The deregulation of the financial system during the Clinton and George W. Bush regimes had the predictable result: financial concentration and reckless behavior. A handful of banks grew so large that financial authorities declared them “too big to fail.” Removed from market discipline, the banks became wards of the government requiring massive creation of new money by the Federal Reserve in order to support through the policy of Quantitative Easing the prices of financial instruments on the banks’ balance sheets and in order to finance at low interest rates trillion dollar federal budget deficits associated with the long recession caused by the financial crisis. Continue reading
GE Comment: It is high time that this asinine program be demolished. Like AGW and the carbon scare, the greens and sheeple were duped by corporate ag into believing that pouring topsoil, RoundUp and tractor fuels into the gas tanks on their Honda Accords would ‘save’ the planet. Facts are, indeed, stubborn things.
Ethanol producers are panicking amid speculation that the ethanol mandate could be drastically reduced or scrapped entirely this year as the biofuel loses its allure and bipartisan allies and former friends team up against it.
December saw California Democrat Dianne Feinstein—a renewable fuel champion–coordinate efforts with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn to come up with a Senate bill to get rid of ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), citing fears that corn-based fuel production mandates will harm livestock producers.
In November, Washington proposed cutting the biofuels mandate for 2014 by 16% to 15.21 billion gallons. This would be the first cut in biofuels requirements, which were ideally set to grow each year with incremental increases in renewable fuel targets laid out in a 2007 law.
For renewable fuel targets, this represents a major setback because not only is 15.21 billion gallons for 2014 much less than the originally intended 18.15 billion gallons, it is also less than this year’s mandate of 16.55 billion gallons.
Two years ago the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the E15 blend, which contains 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline, for vehicles manufactured in 2001 or later. There has been little progress towards widespread use of E15 though, and today’s blend is commonly E10. Continue reading
… Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor’s degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master’s is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone.
Studies show that people with four-year college degrees earn more money than those without over their lifetime, that they are more likely to find jobs and, once employed, are almost twice as likely to be selected for on-the-job training.
This has prompted a stampede through college and university gates.
But studies are like photographs: They record the past. They say nothing about the clear and present danger that the bachelor’s degree is losing value… via Bachelor’s degree: Has it lost its edge and its value? – CSMonitor.com.
…The real driver of obesity in this nation is the volume of food available. As a nation we produce too much food and it’s cheap. Recently, food costs have risen, but we still spent less than 10% of our total income on food, down from 23% in the late 1920s.
If food were not so inexpensive there wouldn’t be a restaurant chain on every corner and there wouldn’t be 99 cent value meals. Because raw food costs are low, restaurants can offer more food at lower prices. We are enticed to super-size or buy a value meal, even when we don’t need all that extra food. We can get endless beverage refills, so we drink more. As a nation, we are super-sizing ourselves…via HealthNewsDigest.com.
In late 2008, when silver was massacred in the futures pit and saw its price fall from over $20 to under $10, I told my readers at that time that silver entered into a “reverse bubble.” I know it sounds odd, but let me re-visit the concept. Continue reading
Today billionaire Eric Sprott told King World News that a staggering 500 million ounces of paper silver traded hands during the takedown in the metals this week. Eric Sprott, Chairman of Sprott Asset Management, had this to say about what took place the day of the plunge in gold and silver: “I can only imagine it’s the same forces that for the last twelve years have been at work in the gold market, trying to keep the volatility very large on the downside. As you are aware, we hardly ever get days when you get an intraday $100 rise in gold. When we look back at what happened (on Wednesday) we saw huge sell orders in gold and silver.”
“When I look at the silver market in particular, in a 30 minute span we had sellers of 225 million equivalent paper ounces, in a market that in one year the silver miners only produce 800 million ounces. So again, it’s the paper markets overwhelming the physical market. It’s stunning to me that on a day like Feb. 29th we traded 500 million ounces of silver. No rational person could believe it had anything to do with the real market for silver.... Continue reading
Since 1994, the consumer price of apparel, in real terms, has fallen by 39 percent. “It is now possible to buy clothing, long a high-priced and valuable commodity, by the pound, for prices comparable to cheap agricultural products,” notes Juliet Schor. Cheapness — and the decline in durability that has accompanied it — has triggered an astonishing increase in the amount of clothing we buy. In the mid-1990s, the average American bought 28 items of clothing a year. Today, we buy 59 items. We also throw away an average of 83 pounds of textiles per person, mostly discarded apparel, each year.