Bad metaphors lead to bad policy.
Once upon a time... What does it mean when a country cannot sell all the bonds it needs to, even at an interest rate much higher than it wanted to pay? Just asking, 'cause it happened to China. Again.
After Christmas Markdown: Credit Suisse Group sold $2.8 billion in commercial real estate loans for $1.2 billion. The loans covered property in Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden.
Second Look: The Dallas Fed's Texas Manufacturing Index was, despite some boosterish headlines, pretty much a downer. The index came in at 12.8 instead of the expected 17, which was a slight drop from November's 13.1. Worse, inventories surged, raw materials prices increased and wages and benefits grew, but new order volume dropped. In other words, they paid a bit more to make stuff out of more expensive materials, just to pile it up in inventory as orders dropped. Encouraging.
Go To Your Room: The question was “”Does Unemployment Lead to Less Healthy Diets?” And the answer is “You obviously have never been unemployed.”
Exports Count: Economist and former deputy interior minister Saeed Laylaz predicts that in 5 or 10 years Iran will have no oil to export. Iran's main source of hard currency is the export of oil. Patience is a virtue.
What, Me Worry? Looking at the forecasts for 2011 is scary; not one pundit in a dozen sees any chance of the markets crashing. Brokerage houses and administration economists keep raising their estimates for GDP growth. Worse, most investors describe themselves as bullish. They've got the 'bull' part right.
Confidence Game: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is confident China can contain its inflation. Confident, he says, as inflation continues to rise.
Con Job: Get that education! Just don't take any of the basic math courses because you don't want to figure out how much it will cost to repay the loans, or how long it will take, or figure out that you are one of that 50% of college graduates who are embarking on careers as baristas.
Oh Say Can You RTC? Remember the Savings and Loan fiasco? Remember how the Resolution Trust Company closed the S&L's fired all the managers and jailed many of them, wiped out all the stockholders, sold off the good stuff and bundled up the crapola and so on? Why not do it again?
Competition: In 2010 China launched 15 satellites into orbit, the first time any country put up more satellites than the US. Space, the final frontier.
This Is A Joke, Right? Cornell's tech-heads are building a 'food printer'. You punch in the recipe, adjust the flavors, add the raw materials (chemicals of some sort?) and it “prints” out a product that has the taste, texture, nutrition etc. of real food. Sort of like a microwave you only take stuff out of.
12 Step Program: In the US 42 million are on food stamps, one out of three families – 45 million people, 22 million children - is “low income”, the number of the working poor continues to increase, over half of the US labor force have suffered unemployment, a cut in pay, reduced work hours, or have become involuntary part-timers since December 2007. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. We, the people, have a problem.