It takes 3000 words to reject a job applicant, but only seven and a half things to be fully informed each day. Here they are:
Thing One: Ben But Don't Break: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is the bearded swamp thing of Republican nightmares, a brown-suited anti-Santa dumping free money on all the boys and girls, regardless of their individual goodness or badness, which makes the stock market soar and gives Mitt Romney a big case of the sads.
But! Bernanke is also despised by the left because he has let the banking sector nurse at the government teat-row until it is too swollen to move. And while we're at it, Bernanke is hated by everybody with an automobile in the United States because he might have something to do with high gasoline prices, according to that guy yelling on the corner, who might be Ron Paul.
And what is Bernanke doing to earn this animus, but vigilantly looking out for your job, by keeping interest rates low forever and ever, amen. He reiterated his plan to keep doing just that in a speech yesterday, which appeared to flabbergast everybody. But, let's be serious, this is not that bad a thing to be doing right now. Yes, the economic numbers have gotten a tiny bit better lately, which makes everybody immediately assume everything is perfectly fine to jack up interest rates as Yahweh intended. But Bernanke, a Depression re-enactor on the weekends, knows that these post-bubble collapses don't end quickly or easily. Things could all go pear-shaped again very soon.
Thing Two: Ill Kim It took all of a weekend for the Chamber of Commerce to dig up something apparently horrifying about Jim Yong Kim, the Obama administration's pick to be World Bank president. Apparently he once wrote a book that criticized "neoliberalism" and wondered if maybe focusing too much on "corporate-led economic growth" was not a good thing, the Financial Times writes from its fainting couch. The horror! Actually, come to think of it, this makes Kim an even more awesome choice than we realized.
Thing Three: Data Watch: Today is another big day for economic data. Wait, where are you going? Keep reading, please. We get house-price data today! Ugh, yeah, that's going to be bad. Economists think the latest Case-Shiller home-price index fell, because the housing market has bottomed 15 times in the past five years. Meanwhile, we also get consumer confidence numbers today, which economists think have risen from "panicky" to "depressed." Good times.
Thing Four: FTC FTW: That darn government, always wanting to get in the way of companies making money. Put on your outrage pants, because here comes another one: The Federal Trade Commission, run by communists, wants to put some curbs on the ability of consumer-data companies to know every single thing about your life, The New York Times reports. That will of course be "the death of online advertising," moans one online advertiser.
Thing Five: They Took Our JOBS: Except, truthfully, the government doesn't really want to do too much to hurt businesses, because businesses make the campaign checks come. And what will we do if the sweet, sweet campaign checks stop coming? The Washington Post has a short oral history of how the monstrosity that is the JOBS act -- which puts investor protections on a rocket ship straight into the sun, in order to make it easier for companies to make money -- came into being, complete with the complaints of opponents on the left and in the center about the bill's horrors.
Thing Six: Squidenfreude: Let's hope Greg Smith gets a book deal instead of a hedge fund now that he's out of Goldman Sachs. That career path is apparently not working out too well for the brainiacs who have left the Vampire Squid in recent years, Bloomberg writes. At least six baby squids have formed hedge funds in the past two years, all of which have lagged the market.
Thing Seven: Cook Goes To China: Apple CEO Tim Cook is on a whirlwind tour of China, trying to clean up a whole heap o' problems, from an iPad trademark dispute to miserable work conditions where Apple stuff is made. For some reason this is only Cook's first trip to China since taking over for Steve Jobs back in August, Reuters writes.
Thing Seven And One Half: At Last, Good News: Chocolate totally makes you skinnier, says science. Hear hear, says I, shoving another Snickers bar into my face slot.