Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SAR #11215

Reducing government in and of itself does not promote growth. Jesse

Q & A: Q: What will the debt-ceiling deal do to the fragile US economy? A: Dow -2.19%, S&P500 -2.5%, NASDAQ -2.75%.

Proofreading: The Koch brother's Americans for Prosperity helpfully sent absentee ballots to Democrats in two of the Wisconsin recall districts. An 'unfortunate typo' told the voters that the ballot had to be received by August 11th in order to be counted. The actual cut-off is August 9th. The envelope for the 'absentee ballot' to be returned in read 'Absentee Ballot Processing Center”, but the address given is that of the Wisconsin Family Action PAC.

GI Joe:Senator Lieberman (I-Pentagon) says it will be necessary to cut Social Security in order not to reduce the defense budget. “Bottom line, we can’t protect these entitlements and also have the national defense we need.”

Success Succeeds: Mitch McConnell, confirming what we already suspected, says that the debt ceiling circus was “a template” that Republicans intend to use repeatedly in the future to get their way, as long as they can marshal 41 Senate votes - majority be damned.

Itemized Bill: Not counting the money wasted in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, US Intelligence and Homeland Security spend $80 billion a year pursuing the 4,000 al-Qaida left in the wild. That's $20 million each. Per year. Can we get a refund?

Poppycock: An Appellate court has ruled that DNA extracted from cells is not a product of nature and thus can be patented. By extension human genes are also patentable. The Patent Office has issued thousands of patents on human genes. How a human gene becomes a patentable invention remains a mystery, but someone has found a way to profit off misery.

Economy-Sized Consumer Economy: Personal spending was negative in June, shrinking 0.2% m/m. Personal income was an anemic 0.1%. Better skip the fries.

Paperwork: Thirty-year Treasury bond yields fell below 4% as the market began pricing in the economic slowdown expected to follow the budget slashing in Washington. Long term deflation is the flavor of the day and bond traders see a weak economy ahead and with no hint of the inflation the supposed experts keep seeing under the bed.

The World Turned Upside Down: Once the conservatives' poster boy, today Orin Hatch faces formidable opposition - from the right, for not being conservative enough. The right keeps sliding farther right and the center cannot hold. This will end very badly.

Heave To: Lease fees for container vessels have fallen nearly 10% in the last quarter, even as the theoretically busy Christmas shipping season gets underway. Last year at the same time, rates climbed 56%. Ho, ho, ho.

Exports are US: In a win-win move, the administration proposes to remove tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles from the tightly controlled US Munitions List to the lest picky Commerce Control List. This will create more jobs at home as repressive client regimes stock up on the equipment necessary to suppress pro-democracy movements.

Linguistic Note: Note that Obama does no longer talks about revenue increases but about “tax reform”, by which he probably means lower rates with no increased revenue.

Worse & Worser: While the US markets were falling off the table, the drama and Europe picked up with tanking bank stocks in Italy, along with billowing credit costs. The 10-year spread with German Bunds has reached record levels. It is beginning to look like Italy (with debts twice the Eurozone allowable) may cut in front of Spain to be next at the EU bailout trough. Not to be left out, things in Spain are falling apart quickly, too.

Multiple Question Test: (1) Is a balanced budget amendment a Good Idea? Did the 2008 downturn end? No, and where have you been hiding?


kwark said...

Proofreading,"Under Wisconsin law, preventing the delivery of absentee ballots carries a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison per violation" I'm sure that scares everyone concerned. Not that there's any chance of prosecuting Republicans for this sort of thing in Wisconsin.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

"better skip the fries" - but on the other hand, McDonald's is going to be putting a few apple slices into its kid meals - i wonder if this will persist, or go away, as their heart-healthy hamburger did