Friday, June 8, 2012

SAR #12159

We all remember what happens next, right?

After Action Report: Forget the money – emotion carried the day in Wisconsin's recall election. Right or wrong, those who refused to support or join unions over all those years became jealous and envious of unionized workers who had secured pensions “paid for by your tax dollars.” So they voted for the union busting Republicans, 'cause if I can't get ahead, you shouldn't either. Divide and conquer still works.

And Vice Versa: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US is “losing patience with Pakistan.”

Claims Claim: Last week's 383,000 initial claims was raised to 389,000, as this weeks initial initial claims were reported at 377,000. During the week another 105,000 were dropped from the number receiving extended benefits.

Another Nail: The Chicago Fed looked at the evidence for widespread structural unemployment and didn't find much. There were a few narrow areas where a mismatch of skills and job openings could be found, but in most areas lack of demand explained the lack of jobs. One implication of the data is that 'structural unemployment' is merely a politically biased way of trying to put the responsibility for unemployment on the unemployed.

Working Title: It's not an invasion of privacy, it's pre-crime preventive surveillance. watching the development of the police state is so entertaining,  something new every day.

Castor Oil: The pigheadedness of the EU/ECB/Eurozone leaders in adhering unswervingly to a demonstrably and historically wrong path can only be explained by a nearly religious belief that someone, somewhere must be punished; matched with a pathological fear of having to admit they were wrong. Vanity. Krugman nailed it: “These are times of madness, dressed in good suits.”

Health Costs! A big factor in America's obesity epidemic is money. It takes money to eat well. For $1 you can buy 1,200 calories of potato chips, but just 250 calories of fresh vegetables and only 170 calories of fresh fruit. This helps explain why the poorest states are the fattest.

The Good, The Bad & Taxation: Not only do a majority of Republicans categorically refuse to increase taxes on the rich, they argue that the poor should pay more. Told that the “47% who pay no taxes”  are actually only 18% – and those mostly elderly scraping by on Social Security -  the GOP decides that Social Security benefits should be taxed. Nearly all of the non-elderly households that pay no federal taxes make less than $20,000 a year. So instead of taxing the virtuous and deserving rich, we should, they claim, tax those poor unworthy leeches.

Theme Song: I’m a bankster. Catch me if you can.

It's A Miss: Consumer credit only grew $6.5 billion in April, half the expected $11 billion, and last month's $21.3 billion growth was revised down 42% to $12.3 billion. Non-revolving credit (cars & student loans) climbed by $6.1 billion, the most in 3 months. Revolving credit (credit cards) declined by $3.44 billion.

Mythbusters: An examination of the beliefs and leanings of professed 'independent voters' reveals that nearly everyone who is paying attention to the political process has already taken sides. So why are we wasting all the money to generate all the blather?

Job Creation: Hollande's government has cut the French retirement age to 60, which will free up more jobs for the nation's youth. Imagine the idea of social justice catching on and replacing work-to-the-grave austerity. Imagine figuring out how to pay for it.

The Parting Shot:


Centaurea cyanus (Cornflower, Bachelors button, Bluebottle, etc)


Anonymous said...

looks like Krugman still hasn't figured out what banking is all about

Given the corrupt behavior of the banks which has been exposed over the last few years and nature of usury isn't it more than a bit naive to expect them to act like they care or have good intentions?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

I don't know quite where you got off the bus, Anony 9.26, but neither I (nor, I believe, Dr. K) expect the banksters to reform spontaneously. That's why we need stronger regulations, clear limitations, and effective supervision - to include putting a goodly number of their collective asses in jail. And I may not be quoting Krugman, but it's a fair paraphrase.


Anonymous said...

It goes way beyond just reform. We have a system which both corrupt, unsustainable, and designed to self-destruct once growth ends. Now, connect those dots to what places like have been posting as well as people like Kunstler for quite some time. Kinda makes anything Krugman has been harping about not only moot but useless, he's clinging to a system which will inevitably fail and prescribing one bandaid after another to keep it together a bit longer.

Anonymous said...

Hey CKM,

While I agree that good food is more expensive than processed 'foodstuffs', I think a big part of the issue is also the fact so few Americans know how to cook anything anymore. It's a lost skill. Just my two cents...


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Darwindows - Amen. I hadn't thought of that, but it most certainly adds to the obesity problem - simply because eating out is generally pigging out. Even those who know how to cook quite well no longer cook... (Peasonal story, daughter, etc.)

Gegner said...

I'm sure it's 'massive coincidence' but wow, what a turn around!

Your posts are always thought provoking, keen observer that you are.

I'll keep my eye on the 'parting shots' for further hints!

Anonymous said...

Health Costs!...

Let's not forget that Bad, Industrial Food is heavily marketed and advertised while Good, Non-Industrial Food is not. Industrial Food is food such as branded potato chips, hamburgers, snack foods, processed matter, most of what is for sale in the non-produce sections of the Stupormarket. Meanwhile in the produce section, the, for the most part, non-branded, non-advertised Fruits and Vegetables go wanting for customers. Take the advertising budget for Nachos and apply it to Blueberries and I guarantee you'll see a drop in sales for Nachos and an increase for Blueberries. And, in fact, more and more of the fruit and vegetable business is being industrialized and branded.

Another problem is that most of what we call food is not food at all, but simply material processed through an industrialized system and called food. Much of this material is grown on impoverished soil and fed chemicals in order to grow. Our food system lends itself to the Wall Street centralized, heavily financed model. That is drive out small, local producers and finance and favorably regulate large industrial producers who will centralize production and processing. (Doesn't this sound a lot like what happened with MBS driving out the small, honest banks and mortgage brokers to the benefit of the TBTF crooks, thieves and liars who industrialized the mortgage business?)

People dissatisfied with this Industrial Food System should seek out local producers of food at farm markets or food coops or community supported farming operations.

Or what about that lawn you slavishly mow each week? Turn it into a garden and get some independence from these food gangstas and improve your health at the same time.

For more info on our complex food system which has been captured by the Wall Street/DC crooks see:

Classof65 said...

Aside from the dollars spent on advertising junk food, there are miriad causes of American obesity, some of which:
*Most women working rather than being stay-at-home moms. It's easier to pick up burgers than to run home and cook a meal before taking the kids to soccer practice.
*And, with more kids in organized sports programs, dinner is no longer a sit-around-the-table kind of meal. And with the number of divorces, many families are one-parent and dad would rather order pizza than cook anything. And, if the kids are at dad's place, mom will pass out on the couch as soon as she can get home and take her shoes off. Buying fruit and veggies that spoil quickly is expensive, more expensive than a box of mac and cheese with thousands of preservatives. And kids no longer play outside whether due to crime rates or lack of supervision of playground bullies and few apartment playgrounds, not just because of availability of video games. So there are many more reasons why people and kids are getting fat -- America is not the same as it was in the fifties and sixties...

OkieLawyer said...

And to pile onto Classof65's post: all of this industrialization was supposed to bring us more leisure (predicted in the 1960s), but it has brought us less as the industrialists who own the means of production push us to produce even more while taking away our vacation time, retirement, health benefits, public education and drive us to borrow money to just barely keep our heads above the water. All the while making us feel guilty about not earning enough money to enjoy these things.