Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SAR #13149

Giving to the rich requires taking from the poor.

Perspective: The real scandal isn't that the IRS questioned Tea Party and Patriot applications for 501(C)(4) tax exemption, but that they approved so many of them.

Who's Watching The Store: Here's another story about Chinese hackers having their way with US defense secrets. Makes you wonder what our side is up to – we do have our own hackers, don't we? But if the Chinese pour billions into copying the hapless. ridiculously expensive and generally useless F-35, that'll be fair punishment.

Flexing Their Muscles: The IRS is investigating First Caribbean International Bank, a former Barclays property, in connection with tax evasion. Also named were the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Wells Fargo. Down the Street, the Justice Department awoke from a long nap and coordinated police raids in 17 countries as part of their prosecution of Liberty Reserve for their role in international money-laundering via their digital money services. Bear in mind that Wall Street banks that admitted laundering billions and billions for drug cartels and dictators paid only a few pence in penalties, so don't get too excited.

Question Questions: According to CNN, “A majority of Americans still oppose the nation's new health care measure...” Actually, the survey showed that 59% of Americans support Obamacare, but CNN has been brainwashed by the Republicans into thinking that anything less than 60% is a minority. They've also failed simple math, much like those in the GOP. CNN got their desired conclusion by claiming that those who don't think Obamacare went far enough towards single-payer are opposed to the half a loaf we got.

Competition: The IEA says that if prices for natural gas rise to $5 per million BTU, coal will become a viable alternative. Which is too bad for the frackers, because by all reports they need nearly $8/mBTU to break even.

Woodshed: The other day Ben Bernanke went up the Hill and told the congresscriters that they, and not he and his merry band at the Fed, were the reason the economy keeps crawling along. Cutting the deficit, he explained once more with admirable patience, is the wrong thing to do. The declining deficit is not a sign the country is doing well but the result of the Congress (and President, but he didn't say that) doing nearly everything wrong – cutting when they should be spending.

Trees/Forest: Amid all the housing boosterism traipsing around it might be worth stopping in a shadowy doorway and looking up lumber prices on the old mobile. Then again, maybe they've found a way to build houses without using something as old-fashioned as wood.

Genuflect In Their Presence: The planet's top 8% of earners gather in at least 50% of all the globe's income. Inequality is not a national disgrace, it is a global disaster waiting to unravel society everywhere. For extra credit, make an argument justifying Luxembourg's $114,232 average income when actual human beings in Burundi make $271 a year.

What's That Smell? The US Postal Service is slowly being strangled by a Congressional mandate that it prefund 50 years of retiree health benefits nearly immediately. All of the USPS's budgetary shortfalls since this unrealistic requirement was imposed have been solely due to this act. It was designed to drive the USPS bankrupt so it could be privatized, and it is working. That the USPS is “rated the most efficient postal service in the world” is the major reason the politicians want to put it up for sale to their backers.

Housing Developments: Sales in California suggest that buying houses in order to flip them for a profit is back. Across the nation this spring prices are frothing upward – Case-Shiller says they're up more than 10% y/y nationwide, with some areas up more than 25% in a year. Sustainable, right? Can you smell the bubble? Some claim it's not a bubble because prices haven't reached 2006's ridiculous heights. Yet.

Porn O'Graph: To Infinity and Beyond!

The Parting Shot:


Patterns/Okeeffe #46


tulsatime said...

Bubble, bubble...that's all that can form from the sticky slick on the floor that is all that's left of the economy. A war will have the usual combustive effect that worked out so well pre 08. I had not seen the lumber graph, it really does put the lie to all the rebound hype.

mark r. said...

thanks for defending the post office

we used to have a president who spoke of 'malefactors of great wealth' - we still have those but we don't have a president who would say so

Drew Dowdell said...

Seems like I want to move to Luxembourg all of the sudden. Lovely weather there this time of year.