Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SAR #11110

It's only called class warfare if we fight back.

Enthusiasm: the State Department says the US is not trying to undermine the Syrian government but is trying to support democratic goals in Syria, as it does elsewhere in the world except for Saudi Arabia. And Bahrain. And Yemen, where the US-supported tyrant's security forces continue to prune protesters from the crowd. Syria said that shooting protesters at a sit-in was a security measure aimed at getting the protesters safely home. Iran and Egypt have “friended” each other and exchanged ambassadors for the first time in 3 decades. Britain is sending more military advisers to the rebels in Libya (more?), and Donald Trump is running for president of these United States.

Hard Labor: The average pay package of the average S&P 500 CEO was $11.4 million in 2010, an increase of 23% from 2009. What's in your wallet?

Terminology: The government has come up with a new term for pre-trial detention – that is putting you in jal before they put you in jail – it's called a “long-term pre-trial stay”. PFC Bradley Manning has been moved to a brand new “pre-trial jail” at Fort Leavenworth. Nice to know its not an after-trial jail.

Asterisk: Housing starts climbed 37,000 units last month (on an annualized basis). But that was mostly apartment buildings with 5 or more units. Completions came in at an annual rate of 374,000, which is about the most anemic on record.

Three Thousand Days Late and $4 Trillion Short: Famous Mumbler and Former Fed Chairman Alan 'Don't Blame Me' Greenspan now, now at long last, now after it is way, way too late, is urging Congress to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Turns out they were a bad idea after all. Speaking of the deficit, the Maestro explained “This is a very big number.”

Collateral Damage: Japanese exports fell 2.2% in March, mostly due to the tsunami and nuclear disaster. Car shipments were down 28% and Toyota said it will extend its 70% production cuts in North America for lack of parts.

Quoted: "The real-life effect of the Republican policy [on Medicare] is the same as a perpetual tax increase machine on Medicare recipients, to subsidize a perpetual windfall profits machine for price-gouging companies."

Job Fares: Good news: US multinationals are hiring again. Bad news: The big name companies that employ about 20% of all Americans are hiring overseas. It has been a balancing act; while 2.9 million Americans were cut from their payrolls, 2.4 new employees were hired overseas.

Death and... Don't tell the Tea Party, but US federal tax rates are at historic lows. Federal, state and local taxes combined are lower than any time in the last 50 years. No wonder 59% of Americans think the rich aren’t paying enough taxes. But neither are they.

Factoid: The CBO projections show that under the Ryan plan, seniors would soon be spending more than half of their income to buy a Medicare equivalent plan.

Leveling the Playing Field: Budget compromises have eliminated $88 million of funding for non-profit housing counselors, and a $65 million reduction in foreclosure counseling efforts. Apparently the Republicans thought it might give the homeowners too big an advantage against the banks.

Fever: Housing sales in major Chinese cities dropped d40% y/y in March, while prices of new homes in Beijing fell 26% in the same period.

Self-Confidence:Yesterday I saw a young girl – about 5 or 6 – walk up to the door of a busy restaurant, ahead of her parents. Just then the door opened and a three middle-aged ladies came out, chatting with each other, oblivious of the girl. The girl saw the door open just as she got there, so she loudly said “Thank you!” with a smile in her voice and marched on in. Reminded me of the Republicans after the last election.

Precis: The financing needs of the advanced economies are equal to 25% of their total GDP output, the public debt of advanced countries will exceed 100% of their GDP this year, the world's banks need $3.6 trillion in the same period – who is going to buy all these bonds? With what?

Porn O'Graph: The bear went over the mountain.


Anonymous said...

RE: Fever

A housing collapse in China is a bigger deal than here. According to Charles Smith the Chinese poor have been putting their money into housing because the banks pay less interest than the inflation rate. So;

"Chinese savers and investors, many of whom have relied on the savings of three generations to buy investment homes.

The key problem is that owning a few flats, purchased with cash, is perceived as equivalent to a savings account. But property is not like cash; it is illiquid, and it deteriorates to zero value if it is not well-maintained. This is especially true for highrises, which are the primary residential building type in China."

Read more:


OSR said...

"...the world's banks need $3.6 trillion in the same period – who is going to buy all these bonds?"

The usual suckers will buy them, in the usual way--with their 401(k)s.