Friday, February 10, 2006

Our World Today

Ever have those days when you really don’t want look at the news, cause you just know all of it is going to be bad? Well, I peaked anyway. Here are a few of the headlines that caught my attention today. What a world we live in….

The New York Times is reporting that the United States trade deficit has widened to a record $726 billion in 2005:

Hitting its fourth consecutive annual record, the gap between exports and imports reached almost twice the level of 2001. It was driven by strong consumer demand for foreign goods and soaring energy prices that added tens of billions of dollars to the nation's bill for imported oil. The nation last had a trade surplus, of $12.4 billion, in 1975.
Many economists say this situation is unsustainable over the long run, arguing that the United States could eventually face a harsh correction that would depress spending, increase the cost of borrowing and sharply lower the value of the dollar.
Over all, the deficit jumped nearly 18 percent in 2005 compared with the previous year. Excluding oil and other petroleum products, the trade gap grew by 10 percent.
And with oil prices rising again, said Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst for the MG Financial Group in New York, "we can expect to see worse numbers to come."

NewKerala is reporting that the US Bond yield curve has fully inverted—A clear sign the US economy is headed for recession

Feb. 10: The U.S. bond market sent a powerful signal Friday that the nation's economy is headed for a recession.The interest rates payable on government debt securities typically are higher on longer-maturity securities, as a way to reward investors for letting the government have access to their money for a longer time period.But Friday afternoon the interest rates payable on government debt securities that mature from 6 months to 10 years exceeded the interest rates payable on 30-year government debt securities.

Atlanta Constitution reports on U.S. debt and states there is no rescue from this fiscal quicksand:

Under the president's $2.77 trillion budget for fiscal 2007, federal expenditures would exceed revenue by $354 billion — a figure that includes $50 billion in costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and leave unbroken the string of big budget deficits during the Bush administration, a troubling feat this deep into an economic expansion.

The red ink will push total federal debt to almost $9.3 trillion, increase the drag of interest payments and make it even more difficult to address long-term fiscal problems. Inevitably, the Bush policies will force consumer interest rates higher, putting home ownership out of the reach of many citizens.

"All reasonable simulations indicate that the problem is too big to be solved by economic growth alone or by making modest changes to existing spending and tax policies," Walker, head of the Government Accountability Office, warned a year ago.

Howe Street suggests the American Empire has entered its decadent phase

Americans are sacrificing plenty for their country: they sacrifice savings for big houses they cant really afford; they sacrifice health care and decent wages for jobs at Wal-Mart.

The Exodus of power and money from West to East continues. Today's press tells us that the Indian automobile company, Tata Motors, saw its profits rise 46% in the latest period. And the World Bank expects China's economy to grow three times as fast as the United States in 2006.
But in the homeland, U.S.-based automakers are laying off 60,000 workers, cutting salaries, and struggling to stay in business.

Houses are still selling for more than they are worth and so are stocks. Consumers are still spending money they don't have. The world's richest and most powerful empire is still borrowing from poor people in poor countries. And the former chairman of America's central bank is getting $250,000 for attending a fancy dinner in Manhattan.

Reuters reports that a US judge has rejected a motion to throw out Fannie Mae case (guess well be hearing much more about this soon)

District of Columbia U.S. District Judge Richard Leon is expected to set dates for trials and pretrial proceedings at a hearing on February 23. On that same day, sources said on Friday, Fannie Mae could release a report from a former U.S. senator hired by the company to probe its multibillion-dollar accounting problems.

Investigations continue into accounting problems at Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored housing enterprise. Problems identified so far are expected to result in an earnings restatement of as much as $11 billion.

Delta Airlines is heading for another showdown and possible Pilot Strike

The pilots union at Delta Air Lines has opened a strike center as the struggling carrier heads toward yet another showdown with pilots over pay cuts and contract changes.

Also, the union says Delta this week told leaders that it expects to terminate the pilot pension plan and asked the union not to oppose the move in bankruptcy court. Termination wouldn't stop benefits payouts but could cut them significantly for many pilots

We're really getting to a point where it is highly probable that the contract will be rejected, and if we do not have a contract, we will strike," Moak said at the union's new 10,000-square-foot strike center in East Point. He added that the union is "preparing for the worst case."

MSNBC is reporting: Easy Al is making life difficult for the Helicopter man

Poor Ben Bernanke.. He barely has time to settle into his big leather chair at the Federal Reserve, and there goes former Chairman Alan Greenspan, whispering into the ear of Wall Street high-rollers and sending financial markets into a tizzy

Washington Post reports that Muslims' Fury Rages Unabated Over Cartoons

Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East after weekly prayers on Friday, burning Danish flags and shouting anti-Danish and anti-American slogans in a continuing convulsion of anger over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
Demonstrators marched in at least 12 countries -- Kenya, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Israel and Jordan -- as the global wave of protests, spurred by a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting Islam's holiest figure and the reprinting of those cartoons in newspapers in other countries, headed toward a second consecutive weekend.

Massive trade deficits, growing debt, corporate scandal (Fannie Mae), inverted yield curve, Union Problems, Decadent empire and Muslim anger… I doubt if the news will get better anytime soon

Best regards


Out at the peak said...

When you break down the trade deficit per person, it is $2448 each! To me that's a scarier number than the total. For a household of four, they are responsible (on average) for $9792 of 2005's deficit.

I imagine it will surpass $10K this year. Once Yuan is fairly valuated, this trend will change, but will have painful consequences.

41cadillac said...

Imbalance or abnormality is never so dangerous as when it is widely perceived or accepted as being normal.

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