When is it too late to change your mind?
Dead on Arrival: Robert Shiller suggests the government should simply hire workers directly for public services, much as it did during the Great Depression. For what it costs to keep the war in Afghanistan going we could put a million people to work here at home at $30,000 a year. Try getting that past the GOPers.
Get Me Rewrite! "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." These first 28 words of the 14th Amendment have suddenly become anathema to the highest levels of Republican politics. Mitch McConnell says “everyone” is concerned about birthright citizenship – lord knows I am. After all, all Mitch had to do to become a citizen was to be born here, and look how that's worked out.
Mein Kampf: How Monsanto (and Arthur Anderson) made the world safe for GM crops. Or, lies, damned lies, bribery and coercion. Bedtime reading.
Catch Me If You Can: Some say there should be a limit – say $10 billion – to the liability of those who would drill holes in the bottom of the sea, because it is impossible to get unlimited liability insurance. Besides it would prevent a lot of drilling, thus preventing a lot of jobs. (And lots and lots of profit, which is the real point.) The new defense is not “I'm not responsible”, it's “I can't afford to be responsible.” Which explains why there is so much pollution, everywhere.
Viva La Difference: On August 31 st US combat units will be renamed “Advise and Assist Brigades” instead of Combat Brigades. Presto, chango, no more US combat units in Iraq - just fully trained and armed infantry troops who are doing things that might look like combat to the
Suggestion Box: The Fed is seeking ways to support the housing market – now that Fannie and Freddie have been reduced to walking dead. Using the proceeds from maturing MBS to buy new mortgages or to subsidize re-financing underwater mortgages have been suggested. Please send in your suggestions – apparently they don't have to pass the laugh test.
Lies, Damned Lies and Electric Vehicles: Another story in the financial press today alleges that electric cars represent clean energy. They do not, they simply take the CO2 emissions from the tailpipe and put them in a smokestack. The free lunch will be delayed.
Grim Fairy Tale: Old GOP'ers David Stockton and Greg Mankiw say it is time for the GOP to give up the “depressingly widespread” belief that cutting taxes increases revenue, claiming that those who believe this fiction are “charlatans and cranks.” Now that Obama wants to do away with the Bush tax cuts for the rich the GOP will have to argue that the rich are somehow worthy of lower taxes than the middle class - as if that would bother them. Stockman says: If there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing.
Facile Bullshit: Some guy on CNBC was claiming that “deflation is a very positive thing” for the working man. It is, he claimed, just like getting a raise. Right. In deflation real prices drop, companies can't invest (who would lend them money when the value of assets is falling?), the burden of debts – credit card and mortgage alike – becomes ever more onerous. In a debt-based economy, deflation is the kiss of death – not “a very positive thing.”
Seed Corn: About a trillion dollars has disappeared from money market funds and not shown up in other investment media. Where'd it go? Maybe it just went to ordinary folks, paying their bills with money they had set aside for a rainy day. Don't look now, but it's been raining.
Depression: If you think that customers are pessimistic, go talk to some small business owners – they see ever lower spending and ever lower employment ahead. Private construction spending has fallen sharply. How much did the market go up today?