Are we creating a society we want to live in?
Echo: EU budget talks have collapsed, mostly because France was determined to protect its farmers from large cuts in subsidies. The 'final offer' budget for 2014 called for an €80bn cut (to €1,091bn) while Germany, the UK, Sweden and the other 'net-contributors' wanted cuts closer to €200bn. Absent an agreement, the budget will automatically revert to a 2% across-the-board increase – the European version of a fiscal cliff.
Oil Bidness: BP has entered into a plea-bargain deal with the Justice Department and will pay a record criminal penalty - $4.5 billion – and offer up two of its employees as sacrificial victims. A third employee, an actual senior manager – David Rainey, VP for exploration in the gulf – might go to jail for lying to investigators, Congress, and everyone else.
Re-Thinking: We all thought the Supremes had delivered the elections to the highest bidder. Instead, billions were spent annoying potential voters in six or seven states, to no avail. And if saturation bombing didn't do much good for candidates, isn't it time someone asked if spending 22 minutes of every TV hour spending advertisers' money might be a tad wasteful, too?
Datapoint: 14 million American homeowers are still in negative territory.
Too Little, Too Late: The Republicans have named – cue trumpets – Cathy McMoris Rodgers (R-WA) the conference chair for House Republicans. It is, they assure women everywhere, the number four top dog in the House. In the Senate, the Dems have 16 ladies while the GOP has but 4; in the House it's 58 to 20.
Damned Evidence: The IMF is slowly beginning to realize that ‘squeeze and hope’ is not working out, and that the main result of relentless austerity has been the transfer of Greek debt from the private sector to European governments (for which read 'taxpayers'). While calling this 'bailing out' the Greeks implies some sort of largess, no European institution has given away a drachma – they expect to be repaid. Ah, expectations.
Austerity Works! The euro-area has - surprise, surprise – fallen into recession again. Just like all those Keynesians predicted when the IMF/EU/ECB was running around preaching austerity. And enforcing it, Spain being the latest victim. Poor Spain, it really doesn't need things to get any tougher.
Score One for Morality: Pat Robertson points out that it wasn't Petraeus' fault. After all “hes a man” and even in Generals a penis overrules common sense.
All Together Now: Bernanke says he and the Feds have done all they can to get the economy moving again, but it's not his fault that American households are not doing their part and bankers are being too responsible. Uncle Sam wants you to get out there and pay more for a house than you can afford. Go on, what're you waiting for?
In A Country FHA FHA Away: The Federal Housing Authority is running out of money because it has been lending too much money to folks who can't pay it back. Right now it's looking at loses amounting to about $100 billion. With Fannie and Freddie essentially zombies, the FHA's demise will leave the field empty of any agency able to backstop mortgages. What happens to the housing recoveryTM then?
Comes the Dawn: There seems to be an elaborate experiment underway to see exactly how much austerity, how much unemployment, how much degradation a country can endure before a significant portion of the population turns to fascism.
Going to the John: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says a “scheduling error” explains why he skipped a Senate hearing on the Benghazi attack to hold a press conference demanding a Senate hearing on the Benghazi attack.
Porn O'Graph: Tell me about the
rabbits improvement, George.
The Parting Shot:
Slow motion struggle for survival.