Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SAR #13029

Economics is the study of ways to justify selfishness.

The Big Lie: The rapidly retreating Paul Ryan now assures the American voter that the Republicans are in favor of gun control and were only kidding about shutting down the government and starving the elderly, but will hold “spending at levels written into law”. Whatever that means.

Public Health: Israel, which welcomes coreligionists with open arms, has been using one of those arms to administer birth-control injections to immigrants from Ethiopia. Is there a word to describe anti-Semitism aimed those with black skins? Oh, right. Racism.

Bean Counters: Why is the Boeing Dreamliner not what they dreamed about? Because they decided to outsource 60% of the design, engineering and manufacture of the aircraft - to take advantage of the economies [sic] of globalization. One thing they've learned: the more complex the supply chain, the more likely it is that something(s) will go wrong. And about that money they saved...

Let Me Count The Ways: Saudi Aramco will deploy 170 drilling rigs this year. Yeah, that Saudi Aramco, the one with gaboodles of reserves and a 12 mbd production capacity. That's 400% more than just 2 years ago. Why the rush if they've got so much already?

Follow The Money: In early January $114 billion was withdrawn from the nation's depository banks. No one can figure out (a) why or (b) where it went. Write if you get work.

Steak/Sizzle: The Republicans are in full flight, trying to become acceptable to the electorate by repackaging and relabeling their ideology rather than changing it. Ryan says he never favored austerity, just gutting social programs. Jindal says the party is populist, completely redefining that fine old word to mean "favoring the rich". At least McClain was honest in explaining their sudden turn around on immigration: "Elections, elections, elections." They are not changing their goals, simply hiding them.

Quoted, Sort of: "I underestimated the risks, and if we do not act immediately, we are screwed, our children are screwed and our grandchildren will curse our names. " That's a loose summation of Lord Stern's longer mea culpa for suggesting - several years ago - that global warming would be limited to 2 or 3ºC. It won't.

How Unusual: A European Court has ruled that a nation (Iceland in this case) does not have to make good the losses the greedy (Brits and the Dutch in this case) suffer when a private company (Iceland's banks) goes belly up. How refreshing, not going after the taxpayers to pay for what a bunch of bankers did.

Sic 'em: “People like me have been saying for five years, don’t worry about these deficit things for the time being, they’re a non-issue. Other people have been saying, ‘Imminent crisis, imminent crisis!’ How many times do they have to be wrong and do people like me have to be right before people start to believe this? We need to focus on what is urgent right now, which is creating jobs and getting this economy back to full employment.”

Clip & Take To Your Doctor: Sponsors get the answer they want. "Industry-funded trials are more likely than independently funded trials to produce a positive, flattering result." This is one of the most well-documented phenomena in the growing field of “research about research.” A 2010 study examined over 500 trials of 5 major classes of drugs and found that 85% of the industry-funded studies were positive while only half the non-manufacturer funded ones were. In 2007 a study of every published trial of statins found that industry-funded studies were far more likely to give favorable results. How likely? Not twice as likely. Nor five times, but twenty times as likely. Which is unlikely.

Onward: Great Britain's GDP did not grow at all last year and remains 4% below its pre-Lehman Brothers level., while the US has regained all that and then some. One has a Keynesian stimulus, the other got a bad case of austerity. Lessons? Who said there'd be a test?

The Parting Shot:


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