The meek may inherit the earth, after Goldman Sachs is done with it.
For The Good Of The Few: A Greek departure from the euro will cause €400bn in immediate losses, followed by the failure of €800bn in Italian and Spanish government bonds, €500bn of Italian and Spanish bank/corporate bonds and about €3 trillion in Italian and Spanish domestic bank deposits. This can't be allowed to happen, they say. It is, they say, in the interests of “long-term financial stability” that creditors who bought unrepayable debt are not forced to suffer for their stupidly. They also say that companies that make bad decisions should not be allowed to fail – they should receive taxpayer funds. Why do I suspect that 'they' have an inside track to the IMF and EU institutions? Not to mention Uncle Ben.
Cheerleader: Gary Shilling says that by previous standards, house prices still have another 20% to fall.
Resume: JPMorgan – yes, that JPMorgan – has hired Matt Zames to be its new Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Zames comes to them from a stint as Chairman of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, and before that with Long-Term Capital Management when LTCM nearly brought down world finance in the 1990's. He is also rumored to have profited from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan's takeover of Bear Stearns.
Denial: Credit Suisse reckons that Europe will rebound this year, so we should buy Spanish and Italian bonds. Right. Beware of brokers bearing
Barbarous Relic: The IMF is planning to add $2.3 billion in bullion (about 40 tonnes) to its current stack of about 2,800 tonnes of gold. For an outfit that regularly badmouths gold, it sure has a bunch of it.
Six Of One: Moody's has downgraded 16 Italian banks because of “increasingly adverse operating conditions, with Italy's economy back in recession and government austerity reducing near-term economic demand.” Back in October, Moody's downgraded Italy because it had not adopted sufficiently austere measures...
Crime & Punishment: Best Buy's former CEO was fired because of a 'relationship' with a female employee. As part of his punishment he will be receiving $3 million in severance pay.
Blow Some My Way: Citibank says the world appears to be headed over a cliff, as the emerging economies are slowing, the Eurozone is likely to break apart, and the US is rushing into severe austerity at the end of the year. The only thing that will save us, Citibank says, is if the central banks turn to negative interest rates, adopt “more imaginative forms of quantitative easing" (ie give more money to Citibank), and then buy “high risk assets and securities” (ie, buy Citibank's crap at face value). No, none of this will help you, but that's not the point.
I Know One When I See It: The House passed an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that prohibits the National Science Foundation from funding research that Rep. Flake does not like. Stuff like climate change. Or why politicians ignore the voters' desires.
Behind Closed Doors: Climate scientists have long soft-pedaled their predictions of our inevitable future because they were afraid of scaring us into paralysis. They hoped they could nudge us into realizing we had to act, then, soon, now. In private they understood that business as usual would present a clear and present danger; they used words like 'calamity,' and 'catastrophe' and worried about the collapse of global civilization. They thought our leaders were not so blind and so greedy or so stupid as to blunder along, doing nothing. “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” Ultimately the danger will become obvious; by then it will be too late.
Porn O'Graph: Does this dress make me look fat?