Federal (although it’s not really, or we’d be able to audit it) Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was out ‘taking it to the people’ this weekend with an appearance in Kansas City. The Wall Street Journal headlining this morning that “Bernanke Feared a Second Great Depression” in the September/October period, which as you’ll recall reached its zenith in the first week of October, as the predictive linguistics had forecast more than 10-months in advance.
Not exactly ‘taking it to the streets’ but taking it to Kansas is a start…
This week, the market will have a fair bit of economic news to digest including the New Home Sales figures out later on this morning. A small rise of perhaps 10-thosuand uinits for the month is already baked into the market.
Tomorrow there’s the consumer confidence report, the S&P/Case-Schiller housing price report and then Wednesday the durable goods orders come in to be followed a few hours later by the Fed’s Beige Book. This monthly summary of ‘action’ in the different Fed Districts should really be recolored, if you ask me. The market is all about marketing right? I mean when you think about it, beige is a nondescript color. Why, if I were trying to turn on a little ‘good cheer’ in the markets, I’d announce it was being renamed The Green Book. Since the Fed Boss is trying to sound confident, I’ll volunteer to buy him a can of spray-paint so he can personally do a stand-up with president O – doing the makeover as another presidential prime time grandstands. Think how many precious seconds of coverage that would generate. Where was I?…Oh….
Thursday looks like the do-nothing day since the only thing due out is weekly unemployment claims with an increase of 15-thosuand or so baked in current pricing. This would be the day to schedule your dental work, go for a drive, sneak out for a round of golf, go fishing, or whatever you really want to get done.
But, you’ll want to look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Friday for two reasons. First, there’s the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s index, advance GDP figures, and the ever popular Personal Consumption and Expenditures report, which I have renamed the PIE report (personal income/expenditures) because linguistically ‘consumption’ doesn’t infer expense, yet that’s what the report is all about.
That said, the PCE (or here the PIE) report is always good for a laugh. That’s because lately, the PIE report has been hinting that the Personal Savings Rate has been skyrocketing on the supposed grounds that people are ‘pulling in their horns’ and spending less, so they save more. Actually, the real reason that the personal savings rate is likely up is so many people have been foreclosed on that they actually can afford the larger blue tarps for the new family home under the overpass. It’s just that concept hasn’t surfaced yet, but if you look at PCE/PIE reports of soaring personal saving rates and then read the Fed reports on money in the banks, you’ll have the makings of a new episode of “Missing.”.
Oh, the other reason to show up Friday? That’s the most common day to fire people, although whether it’s the best day is debated in HR circles. Some suggest Monday, which I why I always made it a point to be early on Mondays…
State’s Rights Rising
The headline this morning out of Omaha articulates what a lot of Americans have been thinking here lately: “Nebraska Legislators seek to asset state sovereignty.“ Not that Nebraskans would try to secede from the Union, but being bright people (despite living in one of the ‘square states’), they apparently still teach people how to read and think in Nebraska because they’ve figured out that the federal government is stepping way past what the Constitution says the feds oughta be involved in.
The story is worth reading because it demonstrates how ‘hot’ the emotional values are around this topic. As any student of history will attest, ‘state’s rights’ was linked with the abolition of slavery in the US Civil War…and in today’s debate about continuously rising federalism, that linkage of sates rights with racism echoes. A key quote from the article:
“State Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln said the proposals sound disturbingly similar to the states’ rights arguments made in defense of racial segregation and laws blocking blacks from voting.
“The history of this movement is rife with racism in the name of states’ rights,” he said. “I’m not saying that the people making the case now are racist, but I don’t think Nebraska needs to be getting in bed with these kinds of resolutions.”
Still, supporters of the resolution are making the valid point that federal government has gone way beyond its boundaries.
Besides, there’s a key difference between pre Civil War days and now: Today we’re all slaves, deliberately shackled by debt that’s nearly impossible to escape…
Like We Needed Reminding
Sarah Palin has formally stepped down now, as governess of Alaska. On the way out, a few shots at the media, and also words of warning about Big Government. Yep…we’d noticed that Being in Big Government brings with it the….
