The middle class is over.
Sclerosis: The IMF is showing signs of severe hardening of positions as nations cling to their 'beggar thy neighbor' plans to save themselves at the cost of the rest. Never a good plan, especially if the myth of globalization's goodness is to be perpetuated while everybody tries to export his way out of this mess.
Huff & Puff: "If clear title can't be obtained, how can these places be sold – ever?" This gets drawn out into a long and prosperous feeding frenzy for the lawyers while nearly everyone else suffers. What's new?
Click Your Heels: Iran upped its claimed oil reserves by 14% overnight (without announcing any new finds) and promised that even higher numbers would be made up soon if Iraq upped its guesstimate once again. Last week Iraq claimed 143.1 bbl to top Iran's claim of 138 bbl in reserves.
Where's The Beef? Tea Partiers and Republicans (ah, I repeat myself) claim Obama has expanded government employment, raised benefits for the poor, coddled the unemployed and recklessly increased government spending. Too bad none of this is true. What new programs? What infrastructure programs? What's been socialized other than Wall Street losses (and don't tell me health care, not while the insurers rake in ever larger profits and companies dump coverage for their workers with no single-payer plan in sight!)? All that spending never happened. It should have, but it didn't.
Good Question: “Why is Tony Hayward still a free, and rich, man?” If he'd peed in the Reflecting Pool he'd still be in jail.
Breadcrumbs: About 11.5 million new jobs are needed to bring unemployment down to the pre-recession rate. A good first step would be a couple of months where job creation just broke even with new entries into the work force. Write if you find work.
Costumes: When the doorbell rings later this month, will you be greeted by a zombie homeowner or a zombie bank? Does it matter which bunch – the underwater homeowners or the insolvent banks – gets the candy corn? But please, no accountants – they're far too scary.
The Quote: “We're from the government and we're here to help.” T he speakers? US Special Forces sent to rescue Linda Norgrove, who was killed in the attempt. The military first blamed the Taliban. Can you say “Pat Tillman”?
Trip Report: The Association for the Study of Peak Oil -USA's annual gathering settled on a general consensus that 'peak' means 'plateau' and we have been on a 80 mbd plateau for about 5 years and have about 5 more years to go before oil supplies start to tumble downhill. Many, if not most, also felt that the current economic downturn was directly tied to the dramatic rise in oil prices from 2003 to 2008, and that it had been but a taste of things to come. Move along, nothing new. Move along.
The Big One: Why are underwater homeowners still paying their mortgages? a ) Hope. b) Innumeracy . c) Inertia. d) Fear. e) Location, location, location.
Vegetarians: Too bad for us carnivores that the meat we crave comes from vegetarians, especially vegetarians which eat corn. Meat prices will continue to rise (already up 14%) as the US corn crop falls along with the number of feeder cattle and hogs. If it gets really bad we may have to forgo 15% ethanol in our gasoline.
Porn O'Graph: Homeland Security, the global game.