Everything is at Odds
Everything is at odds with everything else today, including itself.
Everything is at odds with everything else or even with itself today. Take one little microcosm of the world that has dominated global news for over a year now – Ukraine. Ukraine is at odds with itself, but in this case that is likely for the better. On the one hand it is, as we all know, fighting a war with Russia. On the other hand (the good news), and much less known to all of us, is that Ukraine t is fighting a war with itself. Zelensky is fighting a war against deeply entrenched corruption in Ukraine, and this has been forced by the war with Russia as both Zelensky and Ukraine’s allies in the war recognize that continued support for Ukraine could be badly hurt if money going to support it gets syphoned away into the corrupt hands of profiteers. Z is cracking down hard.
The stock market is at odds with itself because it has to decide between good news that the Fed is starting to win its battle with inflation as producer-price inflation backs off (the headwaters for consumer price inflation) and as the Fed’s inflation battle sends the economy, even according to Fed economists in today’s news tumbling into near certain recession, while the move toward recession sends corporate earnings steeply downhill and bank earnings over a cliff. Hmm. Which to bet on: The inflation war gets won so the Fed can go back to QE (the market’s forever fantasy), or the inflation battle destroys banks and the economy before it kills inflation. Treasurer Yellen, of course, says she sees no recession anywhere in sight, and banks are strong. (Yada, yada, Yellen.)
Today’s headlines look to me like economic destruction is prevailing over inflation destruction, but stocks are, for the morning anyway, seeing it the other way and are rising. Costco announced today it is going to throw in the towel to inflation by imposing massive 50% price hikes across numerous products. Walmart is closing half of its stores in Chicago and doing similar moves in other areas, being pressed to make the move to cut out all stores that have been unable to show profits for some time. Amazon is squaring up to reality by making massive cost cuts, taking out entire lines of businesses it has been developing if they are unprofitable (as Walmart is doing with stores) and firing tens of thousands of employees. In keeping with my main topic of the last few days, Amazon’s CEO says he sees artificial intelligence as something that will become a great labor cost saver for Amazon.
One nice thing to see is a couple of voices that are now openly at odds with the Fed. One is a University of Chicago professor who argues, in a Bloomberg video linked to below, it is time to “investigate” the Fed because its failure to see inflation coming and its subsequent failure to see the banking crisis coming are beyond excusable. Another voice, whom I rarely quote, is Jim Cramer who points out an irony that may be true: The Fed’s effort to cut inflation in the housing market may be starting to drive inflation in the housing market higher because it is also gutting housing construction in a market that was already undersupplied. Due to the banking crisis the Fed has created by its blindness about the impacts of rapidly raising rates and its ineptitude at preparing banks and monitoring them for those troubles, banks are tightening up credit and not loaning to contractors.
Finally, AI seems to be at odds with humanity in the news again today, as Joe Rogan warns his viewers that someone has created an entire AI-faked production of his show, and as Bloomberg deploys AI to cut down labor costs. We’ve all heard for decades how computers and robots would take out human jobs, yet we still have more jobs than working humans. So, that may not be the biggest concern here. The problem will be how much of the content we read is decided by AI. How much influence does AI get over everything?
And, of course, the WEF is at odds with humanity as always, now trying to dictate water restrictions into your home.
(All these headlines and more follow this editorial, and those related particularly to the editorial are highlighted in boldface below. Don’t miss a single drop of today’s big news flow.)
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