On Wall Street, dishonesty is its own reward. In Washington, too.
Place Your Bets... Kuwait says that the global economy will remain well supplied with oil even though the price reaches $100 a barrel. True. At $100 a barrel there will be oil for anyone who can afford to pay $100 a barrel. After that's gone, they've got some $125 a barrel.
Running Hot and Cold: That warmer climate can result in colder weather works like this: The warmer Arctic melts the sea ice. The ice used to reflect the sun's rays back out of the atmosphere but the darker seas just absorb the warmth. The warmer seas warm the air, the air rises and disrupts the normal winter air flow patterns pushing the colder air inconveniently south.
Numbers Game: In 2010 the US added 937,000 non-farm jobs. Foxconn, the Chinese tech firm that makes iPads, added 300,000 jobs. In the US, 9.8% of workers are unemployed. Only 9.3% of the work force are employed in manufacturing. We could double our manufacturing base overnight and still have unemployed workers.
Priorities: China, which has invested $100 billion in water projects in the last 5 years, will spend another $30 billion on water conservation projects in 2011. The US has invested over $1 trillion in the war in Iraq and nearly that much in Afghanistan. Of course we've been at it for nearly 10 years.
Rose colored glasses: Two degrees Centigrade. Maybe 4, at most. That's the story we usually get fed by the climate scientists. But in the past a doubling of CO2 has had much stronger effects and there is no reason that the current warming couldn't end up 18 or 20 degrees hotter in a couple of hundred years.
Fear Factor: A few years back the banks were allowed to enter the twilight zone and leave mark-to-market behind and adventure into mark-to-wishful thinking on the theory that there was no reason to set aside reserves for losses they would not be taking, because the worthless assets would be transmuted into full value as soon as the recovery occurred. The recovery has been indefinitely delayed. Is there a time limit on the voluntary suspension of disbelief?
Barreling Ahead: Gasoline across the US has topped $3 a gallon. Oil has passed $90 a barrel. They told us this would happen as the economy recovered. But the price has kept rising and the economy has not recovered and none of this going according to the playbook.
The Won't of the People: The victorious Republicans said they would follow “the people's priorities" in Washington. Sure enough, except for tax cuts, ending Don't Ask Don't Tell, ratifying the START treaty, and passing the DREAM act. But Boehner did say that this would start “beginning January 5th...” And not a minute sooner.
Soros About That: George Soros points out that the two predominant economic theories – the rational expectations approach and the efficient market mythology – are seriously flawed because markets are neither rational nor efficient. Markets - and thus economies - result from human beings wandering around being human – greedy, capricious, fearful, strongly independent or slavishly conforming. So he's funding an institute to at least recognize the imperfectablity of mankind.
Payment Due: This blog is presented free of charge about 300 times a year, but now I'd like something in return. I would like each of you to donate $10 to the nearest Food Bank. While you're there, volunteer to work in the kitchen. If you can't find the food bank, put ten bucks in the kettle the next time you pass one. And I thank you.