Initial unemployment claims dropped by 27,000 last week to 341,000. This is a number consistent with a steady recovery. There are indications that the housing market is moving up from the bottom. Home building has shown real signs of life. That was the goods news.
Bloomberg News is pushing hard on the rumor that Walmart's sales are collapsing as a result of the increase in FICA taxes workers must pay with the expiration of the Obama tax cut. This is a $1000 less spending money for a family making $50,000/year, this being slightly above the median family income. Walmart has been reporting declining revenue for a number of quarters, but they 'sort of' deny the Bloomberg story that is based on leaked Walmart internal email.
Walmart's woes have for some time been attributed to the shift of the every increasing mass of the working poor to a standard of living below Walmart pricing, this resulting in the boom of Dollar stores, food banks, charity thrift stores and such. Add to that the remaining middle class shifting back to their traditional retailers like Target. It's too early to tell if this is an actual economic problem as Bloomberg is making it out to be, or if this is just Walmart not being able to operate in urban markets. They can't dominate those retail markets with the sort of scorched earth policy that made them trillions in the more rural markets, where they simply eliminated all competitors.
Things in the EU are developing a potential ugly tinge with their decision to not rein in their predatory bankers. As I've pointed out in the past that the Euro has become nothing more than the new Deutschmark. Pretty much everybody else would be better off without the euro. Countries like Greece and Spain are simply being raped and looted, and the pain is spreading. At least one commentator that I respect is talking about WWIII being the end game of this mess in Europe. I think it's a bit early to say that with any certainty, but don't kid yourself that this can't happen.
The good news is that at least we have somebody in control of the nuclear football that isn't stupid, or a religious fanatic. Elections do matter. In case you haven't noticed, Obama hasn't stopped campaigning, the 2014 elections could well determine the fate of mankind. At least he grasps that, the rest of us had better as well. We aren't going to get a 'redo' on this. Waving tiny dinosaur arms in the air won't stop the asteroid once it's here. www.prairie2.com