Monday, February 25, 2013

Today's links

1---S&P 500 Falls Most Since November Amid Italy Elections, Bloomberg

2---Krugman on austerity, economists view

.....austerity hasn’t even achieved the minimal goal of reducing debt burdens. And because austerity policies haven’t been offset by expansionary policies elsewhere, the European economy as a whole ... is back in recession...
Given all of this, one might have expected some reconsideration and soul-searching on the part of European officials, some hints of flexibility. Instead, however, top officials have become even more insistent that austerity is the one true path. ...
3---Social counterrevolution in Greece, wsws

In 2010, the social democratic PASOK regime in Greece imposed the first of five austerity programmes. Its aim was nothing less than to turn back the clock of history by reducing the working class to levels of poverty not witnessed in decades. These attacks were carried out to the letter according to the dictates of the troika—the International Monetary Fund, European Union (EU) and European Central Bank—acting on behalf of international finance capital and the Greek ruling elite.

Within the space of three years, a social counter-revolution has taken place. Mass unemployment now exists, with many others classed as part of the “working poor”, unable to meet their basic needs. People face the real prospect of starvation, relying on soup kitchens and general food distribution programmes to eat, with the Church of Greece alone distributing approximately 250,000 daily rations. There are regular reports of children fainting in school due to low calorie intake. The level of homelessness in Greece now unofficially stands at 40,000.

Public health care is near collapse, and basic provision is either no longer available or unaffordable for millions. Half of all Greece’s unemployed have no health insurance. The Medical Society of Athens, the largest professional body of its kind, recently described the situation in Greece as a “humanitarian crisis”, and sent a formal letter to the United Nations asking for it to intervene.

4---Bernanke’s Stimulus Spurring U.S. Employment in Housing, Bloomberg

5--- The Obama sellout, American Prospect

President Obama has explicitly offered cuts in Social Security and Medicare if the Republicans will go along with higher taxes. For those who oppose cuts to these programs, the generous view of this maneuver is that he knows that the Republicans won’t budge on taxes; by offering a compromise, he is simply making them look unreasonable. The less generous view is that he is actually willing to make cuts in these programs, sharing the view of Washington Post-centrist types that seniors are living too high on the hog.
While the odds are against a “grand bargain” that couples tax increases with cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, it remains a possibility. However, it’s more likely that President Obama and Congress will agree to some scaled-down version of the sequester... This will have the deficit hawks yelling and screaming, but that would be the best plausible outcome from the standpoint of the economy. ...
6--The Euro Depression, VOX

7--There is no housing bubble in Southern California, scpr

8---Sequester to spearhead historic assault on US social programs, wsws

9---Leveraged loan market on fire, sober look

10--The Fed to face challenges as it ultimately exits the unprecedented monetary expansion, sober look

11---Is the US facing a housing shortage, sober look

12---2 Big Bailouts, oc housing

13---Fed Exit Strategy a Work in Progress, WSJ

14--The Rise of finance, WSJ

The graph above shows that the financial industry now makes roughly half of all nonfarm corporate profits in the U.S., a share which has risen five-fold since the end of World War II.

15---MBS Market Wrong on QE3 Timing, Analysts Contend, WSJ

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