At the risk of sounding like a runaway Neocon, we will try for the major “bullet points” today.
CPI: Spend it Quick
While it still has purchasing power.
With “free money” being dispensed, what did you think would happen? Just out from Labor Statistics:
“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The March 1- month increase was the largest rise since a 0.6-percent increase in August 2012. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.”
Here’s the handy chart of where the pain’s been most – and least:
Gasoline up 22.5%? We have to score the story CBS-MoneyWatch story “Is cheap gas driving the oil industry broke?” a miss! Unless you’re in the petrol biz, right? Fuzzing up sheep-think is what PR’s all about…
Color us skeptical of low inflation outlooks – and waiting for additional developments and disclosures. Please keep in mind:
- We will continue to need to raise taxes to make the Nation’s books balance.
- Slow Joe’s coming corporate tax increases will not only encourage corporations to go back “offshore” – as they were prior to the Dec. 20, 2017 corporate tax reductions. They will also reduce some of the corporate hiring. And that’s after you’ve already got your nuts installed in the “household budget vise.” Ouchy 1.
- Raising the personal income tax is cleverly worded so as to make it appear it will only be painful for “the rich.” Thing is, over time due to compounding of debt, and inflation, the definition of “Rich” will be anyone not already broke. Ouchy 2.
- All of which will be happening about the time the second macro wave of Covid variants is sweeping the country. Fauci Ouchy 3.
All enacted by the left-wing coup d’ tat behind their razor wire. A legit government would represent the People, not coward before them; armed and stupid. Which leads to what kind of outcomes?
NFIB – Optimism?
Yes – BUT….
Let’s begin with a couple of quotes off the NFIB website here:
“The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.4 points in March to 98.2. March’s reading is the first return to the average historical reading since last November. The NFIB Uncertainty Index increased six points to 81, which was primarily driven by owners being more uncertain about whether it is a good time to expand their business and make capital expenditures in the coming months.”
Then some of the “talking points.”
- Seven of the 10 Index components improved and three declined.
- Sales expectations over the next three months improved eight points to a net 0% of owners, a historically low level.
- Earnings trends over the past three months declined four points to a net negative 15%.
The problem with analysis is that more than 90-percent of people take numbers like these at face value. That’s OK, but misleading.
Here’s what most people don’t understand:
Say you have an economy a year ago. Call that 100%.
Then come lockdowns. Economy drops 20% to run at 80%.
How much do things need to improve in order to return to 100%?
The correct answer is 25%. If 80 percent increased only 20 percent, the economy would only return to 96%. Asymmetry is a hard thing to keep in mind. Point is, on the (for now) recovery side of things, expect to see “increase percentages” that may be larger than “decrease percentages.” It’s how numbers work.
Does Ukraine Have Nukes?
Occasionally, “hardback history” is worth its weight in cryptos.
This flies in the face of DigitalNuThink – which acts as though “History doesn’t matter – times are moving so fast…” But, that’s digital egoism run amuck.
1990 in the Motherland: The Former Soviet Union (FSU) had fallen and the Soviet military was broke. No one paid soldiers. Guards simply stopped showing up for work.
Problem is? “Work” included guarding nuclear weapon storage areas. There were plenty of rumors at the time.
September 1997 the definitive (public) study came out in the book One Point Safe. Written by Leslie and Andrew Cockburn. They recount some of the allegation. Even now there are rumors from time-to-time that it was in this period when Osama bin Laden and former Soviet buffer-state governments may have gotten their hands on some of the unguarded warheads.
From the Amazon book summary:
“When the Soviet Union collapsed, the cold war may have come to an end. But the deadly Soviet nuclear arsenal–thousands of warheads and hundreds of tons of plutonium–continues to sit virtually unguarded, presenting the world with a new and even more terrifying nuclear threat. And it’s not just criminals, extremists, or terrorists who are now in a position to place us all at risk.”
How might this related to present day events?
Ukraine Teeters on War
There are rumors – among the Ukrainian immigrant community to the U.S. which have been reliably passed along to us – that some nukes were acquired by Ukraine.
Which is terribly disturbing when we look at some of the headlines coming out of eastern Ukraine today:
- “Ukraine border: As Russia masses its troops President Zelensky heads to the trenches.“
- “NATO vows to support Ukraine, warns Russia on troop buildup.“
- And the Russian assessment of Biden administration foreign policy as a weak joke shines through “Rhetoric Builds Over Ukraine Tensions With Blinken in Europe.“
Sometimes, marketing matters. Especially around linguistics. Despite qualifications, the Russians believe we will be blinken at any crisis. See what Blinken infers??
