We have forgotten the lessons from the Great Depression.
Words At Work: The good news hidden in today's job numbers is that there is even more work for the spin doctors. In the past year at least 1 million unemployed have fallen off the unemployment benefits gravy train. But they've still got food stamps, at least until the GOP passes the Paul Ryan budget or someone slips up and lets Ron Paul win in 2012.
Finger/Problem:There was a headline to the effect that the iPhone 4 is now available in white! Are you sure we've got our priorities straight?
Happy Days... US 1Q GDP grew at an annualized 1.8%, a big decrease following last quarter's reported 3.1%. If inventory builds are ignored, the growth was an anemic 0.8%. But it was better than the UK, where for the last six month there has been zero GDP growth; thanks to their austerity program that was going to revive the economy. Good times just around the corner?
Campaign Stopper: Ron Paul, in a bid for the youth vote, says that if he is elected he would kill both Medicare and Social Security. And a lot of the elderly, soon thereafter.
Growth Factor: One thing that's growing in this economy is unemployment. This week's number is 429,000 (highest since January) and an increase of 25,000 from last week and the third week in a row with numbers over 400,000 and growing. The 4-week average is also back above 400,000 and growing.
Q & A: How can resources be infinite on our small planet? Easy, let an economist, politician or an oil man do the estimates.
Emptying the Bench: Coach Obama has switched Panetta from CIA to Defense and will switch Petraeus from Afghanistan to the CIA in hopes he'll do better in the new position. Replacing Petraeus will be Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen, who played in the Iraqi league for a while, and Ryan Crocker, a seasoned diplomat, will take over as ambassador in Kabul.
Put It Down & Back Away: Research shows that armadillos can transmit leprosy to humans.
Teaching Point: Our goal should be to get everyone out of abject poverty, even if it necessitates some income redistribution. Because we have way overstepped sustainable levels, the greatest challenge will be in redesigning lifestyles to emphasize quality of life while quantitatively reducing our demand levels.
Hier stehe ich... Alan Greenspan has come to believe that the modern economic system has a life of its own and is not amenable to regulation nor control by mere humans, because regulators – being human – can never get more than the briefest glimpse at the actual workings of the modern financial system and the hand that churns the wheels. For Adam Smith's “invisible hand” has become opaque. Greenspan may or may not be right, either way this view explains why he stood on the sidelines – he could do nothing else.
Porn O'Graphs: Buy the numbers.