Now that the feast is over …
Working Man's Friend: The Republicans now want to extend the withholding tax cut for the rest of the year – without demanding offsetting budget cuts. Their plan seems to be to help Obama run up the deficit willy-nilly and force the Treasury into a debt ceiling kerfuffle before the fall elections.
Step Right Up: The European Union suspects that Spain's is “very likely” likely to take action against Spain's newly installed government by May for “overstating” 2011's deficit figures in order to delay imposing additional austerity measures. It's thought that a fine of 0.1% of the nation's GDP would get their attention where the havoc wrought in Greece hasn't seemed to make their point. Portugal seems to be beyond hope.
Pedal To The Metal: The San Francisco Fed anticipates unemployment will remain well above 7% for several more years, making it vital to keep flooding the market with dollars.
Batting Order: Moody's has presented a new European batting order: At Aaa negative: Austria, France, and the UK. Demoted from A1 to A2 are Slovakia and Slovenia. Now at A3 are Italy and Malta. Spain dropped from A1 to A3, and Portugal is now down to Ba3. All have negative outlooks.
Down Is Not Up: Is December's 21.2% y/y decline in listed housing inventory (a) a good thing or (b) reflecting reality? Probably neither; sales were only up 1.4% y/y, so that didn't account for the decline. What does is a combination of a sharp decline in distressed houses entering the market as banks hold on to them so as to pretend they are worth something, the long pause in foreclosures, and individual owners fearful of trying to sell into a sure loss.
Berlin, We Still Have A Problem: The politician most likely to replace Papademos as leader after the April elections views the current concessions as renegotiable.
All Volunteer Army: Fox News says that females in the military have to make up their minds to be warriors and stop complaining about getting raped – what did they expect was going to happen? They need to take Santorum's advice and “ accept what God has given to you... make the best out of a bad situation.”
Recalculating... Recalculating: As the planet warms, the once in a century hurricane, the 100-year flood and similar unique displays of mother nature's might are becoming far more frequent. Do a global search on "100-year" and replace with "20-year".
Marketing 101: The Catholic Church – like any giant corporation – wants a continually expanding market, thus their opposition to contraception and endorsement of erectile dysfunction drugs. They argue that it is neither sexist nor hypocritical, just another way to expand their customer base.
Magic Bullet: Adding things like fiber to unhealthy foods does not make them healthy. Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about synthetic fiber additives is that they can give you gas. There is no research that shows all this added fiber enhances anything but profit margins.
Shocker: We are underwhelmed to learn that military officers will kiss ass and parrot the company line to get ahead!
Speak Up! Rat out the neighbors today, before they make up stuff about you! That's the message from
Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, East Germany's Stasi, Homeland Security. Just keep in mind that when they come for you, innocence will be no barrier to incarceration, torture and eventual disappearance.