Fleeting Fame Department
The latest Obama daily tracking poll has hit a new low. I expect that his trying to Rahm through healthcare is one reason why. Speaking of…
Rail Time Indicators
Have to give some kudos to the folks at the American Association of Railroads for their fine – what seems to be monthly – “Rail Time Indicators”. If you want a good slapping when it comes to economic reality, bookmark their site – along with all the Port cargo reports I’ve been telling you about – and in no time at all, you’ll be smarter than 99.999% of people inside Washington’s Beltway. Here’s one chart in particular that goes along with my occasionally gloomy outlook:
“But wait! Where are those ‘green shoots’ the Obama folks keep talking about?” you ask.
Sorry to say this, but they’re on a siding somewhere out in the wilds of Arizona…lost in transit. But enough about roll-ons and roll-offs…let’s move right along to….
Roll-Ups and Roll-Outs
Remember the good old days? Back when a ‘roll-up’ was something done by venture capitalists? And roll-outs were done by big auto and airplane makers? Well, the latest in roll-ups and roll-outs is the novel/swine flu testing program which is scheduled to hurriedly get underway in August.
Wonder how public the success (or failure) of the testing will be? Guess we’ll get the answer to that one soon enough.
However, while we’re waiting, Universe seems to have supplied us with all kinds of healthcare talk to keep up focused on our bodies instead of our withering wallets…
Corpgov’s Limited Healthcare Plans
Before I share the latest from this fellow I call simply ‘the savvy investor‘, I have to say an assertion he made recently which went to the idea “If you want healthcare that works, look at the V.A….” A number of female G.I.’s wrote in from the sandbox and elsewhere asking me (variously) ‘What are you on today?” to “Ure a moron!”. Well, maybe that last wasn’t exactly a question, but you get the idea.
Nevertheless, Mr. Savvy has a pretty good observation about healthcare again…
“Even though the VA is the best health care system in the US (best results, lowest cost), and even though a majority of citizens want a true single payer system compared with the other so-called alternatives. Not one single payer advocate has gotten any airtime on any network, left or right. Instead we get endless discussion and negotiation on “solutions” that don’t even rate support levels from the citizens as high as 25% (and more like 5% for some of them)
Why, you might ask?
Every alternative to single-payer results in massive new marketing costs with individual insurance replacing employer-provided. In a sense, that has been going on for decades, but most who lost employer insurance couldn’t afford it on their own. That doesn’t stop cable television from selling lots of ads for individual plans, many of which are barely legal, given the fact that well over half what the client pays never gets spent on any health care. Now the networks are drooling over the potential for a new class of advertiser that spends more than all the car companies, pharma companies and clothing companies combined.
So we have the Kabuki theatre of the media looking for every possible way to say the reform effort is foundering. Then there’s the media “story” of the Gates arrest in Cambridge, which wouldn’t mean squat if it wasn’t’ made number one item by a media conglomerate that doesn’t want health insurance reform, especially not a “public” option. Witness the number of voices on so-called liberal media that say nothing should be done without it being bi-partisan.
The eventual “compromise” will be that the right wing gets another round of subsidized corporate welfare, and the left wing will cave in to get coverage for those millions of uninsured. Those foolish bleeding hearts are such saps when real business puppets start the game. As we all know, the least efficient way to insure people is one at a time.
So when they come up with a “mandate” that private companies get all those new customers, the media will get a huge payoff running all those ads. It will be more of a bonanza for them than a presidential election, and it will be continuous.
Even better, the right wing will get a “twofer” when the system costs much more than projected. Most of the over-run in costs will somehow land at insurance companies, care management companies, and marketing organizations, not doctors and nurses. Perfect! Want to go for three? Easy — take the money from payroll tax, or better yet, start a national sales tax, so the transfer of wealth continues….. the long-standing principals of the investing class are to support national efforts (Iraq war, Medicare part D, agriculture subsidies, ethanol scam, weapons systems nobody wants – not even the military — you name it…. best if we don’t pay for it at all, but if we do, we should only tax income from W-2′s and 1099′s…. no way should it come from investment income, since that’s where it’s going…
So now you know why the “liberal” media gives exactly zero airtime to anyone proposing a real change, with VA-style care available at cost (without marketing overhead) to any American who wants it, and premium levels over and above that. Why haven’t we heard a peep about this option?
Damn, I hate it when people that are smarter than I am write in. But he’s right: He who pays the piper calls the healthcare. Best government money can buy, once again; ditto, ibid, redux.
But don’t give up hope for genuine healthcare reform…read on into today’s…