At least we are becoming a Banana Republic in a dignified manner.
Perspective: Prices for copper, cotton, wheat, corn... and oil are all up at the commodity exchanges and soon will be in the stores. Many in the US are already on the “speculators are driving up the prices” bandwagon, especially about oil. Nasty inflation due to Bernanke's QE2 is also suspected. What the blinkered US commentariat does not see is that parts of the rest of the world are actually growing and expanding their consumption. It may well be just supply and demand, it's just not us doing the demanding.
Predictions: I just can't help myself. I know that most predictions are about as reliable as New Year's resolutions but I keep reading them. Zero Hedge's listing came as close to my views as I've seen.
Untouched by Human Hands: Dow Jones' Lexicon service sends real-time financial news, in digital form, to... the financial computers which make 70% of the trades on Wall Street. They trade on such a massive scale that a couple of pennies on a trade can make or lose fortunes. As HAL said, “I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance...”
Reforming Reform: The incoming Republicans in the House intend to castrate the Dodd-Frank financial reform law by strangling the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission via skimpy budgets, and by dragging their senior people in front of continuous GOP run hearings to harangue and belittle them. Representing
the American public their masters' voice once again.
The Good News Isn't Very Good: There seems to be a slight increase in employment, but it is wholly low skill low pay temporary jobs at one end and highly technical highly paid at the other and nothing for the middle class. Yet companies are sitting on large piles of cash – because they can't figure out anything worthwhile to do with the money.
It's Only Make Believe: Homeland Secretary Napolitano says it is immaterial that the TSA's x-ray scanners don't detect bombs and that the TSA's screeners fail to spot guns and other weapons 70% of the time, because even if they don't work they make us feel safe and may scare the bad guys away.
Hints: House prices continue to decline according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indices, falling 1.3% m/m in October. Single-family houses fell at twice the expected rate. The double dip in home prices is now in its fifth month.
Strange Bedfellows: The right, which usually sees the government as the villain, now wants states to have the right to declare bankruptcy and default on their payments to bondholders. Of course their goal is not the losses to the bondholdrs (who will turn out to mostly be pension funds – the middle class), but to enable “restructuring contracts” and thus force government workers, police, firemen, etc. to accept vastly lower wages and benefits. But the big prize is letting/forcing states to privatize everything. Roads, water systems, parks... Look at it this way, if Grover Norquist is for it, it cannot be good for the great majority of us.
Porn O'Graph: Housing Hump.