What middle class Americans need is middle class jobs.
Peak Food? When oil prices zoom upwards the explanations are either 'peak oil' or 'speculation'. With food it comes down to supply/demand and speculation based on supply/demand. Either way, the chickens have come home (to America) to roost. GM, Kraft and Kellogg have begun hiking prices on their products. Hope they got The Chairman's approval, because Mr. Bernanke is pretty sure that (a) there is no inflation and (b) price increases on food and fuel don't count.
Health Care, The Substitute: The Republicans have revealed their plan to improve America's health care: Stop all those pesky malpractice suits and keep people from suing the doctors who injured them. That's it. Feel better?
Cyberwar as Boogeyman: An OECD study concludes that 'cyberwar' is mainly a boogeyman designed to frighten the public and control internet activity while increasing the budget and profile of cyberwarriors. Just don't ask Iran about the Stuxnet worm.
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines: A bankruptcy court has ruled that Vallejo, CA can void contracts with public employee's unions as part of a bankruptcy. The city has already informed its unsecured creditors that they would receive as little as 5 cents on the dollar from the city. Pension plans in Illinois are about $200 billion in the hole and unlikely to bridge the gap – another blow to public employees. In Los Angeles whole departments will be eliminated and employees terminated. And on it goes. Even as JPMorgan forecasts increasing numbers of munincipal bankruptcies, Bernanke repeats his view that the Federal Reserve's authority will not permit the Fed to rescue bankrupt cities. Only their banks and stockbrokers.
100% Unlikely: Some pathetically optimistic folks are claiming that building 4 million wind turbines, etc. etc. by 2030 is possible and would produce enough energy to replace fossil fuels. That's 700 new wind turbines a day, every day, for 20 years. In what world, with what governmental system?
Ben Tre: Last October the Afghan town of Tarok Kolache received 25 tons of bombs from General Petraeus's counterinsurgency offensive. But, the military assures us, there were no civilian casualties. And now no town, either.
Department of Duh: “FBI: MLK parade bomb may have been racially motivated.”
Bonding: Goldman Sachs says holders of Greek Bonds are unlikely to be repaid in full. Maybe in half. Ireland is offering its bondholders 70 cents on the dollar, which BNP Paribas urges them to take. Can you hum the tune to Sovereign Defaults Don't Happen?
Can You Hear Me Now? ExxonMobil expects global carbon emissions to rise by nearly 25% in the next 20 years, in effect dismissing hopes that runaway climate change can be stopped. And that assumes only a 40% increase in demand for energy and the use of “less carbon-intensive fuels.” The Pollyannaish forecast of only a 2.1ºC to 3.7ºC rise this century is hopelessly beyond reach.
Doubled Trouble: Funny thing, scientists now admit that they underestimated the amount that the melting of Arctic ice and snow would contribute to global warming. By half.
Health Care Reform Explained: A short presentation by those who think America is too great to improve.
Yes, But: “If the cost of labor increases, someone has to pay for it. Laborers may pay in the form of decreased work opportunities, investors may pay in the form of decreased returns on capital, or consumers may pay in the form of higher prices required by increased costs.” But if the cost of labor decreases, someone benefits, either the investors or the consumers. Oh, wait. The consumers are also the laborers and thus have lost even more of their ability to buy what they make and that will cost the investors money, too. Slave labor is a good idea as long as you have a large pool of consumers who are immune from slavery. Did Mises have a formula for that?
Porn O'Graph: Stopping the starts.