Saturday, November 17, 2012

SAR #12321

If it's not on the shelf, it's not a solution.

Thought Experiment: In all the goofiness about how great it is that mortgage rates are so damned low – now down to 3.34% for a 30-year mortgage - no one seems to wonder why? If the banks have so much money that they are nearly giving it away, are we sure this is a good thing? Where did the money come from? Aren't there better things to do with it? So grab a piece of paper and make notes as you figure out for yourself what this says about the economy, profits, debt slavery and our future.

Whether Forecast: So, what's really going to happen to the January 'fiscal cliff'? Nothing. Letting everything fall off the cliff would cause a GDP drop of about 5%. So it's going to be put off. Again. And Again. These are politicians we're talking about, whose specialty is doing nothing while bragging about their prowess.

Datapoint: The average life expectancy of poorly educated whites is actually falling.

Take a Deep Breath: The era of cheap oil is over. The 'shale revolution' is a con, a commercial failure camouflaged by frantic drilling of rapidly depleting, money-losing wells. The energy world where coal is “clean” and oil and gas companies will lead the US to a new era of energy abundance is an illusion. The real world is headed quickly into an energy/environmental/economic crisis we will not be ready for.

Golly Gee: New studies show that German-backed EU/IMF/ECB austerity measures are crushing, not saving, economies. But then, they were never intended to do so; the whole effort has been to, first,  save private investors bacon by transferring the debts to government bodies and then to make sure the peons in the PIIGS pay back every penny now owed to the governments of the Northern Tier. Nowhere was there much, if any, concern for the actual countries being "saved".

Runs With Scissors: JPMorgan Chase's energy trading division has been banned from participating in California's wholesale electricity market for six months (beginning in April 2013) for lying “submitting false information: to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Making Sausage: The USPS budget crisis, like the Social Security financial crisis, isn't real – both were invented to hide other problems. In 1970 Congress created the USPS, a quasi-public agency that was supposed to reap the benefits of the free market or some such nonsense. The only taxpayer funding involved is a piddling $100 million a year to cover mail for the blind and some limited official overseas mail. Nonetheless, Congress continues to consider the USPS as part of the 'unified budget' they are so fond of messing with. In 2002 it was determined that the USPS had been significantly overpaying into its retirement fund. But because the Congress uses those overpayments to help hide the deficit, they wouldn't let the USPS stop making these unnecessary set-asides. The USPS is now required to make annual payments of over $5 billion a year into a Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund that they cannot use to actually pay retiree health benefits – because Congress needs the fig leaf. If this sounds like a con game, that's because it is. And they are going to con you out of having decent postal service.

Working For A Living: When adjusted for inflation, US wages have remained stagnat for over a decade, and have been on a "downward slope" for over 40 years. In purchasing power, the median wage is less now than it was in 1970.

How Big? There is no doubt that a social explosion is building in Europe. Over 300,000 Italians took to the streets in 100 cities yesterday, while protesters were in the streets in 100 French cities and 30 Portuguese cities. There were hundreds of thousands in the streets in Spain, while Golden Dawn continued to terrorize immigrants in Greece. Take notes, there will be a test.

The Parting Shot:


Dacryopinax elegans


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re "take a deep breath" - heinberg's pessimism about the long term impact of shale oil and fracking contrasts strongly with other views i've seen recently - u.s. goods will have a competitive advantage on the world market because of cheap energy, our national security position will improve because we will no longer be vulnerable to interruptions of our energy supply, etc.

i wonder who is right

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

I'm far more impressed with Arthur Berman's analysis in the link beneath “commercial failure”, but I'd already written the item and was too rushed or too lazy to go back and do Mr. Berman's views justice. ckm

Gegner said...

Thought experiment hits the nail squarely on the head!

Once again a negative is being 'spun' as a positive...just as the second law of thermodynamics provides a rather decisive answer to Mistah Charlies' question.

The cost to recover will rapidly exceed the benefit reaped by extracting.

under that lies the question of whether or not we have a choice...and that answer, at the moment, is No also.

so we actually have two disasters in the making being paraded around as 'miracles'.