Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Curiously Consistent Socialist Rhetoric from Undisputable Non-Socialists

Whether unfairly or not, inaccurately or not, given the fact that Obama and his administration have been labeled a bunch of socialists, you would think that they would be smart enough to studiously avoid references to "Mao", "reeducation", "controlling the people", etc. but you would be wrong. Next up, Tim Geithner talking about from each according to his ability to each according to his need?

Wall Street Wants It's Freedom Back

This is too funny. (Reagan?) Of course, most of us here on Wall Street know that super-rich dudes like Loeb don't really want the policies that Democrats peddle, they only want to be Democrats so that you know they care. In other words, whereas Republicans hate their RINOs, Democrats love their DINOs - they want Democrats who talk the talk but won't upset their sweet apple cart. Wall Street is waking up to the fact that Obama ain't no DINO. The fact that he is clueless about business doesn't help either. I have many friends and associates just like Loeb and I have been telling them not to cry to me - they made their bed. Still, they won't learn, they'll still stick with the Dems in order to move in the best social circles, but they might be a little more circumspect about buying Dems that stay bought in future.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What DID You Expect Pelosi To Say

Of course she is. "Shut Up!" is the liberal answer to just about everything.

Campus Speech Codes = Hey Anybody Not Towing the Campus Lefty Line, Shut Up
Fairness Doctrine = Hey Talk Radio, Shut Up
McCain-Feingold = Hey Self-Funded Candidates, Shut Up
Disclose Act = Hey Corporations, Shut Up
Suing Arizona = Hey Border States, Shut Up
Gulf Drilling Moratorium = Hey Oil Industry, Shut Up
Journolist Pushes Tagging Barnes, Limbaugh et al. as racists = Hey Obama Opponents, Shut Up
Obama Saying "I Won." = Hey Republicans, Shut Up
"We have to pass this bill to see what's in it." = Hey, You People Interested In Deliberating Over Major Legislation, Shut Up

and now we have Hey Ground Zero Mosque Opponents, Shut Up!
So, what is new and/or shocking about this??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Together Now...


...and this is pretty ugly too, causing the market to swoon at just about 10am when it came out.

...and yet more ugliness.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Boy Named Stagflation

Scott Grannis deftly points out (and minces no words) that the conventional theory of inflation is taking a beating. That is not the only theory that has taken a beating in recent times. Those that obsess over "aggregate demand" have discredited themselves as a trillion dollars of spending has done nothing to have "aggregate demand" come to the rescue of the unemployed. I have described for you what happens when these two erroneous theories get together (and you add a little populist, anti-business rhetoric as lubricant). The offspring is called "stagflation." We have it and the remedy is tight money and pro-growth tax cuts and deregulation. We have the exact opposite right now...in the absence of a change of course expect this baby to grow into one obnoxious youth. Buy inflation-hedging stocks, like resources and big metal things. Avoid bonds and too much cash.

UPDATE: David Branchflower agrees, tax cuts are our best chance right now.

Bill Gross Is Losing His Mind


“To suggest that there’s a large place for private financing in the future of housing finance is unrealistic,” Gross said today at a U.S. Treasury Department conference in Washington. “Government is part of our future. We need a government balance sheet. To suggest that the private market come back in is simply impractical. It won’t work.”

This is pure bonkers. Lending to credit-worthy homebuyers was a safe and profitable business for US banks for over a hundred years before the government got involved (that whole "credit-worthy" thing was the problem). It can be again, easily, we just have to get the government completely out.

I'm Still Self-Back Patting...But I Have a Serious Point

Well folks, eighteen months after I called the start of the Obama meltdown, Politico (hardly right-wingers) is saying he's done, that America has moved on.

