Friday, December 20, 2013

SAR #13354

Why are we so concerned about the undeserving poor and not the undeserving rich?

Diagnosis, Prognosis: Giorgio Napolitano, Italy's President, warns that the “widespread social tension and unrest” in the country as a result of austerity policies and the drawn-out recession “has put a severe strain on social cohesion”. He said that the threat of insurrection must be confronted by the rule of law. There should have been an 'or else' but he couldn't seem to figure out what it might be.

Snappy Quiz: Who is investing in America's future? Right, trick question; no one is. 
Bible Study: The fall of Adam and Eve is a metaphor for the demise of our hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Eden is the recollection of an oppressed peasantry of the more humane world of their happier ancestors. Before we bit the apple, we lived off the fat of the land. Hunter-gatherers lived longer, ate better, and worked less than their agriculturalist descendants.  Average adult height, an excellent proxy for childhood nutrition did not return to levels seen in the Palaeolithic until a mere 150 years ago. 
Re-Run : New unemployment filings rose again last week, up 11,000 over last week's massive 22% jump to 368,000. There were 2,884,000 continuing claims – but nearly half of those will evaporate come January, which will dramatically improve the unemployment rate as the economic boom continues
Ante Up: A 54 year-old woman was scooped up at the El Paso border crossing as part of a random screening program, strip searched, and subjected to body cavity probes. When nothing was found she was handcuffed and taken to a local hospital where she underwent a CT scan and other examinations including “an observed bowel movement.” No drugs were found and she was eventually released, with a $5,000 bill from the hospital for the 'procedures.' The other stuff was free.

Spin Cycle: In November, for the third consecutive month, sales of existing homes fell as rising prices and increased borrowing costs put a damper on the nascent housing bubble. The explainers had some convoluted story about how this was part of the ongoing housing recovery, but I lost interest.

The Parting Shot:
16th Century Cloister, Tomar, Portugal.

1 comment:

Blissex said...

«Snappy Quiz: Who is investing in America's future? Right, trick question; no one is.»

Well, I think that the financial community and the political community have been applying the Bain Consulting Matrix to whole countries.

In the Bain Consulting Matrix the USA economy is part cash-cow, and part dog.

What people do with "dog" situations is asset-strip them, taking out all implicit and explicit capital, load them with debt, cut depreciation, investment, employment and wages to the bone to extract as much cash flow as possible, and let them sink.

Interestingly this strategy has been enthusiastically endorsed and practised by most middle class Usians on *themselves*. Just consider that house equity extraction borrowing (which is a rule fully used in consumptions) has amounted to 104% of GDP growth in the USA (and the UK) in the past 30 years.

Kevin drum's pithy summary about the "conservative" turn in the Republican (and the Democratic) party is:

«Rather than workable solutions, my party is offering low taxes for the currently rich and high spending for the currently old, to be followed by who-knows-what and who-the-hell-cares. This isn’t conservatism; it’s a going-out-of-business sale for the baby-boom generation.»

And high debt and disinvestment for everybody. Cheered by the majority of voters, who are delighted to asset-strip themselves.