will lie to get your vote.
Aye, There's The Rub: A German think tank concludes that if Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy left the euro, global GDP would drop by €17 trillion, plunge the entire world into a recession, increase social tensions, and threaten democracy. (It didn't make the last two claims, but as night must follow day...). Just a Greek departure would not be particularly upsetting, but the danger of it setting off a string of exits is too high to be tolerated. So Greece will be beaten into submission and the “snail's pace” at which the demanded reforms are being implemented will not be tolerated by Merkel and the troika.
Tightrope: Back in June, we now learn, The Mitten urged small business owners to tell their employees how to vote and to warn the what would happen if they didn't follow the suggestion. Another Republican, Joe Walsh (R-IL) told employers " Spread the word . . . if you run, own or manage a company, tell your employees . . . if Obama is re-elected, I may have to let all of you go..." There's a not particularly thin line between free speech and coeercion, and these guys crossed it.
Making the Point: Fighting back against the Kaiser study that showed 59% of seniors would pay more under a Medicare voucher program, some argue that the problem is that the elderly don't always choose what's best for them. It's not a problem, it's a feature – the private insurers are banking on being able to bilk them, that's where the profits are.
Smelling Salts: A touch of reality visited the unemployment claims number this week (388,000), with initial claims rising 46,000 – a 13.5% jump from last week's miraculous number. This is the highest number in three months and should put the conspiracy nuts to rest for a while, even in the absence of any explanation from the Labor Department.
Don't Try This At Home: JPMorgan has apologized to the feds for “submitting inaccurate information” in the investigation into their electricity trading in California. If you do it it's called perjury.
Pain/Spain: The loans on Spanish banks' books keep tumbling. Last month their bad loans stood at 10% of their portfolios; this month it climbed to 10.5%, while their deposit base continues to flee the country. How do you say 'insolvent' in Spanish?
What Could Go Wrong? The latest Good Idea from the folks who brought you synthetic CDOs comes the 16:1 leveraged version of an 8:1 leveraged MBS based, somewhere in the hazy distance, on REITs. It's a sure thing, unless interest rates rise, in which case the buyers will get their little bottoms whipped.
Conundrum: Europe's crisis is not about Greek deficits or German dominance, Europe's crisis is caused by the tension between democracy at the national level and autocracy at the supranational level. The EU has created the euro, but has been unable to forge a transnational constituency to make it viable. Essentially disenfranchised voters are not willing to accept the sacrifices necessary to make the euro-project succeed, even as Frau Merkel lectures them on the glories of giving the technocrats in Brussels veto power over national budgets. As long as the French are French, the Italians Italian, and the Germans want to run everything, the euro is doomed.
Point Of Order: There are 20.5 million people in the US who live in extreme poverty. Extreme. That's less than $10,000 a year for a family of four. And don't tell me about the fine care they get at the emergency room.
And The Winner Is: AG Holder has given Distinguished Service Awards to the people who decided not to prosecute torturers who killed their victims and to the guys who let banksters off with a slap on their secretaries' wrists for engaging in systemic mortgage fraud.
Damned Liberal Facts: Bill O'Reilly is upset over taxpayers funding 'lefty agitators like Bill Moyers'. The problem is, Moyers doesn't work for PBS or NPR and never has, and Moyers show, which is funded by donors, may well give its excess donations to PBS. Scott Brown, running for re-election to the US Senate against Elizabeth Warren", claimed that she had hired actors to pretend to be members of the families of asbestos victims. Too bad, Scott, they were family members. Apology accepted, in the same spirit it was offered.
The Parting Shot: