Friday, March 19, 2010

SAR #10078

The economy runs on two things: optimism and cheap energy.

Round & Round:  They say the crisis is over.  They lie.  The recovery, if there was one, is a 90 pound weakling.  A group of experts say there will be another crisis – much worse than the current one – because we haven't fixed any of the problems, banks have resumed willy-nilly risk-taking, and investors are chasing ever higher returns in a stagnant economy.  They see a "doomsday cycle" where banks use borrowed money to take massive risks in an attempt to pay big dividends to shareholders and big bonuses to management – and when the risks go wrong, the banks expect you to bail them out again.  But the odds are you won't, and “a calamitous global collapse" will follow.

Equal Representation:  The GOP says the Democrats are not representing the will of the people when it comes to health care.  Maybe, maybe not.  But Democrats in the Senate represent 63% of the US population.  And those in favor of the bill represent 61% of the US population.  Majority wins by a supermajority.

Advisement:  For those hyperventilating over imminent inflation and hyperinflation, could we suggest you'll have to wait until the deflation is over?  CPI was flat in February after rising only 0.2% in January.

Pocket Change:  Lawmakers are expected to soon announce a unique proposal to lower CO2 emissions by giving tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry to encourage them to produce more petroleum and natural gas.

Believe It Or Don't:  Greece has drawn up a diet that will let them drop their deficit from a size 12% to a measly 3% in two short years.  Drawing up the plan was the tough part, now all they have to do is stick to it. But Curious George Papandreou has told Germany it has to decide to bail Greece out this week or else.  Anybody here know how to play this game?

Holding Hands:  When the price of oil goes up, the economy goes down. The price of oil has been going up.  Meanwhile, back at the plant, US factory utilization has risen from last June's record low 68.2% all the way to 72.6% - slightly above the previous low of 70.9% in 1982.  Excitement fills the air.

Fractals:  Ranting about fractional reserve banking, where a bank with $1 can loan out $10, is an old sport.  Now Mr. Bernanke wants to do away with the $1 and let banks lend any amount they want, at any time, with no reserve requirement at all.  Would someone please explain this in a way that will calm me down?

Go Away:  Walgreens says it loses money filling prescriptions for Washington State Medicaid patients and will not take any new Medicaid patients in the state.  The state had reduced its reimbursement payments because it is running out of money.  Multiply by 50.

Precisely:  The Labor Department joyfully reported that initial jobless claims had fallen 5,000 last week, to 457,000.  For the math challenged, this is a 1% change and signifies not a damned thing other than that another half-million American lost their jobs.

Murmurings:  Geithner & friends: "We do not expect substantial further declines in unemployment this year" but they see economic activity "continue to strengthen.” But then, they've never been right before...

Survey:  Would you pay to keep reading SAR?  What about news sites? Opinion pieces?   The great majority resist paying for Internet news access simply because they never have.  I don't mind, but some folks want to be paid for their time and effort.  You?

The Pain in Spain:   The Wharton School of Business suggests that Spain is the one to watch, not Greece.   Given the size of its economy and the size of its debt, a Spanish collapse could lead to the breakup of the euro market and thrust the entire globe into crisis.

Porn O'Graph:   If business is so good, why can't I get waited on?


ibilln said...

Pay per view: Sure, but every site says $10/month or some such. How about pay per view, at about 10-20 cents per article.

Anonymous said...

Lousy idea. Pretty soon we'll have to pay more for basic Government-run Internet anyway, so I'm not very optimistic.....I don't pay for newspapers online, like so many others, so I wonder how it will all shake out. Whatever happens, we all will soon be paying more...for everything, with worthless dollars.

TulsaTime said...

Prey for a financial crash sooner, in order to postpone an environmental/food/oil/hot chicks crash later. If we don't shrink finance back down to the size where it can be drowned in the tub, then we are doomed to an endless cycle of repeats.

I love the way the republicks talk about how there is just no way to afford this ruinous healthcare. But we can say we will cover all those grade triple Z mortgage bonds, and we need to build more shiney stick carriers to beat-up the world with, and those rich incestuous monkeys in this great country need a break from those mean death taxes.

Oh well, not to worry. Those pesky conspiratorial jews will manipulate us into a war with Iran that will spread to China and Russia, and then armaggedon will deliver us all into the final days.

the curse of interesting times


Anonymous said...

Remember when you paid for your web hosting, shouted into an empty room when you weren't at your day job, and got all excited when your counter clicked over one for a hit other than you checking to see if the counter clicked over?

if we ignore those that want us to pay, will they, their ads, and their recycled dreck go away?

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Null (and void, too) I don't have a day job. SAR takes a minimum of 3 and more likely 4 hours a day to produce - reading, comparing, digesting, sprinkling on the snark and then paying attention to spelling and grammar and the other stuff you guys nag me about.

Would I mind being paid? Not a bit. Would it make my life easier. Sure. Do I think original content should be compensated. Yes. Should I pay for the stuff I plunder - well, yes & I do contribute to a few, but not enough to make me a paragon. I am not an ad clicker.

I think the idea of the site being able to set a toll that is magically and automatically deducted from the visitor and credited to site would be marvelous. Then those who wanted to be free could be, those who wanted to get rich could dream on, and the rest of us would let the market see what the traffic will bear.

ckm (who seems to be a secret capitalist!)