Week in review

Quote of the week

“The cozy old economic order — post World War II, with the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency — is passing, and things won’t ever go back to the long, lost ‘good old days.'” – Byron King

Home Prices Are Still Too High

by Peter D. Schiff

“Most economists concede that a lasting general recovery is unlikely without a recovery in the housing market. A marked increase in defaults and foreclosures from today’s already elevated levels could produce losses that overwhelm banks and trigger another, deeper financial crisis. Study after study has shown that defaults go up when falling prices put mortgage holders “underwater.” As a result, the trajectory of home prices has tremendous economic significance.” more…

Oil Juggernaut Unleashed

by Giordano Bruno

“Extreme oil prices pummel more than just our wallets; they also strike our cultural psyche. Those people who found a way to ignore the signs of economic collapse until now will discover that they cannot avoid the icy reality of the gas pump. When those digital dials spin past the $5 mark before pouring out even one gallon of unleaded, I suspect people will be generally pissed. This is why the establishment media is oozing with oil disinformation and demand rhetoric now. It is an attempt to ‘vaccinate’ the masses against inflation in the future; to redirect their anger towards a false cause and effect scenario.” more…

Getting Beyond the Anti-Earmark Crusade

by Tad DeHaven

“There just isn’t much difference between the activities funded via earmarking and the activities funded by standard bureaucratic processes. The means are different, but the ends are typically the same: federal taxpayers paying for parochial benefits that are properly the domain of state and local governments, or preferably, the private sector. As a federal taxpayer, I’m no better off if the U.S. Dept. of Transportation decides to fund a bridge in Alaska or if Alaska’s congressional delegation instructs the DOT to fund the bridge.” more…

Regulars

  • The Bain Report: Articles from Michigan.
  • Comics
  • Again, no failed banks this week.
  • Amazon Best Sellers: #1 Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand; #2 The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss; #3 Decision Points by George W. Bush

And now the numbers…

DOW Jones Industrials – 11,577.51 (+4.02/0.03%)
S&P 500 – 1,257.64 (+0.87/0.07%)
VIX – 17.75 (+1.28/7.77%)
CSI 300 (China) – 3,128.261 (-29.45/-0.93%)
BSE 500 (India) – 7,961.06 (+191.66/2.47%)
MICEX (Russia) – 1,687.99 (+3.47/0.21%)
BOVESPA (Brazil) – 69,304.812 (+818.851/1.20%)
Nikkei 225 (Japan) – 10,228.92 (-44.04/-0.43%)
RICI (Commodities) – 3,896.44 (+45.22/1.17%)
Gold/oz – 1,421.40 (+40.90/2.96%)
Silver/oz – 30.937 (+1.609/5.49%)
Copper/lb – 444.70 (+18.85/4.43%)
Oil/bbl (Brent) – 94.75 (+0.25/0.26%)
Wheat/bu (CBT) – 794.25 (+11.25/1.44%)
Corn/bu – 629.00 (+15.00/2.44%)
Rough Rice (CBOT) – 14.29 (+0.595/4.34%)
EUR-USD – 1.3384 (+0.0255/1.94%)
USD-JPY – 81.117 (-1.913/-2.30%)
USD-HKD – 7.7731 (-0.0066/-0.08%)
USD-BRL – 1.6613 (-0.03/-1.77%)
NZD-USD – 0.7802 (+0.0324/4.33%)
3 Month Treasury – 0.12 (-0.01/-7.69%)
2 Year Treasury – 0.59 (-0.07/-10.61%)
10 Year Treasury – 3.29 (-0.10/-2.95%)
30 Year Treasury – 4.33 (-0.14/-3.13%)
3 Month LIBOR – 0.30 (UNCHG)
U.S. Public Debt (official) – 13,871,130,353,817.40 (+12,600,982,216.30/0.09%)
Baltic Dry Index (BDIY:IND) – 1,773.00 (-22.00/-1.23%)

This was a very nice week. Not the type of week I would have expected, which would have been a quiet somewhat unproductive week. Instead, it was a highly productive week. Mostly on the work front. I won’t go into details there, but I got a lot done and I feel pretty good about it.

A friend sent a video “Goodbye 2010”, which features a puppet like Obama and Biden singing about their woes and wishing the year goodbye. It’s pretty funny. Check it out here.

And Wonderful Wife showed me another video last night. I think it’s kinda old, and you may have seen it, but it’s a newscast where this guy in the Detroit metro area is interviewed about a home invasion. Okay, so that’s pretty funny. Now here’s the remix. Freaking hilarious! “Hide your kids, hide your wife… you don’t have to come to confess, we’re looking for you, we’re gonna find you… you are really dumb, for real.”  Ha!

Of course all of that leads me to recall one of the best videos I saw all year – “Fear the Boom and Bust“, the Hayek versus Keynes rap. If you have not seen it, you must. If you have, see it again. If you follow it, it pretty much lays out the whole situation. Really I could just send a link out to it each week, but I won’t. “REAL SAVINGS COME FIRST!” That’s the truth.

Another link of interest is this set of links to 10 online survival manuals. You can download them in pdf format.

And without segue we get to the next topic. The New York City snow storm debacle. Or at least as Fox News presents the whole thing, it’s a debacle.

It reminds me of hurricane Katrina.  At least in principle.

Basically you have a natural phenomenon that is larger than expected and a city, whose ability to respond is pushed beyond the breaking point. People die and there is widespread outrage.

I see it as another example of a populace that is simply unprepared, both physically and psychologically, to deal with a situation where “essential” services break down. Whether this is a 72 hour emergency or the long emergency that many of us are preparing for, the fact is that we are surrounded by dependents.

That should be reason for pause. It’s a problem, and I’m not sure it’s a problem with a workable solution. Those who are dependents have made a choice to be so, and using your life force (i.e. time) to convince them otherwise is of questionable value. But the question does remain – should there be a problem – what then?

Sadly, as the Great Correction progresses we will see more and more of these types of failures, where municipalities, states, and even entire countries are unable to adequately confront emergent phenomena. Be prepared for that.

It’s the face of these things it is also healthy to redouble our skepticism of the state, which continually falls short and all the while promises a panacea to cure the world’s ills.

Finally, I want to recommend a book – Hamilton’s Curse by Thomas Di Lorenzo. He makes a solid case that the Jeffersonian tradition of limited government and individual rights is dead, and that the Hamiltonian system of central banking, corporate welfare, empire, and serfdom reigns supreme. Actually that’s pretty obvious, but the history of the whole thing is nicely summarized in about 200 pages.

And that’s ends the Volume 2010 of Week in Review. Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

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