We worry more about the cost of health care than we do about health care, and more about health care than about health.
Again: Bernanke, acknowledging that QE1, QE2, QE3 and QE3 with a Twist did not work, is doubling down and says that the Fed will now dump $85 billion a month into the economy until
the participation rate drops below 50% bringing the unemployment rate to 6.5% or inflation expectations exceeds 2.5%. He figures another $2 trillion will do the trick.
Last Lost Words: "There is light at the end of the tunnel ... confidence is returning ... we need to stay the course." Olli Rehn, EU economics commissioner, 1211. Also Olli Rehn, 2012. "They make a desert and call it peace." Tacitus (Agricolo c.98 AD).
Symptom: The battle over right-to-work in Michigan isn't over right-to-work laws or even over unions. It is another front in the war of the rich against the rest of us and the rest of us are losing. Its about the shredding of the American Dream and the dissolution of the idea of equality. It is not the last battle we will lose as we retreat to penury and lifetime indebtedness, just one more in a growing tide of defeats for the middle class. Those of you who thought the struggle between capital and labor was a thing of the past have not been paying attention.
Austerity: Keep taking the medicine, it'll work any day now. Poverty and social unrest are just side effects.
Clip & Save: Bank of America says the price of WTI - US crude oil - is going to fall sharply, perhaps to as little as $50 a barrel in the next two years. Maybe they see a really, really severe recession ahead.
Clueless: Walmart CEO Mike Duke, who took home $18.7 million last year, says he sees no problem in paying his 1.4 million US employees an average of $8.81 an hour, which he defines as "fair wages."
All The News, In Fits: Consensus among journalists is that coverage of the 2012 campaign was "a calamitous failure"because the biggest and most important story of the year - that Republican candidates and their apologists are habitual liars completely divorced from reality - was not and could not be covered. They had to be "fair and balanced" even if one side was fairly unbalanced.
Labor Law 101: “'Right to work' sounds like a law guaranteeing you a job, or at least protecting your job once you’ve got it. ... In fact, it’s the opposite. The main effect of right-to-work laws is to outlaw regulations of employment and allow your boss to fire you without cause.”
Follow The Money: Paul Krugman has jsut now figured out that the rich get richer because they are... rich. Which leads him to wonder if ownership of (Das) Capital might have something to do with it.
Ducks And Roses: Before you get too smug about the US becoming the world's biggest oil producer you should understand that when the IEA said that they were counting both conventional oil (crude and condensate as it's known in the oil patch) and natural gas liquids, and pretending the two were the same thing. They are not. You cannot run your car on the liquid made from natural gas. And at least 30% of the predicted US glut will be natural gas liquids, not petroleum. The US may, downhill with a good tail-wind, make it back to the level of crude production it had in 1990, but that was 20 years after US oil output peaked. It doesn't walk like a duck, and calling it oil doesn't make it oil.
The Parting Shot: