President Barack Obama’s challenge in a nutshell: Appease Main Street and soothe Wall Street. House Speaker John Boehner has proposed finding a temporary fix for the fiscal cliff, and putting off the long-term budget questions for next year. In his own speech this morning, Boehner called on Obama to lead the conversation. One question for Obama this morning is whether he can soothe investors, who engaged in kind of a two-day post-election freak out. Over the last two days, the Dow lost more than 3 percent.
Consumer confidence for this first part of November has hit a new high — the best in five years, says the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index. Respondents are increasingly optimistic about employment and the overall economic outlook.
Though the campaign President Obama tried to match Mitt Romney’s tough talk on China, and this morning U.S. trade officials approved an investigation into whether Chinese companies are dumping plywood at below market prices. Speaking of China, how’s this for a bit of a turnabout: There are reports this morning that the Chinese manufacturer Foxconn — you know, they make Apple iPads and a lot else besides — is looking at setting up plants in Detroit and Los Angeles. The source is the Taiwanese IT news site “Digitimes,” which says Foxconn is looking to the U.S. to make relatively simple things — like LCD TVs. That sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? But the truth is that simpler products can mostly be made by robots — which are considerably cheaper than actual Americans.
There’ve been brisk sales of the iPhone 5 and plenty of hoopla around the iPad mini. But Apple’s stock has been on a downward slide. It’s lost more than 20 percent of it’s value since its peak in September. It’s not that investors are worried about sales, so much as something more… existential, maybe?
While some filling stations in the Northeast wait for precious fuel supplies, gas rationing is in place New York and New Jersey. New York just put their system in place this morning. And both states are borrowing a system from the late-’70s oil crisis. License plates that end in an even number fill up on even days. Odd plates fill up on odd days. Storm Sandy totaled tens of thousands of vehicles, and that’s expected to raise prices for used cars across the country.
Sure, there’s a big, fat lifestyle element to this story, but it’s also about economics. The idea is that by taking underground drug-dealing and making it legit, you grow an industry in the light of day — one that can be regulated and taxed. And I kid you not: this interview was booked and recorded this morning at 4:20. Those of you who get the reference will find that just freakishly bizarre, as I did.
And here’s something else provocative to wrap things up: Yesterday I told you about a new body odor test for Chinese airline pilots. Today comes a… solution, maybe, from central Europe. The Guardian reports a Bulgarian company is about to start distributing its peculiar “deodorant candy” in the U.S. and the far east. One piece of Deo Perfume Candy apparently leaes you smellnig like a rose — literally — for up to six hours. Worth pointing out that despite the appetizing name it tastes like tangerine, not Old Spice.