Avarice and ignorance should not be the central pillars of any society.
Piggy Bankers: The US Treasury is raiding government retirement funds to pay for its ongoing military operations. No, this doesn't mean they are going to nationalize your 401k. Doesn't mean they aren't, either.
Keystone: In Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Scott Perry wants to change the way unemployment benefits are calculated, claiming that people “game” the system and “vacation” for 9 months a year. His bill would lower payments from $324 to $277 a week. I don't understand why tourists aren't flocking to a state where a family vacation costs only $324 a week.
Explanation Explained: “How did a once-powerful figure become such a clown? But that’s the wrong question: what you see now is what he always was. The real question is why so many media figures pretended, for so long, not to notice.”
Damn It: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has acknowledged that the $37 billion Three Gorges Dam – built to provide electricity – has caused severe problems to the environment, shipping, agricultural irrigation and water supplies in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River – just as opponents of the project had warned.
Emperor/Clothes: Fitch Ratings hasn't been fooled. It sees the pending rescheduling, restructuring or reprofiling of Greek loans as Greece defaulting on the terms of its agreements. So it lowered its rating of Greek sovereign debt from “god-awful” to “hopeless”.
Breaking Even: How deep is the jobs hole? Let's see... The US has 7 million fewer jobs today than it did in December 2007 – plus nearly that many more “owed” to those who came of working age since then…
Hmmm? Seventeenth-century bridges in Amsterdam are being equipped with devices to turn the vibrations of passing vehicles into electricity.
Define “We”: We're not broke. Our corporations have recovered to pre-recession levels of output and profits are 21.7% higher than previously. Our financial firms have seen a 60% rise in pre-tax profits. In the last 30 years our per-capita income increased 66% and our wealth increased 73%. But “we” and “American working families” are not the same things – workers incomes have been stagnant over the last 30 years, and with the housing crash, our net worth has been siphoned off by that “we” who are doing so well.
Box Score: Since 2006 about 6.5 million houses have entered foreclosure. There are about 4.3 million more with mortgages that are more than three months delinquent, waiting to join the pile. The light at the end of the tunnel is a bonfire where former owners huddle trying to keep warm.
Assigned Reading: Extreme pessimism, a lá Harry S. Dent Jr. . Be prepared to discuss in class on Monday.
Porn O'Graph: Working vs. Earning.