What will we do we can no longer stuff our emptiness with things?
Bunch'a Numbers: The US lost 125,000 jobs in June, which is pretty shabby in that we needed over 800,000 new jobs just to maintain the status quo. Unemployment fell to 9.5% only because over 600,000 were thrown off long term unemployment and no longer exist in the government's eyes. Those that had jobs earned a tad less and worked a few minutes less, too.
Raw Data: After a nice little run-up over the last few weeks, the price of a barrel of oil has fallen as the recovery stalls. Or is it that the recovery stalled after a run-up in the price of oil?
Hostile Environment: Most Pakistanis admit that Islamist extremists were most likely directly responsible for the Sufi shrine bombing that killed 42 worshipers. But, they say, it was America's war in Afghanistan, its missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions, and its alliance with Islamabad that forced them to their suicide missions. Tell me again about our progress.
Gift that keeps on taking: In the name of the people, the GOP, having killed extended benefits for the unemployed, now wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, arguing that the deficit is endangering
the banks the economy. Suffering is good for you and these steps are necessary to fight the deficit. Right now the bond market doesn’t seem worried about US solvency, with 10 year treasury's below 3%, but it's always good (GOP) policy for the lower classes to suffer.
Smoke and Mirrors: Fannie Mae is bragging that the rate of serious delinquencies among its portfolio has decreased 3% from March to April. They more quietly noted that delinquencies of 90 days or more were up 50% from a year earlier. Fannie is stepping up the pace of foreclosures, so maybe the 3% decrease is just those they've finally shoved out the door.
Bumps in the Road: Based on an estimate from Autodata Corp, light vehicle sales were at a 11.08 million SAAR in June. That is up 14% from June 2009 (when sales were very low), and down 4.6% from the May sales rate.
Searching for the cure: Iceland's rebirth suggests that it's best to take your medicine, let the too big fail, and get on with rebuilding.
The Terminator: Arnold says about 200,000 of California's state employees will be paid only minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) next month because the state hasn't got the money to pay them properly. Controller John Chiang says that unless a court orders him otherwise, he intends to pay people what they are owed, even if he has to write bad checks to do so.
Better Late Than... Apple now admits that its iPhones – all of them, not just the iPhone4 – have been displaying inaccurately high signal strength since the first one was introduced in 2007. They also said they had just now discovered this error. Can you hear me now?
Good Question: Given the humongous oil spill currently at center stage, now might be a good time to think about the role of profit in the capitalistic decision-making process, about delivering risk to the community while reserving profits to the shareholders, about the encouragement of management to put the public and the company at risk in order to increase their personal rewards. Then again, maybe there will never be a good time to discuss these issues in public – outside the occasional hour in some renegade church that still remembers Christ's teachings.
Castor Oil: Just so you understand what they mean when they say 'austerity', there's this: In Great Britain, over 1.3 million will be made redundant, on their way to join the Irish with 15% unemployment as their governments adopt “feed a banker' policies. Next we’ll hear that the Irish just aren’t doing enough, and must do more. If bleeding the patient hasn't cured the problem, then more bleeding is obviously the answer.
Financial Diet: The much ballyhooed financial reform act gives banks until 2022 to reform. That's about when I'm going to start my diet, too.