Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SAR #9231

If the recession's over, what's all that stuff around the edges?

Doing Math: Single family house starts in July were at an annual rate of 581,000. Fifty states, that an average of 11,600 per state per year, call it 1000 a month. Per state. More than 37% below last year and they're calling “a silver lining”, and “a turn around”.

Rules of the Game: It is not a debate – it's about fear. And it's not about health care, it's about the far right knowing the only thing they can do is to disrupt the Democrats programs and hope that the noise and disarray and fear will increase the GOP's palatability at the polls the next time around. The GOP doesn't care about health care and they don't care about what might be good for the country, they just want to make the Democrats bleed. The liars are winning.

Delinquency, Rated: Residential real estate, 8.8%. Commercial real estate, 7.9%. Credit cards, 6.7%. Residential real estate charge-offs are up 30% to 2.3%, credit cards up 25% to 9.5%.

Allies: If – for whatever reason or lack thereof – you chose to deny global warming, you are in the same camp as Exxon, BP, Peabody Coal, and now Cargill, Tyson, and General Mills. Of course Exxon, BP, Peabody Coal, Cargill, Tyson, and General Mills are interested in nothing but profits. What's your excuse?

Less? I've got to pay Less?: The Producer Price Index is a minus 6.8%. Lowest since 1949. If you've got money, it goes further. If you haven't, too bad.

Shame? Is backdating stock options wrong if you're not caught?” Is it fair for the US to pressure foreign banks into divulging the accounts of tax dodgers who hid their income overseas in the good faith belief they wouldn't be caught? Both of these discussions took place on CNBC in the past couple of days – with the stars and starlets being mystified as to what might be wrong. Any questions?

Good Question: Why is the US taxpayer subsidizing Chinese participation in PPIP ? China puts up $2 billion, Treasury matches that with $2 billion, and pretends that 2 + 2 = 24 and the Chinese get $24 billion in distressed assets that are guaranteed by the FDIC. I simply do not understand this one.

The plan: Give banks nearly unlimited funds with no particular conditions attached and no supervision, look the other way while the banks take immense risks with the taxpayer funds while paying themselves bonuses. When they get in more trouble, bail them out again. Act surprised when nothing changes.

Exactly: “Americans Want 'Freedom to Pay Too Much for Inferior Health Care'”

What If: Over longish periods of time, the stock market has reflected the earnings of the individual companies. If that were true today, what would an examination of the level, direction, and prospects for future earnings of today's companies suggest the near term future of the stock market might be? Just askin'.

Eat Your Spinach: Your grandchildren cannot vote. Thank goodnes 71% of you want the Senate to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act that passed the House a month ago. You are the one who is going to have to drive a smaller car, bike, or walk. And yes, you'll pay more for gasoline – or do without, live a lower impact life, pay the price to cut carbon emissions. You. But only if you can get your Senators to do the right thing.

Give 'til it Hurts: Clever folks at the U of Vt have designed a tap/spout that will suck 90% more maple sap from a tree, thus increasing the production of maple syrup. Hope someone asked the trees how they felt about this.

Porn O'Graph: We've only just begun... falling?


Demetrius said...

If you suck 90% more syrup from a maple tree, what happens to the tree long term? Or does it function in the same way as oil reserves, no matter how much you take out they always remain the same, or so I am told by some people?

fajensen said...

Who Cares about the stupid tree?

The *entire* world is optimized towards ye olde Smash & Grab life style - with help from the government too!

Come hell, high water, financial crisis or stock market collapse, the executive pay grab goes on. Clearly, if shareholders thought the economic downturn would result in more sensible pay packages, they’ve got another think coming.

TulsaTime said...


The local news was full of clips from the local congrep holding the
obligatory 'town hall' meetings. He's the only dem from the state, but also the favored son of one of the sainted past govenors.

As usual, the big lines are the fake ones, 'we have the best __ in the world', healthcare, gov't, military, you name it.

Nobody wants to see anything in the world that shows a less than triumphant USA, USA, USA!! We are not overstretched, the people are not poorer, the government are (is) not paid for.

Denial is on stereoids in the heartland, there is no peak or climate, just the liberals trying to change things too fast.


shiloh1862 said...

Sorry but the American Clean Energy and Security Act is not going to fix a damn thing. It is only going to make the bankers more money and give the US Fed Gov more control over our lives.


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Well said, shiloh. But it's the old, old quandry - do we reject everything but the ideal solution? or dowe take something, anything? Trying to get anything passed in Congress that doesn't dole out cash to some favored few is not going to happen.

Is this a good bill? no. But it is a bill - and passing the first one may be a necessary first step to many more iterations, each step granting windfalls to someone in the hopes of doing a tad of good for everyone... Or even maybe getting the folks who live in TT's neighborhood to accept the idea - that in itself might be worth a few billion to the energy and finance folks.

I know, I'm a dreamer.

Keith Hazelton Anecdotal Economist said...

Re: Good Question...

D'oh...Good lord, this is exactly how China intends to recycle its $trillion+ and growing hoard of worthless paper dollars, by buying U.S. real assets and natural resources.

That we (taxpayers) would subsidize China to do so, via loan guarantees from the (almost bankrupt) FDIC is indicative of our newly acquired mandate not to bite the hand that feeds us (lends to us).

Our new mandate was made crystal clear last September when Fannie and Freddie stakeholders were blown up, except the bondholders, among which, coincidentally enough, is China, which had been induced to buy hundreds of billions of Agency obligations beginning in 2003, as Greenspan was cleaning up the burst bubble mess with then-historic low interest rates. Our foreign BFFs were "sold" on the basis that Fannie/Freddie yields were 25-75bps better than Treasuries and, by-the-way (wink, wink) "pay no attention to the fine print in the prospectus that says these bonds are NOT guaranteed by the U.S. government."

I hear Rosetta Stone has its Mandarin Chinese language program on sale. Think I'll ask Santa for it for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Cap and Trade:

Just yesterday we were past the tipping point on global warming. The world was doomed. Now we want to add economic stupidity to the mix? Stop! Cap and Trade is a GS/JPM windfall at the publics expense. If the housing bubble was the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind, Cap and Trade will make that look like child's play.


K Ackermann said...

The biggest problem I have with Cap'n Trade is that the oil companies are for it, and the big banks are for it. That scares the hell out of me.

On a side note, this Bill Black event really summed up the fraud going on nicely. Yves posted it the other day, but I wanted to reference it.

Also, I'm not very superstitious, but I look at what is still going on in Iraq, and wonder if Karma is biting us in the ass. I know it's stupid... I feel terrible for what they are going through.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

KA - Nobody seems to be buying my half-a-loaf theory vis a vis a climate bill of some sort. Yes, those who have the money and power will end up with more of both, but don't we have to start somewhere? Same with health care cost reform...

And it is not 'superstion' - it sure seems like reality to me: Please point out one - even one - major theme that is improving: energy, global warming, credit, the world's economy, housing, epidemic to pandemic flu, Iraq and the Bananastans, government qua government, the stupidity of the american public...

Ah, grumpy needs his coffee.