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October 29, 2010

Financial Briefing: Quick hits

UPDATE: Social Security cash flow deficit worse than expected. A hard rain's gonna fall.

(Somewhat shorter Financial Briefing than usual today. Sometimes it's better to have DOOM in smaller doses.)

The Tea Party: Threat or Menace? It's more fun to read this spittle-flecked tirade by Robert Reich if you imagine it as a black-and-white 1950's-era jeremiad against the Communist menace among us. (Note that Reich is a professor at the most far-left nuthatch the country has to offer, UC Berkeley.) His disaffection for the Tea Party folks seems to rest on two pillars: a) they're stupid and have stupid brains which causes them to do stupid things; and b) they do not support the world-saving policies of the Lightbringer because of their stupid brains. I think the WSJ just posts this stuff, as Tyler Durden does at ZH, to get a rise out of people. Well: mission accomplished!

Scott Redler over at Minyanville is not swayed by Mr. Reich's flying spittle and throbbing neck veins. Of course, Mr. Redler is not an august professor of public policy (what the hell is that, anyway?) at a fruitbat-colony on the west coast, so it's just possible that his opinions are skewed.

The US GDP grew at about a 2% rate during the third quarter. Any growth is better than recession, but this is very weak tea nonetheless, and doesn't bode well for the unemployment picture going into next year.

There's gold in them thar (Malaysian) hills.

Medicare fraud: one of the few high-growth businesses in America. Think of the late-night television commercials: You too can cheat the taxpayers out of billions -- for no money down!

Ah, Albion: where implementing a 2.9% budget increase rather than a 6% increase counts as a "great victory".

Of the 2.9% rise - which will cost the UK an extra 450m a year - he added: "I'm not pretending that is a giant El Dorado of a goldmine for the British public what it is is a lot better than what we were looking at and the key point is, it wouldn't have happened without our action."
Eat your gruel and be glad of it, serfs; you might have gotten a heaping helping of nothing at all.

Here's your scary chart-fu of the day: housing prices are back where they were in 2009 with no soft spot to cushion the fall. Mortgage rates have been ticking back up ever so slightly, though, so we may have found a floor at last. (Though real estate behavior is local; I expect the hardest-hit areas to continue to be the Southwest and Florida.)

According to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, hiring even more city workers will reduce the crippling burden of public-employee healthcare and pension obligations. Somehow. Actually, he's saying that new employees will have lesser benefits than existing employees. This does fuck-all to solve the actual problem, but no pol in California who values his job will go up against the unions to cut benefits for existing employees. California is fractally boned: no matter how much you zoom in, you always find additional ways in which they are boned.

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posted by Monty at 09:29 AM

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