Confidence is Back!

Barataria has asked the question several times before – given that things are a lot better than they have been in a long time, why are people so down on the economy?

After posing a few potential reasons, we may have the answer – it was largely an artifact of the presidential campaign. That would make the most sense given that the Conference Board index of Consumer Confidence has hit 104.1, the highest it has been since 2007. Combining that with a strong net approval rating for President Obama, which has been tracking around +8 (52 approve, 44 disapprove) and we have the net positive we should expect.

Will this transfer over to Sec. Clinton in time for the election? Given her performance at the first debate, the answer is that it should.  It’s all coming just in time.

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Confidence In …. ?

How much faith do you have in the institutions that make up our world? According to a recent poll, people don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence in most of the somewhat organized systems that make up daily life in the US. That dissatisfaction is disturbing if you think about it, but it’s also perfectly natural.

The Barataria line of reasoning is that we are in an economic depression that won’t end until there is a significant restructuring in just about everything that we depend on – and a whole new economy and perhaps social arrangement takes the place of the one that failed. If nothing else, it goes without saying that we are living in a time of tremendous change and something as rigid as an institution or industry often changes much slower than the world around it.

Whatever the case, dissatisfaction points to more upheaval ahead – and perhaps opportunities for entrepreneurs who can re-imagine these institutions for a new world.

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The Cyprus Disaster

I have been slow to write about the Eurozone crisis of the moment, Cyprus, for one important reason – I didn’t understand it.  I read about how the big banks became under-capitalized and as the central government contemplated default like so many other European nations and thought it was about the same as we’ve seen repeated in far too many nations.  Then, it got weird.  What was so hard to understand?  It was the way the European Central Bank (ECB) put the hammer down that pretty much forced a run on Cypriot banks and guaranteed a major depression.  Was there something in this that I missed?  Or was the ECB really that unbelievably stupid?

After looking this over for a while, I have come to a very frightening conclusion – the ECB really was that stupid, and more.  This isn’t about Cyprus anymore, it’s about how the ECB is unworthy of any faith at all.  If that scares the Hell out of you, welcome to the club.  I certainly didn’t want to come to this conclusion, but here it is. It all starts, like everything Euro, with Greece …

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