Archive for July, 2009

For Sale: one state, slightly used…

July 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Click image for slideshow

Florida’s commercial real estate market is dying.

You have to follow the clock on the photos: the person who took these pictures drove about two minutes between each site.

Light reading…

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

“Power law distributions incarnate the notion that extreme events are not exceptional events. Instead, extreme events should be considered to be rather frequent and to result from the same organization principle(s) as those generating other events: because they belong to the same statistical distribution, this suggests common generating mechanism(s). In this view, a great earthquake is just an earthquake that started small … and did not stop …”

Didier Sornette, Dragon-Kings, Black Swans and the Prediction of Crises

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You are being played…

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Question: When does 1 + 1 not equal 2?

Answer: When Washington does the counting.

According to the Department of Slavery Labor, there were more than 522,000 initial claims for unemployment for the week ending July 11 – a decrease of 47,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 569,000.

Of course, this is only how the DOL counts people: a very complicated process requiring quantum mechanics, a trained monkey, fourteen economists in matching bowties, and a fifth of tequila.

The sober practice of counting the newly impoverished the old fashioned way will likely find that, in fact, 667,534 actual human being walked into an unemployment office somewhere in the country, and filed a claim during that same week – an increase of 86,389 from the previous week, and nearly 150,000 real, living, and potentially homeless job seekers than the Department of Chattel Labor circulated to the media as the headline you will likely take as truth.

(It’s on television, so it must be true!)

The above number, as you might expect, does not include those who lost their jobs, but do not qualify for benefits. And, the reported total figure of 6,135,066 persons claiming unemployment  – an increase of 63,714 from the preceding week – does not include persons who are still unemployed but have exhausted their benefits.

Will Unemployment Sink the Obama Agenda?

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

The Nation’s Washington, D.C. Correspondent, John Nichols, explains how the rising rates of unemployment could imperil The Obama Presidency. Nichols looks at the political risks of joblessness…

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Congressman Stearns: Mr Paulson How Do You Have Any Credibility?

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

For your viewing enjoyment.

Watch as Congressman Stearns, (Republican, Florida) fits Hank “Munster” Paulson, (Bankster, Goldman Sachs), with a bloody new asshole in front of a very amused audience.

According to the Wiki:

Paulson was Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense at The Pentagon from 1970 to 1972. He then worked for the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon, serving as assistant to John Ehrlichman from 1972 to 1973, during the events of the Watergate scandal for which Ehrlichman was convicted, and sentenced to prison.

The Wiki also tells us that, at Goldman, Hank Munster succeeded:

… Jon Corzine, Stephen Friedman, and Robert Rubin … Corzine [later went on to become] a U.S. Senator (later Governor of New Jersey), Friedman [became] chairman of the National Economic Council (later chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board) under President George W. Bush, and Rubin [served as] both chairman of the NEC and later Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton.

Which pretty much means that Goldman Sachs has been running US economic policy for almost 20 years…

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16 above ten…

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

10 states above eleven percent … and Michigan, at 15.4 percent unemployment, is now the first state to ever have higher unemployment than Puerto Rico. (At least since 1989 – Our chart only goes back that far)

16 above 10

While you are digesting the horrid figures above, consider the case of Arkansas, where the chief economist of the state thinks something is fishy about BLS reported unemployment figures for his state:

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ unemployment rate last month was 7 percent, a significantly lower figure than the national rate of 9.4 percent and a statistic that on its face suggests the effects of the recession have been less severe in Arkansas than in much of the country.

Arkansas’ chief economist isn’t so sure.

“I think there is a technical problem with the indicator for Arkansas,” said John Shelnutt, administrator for economic analysis and tax research at the state Department of Finance and Administration. “That problem is causing (the reported unemployment rate) to be low compared to the nation and most of the region.”

You might also factor in another misleading report of declines in jobless claims, which, owing to Washington’s manipulation, showed 47,000 fewer people applying for unemployment, when, in fact, 86,000 more applied:

The Labor Department said new applications for unemployment insurance dropped by a seasonally adjusted 47,000 to 522,000, the lowest level since early January. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected claims to rise to around 575,000.

A department analyst said the drop in new claims didn’t point to improvements in economic conditions. The second straight weekly decline reflected problems adjusting layoffs for temporary shutdowns at General Motors and Chrysler plants to retool for new models.

The unadjusted figures actually showed that new claims rose by 86,389 last week, which would push the total to 667,534.

The department’s seasonal adjustment process expected a large increase in claims from auto workers and some other manufacturers, the analyst said. Since that didn’t happen, seasonally-adjusted claims fell.

Those adjustment difficulties also were behind a big drop reported for people continuing to draw unemployment benefits, the analyst said.

The number of people still collecting benefits fell by a seasonally adjusted 642,000 to 6.27 million, the lowest level since mid-April.

The unadjusted figures for continued claims showed an increase of 63,714. That data lags initial claims by a week.

Why Washington would be adjusting a hard number like how many people actually APPLIED for unemployment insurance is likely one question you are asking yourself right now.

When we figure out the answer, we’ll post it.

Oh yeah, we found the answer: They just lie – all the time, about everything…

Somewhere in Washington – right now as this is being typed – there is a Washington bureaucrat lying about something or other.

Obama’s sleight of hand…

July 13, 2009 1 comment

We just woke up to the fact that the entire Obama stimulus plan is a farce – a ploy designed to create the impression Washington was going to “spend like mad” to fight this downturn.

The aim of this ploy was pretty simply: If we believed Washington was going to spend a lot of money, we would go out and spend a lot of money in expectation of Washington’s spending.

In another example of this idea, the Federal Reserve has greatly expanded the amount of money on its balance sheets. This creates the impression among the investor class that trillions of new dollars will come flooding into the market to push up prices – creating hyper-inflation.

The economists around Obama – Summers, Romer, etc. – believe such expectations can change your behavior. According to the theory, if we expect, for instance, inflation to be very high in the near future, it might make sense to buy a house or put money in more risky assets. The same can be said for government stimulus: If we think the government is going to spend a lot of cash to stimulate the economy, we might be less fearful of losing our jobs, and more inclined to buy that 42 inch wide-screen high-definition plasma television.

According to reports in the media over the last few months, this was the projected schedule of stimulus plan spending:


As you can see, most of Obama stimulus spending comes in 2010, and the following years. Which, we thought, is odd, since this chart below is the likely projected course of the Great Recession, according to estimate by Obama’s economic advisers:

reality versus Bernstein

As you can see in this chart, with his stimulus plan (dark blue line), Obama’s team expected the recession to peak in late 2009, and for unemployment to be falling as we headed into 2010.

If this projection is true, why was the bulk of the stimulus spending loaded to the back end of the recession, when unemployment would have been falling, and economic conditions improving?

We think the answer is simple: It was a con game from the very beginning.

The con was to announce a really huge number in the press – a headline number – which would grab your attention, $878 Billion, but to quietly shelve the spending plan after you, inspired the flood of new spending which would be coming into the market, ran headlong to the mall to join Washington’s orgy of consumption.

Barack was going to take you to the mall, and abandon you there…

The obscenity of economists…

July 10, 2009 2 comments

Posted to the blog,, a debate among economists over whether you can be compelled to work harder and longer if government increases its burden on you. Or, whether you can be convinced to work harder and longer by reducing your taxes:

How hard are you willing to work to keep that Bass Boat and the Lake Cabin even as the taxes on them are “killing you”? Are you really going to cut back your overtime in response to a tax increase if it means giving up your Season Ski Pass?”

Our response to the debate was short and sweet:

This is truly an astonishing statement.

The idea that people can be led to work themselves harder in order to offset the burden of government – which, I suppose, can be extended to inflation as well – reveals the depth of cruelty inherent in mainstream economic policy.

It really does not matter whether tax cuts or tax increases will make people work more, it is just horrifying economists would be debating how government might get them to work harder – even as 9.4 million are collecting unemployment.

This is just incredible!!

Shame on you.

To which we felt it necessary to add this addendum:



9.4 million collecting unemployment, not 6.9 million…

July 10, 2009 Leave a comment
Created by Mish's Blog: Continuing claims reach record level, but don't include 2.5 million unemployed collecting claims under emergency extended benefits

Created by Mish's Blog: Continuing claims reach record level, but don't include 2.5 million unemployed collecting claims under emergency extended benefits

Definition is everything, according to Mish’s Blog.

What some people might count as among the number of Americans actually collecting unemployment, Washington conveniently fails to count when they publish data on continuing claims – 2.5 million people to be exact:

As noted in Continuing Claims Soar by 159,000 to New Record the record continuing claims number is dramatically understated by over 2.5 million … The continuing claims number that mainsteam media focuses on is 6,883,000 … However, that number ignores extended benefits from the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat…