We have guns, too.
Timing: The incoherent rage started long before Obama's health care plan became law. It started when Obama became a strong contender for his party's nomination. It is not that Obama is black; the rage is because he is not a white male. The bewildered white males in this country see a black president, a female speaker of the House, a Latina Supreme Court Judge, gays getting married... They fear America is changing, leaving them behind. It is, and it is.
Good Old Days: Americans are back to spending more – consumption rates are increasing rapidly - and we are saving less, especially the unemployed. We are ignorantly happy about the future, with only 40% of us concerned about retirement. “The number of people who reported being concerned about issues such as day-to-day expenses, education costs, paying off credit cards, and saving for big ticket purchases didn’t just decline – each category hit a four-year low.”
Flip a Coin: Professor Shiller says the odds of another drop in housing prices are 50/50. Optimist.
Point/Counterpoint: Loaded shipping containers are piling up in Asian ports because demand from the West has picked up much faster than expected. Yet the ATA Truck Tonnage Index fell 0.5 % last month as domestic shipments slipped. For all of 2009, the tonnage index contracted 8.7 percent, which was the largest annual decrease since 1982. Maybe they were all waiting for their ship to come in.
Time Marches On: The GAO estimates that within ten years Social Security, Medicare, and interest payments on the debt will take every available dollar of taxes. But don't worry, we'll just borrow some more.
Water Seeks Its Own Level: One out of four mortgaged houses is underwater, one out of seven is delinquent. The government's efforts to stem the foreclosure tsunami is aimed at continuing to prop up the financial system at the taxpayer's expense. Foreclosures will eventually drive prices down far enough to end the spiral. The only question is how long the government can postpone the inevitable.
WARNING, DANGER: Day traders are back.
Adding to the Confusion: One explanation for the (apparent) lack of inflation is to look at the CPI without the Owners' Equivalent Rent – which was put into the CPI back in 1980 to hide what turned out to be pretty severe inflation. Absent the OER, the CPI was up 5.8% in January on an annualized basis. Probably similar to (in reverse) the government not counting food and energy in the ‘core’ CPI.
Intent: A Lawrence, Kansas judge has ruled that an 11 year old who shot his father's pregnant live-in girlfriend shall be tried as an adult. Apparently to teach a lesson to other kids who don't like the replacement dad brought home. Makes you wonder about the judge, doesn't it?
Good Neighbor: Oil Minister Ali Al- Naimi says Saudi Arabia can turn on the taps and produce an extra 4.5 million barrels a day. He also said oil in the $80 a barrel range is “as close to perfect as possible.” He did not add, “because we don't want to make too much money off your addiction.”
Our Girl: Elizabeth Warren says that by the end of this year about 50% of all commercial real estate mortgages will be underwater. These mortgages are mainly held by about 3,000 mid-sized banks, and will pose a “very serious problem” for the economy.
Salvation, Not: It is clear that modern biofuels return useful energy in approximately the same proportion to the energy inputs required as did pre-industrial agriculture, and therefore are incapable of supporting industrial civilization.
Porn O'Graph: Shipping out (subject, apparently, to change).