Magic flourishes in every season.
Keeping Score: The Greek bailout is not a gift, it is a loan. A loan bearing a high interest rate - €21 billion over 4 years on €110 billion. And it is not really a bailout of Greece. Taxes paid by French and German workers are being loaned to Greece so Greece can pass the funds (plus the interest) back to the French and German banks. It is the European version of Washington bailing out Wall Street with Main Street's money. The same game is being played in Ireland and Portugal and soon in Spain. And it's still going on in the US. Everybody knows that Greece, with debt at $44,000 per capita, cannot pay its debts. Nor can America, where it's $45,000. Everybody knows.
Taking It Personally: Personal income was up 0.3% in May, spending was flat while savings edged up 0.1%. Core PCE (price inflation) was up 1.2% y/y. Not quite a wage-price spiral.
Whose Ox? The politicians in Washington are hung up over the question of aggregate demand. The Republicans claim that tax increases would depress spending in the economy. The Democrats point to reduced government spending as reducing spending. Both are right; it is just a question of who suffers - the poor from spending cuts or the rich from tax increases. Flip a coin. Draw straws.
Give & Take: Over the weekend hundreds of thousands of Yemeni demonstrators demanded the immediate resignation of President Saleh. The President did not immediately resign.
Nothing Happening Here... Until the EU finds a way to get meaningful private-sector “contribution” to the bailout (as demanded by Germany) without it resulting in a “default rating” for Greece (as demanded by the ECB) both the riots in Greece and the debate in the Greek parliament are irrelevant.
Money Talks... Some More: The Supreme Court has ruled that now that corporations can spend as much as they wish buying public offices, there is no need for the pretense of fairness that public funding brings to the bazaar.
Correction:TSA maintains that its personnel did not tell an elderly lady to remove her adult diaper, and they certainly did not touch the poopy thing. They told the woman's daughter to remove it, which she did. There, glad we cleared that one up for you. Be prepared, carry a spare.
Delusions of Security: Reconstructions of four instances of abrupt climate change during the last 5 million years imply that the climate models used by the IPCC systematically underestimate the potential for sudden climate change.
Barefoot and Pregnant: Republican Wisconsin has removed all state and federal funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, leaving the 73,000 patients they see each year without access to the medical services it provided – 96% of which were cancer screenings, STD or STI testing, counseling, education or pregnancy testing and prevention. Wisconsin thus joins NC, TN and IN. Texas will follow suit soon.
In a New York Minute:God has told Pat Robertson that America will be destroyed because of the same-sex marriage laws. All in a good cause.
Clip and Save: A survey of 26 stock analysts from places like Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, etc, unanimously see the stock market higher at the end of the year, with the S&P 500 increasing from today's 1268 to at least 1350. Unanimously.
Equality: One of the bedrock American myths is that of equal opportunity, that all of us have an equal chance to make something of ourselves and that those who rise to the top have simply worked harder or smarter. Not true. No small part of a child's future success stems from being born healthy and raised in a healthy environment. If you happen to be an underweight black baby born into a polluted slum, the odds are pretty strongly against your becoming CEO of a major corporation – just the odds against you surviving childhood are fairly daunting. Equality – don't leave home without it.
Reparations: The $20 billion a year spent on air conditioning tents in Afghanistan is more than the entire NASA budget.
Shocking! Mortgage lenders denied 26.8% of loan applications in 2010, which seems astounding until you note that the rejection rate was 23.5% in 2009. Maybe people are not buying houses because they can't afford to buy a house. Mercy!
Just Because: The Bank for International Settlements has joined the OECD and the GOP in
their determination to make someone suffer for something making up reasons to justify imposing austerity on workers.