The World According to Reuters, on Page 21:

 Romney’s 47 % vs. Romney’s 0.01 %

By Shlomo Maital   

    Sometimes, not often, the state of the world is reflected in a single page of a newspaper.   Today is such a day.  Page 21, Global New York Times, “environment, companies, business”, with “Reuters”.

*   “Risk calculation shouldn’t be left to banks”.  (This will be the subject of a separate blog).  European banks are allowed to do their own risk calculations (i.e. the weighted risk of their balance sheets)  by national regulators (instead of EU regulators).  Of course, they underestimate the risk. If they estimated risk accurately, they would have to set aside billions more in capital reserves; and if the banks lacked capital, then governments (and taxpayers) would have to foot the bill.  So, national regulators avoid forcing their banks to estimate risk correctly. Result: Undercapitalized European banks, that teeter and topple, only way out of our sight.

*  Asia’s most expensive cocktail: “The Jewel of Pangaea”.  Pangaea Lounge in Singapore has created a hugely expensive cocktail, for 32,000 Singapore dollars (about $26,000 US).  The ingredients are served in a stainless steel briefcase accompanied by security guards. They include: Richard Hennessy cognac infused with gold flakes (I’m NOT making this up!), smoke-infused raw sugar cube with Jerry Thomas bitters, and a…one-carat diamond. (Honest!).  Want one?  Get into the queue.

* American Airlines, restructuring after filing for bankruptcy last November, sent layoff notices to 11,100 workers.  They will not be buying “The Jewel of Pangaea”.

*  Global billionaires are lining up to buy apartments in One57, a 90-story tower under construction in Midtown Manhattan.  Each apartment is a full floor with views in four directions.  If you don’t have $50 m., don’t even bother to call.  American Airline mechanics might find some work building One57 for the very rich, if they’re lucky, at half the wages they got as mechanics.  A new tower, 130 stories tall, will be built soon at 432 Park Ave.  To buy a place there, all you need is all the money in southern Italy.

So, there you are.  All this on one page. Obscene conspicuous consumption, by the super-ultra-rich, and unemployment by the working middle class.

One day, this whole mess is going to explode.   The evidence?  The top blew off the frustration of the Arab masses, which no expert predicted.  The underlying cause there, and here, is the same.   

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