Friday, March 8, 2013

SAR #13067

The rich are winning. What did you expect?

Good Question: Senator Warren wants to know, “What does it take — how many billions do you have to launder for drug lords and how many economic sanctions do you have to violate — before someone will consider shutting down a financial institution like this?” Then, “You know, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail... But if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night, every single individual associated with this. I think that’s fundamentally wrong.” She's fundamentally right.

Investment Advice: Nobody knows what is going to happen next. Everyone has an opinion on what you should do. None of them is right.

Noise, Signifying Nothing: Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former PM, has been sentenced to a year in prison for leaking transcripts from a police wiretap. This is not the first time he's been found guilty of this or that, and he's facing verdicts this month in separate trials for tax fraud and for patronizing underage prostitutes. Odds are not heavily in favor of his actually spending any time in jail.

Bottle It: BP's CEO says that, if no more Deepwater Horizons occur, the US will be 90% energy independent by 2030. Is this good news? Or a portent of economic disaster?

Jealousy: Senators McCain and Graham called Rand Paul's successful filibuster “ridiculous”, claiming it was “not helpful” and certainly not in keeping with their marching orders. “If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids.” Well, Senator Paul wanted an answer, and he got one. Sets a bad precedent.

Evidence: “Investors Seek Ways to Profit From Global Warming.”

Reality Check: The world is already in a recession, which is masked in the US by the Fed's pumping up equity markets for the last few years. Economies in over half of the OECD nations are in contraction. Why has no one noticed? Who says they haven't? Remember, it's not in the best interest of the bankers or the politicians to scare the horses.

Essence: The AG says he can't prosecute the big banks because they run the world and hire the governments and have complete immunity. Or words to that effect.

Investing in the Future: In January, non-revolving loans (cars and college) grew $16.1 billion, down a tad from December's $18.25 billion. Credit card (revolving) debt grew only $106 million after falling $3.6 billion in December. So we're all going back to school in brand new cars... none of which we can afford.

Briefly: Initial unemployment claims were reported as 340,000, a slight decrease from the previous weeks (upwardly adjusted) 347,000. This data series is about to be assaulted by the effects of the sequestration – which will make a handy excuse.

Definite Maybe: The Attorney General has responded to Rand Paul's filibuster questioning with a definite ' "No.". Well, unless the person is "engaged in combat." But 'combat' was not defined and given the government's ability to redefine torture and immanent, I'm not all that reassured.

Belaboring the Obvious: “Wealth inequality will keep growing unless workers demand better.”

Noted: If we were experiencing a typical recession and recovery(sic) the US economy would have about 10 million more jobs than at the pre-crash peak. Instead, there are three million fewer jobs. Let's hear it for the recovery! Go Dow!

Porn O'Graph: On target.

The Parting Shot:


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