If the U.S. response is not sufficient, or fast enough, for Ukrainians who seem determined to seize Russia’s only warm-water port, we fear the chance – however small – that the Ukrainians might confirm those rumors in the immigrant community about nukes.
Kindling a Nuke War
My consigliere raised an interesting point – surrounding these old nukes. The really large ones that may have disappeared would need to be periodically serviced. Because some of the exotics in bomb-making are not “long shelf-life” products.
Neither Tritium H3 or Deuterium H2 is available from Amazon.
Tritium, says Wikipedia, “… has several different experimentally determined values of its half-life, the National Institute of Standards and Technology lists 4,500 ± 8 days (12.32 ± 0.02 years).”
Unless you have tritium laying around, odds of a 10-year (or in this case 22-year old) unserviced H-bomb going into fusion are low. On the other hand, even an H-bombs conventional uranium or plutonium “primer” will still make a Hiroshima or Nagasaki sized mess.
It’s here we get into the “kindling aspect.”
If the Ukrainians let loose even a single Hiroshima-sized weapon, then NATO and Russia could use it as an excuse to go “weapons free.”
The mushrooms going up could then spread. Because of missing nukes from the 1989-1991 era. And because of a linguistic problem (Blinken).
To “message Putin” (which is blowing off Blinken and Ukraine) perhaps someone with a name like “Trigger” or “Bull” might have a BETTER chance of success.
However, in order for stability to return to the region, Ukraine would need to be put on a short leash and STFU about taking Russia’s only warm water port away from them…
BUT, since they are not…
Say, is this crime or sabotage? Russia Detains Two After Huge St. Petersburg Fire. Probably crime, but in today’s world?
Two Things to Consider
The first is whether the government power structure in Ukraine might be secretly wanting to use those rumored and long-lost nukes?
The other – as we come up on the Nostradamus hot date (Easter) for this to possibly blow (Orthodox, not European Easter is May 2) – is to observe how China is playing it.
If the Chinese were staying “in their lane” and being a good trading partner, the odds of a larger game afoot would be low.
But, consider what they’re peddling in headlines: “Taiwan Unveils New Naval Warship as China Encroaches on Island’s Air Defense Zone.”
Behind the (red) curtain, though, China is already forcing us to burn through critical inventory as reports increase of a “Tough road ahead for U.S. firms trying to cut reliance on Taiwan chipmakers.”
Here, all these years, we thought having a pre-computer car might be insurance against EMP. When a simple chip shortage could force us all back into Carter and Holley carbs with no computers…
We laughingly wonder if mechanical distributors and classic “carbs” might outperform even cryptos?
Which will go to zero when the follow-on EMP (global time out shots) are taken.
Sheesh, full of cheer, this morning, ain’t we?
In the Shorts
Any sign of global awakening and sanity breaking out overnight? See for Ure-self:
J&J Jabs on hold: FDA temporarily halts use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to rare blood clotting issues. Anything an aspirin couldn’t handle?
Has the NY Times invented “Pre-emptive Joepologism?” Inflation Is Expected to Rise, but Don’t Be Alarmed. WTF? Of COURSE be alarmed! Weimar dawns over ‘Merica, fer cryin out loud! Am I the only one who does grocery shopping?
Religious break for some: Muslims Start Ramadan Under The Shadow Of The Coronavirus.
ATR (Around the ranch)
Busy week at the old hacienda: Son George II is being recruited by a couple of agencies. One wants him for his Covid incident management skills. But forest fire agencies want him for attack lines and Covid control on forest fires.
I’m lobbying for the latter – obviously because he could base out of Texas for the forest fire lines. His call, though
FedEx Surprise! LOOB sent us a marvelous gift: Some of his “Prescription Rum” and some “Prescription Elderberry Wine.”
Topping it off is an exotic tomato which will be planted first thing this morning. Made the trip safely. Pictures when I get to it for Thursday. Meantime, LOOB is warned “No good deed goes unpunished…”
Clock ticking: A bit more than a month until Elaine’s second hip surgery comes up. Working like a mad man around here trying to get everything done on the various punch lists before then.
Markets 40-minutes out: Dow futures down 65, Tech futures up 58. Which means (since the tech index is cheaper) that in Aggregate terms, a rally at the open may be ahead.
Write when you get rich,