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November 08, 2011

DOOM: There's a storm on the loose sirens in my head


DOOM, narrowly averted. Remember, Mother Nature is always trying to kill you. If it's not asteroids, it's volcanoes; if it's not volcanoes, it's earthquakes; if it's not earthquakes, it's tsunamis. Disease, being eaten by wild animals or carnivorous fish, or just the implacable march of time: sooner or later, she's going to get you.

Walter Russell Meade: The crisis of young men is a crisis for us all.

While the markets obsess over Europe, China is on the brink. Tom Friedman is inconsolable.

Most of the unemployed have run out of benefits. (Via Truman North in the sidebar.)

A look inside the so-called “Super Committee”. It's pretty much what you expect.

Small businesses in Greece are being ruined as the catastrophe unfolds. I don’t know why this is surprising to anyone: small private businesses are always the most vulnerable parts of any economy. That’s why they’re good indicators of how well an economy is doing more generally.

The Euro: the case for the world's most hated currency.

So one week ago, I’m at a dinner in Amsterdam and, inevitably, the topic of Greece and the euro comes up. A Dutch book editor goes into a tart little diatribe about how outrageous it is for Greeks to have gladly taken massive loans yet now bristle at being forced to repay at least part of the money. I ask if she thinks Dutch people resent that. The Dutch, along with the Germans and other “responsible” northerners, are the likely ones to have to make up for whatever countries like Greece don’t pay. “Yes, we resent it,” she says. I pose what seems a logical followup: “Do you want out of the euro?” She and the Belgian translator across from her look stunned and reply in unison: “Of course not!”

Coming At You: "An Endless Series Of Hobgoblins, Most Of Them Imaginary".

Once the great goat rodeos and high melodrama (or, perhaps, farce) in which Washington excels die down the most likely result will be… nothing. Washington lives to preserve the status quo. It feels a need to theatricalize preserving that status quo by flamboyant gestures worthy of Tom Sawyer professing determination to mend his rascally ways. Not really.

Barry Ritholtz proves once again that he is a clueless tool. He tries mightily to exonerate the government as the Prime Mover behind the financial crash, in spite of the abundant evidence to the contrary. Yes, the banks deserve their share of the blame, as do improvident borrowers, but at the end of the day it was Leviathan who established the warped ecosystem in the first place. You will note that nowhere in Ritholtz's jeremiad is there a mention of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two entities at Ground Zero of the financial meltdown -- this alone shows what a partisan hack Ritholtz really is.

Tyler Cowen on Euro contagion.

Why Italy is now the focus of the Eurozone crisis.

The weakness in the housing sector continues: late mortgage payments on the rise again. Unexpectedly, of course.

More on that neo-Luddite view that we're automating ourselves out of jobs. This article is by one Martin Ford, whose book The Lights In the Tunnel I savaged a few weeks back in the Sunday book thread. I find a lot of this alarm at computerization and automation completely unpersuasive: the benefits of this kind of thing have outweighed the costs so far, and I have yet to see compelling evidence that this will change going forward.

Reasons to be bullish about the US Dollar. Upshot: everyone else sucks worse. We benefit from being the least boned.

Just a reminder: public-sector unions and retirees will fight any attempts at significant reform. Remember back when public servants actually existed to serve the public rather than leech off of them? ....yeah, me neither.

California? Yeah, they're still boned. Worse than ever.

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posted by Monty at 08:53 AM

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