America’s moral compass is broken.
Daydreaming: October 23rd does not fall on October 23rd this year. It may not happen at all if that's the day that the European Condition gets resolved as promised and a way is found to convince Greek bondholders to accept a 40 to 60% loss without noticing that Greece has defaulted. In addition, some alphabet agency will have bought up 20% of those losses by borrowing some money that was printed up for them and then leveraging that 5 or more times to issue bonds that someone-to-be-named-later will buy.
Static: Another week of statistical noise on the unemployment front, as claims were reported at 403,000, down a tad from the previous week's guess.
Play Date: The chances that the Pentagon will actually suffer $350 billion in cuts – much less the $1 trillion promised by the “trigger” if the Super Dupes don't agree on cuts – are: a) little b) none. c) ain't gonna study war no more. d) what part of campaign financing don't you understand?
Bait and Switch:Freddie Mac says that a 30-year mortgage can be had for 3.94%. Actual lenders say that the average rate is 4.32%. That's because the lower rate is for that small slice of buyers who can put down 20% and have flawless credit scores. The other 90% pay more, some a lot more – in the 4.5 to 5% range.
Getting to Nominal: What sort of a world do we have when economists – acknowledging that fiscal and monetary policies have failed - advise the central bank to adopt “expectations-based monetary policy”? Click your heels.
Less is Less: Data gleaned from payroll tax reports shows there were fewer jobs last year, and they paid less, too. The median income was $26,364, down 1.2% y/y, while a half-million fewer Americans had jobs. The number of people making over $1 million increased by 20% y/y. God bless the child that's got his own.
Draining the Swamp: Spain will miss its deficit targets because of lower than projected economic growth caused by the cuts in government spending and increases in taxes that the government instituted as a way to achieve its deficit targets. Rinse and repeat.
Thought Experiment: The Wannabes, as a group, promise to cut federal spending by huge amounts. But the US economy depends on consumer spending, and that is dropping because many former consumers do not have jobs and thus have no money. Depriving them of more money by cutting federal social support spending will slow the economy even more. By the end of the year the GOPers will be celebrating the imposition of 'automatic' cuts following the failure of the SuperDupers. And that will slow the economy even more. Your mission: find a way out of this economic death spiral.
Two'fer: US housing builders completed a record low number of houses last year and will most likely put up even fewer this year.
End Discussion: If a person whose income consists only of wages makes $100,000, she will pay $7,650 in payroll taxes, plus $21,617 in income tax – a total tax burden of 30%. A man with the same income in qualified dividends pays zero. The average annual income for those over 65 is $18,500 a year – most of it from Social Security. Have a nice day.
Daily Doom: A string of European bank collapses will lead to a new American Revolution paced by the #OccupyWallStreet movement. It will start with a Greek default, but it won't be called a default. It should be called a domino, for other European sovereign debt will fall under siege – first Spain, the Italy. The European mega-banks will collapse and the ripples will lead to a global credit freeze and a global depression. The 2008 meltdown never ended, lessons were never learned, reforms never instituted. The end game is accelerating.
Truth in Packaging: Rush Limbaugh “Emails have been found...” No, I didn't leave my emails laying about – someone hacked my computer and stole them.
The Curse of Good Intentions: Louisiana’s thoughtful representatives have banned the use of cash payments in all buying and selling of used goods. It won't work, of course, because it would end all garage sales, second hand shops and so on, as well as making life very difficult – the object – for pawn shops. It also contravenes US law which states that the dollar is “legal tender for all debts, public and private.”
Porn O'Graph:Our Hero's record.