Crime & Punishment, Keystone Cops Edition: The UK has fined Barclays £26 million for manipulating "the setting of the price of gold...” Wowser. That'll teach 'em. But now that Barclays is no longer in charge of rigging the price of gold, who is?
Numbers: In order to meet the deficit-to-GDP ratios that the ECB has set for them, Italy will count prostitution and illegal drug sales as part of the national GDP. Makes more sense than counting the cost of rebuilding from hurricanes or the profits from the health insurance scams in the US.
Understatement: “Everything is broken.”
Separating the Unequal: Yes, the super-rich and the rest of us are separated by a huge gap. But that part of the rest of us that is white is separated from those of us who are black by something even more pernicious: the generational effects of slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing segregation. It shows up in lots of ways, socially and economically, and we should address all the inequalities that have grown from our shameful shared past. Reparations, monetary reparations, would be a good place to start. As would equality in education, housing, health... Can we afford not to finally look in the mirror? Sure, tax the rich. Then give it to our black citizens, as a downpayment.
Chickens, Roosting Etc: In their long fight to achieve a European Union and their effort in the last few years to shore up the euro, European politicians of the left and center have heaped hardship, unemployment and social suffering on the voters. The voters have become restive, and in that the left and center cannot now suddenly abandon their goals, the voters will turn to the right. The far right. Voters will follow whomever can deliver visible benefits, relief from their suffering and an outlet for their anger; the Autobahn and Volkswagens cemented Hitler's power.
Just So: America – Free & Dumb, just as Congress' puppetmasters wanted.
Concepts: “Pent up demand” is one of those things economist say, pretending it explains something. That's why today, when retailers reported profits that missed expectations by the most in 13 years, analysts look forward to a boom in the next quarter. Or the one after that. Etc. The quote: "The American consumer is not fully back and remains cautious." In reality, the American consumer is comatose and can barely buy food and make the car payment. What's pent up is not demand, but growing anger.
Porn O'Graph: Field testing.
The Parting Shot: