Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SAR #11303

No peaks without valleys.

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez: The European leaders announced they had agreed to solve the eurozone's debt problem by focusing solely on Greece. To that end they promised to leverage money they do not have by borrowing more from a source yet to be identified. This will entail issuing huge amounts of new debt, which will somehow not become the problem the old debt was. But...

When In the Course of Human Events... Germany and the stock exchanges of the world were outraged when Greece decided that its citizenry had the right to say whether or not to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Eurobanks, Inc.

Killing You Softly: For the third time in as many weeks, the CIA has used a drone attack to murder assassinate a US citizen. This time it was a teenager who made a careless choice of parents. Take notes

Weapons of Mass Convenience: Rumors have been started that Syria may have the same weapons of mass delusion that justified the US invasion of Iraq. The story is that Pakistan's A.Q. Khan helped Syria acquire wherewithal to make nuclear weapons. This message is intended for Bashar Assad; if it has reached you in error, please disregard.

Easy Come, Easy Go: Disposable income, adjusted for inflation, has not increased for the average American in the last five years. Makes you wonder where the government gets the increased PCE spending data. Oh, the population grows, doesn't it? Watch 'em when they start waving their hands about.

One Dollar One Vote: The US has once again demonstrated it's belief in money-based politics. On the question of Palestine's membership in UNESCO, the US again refused to recognize Palestine as a real place equal to other small Semitic nations – like, say, Israel – and voted its $60 million against the will of a majority of the UN membership.

Your Time Will Come: Veterans complain that the civilian economy does not value the experience they've gained in breaking down doors in the middle of the night, blowing things up and killing people. Tell them to wait, patience is a virtue.

Cards, House Of: Start with Belgium, which had a 3Q GDP growth rate of 0.0%. Portugal's economy contracted 1.9% this year and will fall another 2.8% next year. Spain, with a 21.5% unemployment rate, continues to flounder. Cyprus, incidentally, is falling victim of the IMF's austerity-doesn't-work-but-it's-good-for-you program and will need a handout soon. France, one of the stronger eurozone countries, will follow this year's anemic 1.75% GDP growth with but 1% growth next year. Sarkozy is rattling the austerity threat as tax revenues dive. Which leaves Germany, whose economy is predicted to not grow at all next year, after an anemic 0.4% in the last quarter. Can anybody here play this game?

Taking Turns: Now that Greece has been saved (yeah, yeah, but let's pretend), it seems to be Portugal's turn in the barrel. It saw the deal offered Greece and has already started talking about “renegotiations”.

Got Plan B? Not to be a worrywart, but what happens when the world is forced to acknowledge that the US is no longer solvent, cannot and will not ever pay its debts except through massively inflated paper? The only reserve the central banks of the world have other than the dollar are a few (soon worthless) euros and a very little bit of gold.

Downer: Antidepressant use in the US is up 400% in the last 20 years. They are the most frequently used medication by the American 18 -44 year group. 11% of Americans over 12 are taking antidepressants, - 60% have been taking them for 2 years. 23% of 40 – 59 year old American women take them. The whole idea is depressing.

Standards: Bill Gross has gotten around to asking “can you solve a debt crisis with more debt?” And this guy runs the world's largest bond fund?


Drewbert said...

The U.S. isn't insolvent. It just refuses to collect taxes from the people who have the money.

Some ideas:
Put a transaction tax on securities held for less than a specified amount of time.

Change cap gains tax to match the tax brackets of any other income, then make dividend payments deductible from the corp. income tax.

Revert the Bush tax cuts and add another tax bracket for incomes over $500k.

Increase the federal gas tax to (Cost of the DOT)/(number of gallons consumed by U.S. drivers in the prior year).

CKMichaelson said...

Amen. Although I think their should be ever more confiscatory tax brackets above the $500k. The gasoline tax should at least be a percent of the cost of gasoline, like any other sales tax.


Drewbert said...

No, the gasoline tax shouldn't be a percentage of the price, It should be per unit consumed.

Two reasons:
1. The price of gasoline has little to do with the cost of maintaining the highways. Tying the amount of tax collected to the price of gasoline sets the fund up for wild swings in income.

2, Tax per unit also indirectly takes into account vehicle weight to a degree. A heavier vehicle will generally get worse fuel economy than a lighter vehicle, there are exceptions but this is a general rule. Heavier vehicles do more physical damage and wear to roads and bridges than lighter vehicles. So, a per unit tax ends up being a use tax.

The costs to keep the highways running safe is fairly stable. By basing the tax on the FY DOT budget divided by the number of gallons used in the previous year keeps the fund well funded and stable and fair