Monday, January 28, 2013

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 01/28/13

It's time for another roundup of typically human tricks in finance.  BTW, if you're expecting a diatribe on Stolen Valor veterans, that's for another time and place.  Fighting fraud in the veterans' community isn't my only priority.  There's also plenty of fraud and stupidity in the finance community to keep me entertained.

The U.S. is angling for a big trade deal with the E.U.  Could this be the "grand bargain" we all heard so much about during tense moments in Washington?  Nah, this one's even grander.  It pits Europe's (read Germany's) desperation for revived exports against American farmers' hunger (pun intended) for continued protection.  I'd be very surprised to see a deal get done at Davos because most big shots are there to party, but if this is the U.S. negotiators' idea of a main effort then they probably aren't taking it seriously.  The farm lobby is more important to much of Washington than Europe's trade problems.

If Europe can't get a trade deal with the U.S., then by golly they can try for Latin America.  Chile is playing host to hopeful Euro-dealmakers and keeping its underclass out of sight.  The socioeconomic inequality might actually be a good thing for European leaders to see.  They'll be seeing more of it on their side of the Atlantic as their welfare state crumbles so it would be instructive to see what it takes to maintain stability in a plutocracy.

I'm disappointed that there may not be a U.S. government shutdown in March after all.  I was kind of hoping that the shock therapy of big spending cuts and worker furloughs would send the stock market tumbling, thus allowing me to buy in.  *Sigh.*  A sequester without a shutdown won't mean much because Congress will just postpone it again in another cosmetic deal.  Shutting things down for a couple of days would send a more serious message to the markets.

Investors who are drunk on the supposed housing recovery need to snap out of their daydreams. New home sales are down sharply, and the only people surprised were those who don't pay attention.  They'll keep dropping as long as banks are unwinding the foreclosure inventories they keep under wraps, lest regulators figure out they're insolvent.  These games of fake economic recoveries and phony sector growth get boring sometimes, so I'm glad I'm not playing.

I'll close today's sarcasm blast by welcoming the new readers I'll get who follow a certain Stolen Valor case. Hi folks!