Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slightly better than guessing

In a recent poll, only 27% of Americans could correctly identify the Federal Reserve program known as Quantitative Easing or QE3, even given five answers to choose from. If you stop and consider the math, 20% should have gotten the right answer just by guessing. It's hard to believe an $85b a month program that's run up over a $3t balance is that unknown, but I'll bet far more people have watched the latest Miley Cyrus video than actually even care what QE3 is. 

So in that context, it was big news today that the Fed money printing program will continue full speed, and not be 'tapered'. The pundits sing the song of 'taper' between the regular Federal Reserve Board meetings, you can bet it will be the focus of 'very serious' news articles again tomorrow. So this non-news was credited with the stock market setting a new record even though QE3 has nothing to do stocks. Okay, in theory people buy more stocks with bond interest being so low, but the stock market is really a Ponzi scheme intended to suck money from your 401(k), and doesn't attract the kind of people who buy bonds. 

Apparently the 'smart people' caucus in the Senate is starting to hold sway on economic issues with the scuttling of Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers' yet to be announced nomination to be the next Fed Chairman. This puts the focus on the current vice-chairman Janet Yellon who everyone that doesn't want to revisit past economic disasters favors for the post. 

The House GOP is sending a laundry list of wack-a-doodle Tea Bag ideas over to the Senate tied to a bill increasing the debt ceiling. That would be the 'debt ceiling' that is flat unconstitutional, but that's something from the 14th amendment, and not found in the 2nd amendment, so it doesn't count.  Even without the 14th amendment, the House already appropriated the money and this was made into law, so Constitutionally the President is required to write the checks. 

Obama isn't even pretending that he will negotiate with the Tea Baggers this time, he'll be around another three years, their terms end in 13 & a half months. He can simply ignore the debt ceiling and let them take him to court. Most likely they'll make a lot of noise and then simply give him what he wants. The Right has become enamored with the manliness of Vladimir Putin lately, and that's what he did when negotiating with Obama, made some noise and completely gave in. I hope the Baggers don't start imitating Putin too much and start taking their shirts off. Twitter @BruceEnberg and there are no pictures of prairie2 anywhere, never ever







Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The numbers are what the number are

While the number of people killed by guns in the US is substantial, it really pales in comparison to the total deaths caused by an assortment of Right Wing policies. Lack of health insurance, cigarettes, contaminated food, work place hazards, childhood malnutrition, and there's more. Then we get into foreign policy, a million dead here and there from various wars & war like situations, not to mention such things as malnutrition and starvation in.... well in most parts of world to one degree or another. Then there's global warming that may kill 95% of all life if we take the Permian Extinction as a precedent. What is the point of trying to do the math in the end. It is the end after all. Do I see a pale horse?

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Smart Person in the room

The rightwing is pushing the nonsense that Obama has stumbled into yet another foreign policy success. How many times does this need to happen before they admit he actually knows what he's doing. This would probably be infinity times infinity to get close to the odds of that happening. In the current manifestation of impossibility a ruthless dictator whose clan has ruled Syria for 100s of years, and a former KGB agent who is known for assassinating anyone who threatens him are about to make a deal with Obama for everything Obama wanted. Obama, and more importantly the United States of America conceded nothing and will drop not a single bomb.

Pressed during an interview on a Sunday talk show about the 'budget crisis', Obama simply laughed at Speaker Boner's debt default threat. Obama is in charge and no matter what the beltway pundits say, he will prevail.

Larry Summers's nomination as Federal Reserve Chairman was scuttled by progressives in the Senate, (that's a phrase not heard since the 1930s). Does this mean that an actual competent economist like Janet Yellon will be the next Fed Chairman? It's too early to tell, but if the Progressive Caucus could kill the chances of an insider like Summers, it seems likely that they can make it happen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fed Chair

Larry Summers withdraws his name from consideration for Federal Reserve Chairman even though he wasn't formally proposed for the job? Caught on tape with a live boy or a dead girl? Something big for sure. Fortuitous circumstance for the nation just the same.