I don't have the time to make some penetrating social commentary about how a society where people get married and divorced within months chooses its leaders, but I don't even think that is the proper analysis. OK, maybe a little. I mean, sure, we should be more discerning when giving out the tremendously powerful office of President, but I think it was just a brain fart. Hopefully, as the world grows more dangerous, our prosperity languishes, and we start to tangibly lose our liberties, we'll learn a lesson or two and start to be more discerning with our votes and more circumspect in choosing our leaders. It's hard to say at this point, but if four years of Obama heightens our seriousness as a nation and raises our collective decision-making, enduring it may turn out to be worth it in the long run.

While the US Idles...Finding Energy Aplenty Abroad

This week has seen some extraordinary news on the energy exploration front:
- Shitload of gas found off Brazil (15T cubic feet is massive)
- A couple of finds off of Western Australia...one and two
- The first find off of Eastern Africa

Lightworker Steps In Poop...Again

President Obama continues to, metaphorically speaking, step in small piles of poop. Coming hot on the heels of Michelle Obama's Marie Antoinette escapade and his Ground Zero mosque flub, he is now causing citizens major inconvenience - not with important work mind you, but by attending a fundraiser. People keep insisting this guy is smart. It all depends on what your version of smart is. Harvard-educated, suavely articulate, glib and authoritative sounding, and totally out to lunch on the basic shit. Do you mean that kind of smart?

UPDATE: Numbers 1, 4, 5, 6 and 10 here about sum up Obama for me. Number 6 is worth a cut and paste:
6. It's good for Muslims to build the GZM in New York, but not for Jews to build apartments in Jerusalem. Go figure.

UPPDATE: OK, Glenn Reynolds said what I really meant to say..."I’m actually still waiting for the evidence of that whole smart-as-a-whip thing." Yeah, me too.

Monday, August 16, 2010

...But Don't Call Them Death Panels

No Sir. Because that's what Sarah Palin called them and we know she is an idiot and everything she says is wrong and laughable...

Stocks Are Bound Up In Politics

Remember what I said: Obama & Pelosicrats down = stocks up, Obama & Pelosicrats up = stocks down. Stocks are grinding upward in the face of lackluster economic data. What could be driving them higher? Maybe it the spike in Intrade's odds that the Republicans will take the House of Representatives in November. Like Mark Perry, I have no idea why the spike, but I believe it is highly relevant to stock prices.

On another note, Brian Wesbury points out the head fake that GDP might be giving us - robust consumer spending on imports actually makes GDP look worse, although the robust spending can hardly be negative. It is worth remembering that onerous compliance and regulatory burdens are a true cost, and when we layer on too many of these costs, imports of identical goods become more competitive instantly. If we cause compliance costs to rise more than the cost of transporting the imported substitute, then we hand the substitute an advantage. The foreign currency exchange rate doesn't have to change at all to tip the balance of competitive advantage in favor of imports over domestically produced goods. Add in an adverse foreign currency exchange rate move and it's a double whammy against US-made goods. That's what the Pelosicrats and Dear Leader are giving us - 4,000 pages of new regulations and a sinking dollar as the world gets hip to our fiscal recklessness - so we can expect imports to play an increasing role. The good news is that this obscures the good news in the economy providing a buying opportunity for those who can envision a new era of economic policy launching within the next few years.

Gates Makes It Official

In April I said that SecDef Gates wants out. Now, he is out. He is doing the right thing by giving such advance notice - staying on to smooth the transition, but clearly getting out under the half-way point of the Obama-administration, which was a must for a Bush holdover.

NOAA Fakes Temperature Data

Government lying about global warming gets funny. Hey, this could cure Michigan's economy woes. New tourist sites: hot springs!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Who Woulda Thunk It?

I don't understand...I mean, after all...Biden was in charge!?!?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Speculating on the Economic Cavalry

Economist and Dean of Columbia Business School Glenn Hubbard writes from time to time on the Op-ed pages of the WSJ, as he did just the other day. It's a good column that merits attention based on the substance, but it merits attention for another reason as well. It could very well represent the thoughts of a man who might turn out to be the most powerful economist of the next decade and constitute the basis of America's economic revival.

