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Bruce Enberg's Commentary

P2 is Bearish on Magic Beans

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Initial Unemployment Claims edged up slightly for the week, but are still near five year lows. Building contractors in some previously depressed areas are finding it impossible to keep up with the demand for new units. This is partly because of the unavailability of existing homes because underwater owners can't sell, and partly it's pent up demand that is being released by the improving economy.

 

All of a sudden we don't have an immediate debt crisis, at least according to some prominent Republicans in Congress. Basically they're admitting to having lied about the 'debt crisis', literally the day before the new talking points came out, because nothing has changed. A new Continuing Resolution has passed Congress that will take some things off the Sequester chopping block, it still requires the President's signature. Sounds like Obama is a brand new friend to some Republican Congressmen who suddenly don't care about the 'debt crisis!!!', as long as their pet projects get funding. Would this be a good place to insert one of those 'Obama playing chess' metaphors?

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 20:09 Read more...

There goes one! STOMP STOMP SQUISH

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The stock markets were down sharply today on the release of the last Federal Reserve Board minutes that suggest they are are losing their consensus on the continued printing of more money to plump up the bond markets. The Fed has been pumping out $85 billion a month in the effort to hold deflation at bay. The math on what they've been doing is that this is roughly equal to a quarter of the Federal government's budget. Not that the taxpayer is funding this, the Fed just prints it, or rather they move electrons around in some computers to buy bonds from rich people and institutions so that they can show a profit and reinvest.

 

The worry isn't over the fact that the Federal Reserve is doing this, the panic is over the idea is they might stop. You can't let go of the tiger's tail until he's really, really tired. A lot of people on the right think we're just annoying the tiger, if we would only let go he'll be a good kitty and lick our hand. Does kitty want sauce with his finger snacks?

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 22:46 Read more...

... and God changed his mind

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One of the big hits among the Super Bowl commercials was a Dodge truck spot that hardly showed the product or the company logo. Instead it showed nostalgic pictures of a bucolic American farm life while the late Paul Harvey laid on the platitudes like a 40 ton John Deere liquid manure wagon.

 

"...And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said I need a caretaker- So God made a Farmer". This speech was delivered by Harvey in 1978 at the behest of his Agri-business sponsors to a convention of high school students that belonged the FFA (Future Farmers). Few if any of the 1000 or so boys who were there that day, and would be now be about 50 years old, likely have farms.

Harvey, who was one of the most glib radio talkers ever, went on and on about what ridiculous hours farmers work, making it sound like they did it because it was the 'godly' thing to do, or the American way. The only reason they needed to literally work themselves to death was the extremely low prices the five dominant corporations enforced on the farmers.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 22:40 Read more...

The Sound of the Guns

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"The economy has collapsed! And it's Obama's fault!" That's the rightwing reaction to the 0.1% shrinking of the GDP in the 4th quarter, never mind that the year overall was pretty good considering the Republican agenda. The reality is that the GDP is being depressed by the loss of exports to Europe because of their idiotic austerity measures, and the reduction in military spending as the endless war on terror is finally coming to an end. That, and the Mitt Romney crowd's practice of closing down high tech factories and shipping them to China, - also the 'job creators who run corporate America are driving down wages.

The 'New Normal' of global warming, super storm Sandy, also had a significant impact on the GDP. And ironically, Obamacare has cut the amount of money draining into the insurance company/corporate hospital industrial complex. This also reduces the Gross Domestic Product.

Consumer confidence is down simply because nobody knows how to plan for the future when their job could disappear tomorrow in order to further line the pockets of people who can't even begin to spend the money they're making now. Not that the rich don't try, the super rich spend more on their lifestyles in a few months than the bulk of the Republican voting base can hope to make in a lifetime. Of course, the consequence of this is that as an ever increasing portion of our economy is sold to China, the more the rich need to squeeze from what's left to maintain the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 22:38 Read more...

Coming to your mailbox, economic recovery?

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Remember when the credit card offers came in your mail by the handful? Those days maybe about to return. Credit card debt backed securities (they call them bonds now) are now the hot investment with tens of billions being issued by the big banks. The reason these new bonds are so popular is that investors are suddenly seeing credit card debt as a safe again. In fact they are so popular that they aren't paying returns all that much better than government bonds that pay hardly anything at all.

The reason for this that's being given by the business news is that consumers are newly reliable since all the 'bad risk' accounts have already gone bankrupt since 2008. But that would have been true last year and the year before that. The reason consumer bankruptcies are now seen an acceptable risk is that prior to Obamacare coming online, fully two thirds of bankruptcy filings listed medical debt as the primary cause. Health insurance companies are now required to pay the bills with no annual or lifetime caps and rescission is prohibited. That's where you think you have insurance until you actually need it,  - half of medical debt driven bankruptcy filers had insurance.

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