Were these consequences actually unintended?
On the Job: In the last two months US employment has increased by about 125,000 a month – the bottom end of the number needed to keep even with the growth of the labor market. At this rate the 7.7 million jobs lost during the recession will be replaced... never. The BLS reports the unemployment rate as essentially unchanged at 8.9%, but Gallup says it's more like 10.3% The same discrepancy exists with U6 – the combined un- and underemployed, with BLS reporting 15.9% and Gallup 19.9%. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.2 hours and average hourly earnings grew 1 cent. Job openings remain 30% below December 2007.
Dominoes In A Row: Friday saw renewed violence in Bahrain, airstrikes in Yemen and more civil war in Libya. Sectarian violence continues to mount in Pakistan. Iraq has broken out the water cannon again, and even Kuwait is edging into the political demands phase. The biggest question is
when will Saudi Arabia fall?
Dreamtime: The forecast for oil reaching $220 a barrel assumes that the world's economies will survive oil at $150 a barrel.
Bizarre Bazaars: Big box retailers are re-examining their business model, looking for (more) profitable ways to fill their underutilized caverns. When they try to get by with less inventory, they look like failures, going out of business. Some are trying to turn their excess space into rental units for small businesses and 'lease' operations like the jewelry and makeup counters in the department stores. One size, it seems, does not fit all.
Vacation Planning Tip: By the end of the century the Arctic will be 5º to 10ºF warmer. Plan accordingly.
Money Is As Money Does:The received wisdom is that QE 1& 2 were not inflationary. But no matter how Bernanke dresses it up, the Fed is monetizing the Treasury's debt. That increases the overall money supply (even though the 'money' isn't greenbacks.) KC Fed President Hoenig agrees that the Fed is monetizing debt. “Right now,” he explained, “ a lot of that is going into excess reserves so it is not having an immediate effect on inflation. It will initiate inflationary impulses. It takes time.” And time is not on our side.
Home Free: The US Justice Department has dropped its investigation of sub-prime prime-mover Angelo Mozilo.
Oil & The Economy, Part I: One in three US consumers is already cutting back on discretionary spending because of soaring prices at the gas pump. They didn't get the memo about the new, lower oil prices ahead (as long as the Saudis keep pumping).
Finally: Afghanistan has opened the Amu Darya Basin for bids from companies wanting to explore for oil and gas. They did not mention the pipelines.
Facts in a certain order : The Federal deficit is $1.4 trillion. The typical US corporation pays taxes at a 4% rate or less. Corporations are persons. Minimum personal income tax rate is 10%, plus unemployment, social security and medicare.
Watch For It: Every time you hear them talk about the need for budget cuts remember they voted to give the rich tax cuts.
Sisyphus: John Boehner says he is going to educate the voters so they will support cuts in Social Security and Medicare. A majority of Americans support reducing benefits for the wealthy and raising the income subject to taxation – neither of which are on Boehner's Top Ten list. Voters also support raising the Social Security retirement age to 69, gradually, over then next 50 years. Chaste, but not yet.
Footnotes: Texas wants to make hiring “unauthorized aliens” punishable by two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Unless, of course, the alien is a maid, gardener
or roofer. No harm no foul.
Balancing Acts: Wisconsin isn't the only state trying to bridge budgetary shortfalls. Pennsylvania has cut 40,000 from its low-income health insurance program – which already had a 505,000 long waiting list. Washington state dropped 17,500 from a program for the working poor. Arizona has proposed eliminating Medicaid coverage for 250,000 people.
Porn O'Grpah: Jobs, the big chart.