Monday, August 10, 2009

SAR #9221

We are all on someone's list.

Magic Trick: The country lost 247,000 jobs and the unemployment rate went down? See, we don't count those who've just given up hope - 630,000 of them last month.

Yellow Brick Road Signs: An estimated 48% of US mortgages will be underwater by 1Q2011, house prices will fall and large inventories of REO houses will drive house prices down further. Nearly every part of the economy has excess capacity – which means prices must fall and a 'downward adjustment' in US living standards is inevitable. That means less retail, less service sector spending, lower taxes and lessened government services. The worst is not over; we haven’t got to the bottom of the “L” yet.

The Road: Billy Pilgrim isn't the only one who's become unstuck in time.

History Lesson: Obama - like Bush before him - has promised the big pharmaceutical companies that the government will not negotiate for lower prices. I remember reading about this sort of arangement between the government and industry in Italy, 70 years ago.

Antique Collectors: Today, investing for the long term means holding a stock for six months. Traders hold stocks for about 6 seconds. They may be making money, but these folks are gambling. Not trading, not even speculating, and most certainly not investing.

Good Question: “How absurd is it that AIG posted a profit?”

Downright Evil: Twitch claims Obama's health care plan includes a “death panel” which would evaluate people's “level of productivity in society” and deny care to the unworthy. She said such a system would be “downright evil.” Well, it's the system we now have, with the insurance companies playing the role of the “death panel”, and she's right, it is downright evil. Gringrich, who was Newtered a decade ago by his own party, backs her view.

Statistics, Government: You probably thought the Ford Focus was the top seller in the Cash for Clunkers promotion. And it is, if you count the government way. If you use a more traditional method, counting the cars by make and model, the top seller is the Ford Escape SUV. Simple mistake.

Silver Lining: Fund manager/pundit Jeremy Grantham says the recession has a bright side - it's slowed down our race off the cliff. But beyond our credit/debt problems lie others: increasing population and increasing limits on our resources. Not just oil, but ores, soil and water. "We must prepare for waves of higher resource prices and shortages."

Location, Location, Location: So far this year over 2000 commercial properties in Maricopa County, Arizona have received foreclosure notices. Not quite the right location.

The Problem: There will be no recovery until the consumer returns to the stores. The consumer is not shopping, not running up new debt (except for cars, which won't last). As long as incomes of the middle and lower class do not begin to rise - remember that the real average hourly wage today is lower than in the 1970's - no sustainable recovery will happen. Wages and salaries fell another 4.7 % percent in the 12 months ending in June.

I Need A Volunteer: Britain’s new Chief of the General Staff says NATO's mission in Afghanistan will last 40 years. Britain, however, only plans to stick around “for the medium term.” Like in Basra.

Porn O'Graph: The dollar here, the dollar there...

1 comment:

fajensen said...

I Need A Volunteer:

Ahh Yess - *Some* people never, ever learn do they? What happened to "do unto others ..."

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, "Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story" (City Lights, 2009), ISBN 978-0872864948:

In 1932, in a series of Guernica-like atrocities, the British used poison gas in Waziristan. The disarmament convention of the same year sought a ban against the aerial bombardment of civilians, but Lloyd George, who had been British prime minister during World War I, gloated: "We insisted on reserving the right to bomb niggers" (Fitzgerald and Gould, pg 65).

Apparently, "We" still do!