The headline was fun. Its unpleasant word picture is something else entirely, yet we find more and more swimmers jumping into the sticky pool every day and having a slow go. The stickiness is called deflation, or economic lethargy, or even despair.
Swimming in molasses describes American consumers. Retail sales results for September indicate that spending money you don't have is just not as much fun as it used to be. This sector warrants a close eye as millions of addicted shoppers are forced to live within their means, ie. with no credit enablers.
This brings to mind the Anglo-American banking industry. Are we missing something here? Maybe their toxic assets are far worse than we were led to believe and that's why they're hoarding cash and literally squeezing life from the global economy.
Swimming in molasses also refers to the panic that has beset the Fed, Treasury, and their European cousins. The ECB, for example, finds itself lagging so far behind the curve that they're still fighting inflation, clearly of no global, or even European, concern at the moment of crisis. Recent ECB interest rate cuts were insanely insufficient. Hello! You guys are in a recession!
Let's hope Iceland is not a microcosm of what's to come for the rest of the West. Iceland, if you haven't heard, teeters on the brink of national bankruptcy and had to turn to the Russians for a helping hand. Iceland is so heavily leveraged that the ratio of banking assets to GDP is ten to one! Were these banks or poorly run casinos. Save Iceland - save Europe! By the way, where was the EU in this crisis?
I also hope that someone with credibility in Treasury (assuming there is someone) calls someone with credibility at Defense (harder to find - let the phone ring, someone will run down Dick Cheney) to suggest we immediately stop selling arms to Taiwan. Eventually, we will need China to bail us out! Also, please mention to Defense that global arms sales are of no immediate concern to most Americans. Let's at least try to behave responsibly for a change, Mr. Cheney.
While Treasury is making calls, please put someone at SEC in touch with someone in Congress. I realize, of course, there is absolutely no credibility at either, so just ask for Barney. Congress needs to immediately regulate the credit default swap market, which is the iceberg that ripped the hull in the ship that spilled the molasses that brought down the House that Jack built.
Meanwhile, I'm going to bone up on deleveraging and deflation, which I pray our leaders and global institutions will somehow keep from igniting a worldwide depression. In any event, these are days to remember.
Has anyone seen the President?