Saturday, January 10, 2009

SAR #9010/Weekender

When the truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Bargains Galore? George Stephanopoulos asked "...are you really talking about over the course of your presidency some kind of grand bargain? That you have tax reform, healthcare reform, entitlement reform including Social Security and Medicare, where everybody in the country is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good?" To which our only president-elect, Barak Obama said, "Yes."

By the Numbers: Unemployment reached 7.2% last month, and that's the rosy view, skewed by the Birth/Death Adjustment ; U-6 (what's known as the real number) is at 13.5%. The US lost more than half a million jobs, the biggest drop since WWII, and those that have jobs work only 33.3 hours a week.

What Happens Then? "There will, before long, be a global dumping of US dollar assets, including US government assets." Is the US solvent? No, does it matter? Doesn't seem to.

Friends: When the banks and the government get together to solve a problem, it is a good bet that the banks are going to benefit. Are mortgage modifications designed to (a) benefit the home owner or (b) massage the banks balance sheets?

Faith Based: Of course economics is faith based. Always has been. You didn't think it was a science like astrology, did you? Oh, wait! It is a science like astrology!

Lazarus: Obama - who apparently has been a right wing Republican all along - now says overhauling Social Security and Medicare will be "a central part" of his efforts. Social Security merely needs to tax all of the income not just the first $102,000; so much for that one. Medicare is hopeless and needs replacement with a single payer system. How much healthcare could we buy with the trillions of dollars we've given Wall Street, or wasted in the sands?

Quote: "We did not get where we are overnight, and we will not repair ourselves in a year either." Not quite Dante Alighieri , but Jesse's got the general idea.

Collective Bargain: I'm not sure how this works, because the UAW wasn't part of the contract, but one of the terms of the GM/Chrysler bailout was the government's insistence that if the union goes on strike the loan becomes due. Remember Harry Truman and the steel workers and calling out the troops? Is the National Guard going to build cars?

Going Green: Barak is certainly bringing 'green' awareness to Washington - he's recycling Clinton era hacks back into power so the parade can continue.

America First : US law requires USAID foodstuffs be purchased from American sources. It's not so much foreign aid as indirect support for agribusiness. And it is costly, inefficient, and slow. And people die, waiting.

What's a fish? The fate of the ocean is looking very bad. Man-made CO2 enters the oceans, making them acidic, which dooms shrimp, lobster, and other shelled creatures. And krill, the base of the marine food chain. China's going to increase its coal burning by 30%, which won't help. But the real problem is that it may be too late to solve this problem.

Quote: "This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression." Paul Krugman

European Unity: Unemployment is surging in Spain, car sales in Italy, Britain and Spain have crashed, Germany's exports fell 10.6% in November. Overall, the Eurobloc's GDP is expected to fall 3% this year, matching 1930's decline. What happens when the Eurozone begins to fall apart from social stress?

Way-Back Machine: A fool-yourself time killer - guess how far 'back' is, as in "how long will it take to get back to where you were before all the money went away."

False Positives : House sales are up, but much of the increase in sales is simply speculators hoping to make a quick profit. These houses will return to the market soon, and not at a profit.

Party Trick: Shell is going to turn water into oil. Specifically, Shell has bought the rights to 375 cubic feet per second of the Yampa river's flow, which it plans to use in turning oil shale into petroleum. The Yampa is a tributary of the Colorado River, which supplies much of the arid West's water.

Porn O'Graph: Here's a chart amusingly called "Job Growth"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least you're not working longer weeks than the French anymore. ;)