Hand wringing is remarkably ineffective.
One, Two, Three: First Spain said that holders of bank subordinate debt – mostly 'retail' citizen investors – would get wiped out as part of the ongoing 'save the bankers' bailout. Then the government hiked the VAT sales tax from 18% to 21%, effectively giving everyone a 3% pay cut now with more to follow. So, naturally, the riots have begun and the cops hit the streets firing rubber bullets. Slash spending, raise taxes, trample the people and provoke riots – it'll work the same way in the US, too.
Wait, Wait: Goldman Sachs cut its prediction of GDP growth for 2Q2012 from 1.5% to 1.4%, and two hours later cut it from 1.4% to 1.3%. Do I hear 1.2?
Blood/Stone: Scranton, PA's mayor said “we're broke” and put everyone on minimum wage. A Lackawanna County judge says no, you have to pay people what their contracts call for. So the mayor says “we're broke” and pays everyone minimum wage. Public employee unions have filed for a contempt hearing. Contract law? We don't need no contract law...
Corporate Citizens: Since 2001, the nation's largest corporations – Caterpillar, Chevron, Cisco, GM, Intel, Merck, Oracle, Stanley, United Technologies, Walmart – have been forced to retrench and lay off 2.9 million US workers. During that same period, they have hired 2.4 million people overseas. Coincidence, pure coincidence.
Playing It As It Lies: Former Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says that Romney's tax avoidance is legal and acceptable and everybody does it and it's just “playing the game.” I agree, and as soon as I can save up ten or twelve dollars, I'm gonna see about one of those foreign tax shelters, too.
See How They Run: Swiss 2 year notes now carry a negative 0.37 rate of 'return'. Gee, why would anyone pull their money from Spanish and Italian bonds paying 7%, just to pay the Swiss to hold their money for a while? Probably for the same reason folks are willing to lend Uncle Sam money for 10 years at 1.52% - which is effectively a negative rate of return. Not exactly inspiring a great deal of optimism.
Waiting Game: BP says that the costs of protecting the Alaskan coast & seas from an oil spill are too high to make their planned $1.5 billion offshore oil project feasible. It was not immediately clear if BP was seeking additional drilling subsidies or a relaxation in safety standards. Or both.
They're Everywhere! Florida will release the names of the 180,000 voters selected to be deprived of their right to vote because, according to Gov. Scott, “Irreparable harm will result if noncitizens are allowed to vote.” Scott could not say exactly how many Democratic voters should be disenfranchised so that both of Florida's illegally registered aliens could be prevented from perverting democracy.
The Parting Shot.
Solanum carolinense. Horse nettle.