Eve of the eve

December 30, 2012

135037688798109797_k1I1eOSF_bCrystal clear and covered in bright sunshine this early Sunday morning along California’s northern coast and on this extreme-last Sunday of 2012, the future beckons with skeletal fingers.
And we’re hanging by the short hairs: The accelerating cycles of capitalism’s creative disruption have reached a new velocity with the basic form known as stock trading. Sixty years ago, the average stock trade involved buying and holding a stock for four years. By 2000, that average holding period had shrunk to eight months. By 2008, it was two months. By 2011, it was 22 seconds. It would be even less now.

All of us 9 billion on earth are time travellers, but nowadays that timeline has accelerated beyond our comprehension, and laughing on the far side waiting for a future that’s already happened — watch the clock.

(Illustration found here).

Today is reportedly the “fiscal cliff” moment — sometime after 3 p.m., the most-worse Congress in US history will attempt to do something, and so it goes: The Senate is scheduled to convene Sunday at 1 p.m.; the House is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m.
And President Obama laid it square on the GOP this morning, saying on ‘Meet The Gregory‘ (oops, sorry, ‘Meet the Press‘ h/t Stephen Colbert) the only “…overriding, unifying theme” for Republicans is keeping taxes low for the wealthy.

A lot of the details of this “fiscal cliff” shit I just can’t understand, a lot of financial shit I can’t wrap any brain cells around for any length of time — a pure-ugly example: Derivatives — WTF?
Quick flashback: Those little things were the plugs undone for the 2008 going-down-the-drain financial fireball.
Last month, the New York Times updated the current wonderment of those dastardly, mind-boggling derivatives:

In the weeks ahead, federal regulators will finalize rules that, done right, will bring long-overdue transparency and oversight to the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market.
The big banks that control derivatives trading, however, are lobbying to dilute the rules.
To grasp what is at stake, recall that the $182 billion taxpayer bailout of American International Group during the financial crisis was essentially a bailout of the global financial system, undertaken to make good on derivatives bets gone spectacularly wrong.

The new rules, which are expected to take effect in January, could be delayed for six months to allow European and other international regulators to enact reforms that meet American standards.
But even then, American regulators must be required to stringently verify that foreign rules and enforcement are truly comparable to standards in the United States.
Otherwise, substituted compliance would be nothing more than disguised deregulation, and American taxpayers would remain exposed to future bailouts.

Bullshit muddled even further by disguised deregulation of sanity.

However, beyond all that Wall Street hyper-imaginative, dribble-lingo, this on the ‘cliff’ crisis is fairly easy to understand — from Bloomberg this morning:

Failure to address the expiring tax breaks, enacted under President George W. Bush, would mean heavier burdens on taxpayers during the coming filing season, on their regular paychecks and their 2013 tax bills.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington estimates the average effect per taxpayer at $3,446 for 2013 if Congress does nothing.
Any last-minute deal wasn’t expected to address a debt ceiling agreement, making the limit on U.S. borrowing authority the next major issue forcing a fiscal debate.
The government will hit the $16.4 trillion limit tomorrow, and the Treasury Department will begin using so-called extraordinary measures to finance about $200 billion of deficits into 2013.
That would typically be enough to last about two months.

Ain’t that some dumb-ass shit.
Reportedly, the whole freakin’ Congress was still in disarray this morning, spite-hating each other for creating this nasty shit-storm themselves and then finger-pointing at each other for blame and responsibility — lack of care and sense has allowed a double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts to not-bolster the economy, especially to the bottom 99 PERCENT.

And apparently the current US economy ain’t that strong, it ain’t weak, but it ain’t strong.
This Wednesday, the first quick look at the situation will come from the Institute for Supply Management’s nationwide survey of manufacturers, based on December’s data.
From MarketWatch this morning:

The index is a kind of canary in the coal mine.
Good manufacturing numbers typically signal or reflect a stronger economy; poor numbers show the opposite.
For the past few months, the ISM survey has floated around a level that suggests manufacturers are treading water.
They are still expanding, but at a snail’s pace.
Ditto for the U.S. economy.

Even T. Rowe-Price was also on the ditto in cold, financial terms (via BusinessInsider) for 2013: Recession risk low, but few visible engines for near-term acceleration.
Or, what a normal guy might call worse than ‘a snail’s pace.’

Time itself, however, seems to be moving way-way-faster than a snail. Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve, and on Tuesday we’ll ring in 2013 — all celebration to ensue will blur too quickly last January’s rush to a time-spot here this morning.
In compensation quickly added, this insightful look at Congress-critters’ ‘physical-day crisis’ from The Borowitz Report:

“We’re hearing a lot about the country plunging back into recession and millions of people being thrown out of work,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
“What we’re not hearing much about is how our Sunday is being completely and irrevocably ruined.”
Senator McConnell said that when President Obama called the Senate back to work on a budget deal this weekend, “At first I thought he was kidding. Not only have I never worked on a weekend, I’ve never met anyone who’s done such a damn fool thing.”
The Senate Minority Leader added that “if saving this country means working Saturday and Sunday, then I’m not sure this is a country worth saving.”

An early eve’s time in a nutshell.

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