Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SAR #11228

Poverty is globalization's poster child.

Entrails: The August Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell again this month, making it three months in a row of progressively greater declines. New orders, a preview of future business conditions, also fell for the third month of progressively steeper contractions. This suggests that a year or so from now when the NEB gets around to dating the start of the next recession, they'll pick June 2011 as the beginning.

No Harm No Foul: A Shell oil rig in the North Sea has leaked "several hundred tons" of crude oil into the ocean off the coast of Scotland. One ton = 7.4 barrels = 42 gallons. Multiply by "several hundred."

Subdued Enthusiasm: Detroit area house sales jumped nearly 10% in July y/y. Prices also increased nearly 9% y/y, with the average price soaring to $78,000.

Apples to Apples: The people who rant about 51% of Americans "paying no income taxes" (but who do pay payroll taxes) are strangely silent about the fact that more than two-thirds of corporations don't pay any—and they aren't subject to Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid taxes either.

Some Myths: Quantitative easing helped the economy. Republicans are fiscal conservatives. The US has the best healthcare. Tax cuts increase tax revenue. The US has the world's highest standard of living.

Stop and Think: The conventional wisdom is that it's a horrible idea to raise taxes during a recession. The economy is weak, so why take more money out of the economy? But we are constantly told that corporations are sitting on cash because they cannot see significant demand to justify building new or opening old factories, much less hiring anyone. Banks have literally hundreds of billions in excess reserves parked at the fed earning 0.5% because they can't find anyone to lend the money to. And best of all, what does Uncle Sam do with the tax money? He spends it. Get it? He spends it. Pays people.  Buys stuff. Builds things.

Principals: Michelle Bachmann paid 6,000 people to vote for her, but only got 4,800 votes. At least 1,200 voters were smarter than she is.

Multiples of Choice: The stock market is driven by: a) Innovation, b) Computers, c) Greed and fear, d) Fear and greed, (e) Speculators, f) Financial engineering, g) Manipulation or h) The Plunge Protection Team. More than one answer may be correct.

Either/Or: On the day that Iraq’s Vice President said that removing US troops from Iraq will "improve security," the White House announced it would consider (hint, hint) any Iraqi request for US troops to remain in the country past December.

Know the Candidates! Which of the following are Rick Perry's positions on the issues? 1) Social Security is both evil and unconstitutional. 2) Regulating banks is unconstitutional. 3) Protecting consumers from fraud is unconstitutional. 4) Nearly everything the government does is unconstitutional: gun laws, civil rights laws, environmental protection laws, and the minimum wage, for example. 5) Global warming is both unconstitutional and a liberal ploy to conceal the fact the world is cooling.

Porn O'Graph: Austerity breeds anarchy. More cuts, more crime.

16 comments:

rjs said...

just a nit to pick; gallons per barrel differs depending on size of barrel & purpose...44 & 55 are common...but for crude, its almost always a 42 gallon barrel...

Tulsatime said...

Principals: funny how Obachman's first place finish was just a hair over the invisible Mr Paul. All the money and time invested, and she almost lost to the original flake. It will be an awe inspiring year with jesus running two campaigns.

CKMichaelson said...

rjs - nit, picked. Correction corrected. Would you believe I was just including the refinery gains? Thanks...

ckm

rjs said...

actually, i did think you might be using the refined products barrel...i did a summer as a barrel filler at lubrizol when i was 18...

Anonymous said...

I'm confused, I thought companies matched the employees FICA (Social Security) contributions

Goog

CKMichaelson said...

Companies match the FICA "contributions", but the entire tax is best viewed as compensation given to the government that would otherwise have gone to the worker. The commentary was on paying taxes on income - not paying part of the cost of labor to the government instead of the worker (who gets it in the long run...). Corporations do not retire, nor get sick in the medical sense and thus do not pay payroll taxes - they are not on the wage earning side of the equation.

ckm

Anonymous said...

So, what you're saying is, if not for the matching contribution requirement, the employees' compensation would increase by that amount. Color me skeptical.

And I find it hard to believe that the public would be okay with more government spending if taxes go up.

Bill

CKMichaelson said...

Bill, you are of course right - if we stopped medicare and social security no one's wages would go up - the companies would just increase their profits by that much. But they pretend that it is a wage-like expense.

And yes, the public would be upset by added government spending - because the press and the right have drummed into them that government is a bad thing - right up to the point where they get a job and a paycheck and the economy picks up.

ckm

rjs said...

a little tangental, but i recently found this:

http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/investheld.cgi

you'll see the social security trust fund has $2.66 US treasury bonds in it; & they're just as good as the bonds held by china, the arabs, or by the banks as tier one capital...

if not stolen, that will last making full payments to all baby boomers till 2037...after that, all they have to do to fix it would be increase the $141,000 payroll tax cap by 10%...

so when a pol says that social security must be cut to reign in deficits, that pol is lying thru its teeth...

CKMichaelson said...

Thanks, rjs, I'll file that one away. And turn-about being fair play, I believe you meant $2.66 trillion in US Treasury notes...

ckm

rjs said...

ahhh...

damn, my first mistake...

kwark said...

Re Multiples of Choice: Yet John Wasik, over on Reuters, STILL poses the question "Is it time to jump back into stocks"? He then passes on this sage advise from Craig Israelsen. . . "systemically investing 10 percent of your monthly income into a well-diversified portfolio . . . will help you stay the course." So THAT's where I went wrong. I just didn't pound enough money down that particular rat hole. So I need to pound more to get something back?

CKMichaelson said...

Somewhere, maybe its the article behind yesterday's Short Version, I read a good attack on the whole asset allocation / diversification myth. For a long time now I've concentrated on building up my investment in Highland Park Single Malts.

ckm

Anonymous said...

1 ton[ne] = 7.4 barrels = 310.8 gallons.

Anonymous said...

what does Uncle Sam do with the tax money? He spends it. Get it? (Gets It) He spends it. Pays people (Bankers, Cronies). Buys stuff (Mercenaries). Builds things (Weapons - To blow up other people and their things).

CKMichaelson said...

Wonder if any enterprising economics grad student has figured out the economic impact on the US economy of the average dollar the US spends bribing our allies? Is it a net loss or a net gain? And in an economy with low or no demand, building stuff so it can get blown up is a Good Idea - as long as the economic accounting doesn't include resource depletion, pollution and so on.
ckm