The events of the day sometimes are so quick and confusing that one hardly knows whether to moan, cry, laugh or do a double-take. Here are some laughers and moaners. Thanks Blackie.
We don’t keep up much with the celebrity life in general but sometimes the news of the famous is so pervasive that it can’t be ignored. The new Duchess of Cambridge is sure a cutie. Never heard her say a word in the clips I saw but she seems accessible and she does have that Ipana smile that the movie stars would die for. May someday the happy couple rule over a peaceful and prosperous land.
I get very angry with the Fed and its policies for lots of reasons. Mostly because it is way too cozy with the current administration rather fulfilling its role as an independent banker to support the dollar, eliminate inflation and help with monetary policy to enhance job growth. We all need to remember that is not the Fed that creates Federal debt. That is done by our good pals in Congress and the President. Unfortunately the Fed has from time to time and especially the last couple of years been too much of a lap dog and supported the debt madness by buying the Treasuries. Rather than Congress refusing to raise the debt limit there could be another way to halt the increase–the Fed could refuse to buy the Treasuries to support the debt. They print the money to buy those and debase our currency and even Bernancke agrees that our real long-term threat is the debt and fiscal deficits. I wish we had a Fed strong enough to let the administration know they really didn’t plan on buying anymore. That would be a true test of the world’s market appetite for US debt if real lenders had to step in and support our debt. They would require pretty tough terms methinks and that would ultimately be a good thing for us. The spoiled child needs discipline.
Some say that size matters. Perhaps so sometimes. So does geography. Take a careful look at the map and you can see why the tempest in Syria is rife with much graver potential problems for the US. It borders with our allies, enemies and those that are a dark mirror. Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq all share a common border with Syria. Iran is only about 150 miles away at its northeastern terminus. It may not have any oil but it sits in the heart of a very volatile area. Just as with all the other Arab nations with uprisings we don’t have a clue if any new regime would be better or worse. We do know that Iran would love to have a complete client state in Syria. It almost has now but that influence could be even stronger if the revolutionaries wished it. A significant worry is also that Syria has a coastline with access to the Mediterranean Sea. Would be and future terrorists would love to have that kind of open ports to ship their terrorism across that ancient sea. Iran would have a perfect launch point for aggression against Israel who they have sworn to demolish. All and all, a very scary scenario is developing. Sadly and factually the history of Arab nations is not encouraging–just look back to Lawrence of Arabia and the high hopes he had for their democracy and how that never occurred. Things change but often remain the same.
Trick geography quiz. If you went due south from Dallas, Texas which South American countries would you encounter? Answer is none. You would actually end up going west of the Galapagos Islands by hundreds of miles. More than 1800 miles from the western coast of South America. South America is canted much farther east than most realize from the US.
Both Geithner and the Fed say they believe in a strong dollar. Yet neither has undertaken any policies that would strengthen the dollar. The dollar has dropped over 8% since the first of the year. That is a huge decline on a historical basis. Some argue that the weaker dollar helps with exports and that is true but, but, but, that is only a relative small part of the US economy. For the overwhelming majority of us that means everything we buy that is imported is much more expensive. These days that sadly means darn near everything. That weak dollar also is a direct contributor to the rising costs of oil and all our other commodities. The grocery store prices will continue to go up as long as the dollar is weak and is in fact devalued by printing even more of them. Of course a stronger dollar would imply that we are raising interest rates and finally getting our budget and debt under control. That will require some short-term to mid-term pain. That is the truth and our politicians need to tell us all that in an honest way. Of course that pain will be a lot less that the pain of economic collapse from the weight of our debt.
You have the fellow who exercises a bit and watches his diet and the other guy who believes a double cheeseburger is an appetizer, is a couch potato and is overweight by 100 pounds. Explain to me again the moral argument why the first one should be responsible for the medical expenses of the second for his diabetes and heart issues?
“A newspaper is always a weapon in somebody’s hands.” C. Cockburn British writer. www.olcranky.wordpress.com