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  • Lame speeches about reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil have become a Presidential tradition going back to Nixon, yet 40 years and one Energy Department later, the country is as reliant as ever on overseas supplies. The only way to really cut imports is a recession, and no President can call for that.  [View news story]
    Unemployment is still at recession levels. Only removing 100 million cars from our streets would achieve independence in a short time frame. At the rate we are going, we all will be buying bicycles from China soon and they will buy our cars.
    Apr 6, 2011. 06:33 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More on FOMC minutes: "With longer-term inflation expectations remaining stable and measures of underlying inflation subdued, members anticipated that recent increases in the prices of energy and other commodities would result in only a transitory increase in headline inflation."  [View news story]
    Ben, Yellen, Dudley - hard to make it rhyme to "Three Blind Mice"
    Apr 5, 2011. 06:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Commerzbank (CRZBY.PK)  unveils a capital raising plan allowing it to pay back €10B of the €16B it borrowed from the government to get through the GFC. The entire senior staff of the bank has had their salaries capped at €500K until the aid is repaid. Shares +3% in Germany.  [View news story]
    Aren't we proud. This could never happen here- 700k for the top brass at a major bank LOL
    Apr 5, 2011. 06:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Geithner isn't mincing words about a failure by the U.S. to raise the debt ceiling: It would be "catastrophic... shake the foundations of the entire global financial system... raise dramatically the borrowing costs permanently for all Americans... thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of businesses would fail..." You get the idea.  [View news story]
    If tax collection stops as well as spending/borrowing, it might not be such a bad thing. Maybe Geithner is worried that the opposite will occur, and the sky won't fall.
    Apr 5, 2011. 05:48 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Japan's nuclear crisis has amounted to a radiation increase equal to a prolonged dental x-ray, James Altucher says, and the media owes everyone an apology for overhyping it. Equally, the media should apologize for overhyping and then ignoring many recent events, including the Greek debt crisis, which is now worse than ever.  [View news story]
    I don't think Altucher is concerned with journalistic diligence or scientific fact. Anything that tarnishes his uber bullish forecast is what he is trying to counter and foil.
    Mar 21, 2011. 08:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'Alarming' Second Hand Inflation in Brazil [View article]
    Brazil imports plenty despite relatively high tariffs. Import growth has outpaced exports. The squeeze on exporters of manufactured products has been extreme as wages and other inputs rose several fold and the Real has strengthened against the dollar, euro and renminbi.Fuel, electric and other costs are very high in Brazil compared to its neighbors. Only high commodity prices have sustained the growing imbalance. Current account deficit is also large. Logically the strong Real should help hold inflation down, but that hasn't been the case as demand and govt. spending rose. Higher interest rates will exacerbate the hot money flows. Something has to give.
    Mar 8, 2011. 05:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 'Alarming' Second Hand Inflation in Brazil [View article]
    The minimum wage was 200 reals when Lula's term began and was 510 when he left. Perhaps the 60% figure refers to how much he raised it after factoring out inflation. He fell short of his campaign promise of doubling the buying power of the minimum. The large increases certainly stoked inflation, but also added to economic growth due to more consumption by the working poor and recipients of govt. transfers indexed to the minimum. Under Lula the govt. expanded in size, the tax burden rose as a % of GDP and it is Dilma will have to deal with the profligacy of her predecessor. The bills are just starting to come due.
    Mar 7, 2011. 02:36 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Chart of the day: America’s poorest citizens are about as rich as India’s richest, and the typical person in the bottom 5% of U.S. income distribution is still richer than 68% of the world’s inhabitants.  [View news story]
    Comparisons based on income alone are as stupid as some GDP comparisons. They tend to overstate the values in countries with high costs of living . What you can get for a dollar in India is very different than in the US. I remember when all of Mexico's GDP was supposed to be only 3% of America's . (This was around the time that NAFTA was being debated) Having lived in Mexico and graduated University there, i knew something was wrong with the 3% figure. I couldn't believe all the industry,tourism, mines, oil agriculture, retail etc etc in that country were equal to the GDP of some small American state. Just the DF (Mexico City area) alone would show the absurdity of that. If the same house costs one quarter the price in Mexico as the USA- then its sale adds four times as much to the GDP but do you get a fourfold benefit/value from the same house on the north side of the border. I think you get what i am driving at. To assert that those at the bottom rung of America's society are better off than India's wealthiest is nonsense. This is also why raw GDP and income measurements do not reflect the true health of a society.
