More than half your taxes go to kill people.
Weakly Spin Cycle: New unemployment claims rose to 484,000, up 24,000 from last week. The 4-week average was 457,750, up 7,500. The increase was blamed on the Easter Bunny.
Returning the Favor: The economy is picking up, lifting the price of oil Soon the increased price of oil will bite the hand that feeds it.
Unforgiven: There is a lot of discussion of how to 'modify' mortgages, who should get screwed and by how much. Bottom line is that the government (you the taxpayer) will pay off part of the first mortgage, part of the second mortgage, pay some side bribes, and then watch the price of houses continue to fall, then rinse and repeat. It is more extend and pretend and not an ounce of solution or resolution. But the real question no one wants to address is this: If you bail out the guy across the street because he lost his job or bought more house than he can afford etc, what are you going to do for me? I vote,too.
Essay Question: In several thousand well chosen words explain why JPMorgan can claim a $3.3 billion profit and not repay part of the $41 billion it owes the taxpayer.
Back At It: One of the dumber things we do is celebrate the ridiculous profits the investment banks make for doing nothing useful. JPMorgan claims a $3.3 billion profit but hasn't made a single widget and hasn't lent any money to anyone who wanted to make widgets. It is all based on borrowing from the government at 0% and loaning the money back to the government at 4%. Then they dress up the books by pretending their assets are worth way more than they really are, when everybody knows they are pretty worthless. They pay their executives big bonuses while pretending they made an actual economic contribution. Feather merchants, one and all.
Dead and Gone: What's more important, alternative energy or the view from Nantucket's mansions, an Indian sunrise ceremony and a dead man's wish. Can't have none of that “destructive” progress 'round there, nor a wind farm 5 miles out to sea.
Escalator: Nearly a million properties received foreclosure filings in the first quarter, a 16% y/y increase. March filings, at 367,056 – a new record, were up 19% m/m.
None Dare Speak Its Name: Public debate over the dimension and timing of the coming supply crunch in petroleum is couched in terms of oil supplies. It's a supply problem, they say. Production of conventional oil has peaked and stuck around 74 mbd for 5 years now, despite record high prices. Putative experts say global liquids production (now at 86 mbd) will grow to 95 mbd by 2020 – even while production of conventional oil declines. At $200 a barrel there will be surprisingly little demand, so there will not be a supply problem.
Numbers: A record 44% of the nations 15 million unemployed have not worked in over 6 months, and 4 million of them have been idle for over a year. Just as the Great Depression scarred a generation, this will leave a mark on all the victims, many for a lifetime. Most will never regain their career paths, many will never fully recover. Nor will their children.
Census Data: Maryland and Virginia scientists report there are 658,000,000 blue crabs hanging out in Chesapeake Bay, the greatest number since 1997.
Porn O'Graph: A less-on in taxing the richer.