Buzzards, Circling: Make no mistake, the sequester is not about spending cuts. At $85 billion, the amount involved is less than 3% of a $4 trillion federal budget. The President has already proposed more spending cuts than the sequester would guarantee. And both sides of the aisle in Congress are eager to gut Social Security, Medicare and rest of the social safety net - as long as they get 'cover' - which the sequestration is supposed to deliver. All so they - our politicians - can deliver Social Security to the loving care of Wall Street.
Asked and Answered: Who lies the most, the Right or the Left? Yes.
Vintage Acts: The US Housing Market is in recovery. They say. But the 90+ day delinquency rate is stuck at three times 'normal' and homes in foreclosure are stuck in the 3.75% range ('normal' would be closer to 1.25%). And these grand results stem from $46 billion in stimulus poured into
housing banks. And by investors looking for quick gains. Yes, " House prices haven’t risen this fast since the housing bubble." but that's not necessarily a Good Thing. Meanwhile, loans taken out after 2008 are all accelerating into delinquency - and they were the initial steps of The Recovery. And the later vintages are following 2008 (which has a 24% delinquency rate and climbing); 2009 at 10% and climbing, 2010 at 5% and climbing.
Footnote: The US/NATO command in Afghanistan has discovered that last year's victories over the Taliban were a tad overstated and that instead of the previously reported decrease in Taliban attacks, such incidents increased. Victory, however, remains certain.
Independence/Interdependence: US demand for oil in January fell 1.7% y/y to the lowest level in 18 years and 2% for all of 2012. Unemployment remains at 7.9%. Just as well, if China (up 3.9% last year) and India keep sucking up petroleum for a few more years there won't be any left for us anyway.
Reflections: Banks, which took nearly $450 billion in bailouts from taxpayers and still take $83 billion a year from us, reported $48.2 billion in profits in 2012, up 37%. More than 18 million homeowners have suffered through foreclosure, losing their homes and their futures. Mischief, thou art afoot, take thou what course thou wilt!
Silly Question: "Why is the luxury housing market recovering so well?" Well, it ain't the unemployed folks on food stamps, bucko.
Speak No Evil:A coed at the University of North Carolina faces expulsion for being “disruptive” and “intimidating” the individual who raped her – even though she has not named him. That she was part of a group of victims of sexual assault who alleged the school under-reported such incidents was incidental.
As Advertised: A study showing that climate change deniers tend to be conspiracy nuts is viewed as another conspiracy by climate deniers.
Noted: That cold draft whispering through the cracks in the US drive for energy independence is the increase in Middle Eastern oil imports last year. Despite an astounding 35% increase in US domestic production, the US imported more than 450 million barrels of crude from Saudi Arabia - more than in the previous three years combined - while Kuwait had shipped more oil to the US than in any year since 1998.
Porn O'Graph: Climbing to the top.
The Parting Shot: