When is The Reckoning scheduled?
The Return of Simon Legree: Now that the banks and mortgage servicers have slithered past the courts and have a 'Fraud? What Fraud" card coming from Uncle, foreclosure filings are headed up, increasing 3% m/m in January. Warning: Entering avalanche area.
Wishes Come True: Iran has stopped sales of crude oil to the British and French, long before the US was going to force the issue. Iran had been shipping 700kbd to the EU (plus Turkey). It will be interesting to see if the Saudis can pick up the slack.
Early Finish: At mid-month, Gallup's non-seasonally adjusted version of the US unemployment rate was 9.0% and its U-6 version was 19.0%, both showing a sharp deterioration in the US job market. The Gallup mid-month data is generally a good predictor of the BLS monthly data.
Laugh Test: According to the NAR folks, the national inventory of single-family homes, condos and townhomes declined 23.2% in January from a year earlier. Is there any way in hell this could be believable?
Getting Used To Not Using: Gasoline at the pump is going to $4.00 soon, on its way to much higher. So we cut back again. Or do we? Gasoline consumption has dropped 7.3% in the last year as the price crept up. How long before the price of gasoline crimps the economy again? How much more can drivers economize on gasoline before they have to start economizing on food?
Define 'Monitored': The NYPD 'monitored' Muslim college students as far from NYC as Yale, Buffalo, Rutgers and the U of Penn, counting how many times a day they prayed and sending undercover cops white water rafting with the
Compare and Contrast: Wannabe Santorum has clarified the problem: Barack Obama isn't following the Roman Catholic playbook, but “some phony theology.”
Clarification: Citigroup says that the concept of peak oil has been 'buried' by the surge in US production. Sorry, despite the 0.5 mbd from North Dakota shales, the US only produces 6 mbd, way down from the 10mbd before oil production in the US peaked back in 1970. Peak oil is the only reason anyone tries to pry oil out of ND shale. Why didn't we let Citi go bankrupt when we had the chance.
Service With A Smile: Florida is in the process of cutting the minimum wage for tipped workers from $4.65 an hour to $2.13 an hour. How much do you have to be making before a $2.50 an hour pay cut doesn't hurt?
Compound Growth: Even as China loosens bank reserve requirements and tries to increase lending, we all should recognize that mathematically, China's economic growth – the 8-10-12% compounded year after year – cannot continue forever, and will eventually crash and burn. The trick is in defining 'eventually'.
'Twas Ever So: Capitalism requires not only a certain minimum level of unemployment (to keep wages down), but that the unemployed be unhappy (so they will take jobs at low wages). The poor, after all, deserve their poverty, and the rich their rewards.
Heel, Clicking: Because "you can't put a gun rack on a Volt," Gingrich says he will drown demand by letting the free market increase supplies to stabilize the price of gasoline at $2.50 a gallon. [WARNING: This is a political promise and as such has a 24-hour shelf life and comes with no guarantee.]
Piglets in the Poke: In order to pass a simple bill extending the payroll tax deduction and extended unemployment benefits a few sweeteners had to be tossed in. Like forcing the President to let the Keystone XL pipeline be built. And letting doctors bill Medicare for an extra $110 billion this year. It also lets states make the unemployed pee in a cup to get the benefits, lets the rich keep their 100% bonus tax depreciation allowance (at a cost of $28 billion), changes the rules on flood insurance in ways that will undoubtedly screw homeowners, and introduces means-testing for unemployment, food stamps and Medicare - a prelude to means-testing for Social Security.
Porn O'Graph: Pace yourself.