Friday, May 16, 2008

SAR #8137

Americans are convinced they'll always get a "do-over."

More Damned Lies: Big news: Retail Sales are up! Yes, a little 1.8% the gov. says. But if you subtract out even the misleadingly low government-admitted inflation, retail sales were negative. Down 1.3%. Look in your wallet, I bet you're carrying some of those smaller dollars around.

Crossed Fingers: Next time the Grand Jury sends you a subpoena, send them a Rove Letter. The one that says you'll come chat, just not under oath.

Conundrum: Yes, the price of gasoline is up - but the price for crude oil is up, up, up, while gasoline is only up 25-30%. The worldwide demand for crude oil far surpasses the rise (or slight fall) in US demand for gasoline. Refiners profit margins have been dropping. The price is not due to greedy oil companies, but to all those foolish non-Americans who want to eat at MacDonald's.

Unintended Consequences: Membership in the ACLU has doubled in the last seven years.

Tick Tick Tick: Dr. Bubble Bernanke hopes the American economy will be rescued by expanding consumer spending financed by credit. Right now every man, woman, and child in the US is $3,000 in debt. How deep can they dig this hole before compound interest at 20+% collapses the whole damned thing?

Money/Mouth : T. Boone Pickens has ordered 667 General Electric wind turbines for his west Texas wind farm. $2 billion says he's serious about this.

Oo-la-la: For the first time ever, France's Societe Generale has cut its investment in stocks to 30% of its capital, the minimum permitted under its articles. SocGen expects equities - world wide - to fall 50 - 75%. Fully half of its assets are in government-issued AAA bonds. "Nowhere and nothing will be immune, we are on the cusp of an equity meltdown that will slash and shred portfolios".

Lies, Damn Lies, & LIBOR: Most adjustable mortgage rates are tied to the London InterBank rate. Turns out that banks have been... understating? the rates actually paid and now we're going to have a little more truth in LIBOR, which will lead to higher rates on readjustment.

Six of This: Inflation is expected to remain low; the BLS apparently thinks that Americans will no longer eat , drink, drive cars or run the air conditioner.

Dollar Desertion: The oil producing countries are earning over $1.85 trillion a year. This is a giant wealth transfer from 'us' to 'them'. And 'they' are buying banks, coal mines, natural resources, water, electrical networks, communications companies... In the end, we will owe, they will own.

Dear John: The SEC is considering bringing "an enforcement action" against JPMorgan/Chase as a result of an investigation into bid-rigging in the municipal bond market.

Credit Where Due: Credit card companies hide all sorts of fees, penalties, rate increases and usury in the small print. Some in Congress want to ban some of this chicanery, but the American Bankers Association says that stopping them from bilking their customers would be bad for profits. And campaign contributions.

Porn O'Graph: The secuitization of mortgages has fallen off the table and landed here.

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