"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's Going On This Morning?

Much of it is the "same old same old". The 85 billion euro Irish bailout isn't giving anyone in Europe any comfort. Sovereign bond investors are demanding an increasing premium to hold Spanish and Italian debt, because (in the words of Everett Brown, IDEAglobal European bond strategists) "Spain is almost too big to be bailed out whereas Italy is too big to be bailed out." Italian and Spanish bond yields are up, the euro is down, European equities are weak, and US Treasury prices are up.

North Korea Crazy [1] isn't making things any better as it announces construction of a uranium enrichment plant. But rest assured, the nation that shelled Yeongpyeong Island last week and then declared the US and South Korea to be "arch criminals disturbing peace and security" (for the crime of, y'know, calling Kim Jong-il a raging nutbar), will use it entirely for peaceful purposes. Oddly enough, their new mushroom cultivation technologies have not calmed anyone's concern.

Closer to home, the Street is watching with keen interest the "negotiations" between President Obama and the new Republican Congressional majority over whether or not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. The president wants to extend them for the middle class [2], as he feels that the loss of some $700 billion in tax revenue would have a negative impact on the Federal budget. Meanwhile the Republicans want to extend them for everyone and then cut spending [3] to prevent the negative impact on the Federal budget.

[1] "BANG! There It Is" still in the top 10 a week after release.
[2] No word yet on how "middle class" will be defined.
[3] No word yet on what actual spending they would cut. Except probably NPR, which they seem to believe is staffed by Nazis.

Articles cited:
Euro debt contagion keeps markets uneasy (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69K04L20101130)
DPRK says to actively develop nuclear capability for peaceful use (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/30/c_13628272.htm)
US-S. Korea Wholly to Blame for Escalated Tension and Danger of War (http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm)
New Mushroom Cultivation Technologies Developed (http://www.kcna.co.jp/index-e.htm)
Obama, Republicans in tax face-off at White House (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A44K020101130)

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