Thursday, February 17, 2011

SAR #11048

There is no Left left here.

Getting Pushy: The Producer Price Index for finished goods has risen 3.6% in the last year, and has increased 0.7%, 0.9, and 0.8% in the last three months. That is pretty close to a 10% annualized increase in the cost. In the costs for intermediate goods (which will become finished goods soon) the rate is 20% (annualized). Either margins shrink (and profits with them) or prices increase (and sales fall). It looks like inflation, it smells like inflation, Bernanke maintains it's a duck.

The Good and the Bad: Only 35% of Americans want federal funding for the Affordable Care Act cut. Unfortunately, just 41% want defense spending cut.

P-KB4: Obama threatens to veto GOP budget.

Numbers Game: The NAR says sales of existing houses fell 5% last year, to 4.9 million units. CoreLogic can find only 3.6 million houses that were sold last year, down 12% from 2009. Would it help you to understand this discrepancy if I reminded you the first set of numbers came from the realtors?

Belaboring the Obvious:Madoff maintains that the banks he dealt with "had to know" he was running a Ponzi scheme. So? The willing suspension of disbelief is more than a literary conceit.

Qualifications: Banks are beginning to insist that purchasers make 20% down payments in order to get a loan. Liberals are up in arms because this means people who shouldn't be buying a home won't be allowed to. Conservatives are worried that this will kill the profits from the mortgage securitization industry. Maybe the way to get Fannie and Freddie out of the mortgage business is to make the mortgage business go back to being a business, not a social project. Why would anyone with 20% to put down on a house buy in a market where prices are still falling? That level of stupidity should disqualify them for a loan.

Chinese Puzzle: Will China's inflation – now at 5% per annum – be shipped to the US in containers bound for Walmart? Sure.

On the Other Hand: The punderati are split between those who buy the GOP mantra that Social Security is killing the budget and running up the deficit, and those who understand that this is a myth and that the real villains are healthcare and defense. What none of them want to talk about is the fact that people make money from our outrageous healthcare costs and military budgets, and that paying back the money borrowed from Social Security to bail out the rest of the government for the last 20 years will result in higher taxes.

'Nuff Said: “Dear Poor People, Thank You For Going Without Heat So We Can Buy Another Week of War”

Porn O'Graph: Housing Starts, stopped.


rjs said...

'Nuff Said:
i was around when HEAP was started, after the severe winters of 77-78...people were being found frozen to death....i still remember the words of the East Ohio Gas spokeman talking about an old guy named Zimmer who's gas had been turned off for non-payment..."if you dont pay your bills, you get terminated"

my heat oil for the past 5 weeks cost me $ squeaking by...some people arent gonna make it...

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re On the Other Hand:

I suggest not using the word "defense" to refer to the Pentagon's budget. Military, yes.

john patrick said...

Thanks again, CK, for the great daily writeup!

OkieLawyer said...

Re: P-KB4

I guess you were unaware that real chess players no longer use the old descriptive notation, and have switched to the international standard of algebraic. The correct notation should be "f4" (as white) or "f5" (as black).

Assuming you were referring to white's first move, did the reference to the Bird's opening have some secondary meaning?

CKMichaelson said...

Embarrassment reigns, OkieLawyer. I have not played chess since my then 8 year old son got so he beat me regularly. I took the P-KB4 notation from Connell's Points for a Compass Rose, where it is the opening move by the narrator (or one of them) in his game for his soul with the Devil. Sometimes a cigar is just a smoke.


Anonymous said...

RE: Qualifications

Because, as every Realtor I ever talked to said, there's never been a better time to buy a home!

and @rjs - I spent $650 from Christmas to yesterday. I live in New Jersey and keep the house quite chilly.