Civilization is an endless cycle of unintended consequences.
50 Shades of Submission: The EU/ECB/IMF are sitting back, waiting for Spain to submit
a formal bailout request. Eventually the struggle of the people for their future will be decided – in favor of the monied class in Europe and beyond – and the troika wants to say “but you begged us.” That's what it's come to – a cynical amusement for the speculator spectator class as they set about “rewriting of the implicit social contracts that have existed since the end of the second world war”
Watch Carefully: Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano may have given the wrong impression when she she doesn't use email. She certainly does - yours. Regularly. All of it. Which may be why she does not personally use email – she knows it is anything but personal.
Numb 'ers: French manufacturing entered a deep downturn in September, with new orders falling at the fastest rate since 2009. German manufacturing rose a bit as cost inflation hit a five-month high. While Italy improved modestly as job cuts slowed. About one in four are out of work in Spain and Greece, with the Germans smugly reporting about 5.5% unemployment. Among youth of stone and bottle throwing age, unemployment overall is 22.8%, with over half of Spanish and Greek youth jobless. The protests are part of the window dressing, or so Brussels and Berlin think.
Point of View: The US commander in Afghanistan is angry that the enemy is 'murdering' (sic) US soldiers while they go about their business killing the enemy. He thinks there's a difference.
The Commons: The trucks bringing water to a single fracking site do as much damage to the roads as 3.5 million cars would. How profitable would fracking be if this cost – millions of dollars – had to be paid by the drillers. What? Oh, right. Paying your way – if you are a business – is un-American.
Perspective: To get back to the pre-bubble level of homeowner equity in the next five years, mortgage debt must fall 15% while price rise 20%. Don't be holding your breath.
Free Lunch: No matter who gets elected to the White House or Congress in November, it is pretty certain that come January the temporary payroll tax cuts will end and workers will see another 2% of their wages wafting off to Washington.
Story Time: Obama's biggest mistake has not been the story he tried to sell the country about the economic recovery, but listening to the stories his economic advisers told him.
Rationing: The health care cost problems in the US stem from two things – for profit medicine, and the tendency to lavish costly efforts on elderly Americans without considering the cost/benefit ratios in the context of the overall health of the nation. To put it a tad more clearly, we need death panels.
Tax Policy: 'Should capital gains be taxed?' is the wrong question. 'Should capital gains be?' should be discussed first. And if the issue is tax 'fairness', the only way to judge that is to look at how much is left to each, after taxes.
Not Enough Questions: Economists should be forced to have children, three year old children, those who ask why,why why. Then they would not write silly things like this. “The Problem is a Collapsed Housing Bubble, Not a Financial crisis.” The problem was not the collapse of a housing bubble, the problem is what lead to the housing bubble. And what lead to that. Why, why, why? The reason we keep flailing about is because we do not follow the decay to the ultimate causes, deep in our economic structure.
Porn O'Graph: A perspective.
The Parting Shot: