Saturday, April 27, 2013

SAR #13117

Running out of fossil fuel is not the worst thing that could happen; not running out is.

Squeaky Big Wheels: Congress quickly discovered that transferring money from The Transportation Department's capital budget to pay air traffic controllers salaries was essential for the safety of their jobs. They were quick to point out that the sequester was not supposed to inconvenience any of the rich or moderately rich folks, just the poor people who don't fly around the country because they don't have jobs or homes or health care or... So much for the shared pain of budgetary restraint. Except for on cancer patients, disabled veterans, and seniors.

Some Numbers:Annualized GDP for 1Q2013 was up 2.5%, but inflation was running at 1.2% which takes quite a bit of the luster off the numbers. Consumer spending on services was up, while their spending on goods was down. Disposable income was down and personal savings fell 2.6%. Rah, rah, boom-di-yea.

Kinder, Gentler: Republican state senators in Washington have filed a bill that would legalize business discrimination against LGBT individuals, if the business owner pretends to have a religious or philosophical problem with the idea of equality.

Headline Only: 'Milk Smugglers Top Heroin Courier Arrests in Hong Kong'

Letter From Homes: One out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps. Over 47 million people are enrolled in the program, the cost for which has doubled in the last three years as The RecoveryTM picked up steam plodded along.

Revival: The Blackstone Group has spent more than $100 million to buy 1,400 properties in Atlanta - the biggest bulk purchase for the homes-for-lease industry. So far it has spent over $4 billion on 24,000 houses, which pretty much accounts for the famous real estate revival.

Sell, Sell, Smell: JPMorgan accounted for 99.3% of physical gold sales at COMEX during the last three months. While Goldman Sachs bad-mouthed gold, it did not sell any of its holdings. Who's right?

Joke, Right? Some yahoo is complaining that the weak first-quarter GDP results are due to the over-regulation of businesses. Try standing in downtown West in business friendly and regulation shy Texas and saying that.

Ambush Assembly: A high school in Flowood, MS has held 3 mandatory assemblies this month, with teachers guarding the doors to make sure no students escaped viewing a Christian evangelical video and listening to preachers tell them they would have to sacrifice animals if they didn't accept Jesus, because God really, really wants the blood of innocents. The assemblies ended with a prayer. The school is going to end up with lawsuits.

The Parting Shot:


Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Arisaema triphyllum


HS said...

Revival: Funny you should mention Blackstone. I recently had an interesting conversation with two real estate brokers from Atlanta and Memphis. Both stated that they lived and died by hedge fund purchases and both specifically mentioned Blackstone. They also said that most of the sales are out of Freddie's and Fannie's massive REO inventory, which accounts for their much ballyhooed "return to health."

BTW, I'd be very surprised if that's not newly minted Bennybux funding this ill advised bubble reinflation that are masquerading as minimal interest loans from the primary dealers. Furthermore, I imagine that the hedge funds will securitize the properties, get them rubber stamped by Moody's, and sell them to the usual suckers--401(k) mutual funds.

It's actually kind of brilliant because everybody who is supposed to win, wins big. The Fed wins because they get trumpet the "Recovery." The hedge funds win because they borrow for virtually nothing and keep the spread, while shedding the risk. Fannie and Freddie win by reducing their shadow inventory. And of course, those in the know win by gaming Case-Shiller real estate futures. When Europe blows and the market tanks, Joe Lunchbucket won't be able to differentiate these losses from the rest of his 401(k) losses.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

HS - I think your analysis is spot on.

Anonymous said...

"...the sequester was not supposed to inconvenience any of the rich or moderately rich folks..."

A form of inconvenience would be having to comply with TSA requirements. Is there a Two Tier System of air security? What about all those private, corporate jets flying around and into/out of the US? Do those folks go through scanners? How rigorously are the aircraft inspected for drugs, laundered cash and other contraband?

I would find it hard to believe that a low level Customs guy is going to do a full inspection of Mr. Big's aircraft when it lands in the US. Or that he is going to do a Full Monty on all the paperwork involved.

tulsatime said...

A circular real-estate financialization scam? Zounds, we best notify the appropriate legal authorities for prompt investigation and prosecution. Make all reasonable speed, for the integrity of the markets may hinge in the balance.