Friday, December 23, 2011

SAR #11357

America's economic problems are due to the cost of the war - the class war.

Leftovers: After six months of bitter fighting, Congress has agreed to put off addressing the question of what to do about jobs, taxes and unemployment for two months, which they will spend re-enacting the whole charade.

People/Property: We the People, through our EPA, have finally overcome GOP/corporate objections and imposed strong limits on the emission of mercury and other toxic compounds from coal- and oil-fired power plants. We have known for decades that mercury spewn into the environment causes birth defects, learning disabilities, respiratory diseases and death. The regulations will save far more American lives than all the money spent on Homeland Security, TSA and the war on terror. On the other hand, it may cost some Republican donors a few bucks.

High Noon: In the showdown between the Texas drought and Texas' trees, some 100 million to 500 million trees perished. Hard to tell when weather shades into climate.

The Good & The Ugly: Initial claims for unemployment fell again this week. Only 4,000 fewer, but this makes three weeks in a row. Maybe there's a tad of hope that the godawful labor market may be leveling out. Now that companies have stopped firing quite so many people, a few jobs would be nice. Elsewhere, the 3Q GDP has been revised downward - again - this time to 1.8% annualized, mostly due to consumer spending (PCE) being cut from 2.4% to 1.7%.

Kick Me! Greece's creditors are balking at IMF pressure to accept a 65% loss in the net present value of their (nominal) €260 billion in Greek bonds, feeling the 50% loss they were earlier forced to 'voluntarily' accept was bad enough. Ah, suffering in a good cause.

Free Press? How many reporters must be arrested while covering #Occupy events before a pattern is evident? a) 4, b) 14, c) 36, d) they are helping the terrorists.

Well, Duh: The IMF suddenly realizes that aggressive austerity measures such as those now being applied in Europe (and very much like those it insisted on throughout the third world for thirty years) exacerbate the problems and that slow and steady fiscal consolidation and subsequent lowering of debt levels is a far better approach. They didn't get the memo.

Sow/Reap: Now that we've provided every cop shop in the nation with bullet-proof vests, tear-gas grenades, automatic weapons, riot shields and lots of plastic handcuffs, let's see what happens.

Priorities: Governor Rick Perry wants to conserve Texas' $5 billion rainy day fund in case there's an economic downturn in the state. That's why he won't let the legislature touch it to help with the $4 billion cut in education funding made this year or the even larger cuts scheduled for next year. Instead, more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off in the state.

Numbers Gaming: The NAR has acknowledged that it overstated exisiting house sales in the 2007-2010 period by 3 million houses. If houses were (and are) selling slower than reported, it suggests a healthy housing market is a long ways off. Existing house prices are down 3.5% m/m, at $161,000, which means a lot of sellers would have to bring a check to closing, so they are not eager to sell. Right now 30-year mortgages are at 3.91%. No banker wants to commit funds at that level for that long, which means the government – through Fannie and Freddie and so on – will have to be the mortgage holder of last resort for as far into the future as you can see from here.

Long/Short: It is claimed that Mitt Romney will say anything to be president. True, but so will any of the rest of them.

#Occupy Congress: While the commoners wander around occupying parks and streets, corporations have #occupied Congress, lock, stock and anti-labor laws, crying poverty and hardship. But in the 2008-9-10 tax years, 30 big-name corporations paid a negative 6.7% on $160 billion in profits, while laying off 93,000 workers, depressing wages, and dropping health insurance coverage. But they managed to spend half a billion lobbying for favors.

Old Time Religion: Eliot Spitzer has a stirring call to action, urging small stockholders to revolt against corporate management and force reforms on Wall Street. Quaint, his belief that management cares in the least what shareholders want.


Anonymous said...

Re: Priorities

I, for one, cannot imagine what Texas is thinking, can you? I mean, these 3 strikes laws are there for a reason: beer leads to heroin, there's utterly no question about it.

I'm not sure who, exactly, was angry enough to burden poor Texas with Rick Perry, but let this curse be upon their heads: may you forever suffer from ballistic diarrhea.

Anonymous said...

People/Property: ... The regulations will save far more American lives than all the money spent on Homeland Security, TSA and the war on terror. ...

In light of the lack of enforcement of financial regulations, indeed a lack of ANY prosecutions, it would take a gigantic leap of faith to believe that any of these regulations will be enforced. The Rule Of Law is gone. Toast. Act accordingly.