Word for the Day: Eschaton, which refers to the end of the present world.
Just As You Suspected: Do not get excited about the bull market being two years old. Unless you bought at the bottom and have made back what you lost. For the rest of us, the Dow is a sideshow, having absolutely nothing to do with reality. There's no job growth. No consumer spending growth. The top 5% are doing okay thought; they make up 35% of the nation's spending. The rest of us – the other 95% - are trying to figure out how to pay for the gasoline to go to the store for increasingly expensive food.
Deeds, Not Words: Saudi Arabia did not increase oil production between 2005 and 2008 while tight supplies drove the price to nearly $150 a barrel. If the Saudis weren't able or willing to supply the market then, why expect they will (or could) now, for 30% less?
Apples & Oranges: If you count Social Security as “wages” and Medicare payments as “salaries”, then 35% the nation's wages and salaries are made up of these “social welfare benefits”. Usual prize for identifying the tomfoolery behind this view of life.
Mystery Guest: We're back to claiming that 'speculators' are driving up the price of oil, with outstanding futures contracts for more than six times the amount of oil that can be held at the WTI terminal in Cushing, OK. Question, isn't there both a buyer and a seller for each of those contracts? Which one is the speculator, the one who profits if oil goes up or the one who profits if the price of oil goes down?
Faint Praise: All is well in the PIGGY states. Portugal was able to sell its latest bonds. But only at 5.99% interest, up from 4% the last time out.
Counting Down: We start with night sticks and water cannon in Bahrain. Egypt looks to relapse. Libya is burning down its oil infrastructure. Kuwait has discovered politics. Saudi Arabia is upset about a 'day of rage'. Yemen is still shooting citizens. Is Iran a candidate?
Facts in a Row: . State and local governments are struggling to balance their budgets. The Republicans say it is all the fault of public unions, especially teachers. New Jersey's pension problems exist because the state failed to make 13 of its last 17 payments to the fund. The politicians stole the money and now blame the employees. In Wisconsin the overpaid state workers are paid roughly (total compensation) 5% less than private sector workers. The much maligned Wisconsin union pension system is – despite what the GOP claims – very healthy and not a threat to the states budget.
If, Then: It seems that as much as 40% of the Pentagon's budget is “black,” - a secret hidden from the public and most of Congress. Conspiracy theory or modern democracy?
Fantasy Island: The UN put out a charmingly data-free dream of a better world, 9 billion happy organic farmers working their little plots. Of course it presumes massive infrastructure expenditures for roads, energy, electrification... and introduces the word 'Agroecology', which seems to mean 'farming the way I think you should do it.'
Data Point: 54% of Americans support legal abortion, only 42% oppose. The noise is just political hogwash.
It's Only Make-Believe: Demand is growing for "synthetic" financial instruments that let investors bet on junk bonds without either owning the bonds or having enough money to buy them. Can you say “synthetic CDS”? Should you have to?
Old Question: How law abiding will you be on the third day you cannot find food for your family? How long before you become Jean Valjean? How many lampposts are there in lower Manhattan?
Porn O'Graph: Going broke is back!