Wolf Richter

Where the Heck is Ron Paul? A Media Boycott Heats Up

NPR’s report on tonight’s GOP debate covered about everything you can cover in a few minutes: Palin’s and Christie’s exit from the race; Cain’s from-the-outside strategy; Romney’s 25% ceiling; and Perry’s effort to make up ground he lost in the last three debates. But where the heck is Ron Paul? And it’s not just NPR.

The China Bubble Makes Contact with A Cactus

Bubbles go on much longer than a rational mind can fathom, especially bubbles that are supported by governments and central banks. Everyone benefits, so everyone (except for a few hapless shorts) pushes to keep them going. But when they burst, they wreak havoc. And in China, there are new ominous signs.

When False Premises Become Economic Policy

“A shame that we can’t see Japan because of the marine layer” is an old joke in San Francisco. The premise that the fog over the Pacific keeps you from seeing Japan is just as false as the premise that running up huge deficits and printing trillions of dollars can create a healthy economy. Yet, that’s the line propagated by the status-quo media and its economists.

Tokyo Tidbit: A Gruesome Bone Business

520,000 Japanese soldiers died in the Philippines during World War II. Years later, the Japanese government began to search for and repatriate their remains. The process worked well for decades, but then someone had the smart idea to outsource it.

Geithner: The Truth Could Cause Significant Damage

During his congressional testimony, Geithner fretted that the crisis in Europe could undermine confidence. Alas, bank stress tests were supposed to inspire confidence—yet one of the “safest” banks just collapsed. If inspiring confidence isn’t based on facts and transparency, it’s a con game.

Euro Tidbit: The Lies of ‘Stress Tests’

Bailed-out Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is kaput again and will be broken up. Bondholders and counterparties will be bailed out. As usual, taxpayers will foot the bill. But remember the “stress tests” in July?

Greece ‘Finds’ Treasure, Stays Solvent For Another Month

None of the financial shenanigans that the Greek government engages in on a routine basis, as shocking as they used to be, surprise anyone anymore … until there’s something that surprises everyone.

The Ugly World Of Auto Sales

The media giddily reported the September auto sales numbers—though there was little to be giddy about. They were still 20% lower than September 2006. Toyota and Honda got slammed, but don’t blame post-earthquake inventory shortages. They have been resolved. It’s a shift in the market.

Prying Into the Brain

A dream—or nightmare—yields to scientific progress: quantitative models recreate thoughts, and brain signals control mechanical devices. Yet, the brain is an unreliable organ that makes up for shortcomings in data with profuse creativity. It’s going to be a wild ride. And Google and Facebook will have a field day.

Japan is Running Out Of Butter

And now they blame it on the weather! Particularly the record heat that suffocated the country during the summer of 2010. Turns out, dairy cows are less fertile when it’s too hot, and that set in motion a chain reaction.