Monday, August 29, 2011

Simply Wonderful

Michelle Bachmann says she has always believed in small federal government (even when she was an IRS lawyer) but as President Bachmann she promises to wave her wand and bring back $ 2 a gallon gas. Now THAT'S gas. Forget the fact that the last time gas was that low, the BUSH recession had the US economy in free fall. That means businesses weren't burning up the highways with deliveries, people couldn't afford vacation travel, and demand for gas was at an all time low.
Even pulling out all the stops, all the predictions of the possible increase in gas and oil production in and by the USA are in the ½ million barrels a day range. The world is using about a HUNDRED million barrels a day. So DRILL BABY DRILL (Sarah! Sarah!). It wouldn't make any difference in gas prices (especially since OPEC would reduce THEIR production to keep prices high). Oh, if only things were as simple as the so-called "populist" Tea Party folks say they are.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I'm not going back to South Carolina

150 years ago some South Carolinians felt so strongly about their own freedoms, that they started the Civil War in order to maintain the right to own some other human beings. That freedom loving spirit is alive today among those South Carolinians that feel free to dictate to others whether or not they can drink a beer (a belief that is heartily indorsed by the Taliban). Restricting the sale of alcohol in their counties (by local states' rights), they are ensuring that those teens and young adults that don't have the Jesus given good sense to comply with the rules, will drive the maximum distance on curvy mountain roads to a county that does sell beer. Say what you will about the Taliban; they have at least dispensed with the plastic statue of Mohammed on the dash board of their cars (look it up, Crackers). So at least the last thing that their "soon to be dead children" see isn't a symbol of the selfish beliefs of all the people that feel free to make decisions for everybody else.
I've thought a bit about my freedoms. I know that I am free to never spend a single penny more in the state of South Carolina; that's my plan. When I bought a news paper there (hey, there'd been an earthquake back home!), I made a point of sharing this plan with the clerk at the store. I was polite and civil and I even said that I knew that it wasn't their fault (even though it may have been), but that I thought that their elected officials were hypocritical idiots. The clerk agreed, for what that is worth.
Oh yeah. Joe Wilson and Mark Stanford: two, fine, honest, civil, and upstanding Christian men chosen by the voters of South Carolina (Joe's been reelected). Did I mention the Civil War thing?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


On August 4, 2011, gold closed at about $1650 per ounce. That's about 22% in six months. This likely reflects the level of confidence so many folks have in our House of Representatives. Unfortunately for us little investors, the really big investors and Governments don't have to pay that 15% charge every time they buy or sell something (nor the tax on transactions), so they're in a position to push the price up and down to their advantage.

The financial pundits are always making fun of the "cash under the mattress" people. Burying stuff in your back yard ala Erskin Caldwell may seem dumb; right up until you pick up the paper and see that your NYSE stocks have lost thirty percent of their "value" in a week, and then they lose another 20 % over the next month or so... Don't we wish we had had our money in gold in September 2008? (When it was about $700.)

We need to remember that those same pundits called "no money down, no principal paid the first year loans" for super over priced houses SECURITIES! (House prices propped up by Greenspan's super low interest rates). "Hey! I can afford to pay for more house than I can use for more money than I have because the Government has interest rates WAY below the inflation rate! And I get to deduct the payments from my taxes! And the house will double in value in three years.*" And the real estate people obliged by hawking the "no risk" investment potential of houses and there were TWO TV shows about "flipping houses" for big bucks.) Now let's bundle the loans and sell them to other banks! Oh Boy!

SECURITIES! Secured by what? A promise to pay made by someone who is spending 130% (average American family debt) of their income on restaurant meals, cars, and vacations? (Also "secured" by a home "equity" loan. Equity that only exists and only on paper because the real estate sales people SAID the house would sell for big bucks because *see above*). SO, does anyone ever ask just exactly where the big bucks sales commissions for Realtors come from? Or where the two billion dollars came from that the Sandler couple walked off with just prior to the implosion of their World Savings Bank? Their bank was so Ponzied with fake "securities" that it brought down Wachovia, the purchaser.

The worst thing in the world that can happen to you is for a realtor to tell you that your house is worth twice what you thought it was IF YOU AREN'T PLANNING ON MOVING! And maybe even if you are, because you have to live somewhere and you'll have to buy another house that's probably over priced by the realtors. "Everything is worth what someone will pay for it." said Publilius Syrus about 2100 years ago. But that is only true if there is money out there. How much money disappeared in the fall of 2008? Everything is worthless in dollar terms right up untill it's sold. A house is two things; an investment and a place to live, don't confuse the two.

We give lip service to the fact that everything comes from somewhere and you don't get something for nothing, but if you're just buying and selling things, houses, and companies, you're not creating anything, you're just moving money around so fast you get to keep some of it (Ayn Rand). Now, just where did all those "profits" come from? It's too complicated, say the pundits, you wouldn't understand.
Back in the 17th century there was a bubble for tulip bulbs in Holland. You could buy two or three houses with the right kind of tulip bulb because the bulb was GOING TO BE WORTH SO MUCH MORE TOMORROW! Forever and ever.
I'm still reading that the housing industry isn't back to "normal". Normal like what was going on in Las Vegas in 2006? I wouldn't live there if you gave me a mansion.