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The Ship is Sinking
Thursday, 04 March 2010 06:24
by Stephen P. Pizzo

So, imagine this scenario:

You and your family are sailing along on one of those giant-ass cruise ships and the thing starts to sink. A check below decks confirms there are a number of good-sized holes in the hull and water is rushing in. You run to the bridge to report what you’ve just seen only to discover the captain and his officers engaged in furious arguments. I say arguments, plural, since it was just that, as raised voices caste blame while others argued over whether the situation was really as serious as others said it was. Meanwhile you knew it was serious. You’d seen it with your own eyes and all you wanted was for some in authority to do something about it. This puppy’s sinking unless someone does something about it, and fast.

Yep. That would be the ship of state, the USS of A. The list of known holes in her hull is long and getting longer.

But, while the officers in the pilot house do nothing but yell, down here in the salon, the music plays on. We’re told not to worry, that the financial bailout of banks and Wall Street prevented us from sinking. The situation has “stabilized,” so, enjoy your meal, go shopping. It’s over. Move along. Nothing here to see.

Hogwash. If you believe any of that, I have default swap wrapped in freshly minted derivatives, topped with a package of sub-prime home loans to sell ya.

Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.

Let me count just the holes in the hull I can recall just off the top of my head:

- $70 trillion in un-funded obligations (SSI, Medicare, retirement funds etc)

- A crumbling 1900’s infrastructure, crumbling at just moment other nations are building a 21st century infrastructure

- A failing system of public education

- A failing (some would say failed) health delivery system

- Runaway climate change

- Peak Oil

- Two wars costing us a few billion a month, which we have to borrow from the Chinese.

- A financial sector so focused on producing obscenely huge short-term profits by gaming the system they no longer produce anything real or useful to anyone but themselves.

- A political system so corrupted by campaign funding from those gaming the system they refuse to pass the tough laws required to prevent further bubble/bust, bubble/bust cycles.

- An industrial base gutted by out-sourcing

- Out of control trade deficits sparked by a lust for cheap goods, once produced here, but now produced elsewhere. (See Outsources above)

- State and local governments in fiscal crisis... getting worse by the month.

- And a two-party political system that has outlived it’s useful life, and which now survives purely for the purpose of protecting those invested in preserving the status quo and winning re-election.

And that last one brings us full circle, back to the pilot house with captain and crew engaged in utterly useless debate as the ship sinks with all aboard.

See below for more on this uplifting tale in the article that follows.

Economy Watch: Three indicators spell trouble for the recovery

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 28, 2010; G01

There is an old joke in journalism that if three of anything happens, you've got a trend story, no matter how vaguely tied together the three things may be.

In economics, however, three data points can tell you something. Consider three events last week:

-- On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that January new-home sales dropped 11.2 percent from December, plunging to their lowest level in nearly 50 years.

-- On Tuesday, the Conference Board reported that February consumer confidence fell sharply from January, driven down by the survey's "present situation index" -- how confident consumers feel right now -- which hit its lowest mark since the 1983 recession. On Friday, the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey also showed a falloff from January to February.

-- On Thursday, the government's report on new jobless claims filed during the previous week shot up 22,000, which was exactly opposite of what economists predicted. Forecasters expected new jobless claims to drop by about 20,000.

Taken together, what do these reports tell us?

 Read More here.
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