Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SAR #13015

The difference between preventing a war and starting one seems curiously unappreciated of late.

Celebrate Appropriately: Currently, 10.6% of houses with a mortgage are either seriously delinquent or in foreclosure. This is a slight decline., but foreclosure starts are expected to climb, now that banks and mortgage servicers have figured out how to game the new regulations and procedures.

For Whom The Bell Tolls: Cutting Social Security is no longer up for debate; It has, according to Obama, become "a worthy end in itself." The administration claims it is "a technical fix", not a cut in the safety net. They lie.

Feature, Not Failure: Last year “the world’s 100 richest people became $241 billion richer”.

The Human Condition: Step back and contemplate how much more media time was spent on the ridiculous Mayan apocalypse prediction than on the ominous and growing body of evidence that we have pushed the planet to the edge of disaster through global warming. Homo sapiens my foot.

What's Wrong With This Picture: Developers and promoters of projects in flood planes and coastal areas are now installing generators and assuring prospects that “they wouldn’t be terribly inconvenienced in case of a natural disaster.”

Just Because: Saudi Arabia denied that it cut oil production in December to push crude prices higher. Perhaps they didn't cut production, perhaps it fell? That's scary. But maybe they just didn't need the money.

Sob Story: Wells Fargo, while posting record earnings, complained that people were depositing money much faster than they could find reasonably safe and profitable places to invest it. The entire banking industry is facing similar problems. The share of each dollar on deposit that gets lent out is at its lowest level since the 2008 debacle. If the private sector is not going to spur economic growth through lending to create and stimulate businesses, perhaps someone else (hint, hint) should undertake serious stimulus spending.

The Car of the Future: Will run on gasoline.

We Come In Peace: Just as US sanctions against Saddam (because of his wholly mythical WMD program) resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths among Iraq's poor, US sanctions against Iran (because of its mostly mythical nuclear ambitions) are depriving Iranians of needed medications. Just collateral damage as the US spreads democracy.

No Problem: The attorney Michigan hires to enforce the state's new right-to-work law – which prohibits requiring employees to pay union dues – will have to pay state bar dues in order to practice law in the state.

Future, Tense: According to the International Energy Agency, the United States will become the world's leading oil producer in just a few years. Imagine that. Then imagine pigs, flying.

Definition: 'Chained CPI' - the newest way to cut Social Security while pretending not to cut Social Security. It works by whittling away at the magic of compounding: reducing the CPI adjustment by 0.3% a year - say from $30 a month to $25 a month would lead - after 20 years - to a cut in monthly income of $70 a month, which will buy a lot of cat food. Instead of cut, cut, cutting, why not create a cost of living index for the elderly, based on the things the elderly actually spend money on? Isn't the point of Social Security to provide a secure retirement, not to see how little the elderly can scrape by on?

Essay Question: Healthcare and the profit motive—do they work well together? Please write your answer on the margins of a dun notice from a hospital, your doctor, or your insurance company.

Plot Spoiler: The National Climate Assessment detailed the horror that man-made global warming will visit on the planet and its inhabitants, emphasizing that global warming is getting worse, that it is man-made, and that the US isn't going to do diddly-shit to stop it for fear of reducing the profits of the energy companies. Okay, I added that last part, but it's true.

The Parting Shot:



Demetrius said...

The USA & Oil. It might just become the leading or a leading producer. The trouble is that the much higher costs of extraction may entail a lot of state subsidy to the oil majors to pump it up. The other trouble is that if there is rather more derived from biofuels, also subsidised, which have the effect of cutting farm crops, then food prices will go up, unless they are subsidised. Were all this to happen the engine might just seize up.

HS said...

USA&Oil: Yep, it all depends on how badly the Saudis have been cooking the books over the last decade. Of course, if the US does turn out to be a leading producer, WWIII should already be in full effect.