Thursday, September 23, 2010

SAR #10266

American prosperity was based on constantly expanding debt.

Flood Stage:  Banks seized 95,364 properties last month, raising the on-hand inventory above the 12.5 month level for the first time in over a decade.  The FHFA's house price index fell 0.5% from June to July and 3.3% Y/Y, a result of the number of foreclosed properties flooding the market.

Profit Margins:  Nigeria could provide electricity for its 150 million citizens for less than 0.5% of its oil and gas revenues. But this would cut into the money traditionally diverted into politicians' pockets, so it has asked for international investors to buy up and privatize the national electric company.

Asked & Answered:  Can the US slip into deflation?  Yes.  Will it?  Ah, another question...

True Story:  The people have already decided on gays in the military – a wide majority, including President Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, want Don't Ask Don't Tell repealed.  Republican politicians don't agree.

Selfishness: In some cities in Brazil there are “People’s Restaurants” that daily serve 12,000 or more people every day – mostly with locally grown food - for about 50 cents a day.  This is what socialism looks like: bureaucratic drones distorting free markets to feed the hungry and the poor and saving dying babies.

Progress?  Today 77% of the US population lives paycheck to paycheck, nearly double the rate just 3 years ago.  And they don’t get bonus checks, either.

It's a Breeze: C hina has completed its first offshore wind farm.  Portugal gets 45% of its electricity from renewables.  America has not even begun construction of its first offshore wind farm, but the DOE just isssued a compendium discussing the pros and cons of plans that might be put in place by 2015.  Maybe.

The Other Don't Ask, Don't Tell:  Even in the face of glaring income inequality people consistently underestimate how large the gap between the rich and mere mortals really is.  And no matter which strata of society you ask, everyone thinks a more equitable distribution of wealth would “build a better America”.  Even most Republican rank and file.

Take Home Assignment:  Read “Systemic Risk Arising from a Financial System that Requires Growth in a World with Limited Oil Supply,” which examines what happens to an economic system dependent on continual growth in an environment that puts severe constraints on that growth. There will be a test.

The Angry Rich:  When people see their entitlements taken away, they become upset.  The rich are getting very upset.

Global Pincer Movement:  Russia's drought-damaged wheat crop has been joined by the loss of half its potato harvest.  Russia will have to turn to the world market as an importer, not the exporter of 25% of the world's wheat.  And China has become a net importer of corn for the first time in recent history, while global corn stocks are at a 37 year low.  Thank goodness the US is only going to turn 36% of its corn into ethanol.

Redefinition:  To the GOP, 'compromise' has come to mean  “Do it our way, or else.”

Midnight at the Oasis:  According to Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon, at the end of month customers come in late at night, fill their carts with baby formula and diapers and wait until midnight to check out – after their government electronic benefit cards get activated.  “The only reason somebody gets out in the middle of the night and buys baby formula is that they need it, and they’ve been waiting for it.”

Factors: Even though India has plentiful coal resources, many Indian power companies are investing in foreign coal assets in countries with conducive regulatory norms.  Don't you just love it when they talk dirty?


Eric Hacker said...

re: Selfishness

You left out that this so called food, being locally grown, completely bypasses the industrial food system. This not only prevents the rich elite from taxing the food through corporate profits, but it also removes the unhealthy and addictive items from these peoples diets. How are they to become good consumers if they aren't free to choose consumptive addictions? Where is the profit?

kwark said...

RE The Other Don't, Ask Don't Tell
Unfortunately, an alarming number of people I know think the solutions to this problem are more tax cuts and the elimination of government. It's when they get their wish and find they're worse off that REALLY worries me.