Monday, August 1, 2011

SAR #11213

We are all going to be significantly poorer... Terry Smith.

Addition: There's an odd smell coming from the 2Q GDP 'estimate'. If 1Q GDP was only 0.4% and things have slowed down, how can 2Q be five times better?

Misery: Read it and weep: Tax increases are off limits. Bondholders get paid. The agreement is a $900 billion increase – good for about months – in exchange for $1.2 trillion in domestic spending cuts over the next ten years, followed by a complicated charade that will impose another $1.8 trillion in domestic spending cuts in exchange for another small increase in the debt ceiling. Of note is that there will be no initial cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Both will cut in January by the Gang of 12. In case of a tie, the Party of No gets to call the tune. Again. This will impoverish millions, increase unemployment and hobble the economy, all so a few Republicans can take a bow.

Debt Ceiling: The average American family has 13 credit cards. 75% carry an average $4,000 balance. They pay 14.25% interest, haven't been debt free for the last 20 years and never will be. They – we – are chattel.

Databanks R US: Under the guise of protecting children from pornographers, the House is preparing legislation that would require Internet Service Providers to collect and retain to retain all of their customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses for 12 months. It would, of course, never be used as yet another tool for Big Brother to surveill the citizenry.

Pictures At An Exhibition: Take a careful look at what your fellow citizens are going through and then, smugly secure in knowing you are just a spectator, cheer on Boehner, Ryan, McConnell, Cantor, Reid and Obama, famous men all.

Making a Point: Syrian security forces, using tanks and APCs, killed over 130 people in a pre-emptive strike aimed at dissuading activists from further demonstrations.

Talking Turkey: The entire leadership of the Turkish armed forces has resigned as the military's confrontation with the governing AK party deepens over allegations that the military had been planning a coup in 2003 and the jailing of officers (including 17 flag officers) on what the chiefs view as pretexts. The government says the top brass asked to retire. The military has always seen itself as the protector of Turkish democracy and has repeatedly overthrown governments it felt were harmful to the nation.

Waste Not: Bank of America plans to raze some of the houses it has repossessed because it cost them too much to maintain and there is little chance they could sell them. At the same time, there are at least 3.5 million homeless people in the US.

Statistical Sophistry: Now there's a claim that the elderly are rich and are sucking the country dry. Rich because 25% of them have $207,000 in savings. Sounds like a lot until you try to live on the interest – which is zero these days. Or you try to live on the recommend 4% annual draw – which is a tad over $8,000. Even with $14,000 in Social Security that comes to $22,000 a year, which is not wealthy – it is barely-barely-get-by. And 75% of the elderly are not even that well off.

Life On The Street: Peak oil is the point where world oil production starts its inevitable decline. Peak oil panic will set in when Saudi Arabia can no longer feed the world's addiction to crude because it must feed its own habit. That day is approaching. Quickly.

Twilight Zone: The core of modern conservatism is the denial of reality, the insistence that chanting a few dogmatic phrases loudly and repeatedly will establish a paradise where the rules of math and logic are at best random, where unions are always bad and unfettered competition always good, where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the Great Recession and Wall Street recklessness and greed had nothing to do with it. It is especially a place where history is infinitely malleable, where Reagan never raised taxes, where the police state equals freedom, and on and on.

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