Friday, March 23, 2012

SAR #12083

What happens when the majority no longer see the government as 'we'?

Belaboring The Obvious: There's a lot of noise on the web about the “JOBS” bill. All you need to know is that it is another one of those deceptively named troglodytic undertakings like the Clean Air Act. The bill has nothing to do with jobs and everything to do with gutting what little regulatory oversight there is over the thieves on Wall Street.

Burn After Reading: A group of academics have researched the role of speculators in driving up the price of petroleum and concluded that “there is strong evidence that the co-movement between spot and futures prices reflects common economic fundamentals rather than the financialization of oil futures markets.”

Spider/Fly: The Turkish government is trying to persuade Turks to transfer their personal holdings of gold into the country's banking system, where it will be easier to confiscate.

Massage Therapy: After revising last week's number up by 2,000, this week's number is 5,000 less at 348,000 – which will be revised to 351,000 next week. The 4-week moving average is 355,000, so things improve, if slowly. Initial claims are lowest since February 2008, which is encouraging as long as you ignore the continuing claims, extended claims and those who've used up all possible support. Over a million claimants have fallen off the 99-week cliff, never to be seen again.

Friendly Persuasion: Some employers are not satisfied to simply Google applicants, they are demanding that applicants provide their Facebook passwords. Which seems appropriate in the society we're turning into.

Tattle Tale: The Census Bureau reported that housing starts fell by 1.1 percent in February.

Parameters: Here are the rules: Cut taxes. Raise defense spending. Reduce the budget deficit as much as possible, if not to zero. Don't touch current Social Security/Medicare (but talk about future cuts). Now draw up a budget. Too bad education, health, and all those other frills simply have to go.

The Way We Were: “At some point, voters will react against a system that amplifies differences and suppresses shared goals, and policy formation will revert to its more effective pragmatic mode.” The question is when, and how we get rid of the obstacles.

Happy Days: Someone asked 104 economists for their outlook on housing and summed up the results: 1) The bottom in home prices is just around the corner. Still. 2) Prices will decline this year. 3) By 2016 house prices will have recovered... to be only 27% below 2006 peaks. In line with their thinking, the FHFA made its 9th consecutive downward revision in US house prices, from +0.7% to merely +0.1% in the previous month.

Alternate Universe: “Let Democrats waste their energies trying to woo women on 'reproductive rights.' They will shore up their base and alienate the middle. Republicans can win more women voters and bridge the gender gap by focusing on what is most important to women in 2012: jobs and the economy.” Clip and save.

Porn O'Graph: Death spiral.

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