As Congress works to pass an immoral bailout of corporatist gambling, activities continue across America. Demand for fuels was down again in August by about 4% versus last year. Of particular interest to me was the stockpiles of gasoline stockpiles: they’re down to the lowest level since 1990! This has gotten no play in the corporate media while House Dems capitulated on off-shore drilling: refineries were operating at only 67% of capacity. That’s correct: only fuel corporations have refineries operating at only 2/3s of their possible maximum. What’s the price of gasoline again? It’s still $3.50 a gallon? I don’t wonder why. Do you? Or more accurately, why does anyone still think that doing nothing about global warming will cost less than doing something? 150 platforms were destroyed since Aug. 2005. Here’s the ultimate laugher with respect to off-shore drilling: if platforms are being wrecked by moderately strong hurricanes, what incentive do fuel corporations have to build new ones? Let me complete things here: lack of refining capacity is what has held product from the market, not lack of drilling space. Even then, refineries aren’t operating where they should be. Opening up areas off-shore will not decrease the price of gas. Ever.
More people filed for jobless benefits last week than any time since Sep 2001. Unemployed people do not expand economies. Is anyone delusional enough to think that the $700 billion bailout will propel corporations to hire more people? They won’t. People will remain jobless, people will continue to lose their homes, which means the bailout will fail. That means our economy will be in terrible shape for quite some time to come. And Republicans will be only too happy to point their fingers at everyone else. Unfortunately, Democrats have left a golden opportunity to properly cast con-servative economic policies as immoral and insane.
Existing home sales fell again last month. They were down 10.7% compared to a year earlier. Banks are holding on to all their capital because every bank knows every other bank issued as much crappy debt as they did. No money flowing between banks means no money in the system. That brings the system to a screeching halt. If Congress were to send any portion of the $700 billion they’re handing over to mega-corporations to the citizenry, the wheels of our economy would receive a much needed boost of grease. Bush’s corporate cronies know they’re causing the system to collapse and they have the audacity to demand a bailout from Americans. Simply disgusting.
[Update]: MSNBC has an article up citing two of the above and adds a third: manufacturing orders plunged again last month. The same article says existing home sales were expected to fall only by 1%. That’s pretty damn far from the 10%+ actual drop. Good thing economists are more trusted than weather forecasters. I’d hate to see what would happen if economists were ever wrong…