The Constitution does not actually require that we be governed by morons.
Teacup: ADP claims there were 297,000 non-farm private sector jobs added in December, which is a big deal even if 97% of them were in the service sector. Not everybody was immediately convinced that the economy had risen from the dead, especially because the ISM non-manufacturing index did not support such strong numbers. Nor do such rosy numbers agree with the hard-luck stories in cities around the nations.
Democracy Now! Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has sent out 150 letters to the oil industry, drug manufacturers, healthcare providers and telecom firms asking which government regulations they want repealed.
Dessert: Layoffs are reported to have fallen to their lowest level since 2000. Funny how the smaller pieces of pie are the last to go.
The Union Label: Faced with mounting budget deficits, politicians were quick to blame the public service unions. Now, having convinced the taxpayer that our problems stem from the ability of public employees to join together to fight for pay and benefits, they are going after the pay and pensions of public servants. The GOP is proud to demonize the unions as part of their campaign to force workers back into 19th century penury and servitude.
Lying Eyes: 75 percent of all wrongful convictions later reversed by DNA evidence start with erroneous eyewitness identifications.
On the Street: According to Pew's year-end survey, 72% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going, 89% see the economy as only fair or poor, 51% say it is difficult to afford health care, and 29% say it is difficult afford food.
Just-So Story: Kuwait's oil minister says the world petroleum supply is neither too little nor too much, but just exactly right. He also thought that $100 a barrel was “a fair price.”
Locations: About 100,000 houses will be foreclosed in January and a record number in the first quarter. That will put more vacant homes on the market, offered at lower prices as the banks try to unload them. In turn this will lower house prices and put even more mortgages underwater, more into foreclosure, more for sale... In an economy with nearly 10% unemployment and another 10% underemployed, who is going to buy these homes? With what?
Sound & Flurry: Portugal had to pay 3.69% interest to sell €500 million in six-month bills. The Irish 10-year bond yield is over 10%. The yield on Greek 10-year bonds is at a record 12.62%. Another blowup seems inevitable.
Ritual Warfare: The new Republican majority in the House plans to spend the next few weeks making hollow threats and symbolic gestures. Eventually it will come down to the money, which is what politics is always about. Until then, enjoy the show.
Headline Service: “As CMBS Delinquencies Hit All Time Record, Wall Street Looks For Greater Fools” As if they needed a reason.