Thursday, November 18, 2010

SAR #10322

The real issue is: Will the euro stand under the current circumstances in Ireland?   That's what the Irish government really has to focus attention on." Christine Legare, Fench Finance Minister

Program Note: The best mini-series of the season – When Irish Eyes Are Crying – continues to enthrall viewers from around the world.  Will the government drink the Kool Aid?   Will the Irish bend once more to the yoke of foreign masters? Can the Irish peasantry support both the government (with a deficit equal to 32% of GDP) and the banks and the euro?   Will banks in England, the EU and the USA share in the pain?   Will the EU/IMF demand control of Ireland's economy as the price of rescue? Is this a 'survival crisis' for the euro and the eurozone?   Is Frau Merkel right, is everything at stake?   “If the euro fails, then Europe will fail. And with it fails the idea of European values and unity."  Something will give, if not here and now, then Portugal in a few months and Spain after that.  Dominoes.

Promises, Promises:  Customers polled by Gallup say they are going to spend about 12% more this year than last.  It's in the cards.  Credit cards.

Tag Sales:  Various indexes reporting on house price trends month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year, all show declines from 1.8% to 2.8%.  The take-away number is that house prices are now off 29.2% from the peak and still falling.  Housing starts are down 11.7% month to month.

The Long and Winding Road:  What's the bigger challenge, breaking our addiction to cheap energy or breaking our addiction to government spending?  If the solution to our problems involves personal sacrifice for the greater good, there is no solution.  Not for energy shortages, not for climate change, not for budget deficits.  But the game will not end in a tie – something will come along to resolve these problems. Something.

Asked and Answered:  Will trade wars bring back American jobs?  No.

Lying Eyes:  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (the same folks who bring you the highly doctored unemployment figures) report that consumer price inflation is at its lowest level in 50 years.  That is, if you don't count food and energy.  I'm in great shape too,  if you don't count the extra 40 pounds and my complete lack of muscle tone.

Clear & Present Danger:  The Republicans say they would be more inclined to sign international treaties if it didn't involve agreeing with foreigners.

Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner:  In the spirit of bipartisanship, President Obama invited the Congressional leadership to the White House for dinner and some discussion of the problems facing the country.  The Party of No declined, said they had more important things to do, but were open to a compromise if the President would check with them before sending out invitations.

Theme Song:  “We’re in a survival crisis.  We all have to work together in order to survive with the euro zone, because if we don’t survive with the euro zone we will not survive with the European Union.”  EU President Van Rompuy. Eurozone finance ministers agree that what has been tried so far hasn't worked and that other measures are needed.  No one seems to know what these 'other measures' might be.

Profit Motive:  Insurers spent $80 million trying to kill healthcare and even ran a secret campaign to trash Michael Moore's 'Sicko'.   Gee, I wonder why...

Math Quiz:  Nissan says it will be selling 500,000 electric cars a year by 2013.  That's world wide, of course.  If they sold all these electrics to the US, how many years would it take to convert the US light vehicle fleet to all-electric? _____ (Hint, there are 246 million light vehicles in the US fleet.)

One Trick Pony:  A report in the Washington Times claims that all of the population changes among the states in the last ten years are the result of personal income taxes. States with lower income tax rates gained population. But maybe people were moving so they could pay higher sales taxes – because states have to get their money somewhere and if not from the paycheck, then at the cash register. A silly piece of propaganda trying to demonize income taxes. Remember, traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge causes the tides to rise and fall – if you pick the right days.


I'm Not POTUS said...

Was the ? answered?
When the global credit bubble pops, everything resets.
So the question to ask is, what is necessity?
That is the dirty little secret of economic expansion, we have just been inventing busy work for all the extra people ingested into the debt trade.

America has shed millions of jobs and life went on, not well for those affected by job loss, but no harm for wall street. Most critically it has not in the macro sense impacted Americas vast menu of consumption alternatives.

Everyone can still get an iphone, liposuction, cruises, HBO, lattes. Fewer people actually consume but the choices of consumption have not diminished. I think the only thing I can't get now, that I could 4 years ago is a Hummer(pun intended).

But what happens to global trade imbalances when the glut of superfluous consumption choices are reduced by debt contraction? China makes a lot of things for Americans and the rest of the world, but who makes what you actually need?

What country has the resources, infrastructure and capital to keep their people fed, clothed, and housed and most importantly passive when everything that is not an economic necessity is shed. Where would the global capital market put the surviving capital to work after the global credit farce is reset?
Answer that question.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

I'm Not... Most excellent essay question, especially 'which country has the resources to keep their people passive... Usual prizes.

Tulsatime said...

Saw a great article today in LATimes about a California tax payer survey. They all favor spending cuts in general, but more spending in particular. I have to imagine that transfers very well to the nation as a whole, cut all those programs that benefit somebody else.

Have loved the absurdities in DC with the ear-mark debate, seems all those senators only hate the pork of the other party, Jim Inhofe in particular.

Your piece on the gene manipulation for mosquitoes was creepy. Not like the gene tampering in all the grain crops is any safer. Did you ever see 'The Children of Men' when it was out?

We really are our own worst enemy, gov't seems determined to do the very things in avoidance of pain that guarantee the worlds fatal convulsion.

Have a nice day..... ;)

I'm Not POTUS said...

I vote for New Zealand.
I am also fond of their accent.

Can I trade the usual prize for a New Zealand passport?