Follow me here. Obamanomics has put the economy into a stall and a ditch. As I have said, there is nothing that can revitalize this economy save unabashedly pro-growth policies and this President will not deliver them. It is up to the next President. Who will that be? Well, I believe that the essence of American voters' desires come campaign time will hue more or less to this: "doesn't have to be a rock star, we just need somebody that knows what the f**k they are doing." The overwhelming concern will remain the economy and jobs. Who, out of the current prospective field will have the greatest claim to credibility on the economy? I've told you who and there is some evidence that things are looking up. Who served as a Romney advisor during the last campaign? Hubbard. Obamacare is also a sore spot with Americans and intelligent reform of this beast will be both an attractive campaign focus as well as a high legislative priority. Who wrote a book outlining a comprehensive vision for healthcare reform based on free-market principles? Hubbard. Who is ambitious and was palpably miffed when Ben Bernanke got the job he wanted? Hubbard. Conclusion: in a Romney White House it is virtually a lock that Hubbard would be offered either CEA Chairman or Treasury Secretary. If this happens and a Romney administration can implement a "shock and awe" economic revitalization successfully, he'll get a second term in 2016 and Hubbard can stay as long as he likes, do what he wants and have eight years to place his stamp on US economic policy. That is alot of influence.

Another economist to watch is John Taylor. Paul Ryan's star is on the rise and his fiscal roadmap stands a good chance of becoming the congressional Republicans' defining policy stance. Who has jumped in to defend it in the face of the inevitable attacks from the left? Taylor. Who knows a thing or two about monetary policy? Um, yeah. Who has served in the government before and is civic-minded enough to do it again? Talyor. Look for Taylor to take over for Bernanke in a Romney administration.

Get Me Charlie Rangel On the Horn!!

Charlie Rangel was in high dudgeon way back when poor, inner-city, minority youth were the ones fighting and dying in Iraq rather than the sons of rich white people - so much so that he wanted to reintroduce the draft. Well, now that the DOJ is complicit in denying military personnel their voting rights, this is a perfect time for Ole' Charlie to come to the aid of those poor, inner-city minority youth who populate our military. What say you Charlie?

Kudos to Some Compadres

Congrats to the fellas over at Say Anything. #47. Impressive.

In honor of them I will note that the Bakken rig count is approaching its all-time high. They are drilling in North Dakota, baby!! Wow, bringing the nation much needed alternative media and much needed glorious hydrocarbon energy supplies!! Great folks up there in ND.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Anti-War Zealotry Becomes Foreign Policy Malfeasance

This represents a complete failure on our part:

Iraq: Iran Provides Rebuilding Assistance
August 12, 2010
The Iraqi Ministry of Reconstruction and Housing signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s new ambassador to Baghdad pledging support for rebuilding Iraq, AKnews reported on Aug. 12. Iran will assist Iraq in building roads, bridges and housing complexes and will encourage its companies to invest in Iraq, minister Bayan Diayi said. Iran will also hold advanced training courses for Iraqi engineers and experts. He said trade and economic ties will be strengthened and memorandums of understanding were signed with several major Iranian companies.

Didn't like the war? Great. Bully for you. But it's over now and Iraq is an emergent democracy and a vital country in a volatile part of the world. The United States of America ought to be their best damn friend in the world. Short of that, they'll just meld on in with the other sh*t shows in the region and become part of the typical scenery. Anti-war zealotry has become foreign policy malfeasance.

The Backlash Grows

Here's an easy prediction: there will be many more Michael Merlinas in the years to come. Thousands of individual lawsuits will flood the court system to oppose healthcare insurance purchase mandates. Some will emanate from economic hardship and some will emanate from a desire to protect and preserve personal liberty. If something doesn't happen to reverse course, I suspect that yours truly will join the ranks of the Michael Merlinas, although I wille be from the latter camp.

