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  • Iceland's PM warns of "chaos" (and not getting an invite to Davos or Jackson Hole) after voters again reject a plan to pay back countries whose citizens lost money in the banking collapse. The dispute will end up in court, where the U.K. and Netherlands can explain to a judge why a country's citizens should be liable for the actions of a private financial institution.  [View news story]
    Only the hubris of those who think they are the "ruling class" would think that a government of ALL the people should cover the imprudence of a small minority who happen to be "friends" or have sufficient money to buy the government they want to the result of depriving the vast majority of their livelihood and economic welfare. Sound like anyplace familiar to anyone?
    The concept of "too big to fail" is so fallacious it does not deserve the respect of proper words.
    Apr 10 11:14 AM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Don't believe all the hype - we needed those bailouts! Becky Quick says we've already forgotten about the fall 2008 fear and why the government had to step in, and "the armchair-quarterback lawmakers and candidates who are now second-guessing these moves are dangerous."  [View news story]
    The US survived quite nicely a number of times through just as severe appearing problems in the latter half of the 19th century and a couple of small ones (which were rumoured to be Morgan inspired) in the early 20th century.

    Recovery, historically, proceeded much more quickly on those occasions before FDR and his grand set of "experiments" which only frightened the business community and delayed recovery (planned as such or not) - as this administration is doing.

    The major difference is that different players would have survived - and that may not be politically acceptable in this age of "the best government money can buy", sorry.

    In the early 19th century, the anti-Hamilton forces rallied against taking up British style mercantilism - who is going to rally against US style corporatism in the 21st century? Certainly not anyone in a government decision making position, eh?

    So, what can we do about it? Zippo, zilch, nada, nichts - so in the long run, it doesn't matter as long as you are happy with your place in the regime, right?
    Jul 16 06:43 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • New York Fed chief Bill Dudley doesn't usually face a spirited crowd, but found one in his speech to the Queens Chamber of Commerce when he tried to play down inflation. Peppered with questions about food, he noted you can buy a much more powerful iPad 2 (AAPL) for the same price as the first model. Says one respondent: "I can't eat an iPad."  [View news story]
    I think we have a defining moment:

    "Let them eat iPad's"

    Now, is that old guillotine back in the tool shed?
    Mar 11 11:58 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Wisconsin Assembly passes a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, setting up a showdown in the state's Senate. The Republican agenda is now apparent to all, Paul Krugman says: "Union-busting and privatization remain GOP priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets."  [View news story]
    Let's see - aside from weak management, does anyone remember why the steel industry all of a sudden seemed to depart from US shores. It surely wasn't uncompetitive pricing, was it? And did that just originate from magic? Why is the majority of the steel the US uses imported? Did we lose the formula?

    Repeat a few years later - why oh why did all those automobile factories move to the South? Why are new entrants which slid into the market under the uncompetitive "giants" building factories in the South and not in the over-infrastructured North?

    If you can't figure this one, you have indeed passed the Department of Education Masters Degree course, unfortunately.
    Feb 25 10:39 AM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The next economic boom, writes Daniel Gross, will be created by the efficiencies unleashed by America's transition from an Ownership Society to a Rentership Society. It's not just housing - citizens are getting used to the flexibility of renting across a whole range of goods. "The U.S. economy needs the dynamism that renting enables as much as - if not more than - it needs the stability that ownership engenders."  [View news story]
    If you read, as Geoff pointed out, The Federalist Papers, you may see that the individual was paramount in the early development of the philosophy and background of the country; not the rich or the religious or the politician (a figure generally unknown then as we have them today), but the dirt farmers of the north and south and the inventors of the developing manufacturing base, all populated by deeply convicted individuals who believed that their hard efforts put forth in trust and faith would make for themselves a better future. That is a view that was fairly dominant in the US, particularly in rural areas, until somewhere in the first half of the 20th century, probably beginning its demise with WWI or earlier with the urban rise of the secular "humanists". While the taming of the west may have been a largely hegemonic exercise, the structural underpinnings, which were populated by people who moved into previously unknown areas, were made up of folks believing in their version of their future and that for their families, a distinctly individualistic approach to one's future rather than relying on the state or corporate largess. The macro attitudinal expression of the US has undergone a sea change in the last 100 years with the advent of a governmental system whose professed motivation (by action if not precise words) is to create dependency in the population and, therefrom, extend its power base. Such a posture in our government does not encourage independence of thought or person, distinctly unlike the environment which spawned the likes of Andrew Jackson.
    May 5 06:13 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Detroit's despair: Population has plunged 25% in a decade to hit a 100-year low; vacant housing units now comprise 20% of the city's housing stock. The no. 1 reason, IBD says: the United Auto Workers union. As long as total full-time pay and benefits for a Big Three factory worker stay near $140,000/year, Detroit will continue its descent.  [View news story]
    Of course not, no favours - but nothing was intended for GM, it was all intended for the unions. This keeps those fat union cats in their fat jobs for however long they can drag it out.
    Mar 24 08:09 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bernanke says he doesn't "fully understand" surging gold prices, as worries about inflation expectations should be matched in other markets (TIPS, and commodities like copper) - but aren't.  [View news story]
    Ben is not really that thick, I would hope; so why on earth does he play the role of the "useful idiot" for his bosses? Oh, that's what they pay him for. Right.
    Jun 9 12:22 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Krugman thinks budget hawks are confused by the meaning of "putting children first." He points to Texas, where government spending is low but so are rates of high school graduation and children without health insurance. It isn't just the cruelty, but the shortsightedness, he says. "What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?"  [View news story]
    Eh?

