Wolf Richter

Massive Mission Creep In War On Syria (Already!)

An American attack on Syria would just be a punitive action for the gruesome gas attacks. “Regime change” wouldn’t be part of it. That was the idea. Now the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Obama to wage war on Syria, but amendments suddenly set new goals – smack-dab in the middle of a distant lala-land.

The Big Shift: Chinese, Russians Replace People From (Formerly) Rich Countries As Big Spenders At Parisian Airports

In Paris, “Chinese” has a new meaning: money. This phenomenon shows up by the busload at luxury retailers where sales staff say a few words of bad Mandarin, instead of bad English, in hawking overpriced handbags and glittery baubles. Now Aéroports de Paris has put a number on it. A glimmer of hope for France, though perhaps of the wrong kind.

Bad Hair Day In Two Decades Of German Retail Sales Quagmire

Germany’s industrial conglomerates and the vibrant Mittelstand (privately held enterprises that were world leaders in their niche until the Chinese came along), decorated with real wage declines since the heyday of Reunification… all have been bandied about as economic model for troubled, if unenthusiastic Eurozone countries. But there is a darker side.

Abenomics Wins: Budget And Inflation Both Jump (Over The Cliff)

It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so sad: Facing exploding budget deficits and an uncircumnavigable mountain of debt over twice the size of the economy – Japan’s two largest economic problems – the government in its blind devotion to the religion of Abenomics screams, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

German Election Finally Gets Messy: “Euro Is More Than A Currency” And Greece “Shouldn’t Have Been Allowed In”

No debacle is allowed to interfere with Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to hang on to her job, and debacles get swept under the rug at least until after the elections on September 22. Every time uppity opposition voices stir up some controversy, it’s brushed off, denied, ridiculed, or minimized – and it has worked admirably well so far. But suddenly there’s Greece again.

Deluded Optimism in Corporate Earnings Growth (Now Shriveling)

These wildly optimistic estimates of earnings growth that analysts work on so studiously by copying and pasting what companies tell them, or by doing channel checks and poking around the industry, and that companies have to exceed at all costs “on an adjusted basis?” Well, they have been shrinking for 2013 – but only after reality forced them down.

The Undead Corporate Welfare Programs For Automakers

They’re at it again! Originally created by Congress in 2007, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program provided low-cost government loans that were subsidized, and then in part eaten as we now know, by hapless and strung-out American taxpayers. In 2011, it was left behind as dead, but now the government wants to bring that zombie back.

Stocks: “Drastic Correlation Between Printing and Pumping” – And What It means When The Printing Ends

The Fed’s taper “may not be smooth,” explained Bank of England deputy governor Charles Bean at the central-banker shindig in Jackson Hole. He was referring to the currencies, bonds, and stocks of emerging-market economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and India that have gotten massacred.

German Gov. CONFIRMS: Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 with TPM 2.0, Fearing Control by ‘Third Parties’ (Such As NSA)

I expected the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) to contact me in an icily polite manner and make me recant, and I almost expected some goons to show up with an offer I couldn’t refuse, and I half expected Microsoft to shut down my computers remotely and wipe out my data. But none of that happened. Instead, the BSI confirmed the key points.

“Limited Freedom of Speech” For Japanese Bureaucrats To Cover Up The “Dire Fiscal Condition”

He came out and said what no one in the power structure was allowed to say. It was blasphemy against Abenomics that rules governmental thinking. Abenomics wouldn’t solve Japan’s fiscal and economic problems, he said. And the government’s outlook was way too rosy. But “without realistic figures, a real debate on fiscal reform can’t begin.”