Texas Defends Its Economic Interests

Good for them. Gosh, Federalism seems to breaking out all over...from immigration (AZ) to healthcare (MO) to energy policy (TX)!! I wonder why that is?

Fool Us Once, Shame On Us

Fouad Ajami: "There is a widespread sense of unstated embarrassment that a political majority, if only for a moment, fell for the promise of an untested redeemer—a belief alien to the temperament of this so practical and sober a nation." (HT: Carpe Diem)

Ajami gets it. As I have said many many times, the big story of our day (and the question that historians will struggle with) is not that Obama has failed and will ultimately fail, but that we expected anything less. Fool us once, well, you can see the result all around us. Fool us twice, well, that is a much much more serious problem...

UPDATE: and on a semi-related note, there is more class and decency on display here than the current occupant of the White House can ever hope to have. I agree with the sentiment expressed in the post's title.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bernanke Drives Nail into Obama's Coffin

While the Fed may have given the Treasury a gift yesterday, as Brian Wesbury notes, it has driven a nail in Barack Obama's coffin. A much weaker dollar and inflation are now baked in the cake, which will lead to an economic environment that Barack Obama will not survive. Imports, principally oil and gasoline, will become more expensive in dollar terms and we'll now get that $4 gas price that I have predicted along with its consequences for those in power. Inflation will rear its ugly head again, which, as Scott Grannis points out, dampens investment in productivity enhancing technologies. Manufacturing and capital investment has been a bright spot so far in these meager recovery, but these areas will now likely slow down. Add in those two massive exercises in micro-management that the Pelosicrats have given us, and we have some very thick, nasty mud in which to get mired down in economically. There are no more incremental steps left that can possibly improve the economic outlook, a "shock and awe" revitalization effort is needed that includes tax cuts, strong dollar policy, deregulation, substantially less government spending, and repeal/reform of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. And it won't be coming from Barack Obama. Therefore I conclude he is cooked. As the economy stagnates, I predict his approval ratings will sink into the 30s, just as he has to face the voters again in 2012.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Talking Head vs. Nobelist??

CNBC host Marc Haines doesn't think that letting the Bush tax cuts expire will hurt the economy. For one thing, that would put him at odds with Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Mundell. We'll see. My money is on Mundell.

After Rats Leave, the Ship Still Likely to Sink

Paul Rahe, no amateur observer of the political scene, puts Christina Romer's departure in context. I should have commented further since I have been saying she should go for some time. Anyway, Rahe clearly thinks what is happening is #2 on the world famous NBfPB Obama Unravel Path. I do too, naturally. The conspicuous avoidance of Obama on the campaign trail is further evidence. My very early call on businesses essentially hiding out in the face of a war on business launched by the Obama administration and the Democrats is now officially accepted thinking, and I don't see much room for improvement - nobody in business thinks Obama and the Pelosicrats are going to wake up one morning, understand the consequences of their destructive policy and shrill rhetoric, and reverse course. So businesses will stay hunkered down and wait it out until new cards are dealt in Novemeber, although I would caution not to see November as a sufficient event regardless of what happens. Even if the Republicans make significant gains, the nation will have only stopped the momentum of destructive policy (any maybe not even then, as it depends on what kind of Republicans take over). We need to turn back and go a good distance the other way on economic policy before we see any robust improvement. For that, we may need to wait until Obama is history. I don't see an Obama White House working constructively with a Republican House and/or Senate to move back toward freer markets and smaller, less onerous government. So we could have two years of a muted gridlock that, while welcome, is still overshadowed by another looming all-important election, that of 2012.

Monday, August 09, 2010

How To Avoid Printing Money

An Instapundit reader asks how do we get out of our fiscal mess without printing money, and the good professor poses this as a challenge.

I have my doubts that we can do it, but it would look like this:

1) First, on discretionary spending, do this.

2) On revenue, allow unrestricted drilling for oil and gas in US waters and impose competitive royalties.

3) Sell all, non-essential federally-owned land.

4) On entitlements, means test out the richest citizens, say over $5 million in net worth. Allow the middle class to completely opt out, a) from Social Security in exchange for complete capital gains tax forgiveness on IRA and 401K distributions, and b) from Medicare in exchange for expanded Health Savings Accounts.

That's it. It is actaully relatively easy from a numbers perspective, but next to impossible from a political perspective.

Get Used to 10%+ Unemployment

I highlighted CFO Magazine's consensus view: no hiring. Now a small-businessman hits the pages of the WSJ to say, "Me neither."

Unless government decides to pull back - seriously pull back - from the beach head it has established in the economy over the last four years, then unemployment is going nowhere. Headline of 10% but underlying of 15%+ for years. That is a national tragedy, and it didn't have to be.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit, I see that the folks at Vanity Fair have adopted the 'Gulliver-tied-down-by-Lilliputian-strings' motif to describe Obama's failures. And the folks at Reason rightly use this to point out the disconnected cluelessness of the elites. Of course it is not Obama that has been tied down. Obama has operated unfettered and as a result the economy has been lashed down into stagnancy. But you knew this, because you are a normal sensible person and not a clueless elite and because the most brilliant blogger operating in the blogosphere brought you this analysis complete with Swiftian analogy this time last year. But the folks in the Conde Nast Tower, predictably, do not.

UPPDATE: CEOs pessimistic too.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Sam Palmisano Trumps Nancy Pelosi

Did I say something about major American companies being more creditworthy than the US federal government? Why yes, I did.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Just Keep Saying It: Most Intelligent President Ever

Exhibit 47B on why the Obama's are dreadful at PR, or the "optics" as PR folks call them. Gosh, you'd think that such putatively smart people would know not to do this kind of stuff, just like you'd think that smart people would know that if you never shut up, people stop listening to what you have to say.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Romer Is Gone...Takes a Shot on the Way Out?

I've been beating the dead horse...Christina Romer has trashed her own credibility and has become an embarrassment. If it was the politics, she should have resigned long ago. And now she has.

Liberals Don't Get It, Barack Obama is To Sarah Palin As...

Michael Wolff laments that our system of presidential politics, that is designed to weed out the odd-balls, has broken down and is now letting Sarah Palin gain some traction. Pretty standard stuff from the likes of Wolff, but he obviously can't see what is staring us all, but not him, in the face: Barack Obama set the precedent for our system breaking down. Indeed, our system of presidential campaigning is designed to keep out the odd-balls. It's also designed to weed out the incompetents, the fringe dwellers and the thin resumes, yet it broke down spectacularly with the election of Barack Obama, a liberal fringe dweller despite the smooth veneer, with no resume whatsoever and no record of doing anything productive or notable. Barack Obama proved that anybody can be President of the United States, yes in the good way that inspires little black children but also the in the bad way, that any old person, whether possessing merit or not, can attain the highest office in the land. We might as well have elected Joe the Plumber or ... Sarah Palin. There has never been a person less qualified occupying the Oval Office than Barack Obama. He broke the system and liberals like Wolff now lament that it is broken and people like Palin can walk through it's shattered gates. Sorry Wolffie, if we have to deal with your odd-balls, nuts and inexperienced boobs, you have to deal with ours.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I try to avoid profanity on this blog...it's unbecoming...but I just can't help it with this a**hole in the White House. You don't distribute the keys, you arrogant MF, we, the voters, distribute the damn keys.

Chinese Throw Another Warning to US Pols

The Chinese are clearing their throats again over US deficits and debt. I guess, like me, they don't think that lending Nancy Pelosi ten year money at 3% is safe.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Safest Chinese Coal Mine?

Sir Lawrence is wondering if Tim Geithner is the most business-friendly member of the Obama administration. The answer, of course, is yes, but that is like saying "safest Chinese coal mine" (not safe at all). Despite that title, you wouldn't want to work there.