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Europe’s economic ‘charade’ may be exhausted

Commentary: Bad news in Europe underlies week's Wall Street rise

Everybody struggles now to find guideposts in the thicket of new economic information. Two old ideas may help: First, the time-sense of humanity is more calibrated to getting the bear out of the cave than musing about why bears like caves.Second, a version of frog in hot water -- we tend not to notice the gradual onset of lunacy, grasping the insanity only in retrospect. U.S. data are pretty good -- relative to fears of new recession. November payrolls gained 120,000 jobs, and inclusive of all revisions added that many to prior months. If markets had any idea in September that payrolls had jumped by 210,000, double the original announcement, we would not have had that mortgage refinance party. Reality break: the Treasury borrows and spends about $120 billion each month, and for that stimulus we get 120,000 jobs. Instead, why not just pay each of these people a million bucks and let them stay home? Europe is struggling with austerity, not us. Yet. Markets liked the rise i...