Business 101: Hiring people cuts into profits.
Privacy: Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell claims to be able to live on $5,800 a year and is sure her supporters will understand that questions about her personal and public finances and defrauding the IRS are not relevant to her fitness to represent them.
Question of the Day “Why Do We Keep Indulging the Fiction That Banks Are Private Enterprises?” The financial industry has unlimited access to the public purse and is the most subsidised industry in the world – even more than big oil. “Banks are now in the permanent role of looters.” Etc.
A Step Back: Newt promises the GOP will “shut the government down”. It worked so well for them last time, right? Just how could they do that? Achieving such a goal involves more than GOP hand-waving would suggest – even if paying soldiers and writing Social Security checks were excepted.
How Big was Too Big? Lehman's was so big that two years and $2 billion in administrative fees have not been sufficient to wind down the failure that started all this.
Some Numbers: August retail sales came in 0.1% higher than expected, with a 0.4% growth following a downwardly revised 0.3% growth in July. Sales excluding automobiles advanced 0.6%. Better than a sharp stick in the eye.
Port/Storm? Maybe the message from Delaware has little to do with Ms. O'Donnell and much to do with the general public's disgust with all of the options offered by the traditional political parties. Too bad the Democrats don't have enough guts to run actual Democrats this fall; a lot of progressives may stay away or vote for the Greens, ceding victory to the right. Remember Florida?
Assigned Reading: “The hypocrisy of most deficit discussions.”
Mr. Obvious: Alan Greenspan says that gold is the canary in the coal mine and needs to be watched, as clearly investors are concerned about the value of paper currencies. I say that Mr. Greenspan needs to be watched... closely.
Points of View: Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez thinks $100 per barrel is a fair price for crude oil. Libya agrees, claiming that OPEC needs that much because the cost of food and other imports had risen. Meanwhile ElBadri, the OPEC Secretary General said that OPEC has enormous reserves that only need to be found.
Go Long! 10Year returns: Stocks (S&P500) -31%, Bonds +99%, Treasuries +124, Gold 343%. And what did your high priced Wall Street investment genius have you put your money in?
Repetition: Last week Obama announced his plan to give tax breaks for businesses making investments in new plants and property. It's not going to work. The problem is a lack of demand and a brand new shinny Model 476/B that makes things there is no demand for is going to sit there idle. Or not, because no businessman will buy a machine to make stuff he can't sell. And it won't get the Democrats that many votes, either.
Audience Survey: Children do not seem to appreciate sarcasm until about age 10, but children as young as 4 can understand and use irony. And you thought the picture up above was a put-on.
Lowest Price Wins: While waiting for permission to start selling standing-room-only tickets, airlines are considering a new 'saddle' seat that would reduce passenger space to 23” and require them to perch on a “saddle” about the size of a bicycle seat and rest most of their weight on their feet. But only for three hour flights. Women in heels and snug skirts will really like them. T hey really, really don't want us to fly.
Porn O'Graph: Rights, revised.