Thursday, October 20, 2011

SAR #11291

...because a miracle might happen.

Up, Up and Away: Tired of listless GDP? Need a little pick-me-up? The newest (shh, pretend you haven't heard it before) idea making the rounds is for the Fed to pump up inflation enough (2%, 8%, 17.5% ?) so that nominal GDP grows at whatever rate Mr. Bernanke desires. In other words, conventional wisdom is coming around to Krugman's position about bond vigilantes and raging inflation – they're missing in action and a little inflation is a Good Idea. Sure it will kill fixed investments, the retired and so on, but it'll fool most of the people so the government can pay off some of its debt with worthlesser dollars. Pull the other one, it's got bells. Now that the maybe it is time to start worrying a bit.

Double or Nothing: Greek one year bonds are now priced to yield 188%. Or more likely, zero.

Slip Out The Back, Jack: The US will be tiptoeing out of Iraq at the end of December, the end of a defeat that started the day Blackwater mercenaries shot up Nisoor Square. The US leaves behind a failing state and takes with it nothing – no permanent bases, no staunch ally against Iran, no new friend for Israel and no cheap oil; none of the spoils that were promised when our illegal war of aggression began.

Real Tales: With Christmas decorations out already, layaway being touted as the next best thing to actual credit, prices being cut already with more cuts soon to come, it's no wonder that retailers are very stingy about staffing for the season. Even so, “retail stocks have been outpacing the market.

Creeds: Progressives assume we are all in this together, that money is not speech, and tht corporations should not be confused with people. Regressives say it is each for himself, money can buy happiness and that America can survive only if the rich are rewarded and the poor punished for being lazy.

Not Ready for Prime Time: In today's episode, the real problem is found not to be peak oil but that there is too much fossil fuel and that energy prices are not going “ever upwards” because of “the oil industry’s never ending ability to develop new extraction technologies and discover new sources of supply.” “Balderdash!” says Snidely (played by the IEA), “ The world is headed for a 'dire future' where high energy prices drag on economic growth.” But wait, in a plot complication, Jeffery insists the problem is not the supply, but the cost of the supply, because all the easy oil is gone and drilling in the Arctic isn't going to be a no-brainer like drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, Jim Hansen and the climate change crowd say we cannot afford to burn any more fissile fuel because the environmental cost is too high. Reminds me of a midget car act.

With Or Without: The US wholesale price index went up a seasonally adjusted 0.8% (with energy and food on the shopping list) or 0.2% (without buying the stuff that went up a lot). Wholesale prices are up 6.9% y/y (with) or 2.5% (without).

Belaboring the Obvious: David Rosenberg has gone and questioned the received wisdom that we can fix the problem of too much debt by issuing ever more debt. He won't get invited to the victory dinner.

Sea Change: We are usually regaled with predictions – 18 inches, a yard, more - of how much sea level will rise by 2100, with an unconscious message that after 2101 the sea will stop rising. At our current pace of not cutting down on CO2 emissions one little bit for fear of hurting someone's profits, sea levels will reach a 20 foot increase by 2500 and keep on keeping on. Smoke 'em if you''ve got 'em.

Places, please: Forgetting that they no longer share the secret handshake of socialism, Turkmenistan is pouting over Russia's efforts to keep the European natural gas market for themselves. Turkmens do not seem to be naturals at this capitalism stuff.

Porn O'Graph: You just can't get there from here.


Anonymous said...

Re midget car act: I think you assume every commentator is an honest actor. Peak oil is here and the root of the ongoing crisis (human corruption is no longer tolerable without massive suffering) the promises of too much oil are just that, promises. But i will take further decline for this to register culturally that we now have a shrinking economic pie.

JFWellsPDX said...

Intersting piece on US Pay Data:

CKMichaelson said...

Anony - Your instincts are right about motivations, but if you get the impression I "assume every commentator is an honest actor" I've been doing something wrong...

I had just come across the US Pay Data & will masticulate on it for a while. Thanks for the heads-up!


kwark said...

RE: "Creeds" . . . and no matter what, Christian Dominionists/taliban say "to hell with the Constitution, you'll do as I say because God tells me so".