Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SAR #13324

"All we know is that the Fed has a story to tell (“cheap money is good”) and they are sticking to it." - JPMorgan

The Fine Print: Negotiations to end the presence of US troops in Afghanistan are stuck on whether the US will keep 15,000 or just 8,000 there for another decade. Even if it's the lower number the costs will run into the billions of dollars and a few hundred lives every year. Practically forever. But hey, if you like your war, you can keep your war.

Capitalism For Comrades: China is teetering into the last phase of its 'complete tour of capitalism'. First there were a few small markets, and they were good. Then came the rush to production and the extension of vast credits in a drive for market share and profits. And just as in the Western classics, the overproduction lead to price cuts, profit losses, a glut of unused productive capacity, unemployment and... a downward spiral of unpaid loans leading to economic, political and social upheaval, if not collapse. Okay, so the last part hasn't happened yet. 'Yet' being the operative word.

Limits To Growth: NSA has not, ever, violated the privacy of your communications or internet use. Oh, it may have "systematically overcollected" a bit, but it was inadvertent. And illegal.

The Gaming Of Nations: In international relations, things are seldom what they seem and never, ever simple. Case in point, the US/Iran nuclear negotiations. Well, really it's the US, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany on one side and Iran on the other. No, that's not quite right. It's France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar on Israel's side, the US being harassed by its own pro-Israel lobby, and Iran fighting its own internal demons. It is about a lot of things, mostly Israeli paranoia, France's economic interests, the Shia/Sunni religious war and only incidentally about Iran's nuclear reactors.

Clever Sabotage: In states that embraced the Affordable Care Act, enrollments are on – or exceeding – target expectations. But in the citizens in those, mostly Republican run, states that spurned the program and forced their people onto the Federal exchange, well... So it's all about the website and not about the ACA.

Tattletale: In case you thought the Spanish, Irish, Portugese and Italians were toeing the line, the Bundesbank would like to point out that their banks have been gobbling up their nations' sovereign debt at unacceptable rates, which leads to decreased lending to small business as the banks feed off interest from the state. If this sounds familiar, it should. It's not good for the US economy either. The Bundesbank thinks this will not end well. Imagine.

Lowering, No Boom: The OECD has cut its guess for this year's economic growth “significantly” from 3.1% to 2.7% and next year from 4% to 3.1%. They blame the downward revisions on a slowing of emerging markets and a pickup in the US leading to the end of free money cheap credit. Worldwide only 14% of corporations plan to add employees next year (and only 19% in the US).

Headline News: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty Is the Complete Opposite of ‘Free Trade’”. Thank goodness opposition to giving Obama 'fast-trackk authority' to sneak it past Congress is growing.

Alternatively: Rather than pursuing its stock re-purchase program, Wal-Mart could boost all of its employees hourly pay to a minimum of $14.89 an hour.

Porn O'Graph: What's not to like about QE?

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