Nowadays almost anyone can go from riches to rags.
State of Play: Republicans want to make all the tax cuts permanent, adding nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, $400 billion a year. Wonder what we could do with that money if we didn’t give it to the richest 1%? The Democrats, needing cash for their re-election campaigns, are likely, once more, to sacrifice principle for principal.
Supply and Demand: About 35% of the jobs lost in the last two years paid below $15 an hour. About 76% of the job growth this year has been in jobs that paid below $15 an hour. Not counting bonuses.
Seriously Folks.... Karl Case, of Case-Shiller house-price fame, says “It's a great time to buy a house.” Think of it as an investment, he says, having become famous for tracking the collapse of housing as an investment. You can write off the mortgage interest against your income, assuming you have some income. The capital gains will be excluded from taxation – if there ever are any gains. You can write the losses off and that'll offset a lot of your taxable unemployment benefits. Plus if the market tanks again, or further, you'll still have a place to live... if you don't get foreclosed on.
Yawn: Initial claims for unemployment benefits were 472,000 this week, another week of statistically meaningless wandering in the 475,000 range, ditto for the 4-week moving average, which at 485,500 was pretty much unmoved.
Quote of the Day: “It seems that there are a large number of Americans who either can't spend a lot of money right now or who are very hesitant to do so.”
Small Change: Pending sales of existing houses climbed a little in July from June's record low rate. But keep in mind that sales of existing houses may help banks, but they do little for the overall economy compared to building a new house.
Success Secret: CEOs who engage in the greatest number layoffs are rewarded with the highest levels of pay and bonuses. Laying off workers to increase profits is the American Way.
Mounting Range: In discussing our oil dependency, the question is not “How much oil is there in the ground?” The question is “ How much economically viable oil is there left to produce?” If $85 a barrel oil kills the economy, it does not matter how much $147 a barrel oil there is. And when it takes the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil to produce a barrel of oil... the party's over.
Futility: Lowering tax rates will not create jobs. Companies do not spend money to create jobs unless there are profits to be had, and they do not see any on the horizons. The cheap loans that are available are going to mergers and acquisitions, which will lead to more consolidation, more factories built abroad, more layoffs at home. The Fed's quantitative easing is just making these depredations easier.
Definition: Politics is “the process by which groups of people make collective decisions” that deprive another, weaker, group, of their cash and civil rights. This process is generally accompanied by rhetoric to the effect that this is for the betterment of the group being fleeced.