    "What’s supposed to happen when today’s neglected children become tomorrow’s work force?"

    The probably become Keynesian economists. Unproductive and admiring of fascists, just like their role model, Keynes.

    Harumph! The nerve, sometimes....
    Feb 28 10:10 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Obama stimulus was “a big gamble and it doesn’t look like it’s paying off,” Joseph Stiglitz says, calling for another round of “better designed” stimulus which “needs to be focused more on returns on investment, education, infrastructure, technology." This kind of stimulus, he says, would lower the long-term debt and boost growth in the future.  [View news story]
    It was Hoover's and FDR's "leadership" that managed to take a relatively weak market crash and parley it into a 10 year depression which accomplished what they wanted: a complete reorganisation of the US economic, business, bureaucratic, and cultural milieu; putting the "ruling class", those semi-Stalinists of which you speak so fondly, in complete charge as they have been since then.

    In the 19th century, the country survived relatively greater crises than this one - but now, with the "help" of the FED and the self-portrayed 'omniscient' government, they'll be able to work this one into a long term grind of the people, too. In fact, with the hyperinflation capability lying in the background with all the printed money held in banks around the country - it could become far too interesting if that gambit is played on top of the credit starving repeat of the FDR administration.
    Aug 6 12:56 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: Lending to small businesses was slipping nationwide in the first quarter, though it's unclear whether that was driven by weaker demand or supply. Banks at least seem to have stopped tightening credit. "Important concerns" about the economy linger, notably continued high unemployment.  [View news story]
    "tightening credit"? I've had small - medium clients in the US that have been semi-starved on credit for 16 months! What on earth is this about? Now it will be worse? For some of them there isn't anything "worse" but the precipice!

    So, what do you do when you can't finance new business or expansion? You cut back and serve your cash cows as best as you can until the storm clears. Yes, that would result in an apparent reduction in demand, but only because you learn to stop asking for water when you can see that the creek is dry.
    Jun 3 11:26 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Who do you trust: Bernanke or the markets? Bernanke's rosy economic view conflicts with reality, Michael Pento says, and stocks and commodities are casting their votes. The Fed's failure to listen to the markets is the key reason for its "miserable record" of economic projections. "For the betterment of the nation, the next appointment to serve at the Fed should be someone from a trading pit and not from Princeton."  [View news story]
    There is even a question? It looked like the market voted on this issue in the last week or so, or is Bernanke looking at the chart upside down, again?
    May 24 06:39 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Vigna skewers Jim Cramer as an "insufferable jackass": "He’ll never be honest with his viewers, because being honest apparently isn’t how you get viewers on CNBC... He knows stocks are overvalued. He knows stocks are rigged. But he still tells people to buy them."  [View news story]
    Hold on a moment, folks. We're vilifying the guy for actually working the reason for his paycheque. This is what he does for his money. Some folks are doctors and cure people - he is paid to shill the market.

    Remember, please, he works for the used-to-be-major-media, the PR engine for this week's most fashionable cause or the focus of the Washington administration's current "message".

    Let's not forget the reality of what we have here, ok?
    Mar 3 08:07 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Our "dysfunctional and corrupt political culture" may extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Paul Krugman writes, even though "it’s hard to think of a less cost-effective way to help the economy than giving money to people who already have plenty." But a new BofA (BAC) research note says allowing the cuts to expire could trigger a double-dip.  [View news story]
    hehehe - my sainted mother used to refer to "the pot calling the kettle black".

    Then again, maybe it is the Midas tendency in Keynesians who want it all centralised. Keynes himself said in his introduction to his German edition that his system works best in a totalitarian government.
    Aug 23 10:42 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The world suffers from a leadership vacuum which will be all too evident at this weekend's G-20, William Pesek writes. "There’s a sense that the world’s problems are too formidable to fix... What we need is an adult or two in the room to make sure leaders tackle the big challenges of our day. Good luck finding any."  [View news story]
    "get the rebuilding to start"? Eh? You, sir, are ignoring that politicians created or invented these problems so that they could step in with (drum roll, here) "government solutions" - generally meaning more of them and less of us, both in employment and the flow direction of our money.

    Remember Daley in Chicago and paraphrase for reality: "we aren't here to create problems, we are here to preserve problems." The creating happens back on their own patch, often disguised as unintended (not) consequences.

    I'm sorry, the politicians' job definition these days consists of merely one activity: get elected or relelected, with sub-activities including not saying or doing anything meaningful for anyone but those who pay for your campaign funding.

    Is that a bit cynical? Look at what is going on - not the words, they are always gauged for pop audences - but the actions and results. Health care? Read: guaranteed profits for some. Financial regulation? Read: protection from the most stupid and risky decisions possible, done to max earnings so they can max political contributions and keep the same game going. Immigration? Read: troll for any voters to keep us in power.

    Grown-ups don't go into politics. It is a game for people who either haven't learned the practicalities of ideology or have discovered it is the only alternative to "rock star" for celebrity status since they can't sing, play an instrument, or dance too well, either.
    Jun 25 09:47 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The next economic boom, writes Daniel Gross, will be created by the efficiencies unleashed by America's transition from an Ownership Society to a Rentership Society. It's not just housing - citizens are getting used to the flexibility of renting across a whole range of goods. "The U.S. economy needs the dynamism that renting enables as much as - if not more than - it needs the stability that ownership engenders."  [View news story]
    Keep on the "kool-aid", it seem to suit you. It is a shame, though, that the indoctrination that passes for education since Johnson was president fails to encourage exploration and self-discovery as the state gives you all the answers you need, eh? People get not the government the want, but the government they deserve. Sorry.
    May 6 08:45 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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