The euro was an interesting experiment.
Wording: The IMF has told the eurozone that it must force “unrelenting” reforms onto Greece, Ireland and Portugal. It foresees eurozone economic growth of 1.7% this year and 1.9% next, “if debt crises do not harm the economy.” And if pigs learn to fly.
Shadows: About 220,000 houses received a foreclosure filing in April, a 34% decrease y/y. No, the housing market is not improving; servicers got their fingers stomped on and are being very, very careful. But the “massive delays” in the foreclosure process will eventually be corrected and the 3.7 million “seriously delinquent houses will be foreclosed. The average delay is now 400 days from default notice to REO, up from 151 days back in 2007.
Overwhelming Evidence: Noam Chomsky claims the United States is desperate to stop the Arab Spring from bringing democracy to the Middle East. Why, given US support for their strongmen, tyrants and dictators for the last 60 years, should this come as a revelation?
Exams: Why are people who claim they are representing the best interests of our children doing so much damage to those who provide the foundation for this country? Why do these people think they can measure a teacher by some standardized test when there are no standardized students from standardized homes with standardized parents? We have let these opportunistic vultures trash teachers and teacher's unions when the biggest problems facing our children's education are not in the schools but in the streets?
Short Form:Social Security’s 75-year shortfall is manageable. In fact, it’d be almost completely erased by applying the payroll tax to income over $106,000 -
you know, Republicans. [Removed by First Reader who pointed out that the problem are all those making under $35,000 who are convinced by Republican propaganda that taxing the rich is evil.]
Papers, Please: European nations, which have never been welcoming to immigrants and have a long history of killing “the other”, are moving to reverse decades of unfettered travel within the EU. Seems like people with dark skins are moving in and threatening the gene pool. Expect ever stricter passport controls, stops and searches at borders, airports, train stations.
Need, Greed & Prices: Here's a good article (with a great illustration) that suggests soaring oil prices may be tangled up in a struggle between supply and demand – with or without assistance from the gamblers.
Buyer's Remorse: The US spent $2 trillion fighting what was thought to be al-Qaeda over the last decade. Now that bin Laden's been killed, answer me this: Was it worth it?
Tenure: In days gone by, rich folks would endow a chair at their favorite university, or get a building or an athletic facility named after them. Now Charles Koch wants to buy naming rights to the economics department at Florida State University. No, he doesn't want the department named after him – he wants to personally approve of each professor chosen for the funded position.
The Light, Dawning: Trump says that torture works, which explains so many things...
Taking the Plunge: Even the National Association of Realtors admits house prices continue to fall, plummeting 4.6% y/y. Another source says “house prices will fall between 7.5% and 10% in 2011... and “most disturbing, about one-third of all U.S. homes that have a mortgage on them are worth less than their outstanding mortgage." Citibank disagrees, wants you to believe not only are house prices going up, they have been for quite some time. Secretly, apparently.
Higher Education Education: Spending an average 7 years in graduate school pursuing a PhD makes little sense, except for the feeling of achievement. There's a very good chance you won't get a job after graduation – Yale is delighted that about half of its newly minted PhD's found positions. Can you spell “adjunct professor?” That is academia's version of flipping burgers.