“Silence is golden, but my eyes still see.”
About Cows and Cabbages: Let's review: Europe has too much sovereign debt (which dooms the nations), which is held by its banks (which dooms the banks) and there is a huge trade imbalance between core and peripheral countries in Europe (which dooms the euro). Austerity, alone, will not solve the problem as long as the trade deficits are ignored. The only short term solution is for the ECB to print euros. Yes it would be inflationary. Yes, the value of the euro would drop, a lot. The alternative is bank failures followed by depression. The eventual solution- the merging of national sovereignties into a European “super-state” with its own tax and budgetary powers – will not happen until other things are tried and found wanting. No matter what, Europe is in for a lot of pain.
Talisman: "More and more people are seeing that we don't need a new government, we need a whole new model." And not only in Spain.
Just Quoting: “You have a Republican ideology, which Mitt Romney obviously doesn’t believe in. He just oozes insincerity, that’s just so obvious. But all of the others are fools and clowns. And there is a question here, my hypothesis is that maybe this is an ideology that only fools and clowns can believe in. And that’s the Republican problem.” Paul Krugman, bless him. Not to be outdone, Peggy Noonan added, “The base of the Republican Party knows that the establishment of the Republican Party doesn’t like Newt. That’s a big plus.”
Refrain: The IPCC is back, once more offering climate change scenarios with sufficient conditional waffling to make the effort essentially useless.
Frying Pan/Fire: Spanish conservatives, having swept the socialists out in a landslide, are about to make the same mistake the GOP did last time around and behave as though the people supported their views. Wrong. The socialists were thrown out because the austerity measures and crashing economy were unpopular. Adding more austerity privations, as the conservatives promise, is absolutely not what the public wants. Or will tolerate.
Neuter Gingrich: Temporarily leading GOP wannabee Newt Gingrich says that “child [labor] laws... are truly stupid.” His solution to unionized janitors driving education costs through the roof? “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors... and pay local students to take care of the school.”
Knock, Knock: The US Air Force has ordered 20 Massive Ordnance Penetrators from Boeing. The 15 ton GPS-guided bomb is designed “to pulverize underground targets,” mostly in Iran and North Korea. No Ron Jeremy jokes, please.
Egress: Billionaire Howard Marks realizes that "when people without money start to believe they can't make money, there's little to keep them from taking it from those who have it." He is positive that in the future the nation's social promises will have to be scaled back and the tax burden will have to grow, in the interests of the common good. There are, he says, no easy answers. Not even for billionaires.
What Price Glory? Anointing Mario Monti as the prime minister of Italy is a small step for mankind, a giant step for Goldman Sachs.
Resorts, Last: Everyone is selling their Italian bonds and buying CDS to bet against them. Fine. Who is holding the book on these bets? Who is buying all the debt? Can the bookie cover the action, or are we looking at an international version of AIG?
Party Games: Over the next 30 days or so, Congress has a choice: They can allow the payroll tax cuts to expire and end unemployment benefits for millions of voters, or they can extend the cuts and the benefits and add $160 billion to the national deficit. For full credit, pin the proper tail on the donkey. Give the other guys the role as the Grinch in the Christmas play.
Porn O'Graph: Poor-ing over the map.