I just love this WSJ headline:
Zimbabwe Can’t Paper Over Its Million-Percent Inflation Anymore
Giesecke & Devrient — a secretive, family-owned
Bavarian company that once made its money churning out worthless cash
for the doomed Weimar Republic in the 1920s — has been airlifting tons
of blank notes to the Zimbabwean capital Harare. The company, which has
been doing business with the African nation since before Mr. Mugabe
took power in 1980, is one of the few sources in the world for the
specialized paper that is so important in an age when computers and
laser printers have made forgery easy.
Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier,
phoned Karsten Ottenberg, Giesecke & Devrient’s chief executive,
Tuesday to complain about the deliveries, according to a German
diplomat. On Friday, Germany’s development minister denounced the
company’s dealings with Zimbabwe as "terrible" and sent a fax demanding
that they stop.
David Leonhardt discusses a few items today which are regular discussion points here at TBP. My favorite lately is why the public is so much gloomier than the pundits: “Pundits have been scratching their heads about why the public mood is so grim. Last week, Barron’s called the drop in consumer confidence “difficult to figure.”…Read More
More straight talk from an old hand in the building sector:
"Billionaire investor Eli Broad said the U.S. economy is in the "worst period” of his adult life as a housing market recovery remains "several years” away.
"This is worse than any recession we’ve had since World War II,” Broad, 75, said in an interview yesterday. Broad, the founder of homebuilder KB Home, said the U.S. should avoid a depression on the scale of the 1930s because the country now has sufficient "safety nets.”
The economy expanded at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said last week. That caps the weakest six months of growth in five years. The U.S. lost 49,000 jobs in May, when the unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent, the fifth straight month with a drop in payrolls and the biggest jump in the jobless rate in more than two decades.
"This is the worst period of my adult lifetime,” Broad said, speaking about the U.S. economy. "I do not think things are going to get any better” before the next president takes office in January.
Check out that chart in the background — Ouch!
Broad Says Economy in Worst Slump Since World War II
Anthony Massucci and Erik Holm
Bloomberg, July 1 2008
“Housing optimists have systematically misjudged the market. Some became convinced that the huge runup was justified by fundamentals such as population growth, rising incomes, and land scarcity. And because sharp national housing price declines are so rare in U.S. history, analysts assumed that prices would, at worst, flatten out for a few years. What they…Read More