Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Perfect except for 1 small detail

Hullabaloo: "The Democrats have the GOP snake by the neck but I'm pretty sure they don't have the nerve to kill it. And that is a huge mistake as has been demonstrated over and over again for the last 30 years."

If the rain came, but the flood carried away no one, did it happen?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: Coming Down to Earth

Economist's View: Paul Krugman: Coming Down to Earth: "Over the last few weeks, however, gravity seems to have started reasserting itself."

The end of the housing bubble seems to have come. It will not affect the whole country, because the housing bubble was local, not national. But, in places like Las Vegas and southern California, it is going to be a very big deal, and it will snowball over the course of years, to depress the local economy.

If it does trigger a fall in the dollar, that will be national.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The American People have, repeatedly voted for this.

The Car and The Television against the Wave and the Wire. | TPMCafe: "This 'boom that feels like a bust' effect is what is driving unhappiness. Both from the people who didn't support it, and from the people who did, thinking they would do very well in a low tax, high deficit spending environment.

"The reality of an overheated economy, however, is that all of the increased demand is soaked up by higher prices and profits from lower production. Labor gets most of its benefits at the end of the economic cycle. However, with a huge fraction of the increased GDP going to profits, they are farther behind, and have had real wages drop, farther into this economic cycle than in any since the Second World War.

"While it is possible that the current expansion could run for a while longer, it is very unlikely that 90% of Americans will catch up to where they would have been had this cycle been handled differently. Macroƫconomically - in terms of aggregate demand and aggregate supply, the economy is chugging along. . . . Given current trade flows, the US should have seen aggregate deflation. The difference between deflation and the inflation we have seen has come out of wages, including wages deferred until retirement.

"The American people have, repeatedly, voted for this. To change direction means not merely shuffling the party balance, but the balance of ideas that dominate American life. We are the future that the past sent the bill to. It is only now becoming clear that there is no future to foward it to."

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The Blogging of the President

The Blogging of the President: "The current conventional wisdom that even with a Republican Party that is less popular than broccoli with liver, that the Democrats will not be able to shift a mere 15 seats out of 435, nor 6 seats of the Senate, even though such swings have ample historical precedent – in 1958, for example, Democrats picked up 13 seats, as well as 3 of the 4 new seats in the Senate, and almost 50 in the House, this with Eisenhower still relatively popular in the country. If this political moment sees another round of gridlock, followed by two years of excruciating descent in to the next recession and 'the tyranny of the minority' – then expect more than merely a political explosion, expect demands to alter the constitutional balance of power, and the means by which elections are held."

Stirling Newberry tells an interesting tale, about the consequences, should the Democrats prove unable to push the Republicans from control of Congress, despite their unpopularity with two-thirds of the population. It is not, to my ears, a particularly plausible narrative, but I do wonder about the reaction, should the intensity of opposition to the Republicans not find power in the near term.

The problem is not just that the Republicans have gamed the system, it is that, despite Bush's unpopularity, a part of that unpopularity is shallow, related to nothing more substantive than the price of gas. The Republicans have great advantages, including a kind of control of the news media. Close to half the country votes Republican, no matter what.

On the other hand, a minority of Americans feel intensely anti-Bush.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

A War for Oil?

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: A War for Oil?: "One thing that today's high gas prices strongly suggest is that, whatever else it was, the Iraq war was surely not about oil. If you care about cheap oil above everything else, you'd have found some deal with Saddam, kept the oil fields pumping, and maintained the same realist policy toward Arab and Muslim autocracies we had for decades. "

How stupid are you, Andy?

If you are an oilman, do you want cheap oil???? Well, I guess you do want cheap oil -- for yourself -- but not for everyone else. You want the market price of oil to be high.

High oil prices and the Iraqi War have benefitted all of the groups and people Bush cares about: Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Exxon/Mobil, Halliburton, Bechtel, all those people, who want to relax environmental restrictions on oil refineries, all those people, who cannot wait to despoil ANWR, etc., etc.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Something's Happening Here (I hope)

Something's Happening Here | TPMCafe: "it’s now almost like it's the celebrities who are trying to create the movement"

Everyone agrees that the country is headed in the wrong direction, on the wrong track.

But, where's the will? Where's the leadership?

The Golden Barometer foretells a Storm Coming

Whiskey Bar: All That Glitters: "it's hard to look at that gold chart and not suspect a much bigger game is afoot. This may be the perfect storm for metal prices, but it's not that perfect. The 1987 stock market crash, the collapse of the Soviet union, Saddam's invasion of Iraq -- none of these events triggered a move even remotely close to what we're seeing now."

The world is awash with dollar liquidity -- kindling for a sudden, killer inflation, potentially, or a run on the dollar. The run-up in the price of gold -- and lots of other metals and commodities -- means something, and it is probably not good.