Friday, September 17, 2010

Two scoops of ice cream and an extra fuzzy puppy

Wall Street finished up a few points today to end the week in the black and the corporate news reported this like we all get ice cream and a new puppy. The fact is that the market is about where it was ten years ago.

Gold set another record today at 1274/oz and gold bugs are saying it will hit 1600/oz in two years. If you bought your gold ten years ago today at 272/oz you’ve done quite well netting a cool 1002/oz. Today’s price is still short of the high of  674/oz from thirty years ago today, when adjusted for inflation.

If you’re lucky your house is worth as much as you paid for it ten years ago, but if you bought it five years ago, Alan Greenspan sends his apologies (though he won’t be sending you a check for the difference).

The total number of jobs in the US is about where it was ten years ago despite the creation of a million new government and military jobs to fight the forever war that has just entered its tenth year.

There are three million fewer factory jobs than ten years ago, of course that doesn‘t really tell the whole story. Every lost job takes a number of other jobs with it and helps drive down the wages of those that remain. The tax base of every town and city has been driven down if they lose the jobs and their coffers looted when they pay some capitalist pirate to stay for a few more years. The off-shoring of jobs also allows corporations to dodge US taxes going from a third of Federal revenue in the fifties to around 5% today.

There was another small bit of good news to end  the week with the SEC voting in new rules to require banks and corporations to stop cooking the books like Lehman Brothers did by using so-called re-purchase agreements to hide billions of debt that they had no assets to cover. This scheme was a “legal” accounting maneuver where they would pretend to sell debt at a handsome profit right at the end of each quarter when in fact they were obligated to re-purchase the same debt at a loss the next week.

There is a small chance that President Obama may actually fix the economy by cracking down on the organized theft in the financial services “industry”. The theory would be that if they can’t just steal the money they might actually start rebuilding the US economy in order to make a legitimate profit. If that works, I’ll have two scoops of ice cream and an extra fuzzy puppy.