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Best of the Blogs: How Are Politicians Playing the Numbers?


Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
Capital Gains and Games
Link: It's March: Watch As The GOP Plays The Baseline Game Yet Again
"It's March, the month when Spring, the NCAA tournament, and 'Dancing with the Stars' all begin. It's also when Republican shameful misuse (to the point of malpractice) of the budget baseline typically reaches its annual high/low point. That's when, in response to the Congressional Budget Office's release of its updated deficit projections and estimates of the president's budget, Republicans carefully pick the comparison that supposedly proves what they want to say even when there is ample and readily available evidence that show what they're saying isn't true." (Also read Tuesday's Super Slump: Has the GOP Lost its Mojo?)

Zero Hedge
"There are two main news updates dominating early newsflow: the first comes from BHP Billiton, after the world's largest miner raised concerns about the possibility of a sharp slowdown in demand from top metals consumer China. Per Reuters: "There is a slowing trend in China ... moving increasingly away from the growth model that they have had, which may be a little less metals intensive. This is not new, but recognition by big mining companies would have had an effect.' Australian iron ore miners, key beneficiaries of China's modern-day industrial revolution, signaled on Tuesday demand growth was finally slowing in response to Beijing's moves to cool its economy. BHP Billiton said it was seeing signs of 'flattening' iron ore demand from China, though for now it was pushing ahead with ambitious plans to expand production." (For related content, see Gold, Silver Oil, and the Fear Index Trend.)
"We all know Apple has been making crazy bank all over the world, even before what CEO Tim Cook called "a record weekend" selling its new iPad. Most of that money's been reinvested in the business, through products, infrastructure and even the occasional acquisition. But much of it has just been socked away, piling up in a giant hoard of cash and its equivalents: $97 billion. A strategic reservoir; a beautiful problem."
Dr. Housing Bubble
"FHA insured loans have stepped in to fill the giant void left by the collapse in low to nothing down mortgage products. A low down payment is problematic for a variety of reasons and as we will show in data presented below, is a creature of the housing bubble and nothing standard to a healthy housing market. Low down payments through FHA insured loans are financing a tremendous amount of current home purchasing but this is not necessarily a positive given that default rates are surging for FHA insured loans." (Also read 12 Housing Trends for 2012.)
"The best insight into the current state of the Big Data business may be a five-person start-up in Palo Alto, Calif. While the industry mostly gathers lots of data, or stores it in new cloud-based databases, the start-up, ClearStory Data, is building the biggest possible base of data consumers. ClearStory, which was formed last summer, is making software for ordinary business professionals. These customers will be able to blend their own corporate data with the large amounts of publicly available data, in search of new statistical insights. There just aren't enough statisticians, the company figures, to address the demand corporations will have for Big Data."

Twitter: @Minyanville

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