Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Your tocsin of economic warning for this morning.

1.  The CBO now says that Obamacare subsidies will cost 29% more than previously estimated, or a whopping 244 billion over ten years.

2. California's 5 billion dollar budget windfall is an accounting anomaly, a mirage.  The money received earlier in the year was tax money people would have otherwise paid in April, which they sent in early to avoid possibly higher taxes this year.  Surprise, Jerry Brown and idiot voters, your tax increase won't solve your spending problems.

3.  European car registrations suffer their worst year on record!  Down 8.7% year over year, but I'm ok with that as long as I still get to watch new Top Gear episodes.

4. Freight shipment volumes plunge to their lowest level in two years.

Freight shipment volumes are rather obviously seasonal, but as Bloomberg Brief notes, the Cass Freight index shows shipment volumes have slumped for four consecutive months and are back to their worst levels in two years. This is the first year-over-year contraction since the 2007-2009 Great Recession - and places the reality of the dismal Q4 GDP print in context. If that wasn't enough good news about the real economy, the cyclicality of the shipments are losing momentum (i.e. each seasonal rebound in the last three years has been weaker - just as we saw in the lead up to 2008) and freight expenditures fell in January leading to a 1.6% drop over the last year - compared to a 27.2% rise in January 2011, and 22.2% rise in January 2012. As Cass noted, these volumes will not be enough to "have a significant impact on the unemployment numbers."

5.  Gas prices surge at the fastest pace in four years.  Now that the election is over, there is no need for the Democrats and their leader to hold back any longer.  Don't hold your breath on loosening up on drilling permits or the pipeline either.

6.  Walmart says February sales a total disaster.  If Walmart is getting killed, then who else is as well?

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