The U. S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big.  We have plenty of oil right here within the borders of the United States. The report was an updated one to the old 1995 version on how much oil was in the area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana known as the “Bakken”.    The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since  Alaska ‘s  Prudhoe Bay and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable… at $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5..3 trillion.. “When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..” says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst…

The problem is the environmentalists won’t let us drill for it and the foreign oil producers don’t want us to access it either.  Whose side are they on – the terrorists?  Hmmm….

Update: the US Geological Service report referenced above refers to 3.65 billion barrels of recoverable oil —not 503 billion…

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Republican senator George LeMieux of Florida was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mel Martinez, who resigned. His analysis shows that ALL WE HAVE TO DO TO BALANCE THE BUDGET is go back to 2007 spending levels!  It’s a no-brainer!  But not for idiots who buy votes for a living.

If government spending were reduced to its 2007 level, we’d have a balanced budget (with a $163 billion surplus). Returning to the 2008 level of spending, the budget would be balanced in 2014 (a $133 billion surplus). And in both cases, that’s while keeping the Bush tax cuts across the board and indexing the loathed alternative minimum tax for inflation.

Could we live with what we did in 2007?” LeMieux asks—the “we” a collective reference to Congress, the federal government, and the country. He thinks so. Because of the recession, “most Americans are living with less than they had in 2007.”

Trillion dollar deficits or a balanced budget?  Ask your president why…

John Authers at FT has a good piece about long term price to earnings ratios. The bottom line is that:

…last year stocks were never nearly as undervalued as they had been at the previous great bear market lows.

…the Shiller data still suggest that stocks needed to get much cheaper than they did at last March’s low before they could start a true renewed bull market. His cyclically adjusted p/e fell to 5.8 in 1932, and 6.6 in 1982. Last year, it started to rebound at 13.3. Surely this is not the compelling cheapness that is needed for a new bull market?

Perhaps earnings will have risen some before the next test of the March 09 low (if there is one) so that the next time the p/e will be closer to the 6 or 7 required for a true bull market.  We’ll cross that “brideg when we get to it…

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A 1934 Chicago Tribune cartoon…From the looks of Obama’s new budget, the plan to take over the United States hasn’t changed: