We’ve had an increase in the Initial Unemployment Claims number for the second straight week, and this may or maybe not bad news. It’s too early to get really worried about it, we’re still way below the 400,000 number that seems to indicate a failing economy these days.
The numbers are seasonally adjusted and thanks to global warming we had no winter to speak of, causing the normal spring spike in activity to start in January. Low winter heating bills put an average of $400 per family into the economy with twice that in the northeast. Unfortunately, high gasoline prices are taking it back again.
The far right is screaming about hyper-inflation again because of gas prices, and this totally wrong headed thinking is common among Federal Reserve Board members. This is what is spooking the stock market, that the Fed might start “fighting inflation”.
Fighting non-existent inflation would trigger deflation and a freefall crash of the markets. Improved sovereign bond sales in Europe did calm the market for awhile. Markets did resume sliding again today, so that wasn’t enough. Let’s be clear, it’s not about the jobs numbers. Wall Street doesn’t give a crap about how many people are unemployed, it‘s the Fed they care about.
Obama is gaining political traction with the proposed Buffet Rule that would force the rich to pay a minimum 30% tax on all income over $1 million (except on municipal bond interest). This would effectively double Mitt Romney’s taxes. His wife might need to get a job (just kidding, she can stay home and hand crank the car elevator to save money).