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November 16, 2011

DOOM: A slight burning sensation

DOOOOM

The so-called "Super Comittee" will fail, and markets will crash....? Maybe. Congress has a long and sordid history of waiting until the last minute to pretend that they did something while actually just deferring the problem to a future Congress. At some point this game must end, of course. We shall see.

Every province in China is Greece.

Larry Lang, chair professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said in a lecture that he didn’t think was being recorded that the Chinese regime is in a serious economic crisis—on the brink of bankruptcy. In his memorable formulation: every province in China is Greece.
Emphasis mine. And the emphasized part is why I’m inclined to believe it.

Europe already in recession...

...and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

Detroit: the headsman’s axe falls in April.

Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council have said the solution lies in getting major concessions from reluctant labor unions and reducing the city's skyrocketing costs for retirees.

I predict that the unions will fight any cuts bitterly. Ultimately, and as always, it’ll be the taxpayer who gets screwed -- in one way or another. And while this story is about Detroit, it could just as easily be about a thousand other towns and cities in this country.


Are we really lazy, as His Majesty intimates, or do our tax and regulation regimes drive businesses away?

The answer to increasing economic prosperity is not to figure out new ways to divide the pie; the answer is to make the whole pie bigger. But our current Emperor obviously is not keen on this idea; he prefers class warfare and a suffocating regulatory state. You'd think that after three years of abject failure he'd be open to some new ideas but...not so much.

Congress needs an insider-trading law. I was faintly surprised to discover that there wasn't one already. (Only "faintly" because the first imperative of lawmakers is to both protect and enrich themselves.)

Are you ready for a repeat of the 2008 meltdown? Take my advice: hope for the best but plan for the worst. Our government (and the Eurozone, and China, and...) has been using wishful-thinking as their operative plan ever since Obama took office, and we can see where that's gotten us. (On the other hand: this prediction is by the notorious Phil Angelides, who completely ignored the role Fannie and Freddie played in the 2008 crisis, so I'm not sure how concerned I should be.)

As the Eurozone falls apart in exactly the way many of us predicted more than a decade ago, Teh Krugman re-writes history to move the blame off of his beloved liberal welfare-state policies.

In his piece Mr Krugman also makes the astonishing claim that the doomed European Project was originally “cheered” by American conservatives but “questioned” by US liberals:

"The attempt to create a common European currency was one of those ideas that cut across the usual ideological lines. It was cheered on by American right-wingers, who saw it as the next best thing to a revived gold standard, and by Britain’s left, which saw it as a big step toward a social-democratic Europe. But it was opposed by British conservatives, who also saw it as a step toward a social-democratic Europe. And it was questioned by American liberals, who worried — rightly, I’d say (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) — about what would happen if countries couldn’t use monetary and fiscal policy to fight recessions."

I don’t recall “American right-wingers” cheering on the rise of the single currency, and the growth of a European superstate. Quite the opposite, in fact. British-style Euroscepticism has always been fashionable among US conservatives who have long admired Lady Thatcher’s views on Europe, but mocked and derided by the State Department and by the Left. American liberals in contrast have long been among the biggest supporters of the European Project. Witness the fawning Eurofederalism of the Obama administration as well as bastions of the ruling liberal elites such as The New York Times. Krugman is rewriting history now that the European model, beloved by East Coast liberals, is going down in flames.

I certainly was never a fan of the Euro project, and subsequent events have amply confirmed my skepticism. (This reminds me of that saying that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is always an orphan.)

Dr. Gloom's reform trilogy.

Rhode Island's meltdown continues. Vanguard or outlier? We'll see. (Also, WRM is catching DOOM fee-vah: "Because of its small size, inbred political system and collusive relationships between irresponsible union and political officials, Rhode Island is reaching the end of the road faster than many other places — but Rhode Island and its cities are not alone on the highway to doom." My new DOOM-cult grows acolytes apace.)

UPDATE 1: Via AllenG: we can add Fort Worth to the members' waiting-list for the LOTB.

UPDATE 2: Crippled by debt, European economy has slowed almost to a stop.

-----

The dreaded Couch Vampire attacks his next unlucky victim.


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posted by Monty at 08:44 AM

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