Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy Friday, All.  We only have about two or two-and-a-half inches of snow.  Some areas may have more.  We won't go anywhere today though we could if we had to.  The snow isn't at the immobilizing level.  On the garden front--all five of the lettuce seeds are up along with 3 cabbage, 2 spinach, and 2 kale.  Nice start.  I start the number of individual seeds I can comfortably put in my containers because I  would rather get transplants to replace those that don't sprout than discard healthy plants I can't find a place for.

Hope you are all having a good Saturday.  Ours should be nice and quiet.  Nothing much planned and nothing much that has to be done.  Let's see if there is anything I want to link to on the 'net.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed the totally inane coverage of the possible effects of the sequester?  Our wonderfully astute news media has reduced the whole mess to two dramatic effects: the reduces services of the TSA and FAA.  Job cut in both agencies would mean longer check-in lines at airports (fewer TSA agents) and more smaller airports with limited or no air traffic controllers (job cuts and furloughs at the FAA.)  Juxtaposed to that story was a snippet from the press conference the head of the FAA (I think it was) where a reporter asked why a cut of $1billion from a budget of $74 billion (a whopping 2%--oh, the horror!!) should be so catastrophic.  The bureaucrat bleated (rather shrilly) that it that was 'a lot of money.'  Yeah, but it is less than the hit ordinary Americans are taking from inflation (real inflation, not the BLS cooked statistics.)  We have seen gas prices here go up $0.50 in the last month $0.30 since the last time we filled up.  That, my friends, is an 18% hike.  Mom's insurance premiums have gone up by 100% not including the increase in the co-pays.  We haven't walked into the grocery store without seeing another price hike on something--often disguised because the price is the same but the amount is smaller.  Those all cut our budgets and by more than a measly 2%.  I have to wonder what kind of fantasyland those bureaucrats are living in.

Robert Reich has a good comment today.  It underlines an observation other writers have made over the last few years.  It also illustrates why Greece, Spain, and other countries are in deeper shit than they were at the beginning of the Great Recession.  Gross Domestic Product is a reflection of spending by the private sector (individual and corporate) and Government, and the differences between imports and exports.  Increases in GDP (that is, an expanding economy) reflect increases in one or more of those factors over any losses in those areas.  If people (and companies) aren't spending (or are reducing their spending) and government isn't spending (or is reducing its spending) and imports exceed exports your GDP will go down.  Well, DUH!!  Right now our half-bird-brained representatives are trying to drastically cut government spending but expecting that, magically, the economy will expand.

Josh Brown, The Reformed Broker, has this little historical parable and some very cogent lessons to draw from it.

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