Thursday, March 22, 2012

SAR #12082

There is little evidence that we learn from our mistakes.

Now Hear This: Bloomberg says $4.50 a gallon is a sure thing before the end of March, and Stepehen Leeb sees "a minimum of $6 per gallon" this summer - and that's without a military confrontation in Iran. Can you say Shock and Aw, crap, there goes the economy.

Down, Down, And Down: The National Association of People Who Starve If You Don't Buy A House reports that existing house sales fell 0.9% last month, that sales to first-time buyers fell slightly, and houses "at risk of foreclosure" made up 34% of all sales (also down slightly). About 33% of pending contracts were canceled. Investors (speculators) snapped up 23% of all sales. Prices rose an imperceptible 0.3% y/y.

Some Things Being Equal: Here's another study showing that charter schools are no better than public institutions. Maybe it's not the school part of the equation that needs changing.

Right Soon: The US is imposing financial sanctions on all the nations of the world which chose to keep on trading with Iran. Except, of course, for Japan. And 10 of the EU nations. China, the US's banker and retail goods supplier, and India, the worlds 2nd most populous country after China, have been warned. Don't you want to see how much China suffers when it is estopped from supporting the US Treasury?

Observed: Marx claimed that capitalism's supporting ideology keeps people from realizing the injustices it perpetrates. Most certainly the continued embrace of free market capitalism, given its performance, suggests that something other than reasoned consideration of empirical data is involved.

For Your Consideration: John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, says "the real problem we are facing right now is that global demand is growing and yet the major oil producers are not able to increase production." Earlier he noted that “"Demand globally is not down... and whether we (the US) use less or not, doesn't matter. Price is going up because supply can't keep up with the demand . . .  I think OPEC is about maxed out. When people talk about spare capacity in OPEC, I don't see it.”

Sound & Fury: Drill, Baby drill. Drill, drill, drill. But it won't do much good. There is no correlation between how much oil the US produces and the price of gasoline at the pump. If drilling worked as advertised, gasoline would be $2.25 down at the corner, and it isn't. Since February 2009, US production is up 15% and prices are up a about 100%. The Keystone pipeline isn't going to do the trick either. The nearly 1 mbd it will bring to Gulf refineries is about the same as the increase in US production last year – while prices kept rising. Here's the takeaway: If the US could increase its oil production by 50%, the price of gasoline might drop 10 cents. Might not, too.

Propaganda/Gullibility: CNN - the contrived numbers network - says that today's high gasoline prices don't hurt the "average American" because the average American household has an income over $62,000 a year. Just yesterday we pointed out that while the average was $62,000 the median was but $49,445. And for that half of all American families which make less than $49,000, $4.50 gasoline hurts. Remember, if numbers seem unlikely, check 'em.

Porn O'Graph: The trend's your friend.


Jane said...

Hi CK,

I have been reading your blog for a few months and had to let you know how much I enjoy it.

It is a voice of reason (with a liberal sprinkling of wit) in a sea of misinformation, or worse in the case of the MSM - NO information!

The line that promted me to comment today, and had me laughing out loud, was:

The National Association of People Who Starve If You Don't Buy A House

This organization is so derelict I don't take anything they say seriously, and I gather you concur.

If I hear another comment about the housing market having reached bottom - I think I'll scream!! There are millions more foreclosures coming down the pipeline.

Thanks for the laughs, you're one of my favorites!

Best, Jane

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Jane - Aw, shucks - and thank your. As for bottoming out, turning up and all that jazz, one of the things that is most notable is the absolute duplicity in discussing the available inventory. Six month's supply... 1.5 million... It's a number right up there, or rather down there, with the unemployment numbers.

I'm particularly touchy this morning because the local rag just ran a booster story - while I've looking out my front door at three empty houses that have yet to have a For Sale sign in the yard. One's been empty for a year now...

Roses, I tell you, roses. Gonna believe me or those empty ho0uses across the street?