Monday, January 12, 2009

Inauguration Approaches

So Obama's been elected and promptly declares the current economic crisis to be worse than he was originally led to believe. He plans the amazing-self-sizing fiscal stimulus package of roughly $800 billion dollars that, over the last 10 days, has promised to create 1.5, 2, 2.5, and now 4 million new jobs (all without the price tag changing at all). And have you noticed who is on his transition team, advising him on matters economic? Hmmm? People like Robert Rubin, disgraced chief of Citigroup who resigned over the weekend? And this is supposed to be the administration that will bring us "change". Uh, yeah, right. With friends like this, I fear the change that is coming.

For a little anecdote, the people of this country don't buy Obama's words much, from what I can read. Last week the BATF issued a notice to FFL holders allowing them to photocopy the existing form 4473, until more supplies could be made available. For those that don't know what a 4473 is, it is the form used to record the sale of a firearm from a dealer (Federal Firearms License - aka FFL holder) to a private citizen. In other words, firearms sales have been so brisk under the threat of an Obama administration that the BATF has run out of gun sale forms.

The price of oil hit a remarkable low today of $39 per barrel. This simply reinforces, to me, the scope of the economic collapse that is underway. Peak oil is real and oil supplies are definitely finite but economic collapse has been so swift and so widespread that it has reduced demand for oil below current supply levels. Thus far the data indicates that global demand has plummeted by over 3 million barrels per day in just the last few months of 2008. Given that further economic dislocation is a near certainty, we can expect further falls in global consumption. On the bright side, this leaves a bit more oil for use further in the future. I'm not going to hold my breath hoping that it's used wisely though. Homo sapiens doesn't seem to possess that trait.

Here at home I discovered something unusual. Crops in this part of the US are now growing through the nominal "winter" months. My strawberries, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts positively love the cooler temperatures compared to the heat of south Texas summers. We should have fresh cauliflower at the dinner table tonight, for example. It did get a wee bit too chilly for the pepper plants though so not everything is going to grow through December and January in south Texas.

Stoneleigh recently did a wonderful primer on The Special Relativity of Currencies. It's a must read piece and I highly recommend it. I don't have much more to say other than to answer one question I was asked, which was "Well, what does the beginning of a depression look like?" And my response was, "This is what the beginning of a depression looks like." The instant gratification generation apparently expects an instant depression. It won't work that way. The stock market crash in 1929 led to the bottom of the Great Depression in 1934 - five years later. We're only about 18 months into this mess right now and there's plenty more to come. So, as they used to say, "Don't touch that dial! There's more to come!"

2 comments:

Speedy said...

Hi,

If you don't mind, could you say a few words about how you think Texas will fare in the next 10-20 years with regard to the situation in Mexico? I have relatives there, and I worry that as Mexico's oil exports approach 0, combined with the geopolitical issues in the links below, that life in the states bordering Mexico could be chaotic. Does it strike you this way?

Thanks

The legitimacy of the government is being challenged in Mexico:
http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2009/01/mexicos-bazaar.html
If you don't believe it, look at this article about narcotraffickers using banners to communicate with the public in Monterrey:
http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/mexico/entries/2009/01/07/narcos_target_television_studi.html

Among top U.S. fears: A failed Mexican state
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/09/news/letter.php
"What do Pakistan and Mexico have in common? They figure in the nightmares of U.S. military planners trying to peer into the future and identify the next big threats. The two countries are mentioned in the same breath in a just-published study by the United States Joint Forces Command, whose jobs include providing an annual look into the future to prevent the U.S. military from being caught off guard by unexpected developments."

fallout11 said...

Welcome back Greyzone, good to see you posting again.