Sell dreams, live in the real world.
Same Old Same Old: US personal income was up 0.3% in March, as was disposable income. Spending, however, was up 0.6%. So either personal debt increased, or savings decreased. Ah, spending more than you make, it's the American way.
Lies, Damned Lies & The Oil Business: We keep hearing that despite the current inconvenience the US must keep drilling in the Gulf of Mexico because we need the oil in order to keep oil prices down and to free ourselves from dependency on foreign oil. Crap. GOM oil production may reach a sustained million bpd. We use 20 million bpd. Oil, like gold, is priced on an international market and is fungible. We could shut down the GOM platforms tomorrow and never miss 'em. According to the EIA, drilling the entire Continental Shelf would not make a discernible impact on global oil prices. But it'd probably have an impact on life in and at the edge of the sea.
Profit/Loss: Every day, 16 US workers are killed by employer negligence.
Ideal Reality: Goldman's maintains that they were not guilty of anything because they only sold crappy stuff to “sophisticated” investors. Like that town council in Norway and the school board in Arkansas. Their investors were so sophisticated they lost a billion dollars on a single set of deals.
Tone Deaf: Twitch says the little setback in the Gulf should not slow the effort to drill holes in everything.
Party On: The Fed reiterated its intention to keep the benchmark interest rate near zero for an “extended period”. They also pretended to discern signs of life in the job market.
A Free and Efficient Market: “The trust that once made firms like GS and the old JP Morgan special has long since been lost, leaving the marketplace that remains a hideous, barbaric place that is bereft of honor — and a source of infinite risk to the participants.”
Big Sigh: Researchers have found a way to make plastics from natural gas, breaking our dependence on petrochemicals to provide roadside litter.
The Road Ahead: A peak in oil production, followed by an increasingly rapid decline in its availability, is undoubtedly in our future, quite possibly our near future. Industrial society is based on the wide availability of relatively cheap petroleum, efforts to change that dependence should start now, for “once collapse begins we will lose the tools and infrastructure we would need to manage the collapse.”
Porn O'Graph: 40 years of backsliding.