    Jan 31, 2011. 08:35 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Higher prices for gasoline and commodities "have not... translated to broad inflation of consumer goods and services," Fed's Dennis Lockhart says, but that belief may be based on dubious government statistics. The best evidence is the companies who try to pass on cost increases to consumers. If they keep doing what they're doing (I, II), the Fed would face a problem with no easy remedy.  [View news story]

    The Fed is supposed to be in front, anticipating and nipping inflation in the bud. They are trapped and unable to raise interest rates (at least in Bernanke's mind) due to the effects on the deficit, housing and unemployment. Only when ink and paper rise in price will the Fed finally sense that inflation is upon us.
    Jan 31, 2011. 08:00 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Energy Policy Is Responsible for Unrest in Egypt [View article]
    and Reagan axed Carter's energy programs. Imagine where we might be if he had improved and expanded them. For this and much more i couldn't stand Ronnie. The S&L crisis and its huge costs were a direct result of Reagan's deregulation. My first job out of college was a Savings and Loan Examiner for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in the Ford/early Carter days- i can say the S&Ls were well (maybe even over) regulated back then. In some areas we can't rely on the free market . Long range strategic planning at a national level is needed- especially cooperation between the natural gas producers/distributors, car manufacturers and the govt. if we want to switch to nat. gas on a large scale. The energy market is not free anyway as controlled by oligarchies, govt interference and distortions. Maybe the next Pres. can do it. Obama seems to be incapable of focusing long on anything. A chameleon with a talent for soap box preaching.
    Jan 30, 2011. 08:53 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Energy Policy Is Responsible for Unrest in Egypt [View article]
    Corn should be used as food. Sugarcane for ethanol. However, with a population density in non desert areas of approx. 2000 per sq. km., Egypt's population explosion is at the root of social unrest.
    Jan 29, 2011. 06:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Energy Policy Is Responsible for Unrest in Egypt [View article]
    Corn should be used for food. Sugar cane for ethanol. However at 2000 people per (non-desert) square kilometer it is obvious Egypt's population explosion is a major cause of social unrest. Which doesn't take off the hook the current regime.
    Jan 29, 2011. 06:12 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. Is Still the World's Top Manufacturer [View article]
    Hogwash-seen plenty of stats that show the contrary but you don't need to research this. The evidence is on the shelves of your local retail stores, industrial supply houses etc. I grew up in the 60s and made in usa was ubiquitous. On my last trip to the states in 07 virtually everything i bought was made overseas.
    Jan 13, 2011. 04:04 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Brazil Industry Accelerating Again [View article]
    see business insider article called "After lashing out at china,currency war loser brazil is now furious at America"
    Jan 6, 2011. 08:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Brazil Industry Accelerating Again [View article]
    Good news on inflation? You obviously don't live here. Don't buy official stats on inflation (and that applies to most countries). My guess is the real figure is closer to 10% than 5. Virtually everything goes up annually-wages, utilities, taxes etc. Only the dollar is still stuck at levels of 10 -12 yrs. ago while prices have tripled in that period. Costs in Brazil are first world. Nothing like other Latin countries. You would think with the overvalued Real and its buying power, inflation would be low. The Lula yrs. brought a rise in the tax burden from the low 30% range of GDP to the higher 30s and the swollen bureaucracy, handouts, pork and programs will stoke more inflation - notwithstanding Dilmas' rhetoric to the contrary. Inflation in Brazil is one thing you can safely bet on.
    Jan 6, 2011. 07:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment