Monday, January 11, 2010

SAR #10011

Size matters. So does courage. Ilargi.

Drumbeat:  The media has suddenly discovered that dozens of al-Qeada militants are “hiding out in Yemen.” Lets go get 'em!

Unsustainable no Longer Sustained:  For the 10th month in a row the consumer failed to contribute to the rescue of the consumer-driven US economy. Instead, consumer credit declined by $13.7 billion (18.5% annualized ).  Credit card debt has declined for 13 of the   last 14 months.  Year-over-year revolving credit now has declined more than $100 billion, but Wall Street thinks it knows something we don't, as stocks rise and record bonuses are awarded despite rotten employment data, god-awful credit declines, and another round of foreclosures – bonus 50% higher than last year are getting underway.

Cart/Horse:  The headline read: “Crude edges higher as thousands of jobs vanish”  What makes them think it wasn't the other way around?

Evidence:  Look at a list of fundraisers backing Democrat Martha Coakley to win Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, then tell me again how health care reform is going to rein in the healthcare industry.

Hide the Silverware:  Now that social security funds have been completely gobbled up by the government, Wall Street wants to have Washington force you to buy annuities from them with your 401K and IRA moneys.  They weren't getting enough just chipping away with the outrageous “management” fees.  When the government says “We're here to help.” they're telling the truth.  They're just not telling you who it is they are helping.

If So, So?   Did the Federal Reserve buy 80% of US debt last year?  And if they didn't,  who did?

Yardsticks:   The jobs situation is much worse than you think.  Forget the unemployment rate – that's just a number the government makes up.  Concentrate on the employment rate, the percentage of the work-age population actually working.  At 58.2% it is at its lowest level since 1983.  Or the labor force participation rate.  If the participation rate was at the same level as last July, the unemployment rate would be nearly 11%.  Luckily folks keep dropping out of the labor market.

False Hope:  The administration has spent $75 billion trying to con help homeowners into staying in homes they cannot afford and keep giving their money to the bankers, mostly because it lets the banks carry failed mortgages as “performing” even when they're not.

Elevator:  By next year the value of office buildings in the New York area is expected to have dropped 58% from the 2007 peak.  It is already down 40%.

Priorities:  Fear, if it makes you alert to possible danger, can be a good thing, especially if it focuses your efforts on the right thing.  Exploding underwear may harm a few of us, but Wall Street has already harmed all of us.  Naturally we'll bomb Yemen.

Wanted:  Information about the million Americans who went missing from the US labor force last month without being counted as unemployed.  They go on vacation together?

Just Words:  Jared Diamond:  "Civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society's demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power."   Robert Shiller: “We recently lived through two epidemics of excessive financial optimism, we are close to a third episode, only this one will spread irrational pessimism and distrust -- not exuberance."   Nassim Taleb: "The world has never, never been as fragile." and Simon Johnson, former chief economist for the IMF: "We're running out of time ... to prevent a true depression." The "financial industry has effectively captured our government" and is "blocking essential reform."

Porn O'Graph:  The true meaning of Christmas unemployment.


TulsaTime said...

STOP, STOP! All this little-mary-sunshine boosterism is giving me the heebee-gee-bees. Don't you know we are trying to have a recovery here?


kwark said...

RE: Unsustainable no Longer Sustained: In my neck of the woods there's been a huge increase in counterfeiting - which of course explains why no one is borrowing!! When you can't make it, make it! Seriously though, one does begin to wonder if this sort of crime - counterfeiting - is just one contributor to the "death by a thousand cuts" that our so-called economy is facing.