"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

World News!

European Union
  • The European Union raised interest rates for the second time this year, bringing their benchmark interest rate to 1.5%, in an effort to slow above-target inflation.  The tightening was not seen as a surprise.
  • The state of Israel is - unofficially but actually - boycotting a senior UN official who wrote a report critical of the level of force used against pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
  • Hamas has arrested Adrian Barakat, a hairdresser, for violating a year old law making it a criminal offense for men to cut women's hair.
  • The Japanese plan to have nuclear safety tests has drawn criticism from citizens and local governments, who fear that the lack of a schedule and the fact that no unchecked plant may be restarted will cause rolling blackouts the continue through the year.
  • The United States and Mexico have finally settled disputes over the access of Mexican trucks to US highways.  Under the terms of the settlement, the US will institute a pilot program allowing the trucks access to do cross-border deliveries (but not deliveries inside the United States), and there will be electronic monitoring of the trucks to see how long they are in service.  In return, Mexico will lift multiple tariffs on US products.
United States
  • In "this is how freedom dies" news, the TSA has issued a warning that terrorists are considering surgically implanting explosives into people to avoid current screening methods.  There is no indication of any immediate plots, but this will most likely lead to new - more invasive - scanning procedures.
  • Treasury Secretary Geithner is reported to be meeting with a small team of Treasury officials to look for options to avoid default if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2.  Options said to have been discussed are whether the US Constitution would allow the President to ignore Congress and continue to issue debt, and whether the government has the legal authority to prioritize payments.
  • President Obama is set to meet with Republican congressional leaders today to resume budget talks.  The President is likely to offer to accept cuts in Social Security and Medicare in exchange for increased taxes.
  • That meeting may not go so well, given that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stated "I can tell you one thing, that we are united as Republicans to say now is not the time to raise taxes" while being interviewed on MSNBC this morning.

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