Friday, October 25, 2013

SAR #13298

Investment bankers and politicians share certain traits with serial killers.

Things That Go Bump: Some would have you see the world through oil-smeared lenses, claiming that China's oil imports edging a tad higher than US imports was why Saudi Arabia is spurning the US. Except US imports come from neither the Saudis nor the Middle East. And while Chinese imports will poach oil from the market, it is not a diplomatic crisis. Nice story, just not true. 
The Headline: “Real Economic Growth Killer? Government Spending Cuts...”

About Desperation: The Mediterranean has become “an open cemetery for migrants” trying to reach European shores, but the flow of political and economic refugees from Africa - and the drowning - will only increase as global warming worsens. 
Progress: Since 1996, the number of US families living in deep poverty has gone up 130%.

To What End? The National Security Agency recorded information about more than 124 billion phone calls during a 30-day period earlier this year, including around 3 billion calls from U.S. Another 97 billion bits of information were pulled by the NSA from global computer networks.

Cautionary Tale: “Exactly the same bozos who missed the last bubble deny there is one now." Societe Generale's Albert Edwards.

Rose Is Rose: The final term papers based on the long-running EU social experiment with austerity are coming in and unanimously agree that the contractionary policy pursued by the EU/ECB/IMF were in fact contractionary. Cuts in government spending, it turns out, are treated by the economy as spending cuts. Golly gee. A-plus all around. 
Slip Sliding Away: The Sultan Of Brunei has imposed Sharia law in Brunei, but only on Muslims. Okay, they asked for it I guess. 
Excess! Crude oil – under the banner of WTI – has “undergone a substantial correction” in the last few days. That is, the price dropped. It's not a “correction” when the price goes up. But why? Well, Iran seems to be getting ready to enter the market as it 'friends' the US. Yesterday's employment report points to weak economic growth, and less growth equals less need to pollute the atmosphere. And the weekly US supply report showed crude supplies up by 5.2 million barrels. Take your pick. 
American Dream: In September, nationwide, all-cash purchases made up 49% of all residential sales. These purchases by “institutional investors” are now at all time highs, with all-cash accounting for half of all transactions. Your piggy bank that full?

Essay Prompt: Today's text: “The religious are more likely to lie for financial gain.” Usual Prizes.

Scratch & Sniff: There are areas in the United States where life expectancy has fallen to levels found in undeveloped countries. People in much of Europe (80+) outlive Americans (76 years) and have for years, but now places like Guatemala come out ahead of areas in West Virginia (63.9 for males) and Tunica County, Mississippi (66.7 for males), where folks die 18 years before the richer, better educated people in Fairfax County, VA. Money counts.

Lovin' It” McDonald's HR office – McResource, of course – has an employee helpline that tells the workers how to apply for food stamps. And points out that they can use them at McDonalds. More than half of fast food workers have to rely on public assistance programs since their wages aren't enough to support them. 
Bigger Fools Wanted: Blackstone is going to sell bonds backed by the income from lease payments on rental houses. You know, the rent paid by people who couldn't keep up with their mortgage payments. 
More Recovery: In October US manufacturing output fell to levels last seen in 2009 – when The RecoveryTM was getting stated. 
The Parting Shot: 
 Sunday morning, Amsterdam. 


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