Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nightly No-Business Report

Wake up, wake up, c'mon, puppy!
The State of the Nation, econ-wise:

From MSNBC -- 1 in 2 Americans are now poor or low income:

WASHINGTON - Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.
"The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."
Is it really Amazon v. Apple? Via Barry Ritholtz:
If you invested $1,000 dollars into both companies in 1997, your Amazon investment would be worth $30,000 more than your Apple investment today.
As Barry sez, ginormous chart here (click to enlarge).

Okay, never bought stock in either, or Google. I guess I just don't like high-flyers! BTW, Apple stock was so far down in 1997 without Jobs that it was a long way back. Don't know what a difference that makes...

Martin Wolf explains how the UK is destroying itself:
I wrote a column on November 24 2011 entitled “Why cutting fiscal deficits is an assault on profits”. My point was summarised as follows: “If the government wishes to cut its deficits, other sectors must save less. The questions are ‘which ones’ and ‘how’. What the government has not admitted is that the only actors able to save less now are corporations. The government’s – not surprisingly, unstated – policy is to demolish corporate profits.”
 I like to read Martin Wolf. Not because he makes me feel good, mind you, but I like to hear something resembling the truth of the matter. His view rings true. Follow it here (free registration required).

Via Paul Krugman (quoting Kevin O'Rourke):
“So, we hear Ireland is recovering”, a French friend said to me last night.
(Mind you, they said something similar in the summer of 2010. Our government has an incentive to sell the Irish good news story, and “Europe” has an incentive to buy it.)
So, here are the latest employment data, reporting the largest seasonally adjusted quarterly fall in employment in two years, and which surely deserve a thread of their own. [boldface mine]
 The key to this story is that Ireland was another of the countries that had austerity forced on them by the EU Overlords. The Irish, in their humble acceptance of the fate as forever-cursed, have given in, thus protecting the banksters. How's that working out? Employment there is tanking, as it is everywhere in Austerityland. And why is it important to us? Hint: Europe is our 2nd largest trading partner.

Finally, just for fun, this is how Jon Corzine rulz:
 A House committee is expected to disclose on Thursday that MF Global, under Jon S. Corzine, stripped critical powers from its top executive in charge of controlling risk, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The move left the firm short-handed as it was grappling with the implications of its $6.3 billion position on European sovereign debt, a trade large enough to wipe out the firm if it soured.
 Happy economy, citizens! Join the Occupy Wall Street and be one of the 99%! Join the Tea Party and be, ah, what? (one of the 99%.) Don't tell the conservatives, they'll go ballistic!

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