. It doesn't count all the billions and billions of indirect gifts (think AIG, TARP, etc.) and other guarantees and support they have received. It's like saying you made a profit because your kid he washed the family car after he wrecked it.
Short Eyes: Pope Benedict (Cardinal Ratzinger, lest you be confused) warned the faithful
to ignore the evidence of child rape on the part of priests not to be intimidated by rumors and innuendo. After all, he has covered up and ignored the evidence for years. Gives new meaning to “Suffer the Little Children” .
Recommended Reading: I usually find Mr. Kunstler a bit... vibrant? for my taste, but this week's essay seems spot on: He compliments the Republicans on making consensual governance impossible at a time when the nation faces immense problems. “They're in the process, right now, of transforming themselves from the party of "no" to the party of no decency, no common sense, no ideas,[and] no conception of the public interest.”
Crowning Touch: Bank of America and Wells Fargo probably will pay no income taxes for 2009 – they were too busy spending the taxes you
paid in 2008 will be paying over the next 34 years.
Take Note: The World Trade Organization's Director-General Pascal Lamy predicts world trade will expand 9.5% this year. Click your heels.
What's not to like: The Republicans continue to scream about the socialist takeover of healthcare, but do not point to the terms that take effect now: preventative care must be covered on new policies and insurers can't cancel the policies of sick people or place lifetime caps on benefits. Also, how giving private insurance companies 30 million new, captive clients is socialistic escapes me.
Nature of the Beast: Barclay's took pension benefits from 17,000 employees to pay the new banker-bonus tax. RBS got around the law by backdating a 5% increase in “benefits” to January 2009. Financial innovation at its best.
Privatization: The GOP/neocon argument for privatizing much of the military effort was the superiority of private enterprise in accomplishing routine tasks. Take KBR for instance. They were able to repair military vehicles in Iraq for only $4.6 million, using a crack team of 144 mechanics who worked, on average, 43 minutes a month.
Enough Said: “The world is choking on government debt.” And yet the only way out, they say, is more debt, more debt. Plus, of course, rolling over all the outstanding stuff. Do you remember how we got here?
Good To The Last Drop: Insurance lawyers have decided that the Congress intended for them to keep on refusing coverage to children with pre-existing illnesses for the next four years. Nor do they have to cover anyone who might actually place a claim until then either, but if they do they can charge more. They intend to keep squeezing their clients as long as they can, for as much as they can.
Growth For Goldman's Sake: Experts say that growth is important for creating wealth. Maybe so, but it does nothing for the distribution pattern. For more than 25 years, the gap between the richest and the poorest has been increasing. There is absolutely no correlation between an equitable society and GDP growth.
Ah, Springtime: The Commerce Department reports that in 2009 personal income fell in 42 states. But things are getting better, every day... So we're told.
Appearances: It is generally far cheaper to provide the homeless with permanent housing than to offer only short-term shelter and stop-gap services. In DC a month on a cot costs the government about $3,000. In Houston it is $968 – far more than an efficiency apartment goes for. But imagine the noise the Tea Partiers would make if we provided actual housing to the homeless...
Porn O'Graph: It's the oil, stupid.