BUSINESS
08/28/2012 07:42 am ET | Updated Aug 28, 2012

Mitt Romney's Mystery Economics: Seven And A Half Things To Know

Thing One: Meet The Real Mitt: Hello, America, are you super-excited about the chance this week to meet the "real" Mitt Romney, in Florida? Well, strap yourself into your reading chair and put on your adult diaper, because you are about to take a wild ride that may cause you to lose control of your bodily functions, due to pleasure. That's because The New York Times has given us an exclusive "sneak preview" of the real Mitt Romney, or at least his economic positions, and it's every bit as exciting as you expect.

Apparently there was once a time when Romney was a "pragmatist" who did not constantly espouse economic principles that Paul Ryan and the Tea Party dreamed up after a two-week meth binge, is the gist of the article. Binyamin Appelbaum bravely walks readers through some of Romney's past economic positions, which have since "evolved," to try to get a handle on just how President Romney would save all your money from extinction, just as he once saved the Olympics and Massachusetts. Once upon a time, for example, this other Romney did not believe that you could erase a $1 trillion budget deficit simply by cutting funding for NPR and the poors. Long ago, Romney did not consider government support for clean energy to be the greatest state-sponsored atrocity since the regime of Pol Pot. On and on he goes with these leftist economic positions, dreamed up in the communist fever swamps of Bain Capital and the Chamber of Commerce.

Fortunately, Romney has abandoned these ideas completely. "He’s altogether a different person now," one source says of him. Which Appelbaum suggests leaves us all to simply throw our hands in the air and wonder what to expect once Romney is in the White House. That is a reasonable way of looking at it: Maybe this flip-flopper will flip-flop yet again. Another way of looking at it is that Romney, once put in the White House with the assistance of the extremist elements of his party, will do exactly what he says he will do, if he wants to be elected again, or maybe even more so, if he does not care so much about being elected again.

Thing Two: Apple Will Break You: Apple's "thermonuclear war" against Google continued apace yesterday, as the ubiquitous shiny-things maker tried to get a U.S. ban on eight different Samsung phones. This comes quickly after Apple's victory over Samsung in a patent dispute last week, which sent shock waves through the tech world, the Financial Times writes. The verdict also landed Apple a cool $1 billion judgment, but could soon become far more lucrative, if Apple can lay waste to Android phones in the U.S., presenting an ever-more-direct threat to Google, The New York Times writes.

Thing Three: Pricier Petrol: Tropical Storm Isaac's slow churn toward the Gulf Coast has already pushed up gasoline prices, the Financial Times writes (quick translation for American readers: "petrol" = "gasoline"). Wholesale gas prices have jumped 4 percent to more than $3.20 a gallon, or nearly $3.80 retail, as refiners in and around the Gulf of Mexico have shut down ahead of the storm. The jump in gas prices also comes after a recent rebound in crude-oil prices that could have the U.S. government releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve soon, the FT writes.

Thing Four: Small Bank Buys Other Small Bank: Banks, they grow up so fast! Just a week ago, M&T Bank of Buffalo, N.Y., finally paid back its TARP money. And yesterday M&T turned around and snatched up another bank, Hudson City, for $3.7 billion. So does this mean M&T is hale and hearty? Hardly, says Peter Eavis of The New York Times, who suggests the deals show M&T "as a bank in need of more capital." Sigh.

Thing Five: Drink It Down: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sent subpoenas to PepsiCo, Monster Beverage and Living Essentials, looking for information on how they market energy drinks, the Wall Street Journal reports: "The New York probe is focused on whether the drink makers are misleading consumers with inaccurate labeling and advertising, according to the person familiar with the matter."

Thing Six: Who Needs Money Anyway? All you hear all the time out of Europe these past few years is blah blah blah save the euro. But some people in Spain have already given up on the euro, and on cash money altogether, adopting a system that lets them trade services, writes the Washington Post: "At a time when the future of the euro is in doubt and millions are unemployed or underemployed with little cash to spare, a parallel economy is springing up in parts of Spain, allowing people to live outside the single currency."

Thing Seven: Ixnay On The Obotsray: Thomas Peterffy, one of the fathers of high-speed stock trading, has been trying to figure out how to make computers trade stocks since the 1970s. Now he thinks we may have gone a little too far, he tells NPR. Now he tells us!

Thing Seven And One Half: Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? A patient researcher at Duke University did a very long-term study of the effects of heavy marijuana use on teens and found that it, uh, you know, made them stupider adults? I guess? The smarties at Wired write: "In a study of 1,037 New Zealanders followed from birth to age 38, people who began using marijuana as adolescents and used it extensively for years saw their IQs drop by about eight points. What’s more, among adolescent-onset users, quitting the drug did not reverse the mental deficits." Dude!

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Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data:

9:00 a.m. ET: Case-Shiller 20-city home-price index for June

10:00 a.m. ET: Consumer Confidence for August

Corporate Earnings:

None

Heard On The Tweets:

@moorehn: All the people who would normally be tweeting about the rain in New York are instead tweeting about the rain in Tampa. #braindrain

@umairh: I hear that in 2016 the GOP's having its convention in Mordor.

@ReformedBroker: Those two rental car companies that think people care about the difference between them just merged.

@danprimack: Thanks to the JOBS Act, the IPO market is booming. Oh, wait. Seems you still need to find buyers, not just bankers. Never mind.

@JamesGRickards: Look at #gold measured in barrels of #oil & other commodites. You'll see price stability. Measuring in dollars just shows #Fed incompetence

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja

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