Obama Seeking Aid for Jobless in Deal on Tax Cuts – The Obama administration is holding out for an extension of unemployment assistance and of a variety of expiring tax breaks for low-wage and middle-income workers as part of a deal with Congressional Republicans to extend all the Bush-era tax cuts. In a symbolic nod to President Obama’s pledge to let the tax cuts on upper-income brackets expire on Dec. 31, as scheduled by law, the House on Thursday approved a bill to continue the lower tax rates enacted during the Bush administration for Americans they described as “middle class.” The vote was 234 to 188, with three Republicans joining 231 Democrats in favor; 20 Democrats and 168 Republicans were opposed. The bill, however, has no chance of passage in the Senate, where even some Democrats say the tax cuts should be extended for everyone, at least temporarily, given the continued weakness in the economy.
Thursday Thrust – Just Buy the F’ing Dips! – It’s very sad when you can get your best financial advice from cartoon characters. I apologize for the language but this video pretty much says it all. As the man in green says: "Buy the f’ing dip, you f’ing idiot." That’s the entirety of the market strategy we are being trained like Pavlov’s dogs to follow. Also as the man says "Now, don’t forget this only works if you go out and tell all your friends and family to do the same. That way, when they are buying more expensively than you, you can sell back to them and collect your money." Of course it’s a Ponzi scheme but it’s a gigantic, legal one and the best thing about it is that the Government FORCES everyone to play so you never run out of suckers. When there is a lack of actual new sucker/investors to put money in, the Government steps in with stimulus or buys equities (QE1) or buy Treasuries from the banks so they can have free capital to buy equities with (QE2). They debase the currency and drive inflation higher while talking it up even more so and virtually penalizing people for saving money and not shopping. In this way, the US Government places a tax on every single citizen through a systemic devaluation of their lifetime accumulation of wealth as well as unfavorable savings and inflation conditions that are aimed to force money into equities and commodities.
China to Tighten its Monetary Policy Next Year China will tighten monetary policy next year, the country’s Communist Party leadership said Friday, signaling the world’s second-largest economy will likely slow down in the coming months to combat inflation and settle into a more sustainable pace of growth. The announcement by the nine-member Politburo, which was made through the state New China News Agency, said China would shift to a "prudent" monetary policy from a "moderately loose" approach. The decision comes after two years of unprecedented bank lending has flooded the economy with excess liquidity. Easy credit is being blamed for real estate prices that have doubled and tripled in some of China’s leading cities in recent years. Led by soaring food prices, the country’s inflation rate hit a 25-month high in October and is expected to have risen even more in November.
Merk Commentary: Pragmatic ECB Squares the Circle – Whatever it Takes – The one thing worse than a fire in a building is a fire in a building when emergency exits are bolted shut: a panic in the market is exacerbated when liquidity dries up. It appears the European Central Bank (ECB) embraces this view: in today’s press conference by ECB head Trichet, he re-iterated a number of times that non-standard measures are there to permit appropriate transmission of standard measures. In plain English, this means that whatever emergency support is given to the market is a) temporary in nature and b) designed to allow monetary policy and thus economies to function. Some observers are disappointed that the ECB "only" announced an extension of its full allotment refinancing facilities until Q1/2011. However, that’s incorrect: Trichet went out of his way to state that the ECB will do "whatever it takes" without using those words: the measures taken will be "commensurate to what we observe any time to what we see as disruption." Policy will be "back to functioning normally when we are back to normal functioning." When asked specifically whether the ECB would do whatever it takes, he indicated there is no limit on the the bond purchase program (Securities Market Program, SMP), although he emphasized that any bond purchases are always sterilized.
UN Climate Conference: Global Warming Could Double Food Prices — Even if we stopped spewing global warming gases today, the world would face a steady rise in food prices this century. But on our current emissions path, climate change becomes the "threat multiplier" that could double grain prices by 2050 and leave millions more children malnourished, global food experts reported Wednesday. Beyond 2050, when climate scientists project temperatures might rise to as much as 6.4 degrees C (11.5 degrees F) over 20th century levels, the planet grows "gloomy" for agriculture, said senior research fellow Gerald Nelson of the International Food Policy Research Institute. The specialists of the authoritative, Washington-based IFPRI said they fed 15 scenarios of population and income growth into supercomputer models of climate and found that "climate change worsens future human well-being, especially among the world’s poorest people." Change apparently already is under way. Returning from northern India, agricultural scientist Andrew Jarvis said wheat farmers there were finding warming was maturing their crops too quickly.
Arizona Cuts Financing for Transplant Patients – Even physicians with decades of experience telling patients that their lives are nearing an end are having difficulty discussing a potentially fatal condition that has arisen in Arizona: Death by budget cut. Effective at the beginning of October, Arizona stopped financing certain transplant operations under the state’s version of Medicaid. Many doctors say the decision amounts to a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them. “The most difficult discussions are those that involve patients who had been on the donor list for a year or more and now we have to tell them they’re not on the list anymore,”
Elizabeth Warren: Consumer Bureau Must Fight For Survival – Elizabeth Warren pressed consumer advocates to fight on behalf of the newly created consumer protection bureaus she’s heading up, warning that it is not yet established like popular cousins such as the Federal Aviation Administration, Food and Drug Administration or Consumer Product Safety Commission. "When was the last time you heard a friend or colleague–Republican, Democrat, libertarian, or vegetarian–complain that the Federal Aviation Administration should do less to prevent plane crashes?" she said. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she said, has to fight its way to that solid position. "American families have the agency they need, but they may have to fight for its survival."