Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just as I thought

I have posted fairly often about the disconnect between the cheerleaders and the rest of us. The fact that sometimes I think I am the crazy one."I"meaning, you know, a doomer.  The fact that in my small non-technical, non-economist mind I see conditions as worsening. Even Stephen Moore is now bullish on the economy going forward! So, it was with great interest and, I'm somewhat ashamed to admit, satisfaction bordering on glee that I read a post on Financial Armageddon which links to a report from The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

I feel somewhat vindicated in my views- at least to the extent that I apparently have a lot of company. If I am indeed wrong, then I can say that I am far from alone. Of course my view of the world doesn't come from Ms. Couric. My view comes from talking to my neighbors, a guy down the street, maybe a convenience store operator. People with and without jobs. And I live in a solidly middle class area of a small town. What I see and hear does not mesh with what I see on the tube. Nearly all express the same feelings that I have. They really don't see much improvement and don't expect much for a long time. The results of the previously mentioned Pew poll confirm that most of us are pesimisstic, at least to a degree.

I never discount the idea that I am completely and utterly wrong. I worry about it a lot in fact. Maybe I am unable to see what others can. Maybe things really are going to turn around soon. Perhaps I am wasting a lot of time growing vegetables, storing canned goods and water. I guess that's why poll results like those at least make me feel as though I am not alone.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Expecting better than expected GDP numbers....so?

Well, it looks like GDP numbers are going to be better than expected (who woulda thunk it?) and consumer spending is approaching pre-recessionary levels. The recession is over, it's all good, the good times are here, etc. I'm ecstatic. So much so that I could just shit.

Here's the thing(s). Last time I checked, the UE was moving the wrong way (currently 9.8% or around 17% for the U-6), the long term unemployed numbers are worse than ever, and nearly 43 million folks on food stamps (SNAP) and climbing. Add to this states in perilous deficit situations and public unions that are catastrophically underfunded. Not a pretty picture, at least not to me.

Only two scenarios as I see it. Either I and most other doomers are full of crap, or the cheerleaders are looking at the wrong things. Maybe millions haven't filed for bankruptcy, lost homes, had to take government "welfare", needed food stamps, or known the despair of long term joblessness. Maybe there really aren't thousands of Americans living in tent cities or worse. Maybe we really aren't about to set a record for number of months with the UE rate above 9%- since the Great Depression of course.

Maybe all that matters is that retail spending is supposedly back nearly to 2007 levels. That is a tough stat for me to get a grip on. After all, it seems that consumer spending is increasing WHILE employment is worsening. I still believe that a lot of the job "growth" will later be identified as part-time, seasonal employment which will end after the holidays. Even if I am wrong, it appears that those of us who are not spending- for whatever reason- aren't really needed after all. Or is it that most of us are simply paying more for necessities like food and fuel?

Or is it that the "rich" are spending like crazy and skewing the numbers. Most of the "rich" that I have known over the years are rich precisely because they DON'T spend like idiots, but they do in general spend more than an average blue collar guy like me- A LOT MORE.

Whatever the reason for the return of retail spending and better GDP numbers, most doomers, myself included, feel that conditions are worsening and the middle class is dying, You can see our rationale for this belief in many blogs like Decline of the Empire and others. Many of us believe we are headed for a two class society. The elites and the rest of us. Maybe we the doomers are simply wrong. Maybe there won't be a collapse into extreme poverty. Maybe there is no such thing as Peak Oil. Maybe nothing is as bad as we think it is.

Government spending is driving GDP growth, but what will drive job growth? Another housing bubble? Doubtful. An internet revolution? Already done that. So where will all of the real, full-time, good paying jobs come from?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

According to Larry Summers if we don't preserve the current tax rates, we run the risk of a double-dip recession. Even if we technically are no longer in recession, I can guarantee that to millions of American, including me, times continue to be bad and in some respects worsening. The flip side is that if we continue them, we will add somewhere between 700 and 900 billion to the debt according to our government.

Many thinking people wonder how this could  add to our deficit. After all, tax receipts would not really decrease. The government was assuming an increase in tax receipts with no plan to decrease spending. In fact, they were likely planning for spending to increase by that same 700 to 900 billion (at a minimum). Tax cuts and spending increases basically got us here and only spending cuts coupled with tax cuts will get us out of this. But they will have to be drastic, painful cuts. Cuts that quite likely all of us will see and feel. Or we can just stumble along a little longer, the precipice fast approaching.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making ends meet

While reading Charles Hugh Smith's excellent blog Of Two Minds today, a phrase jumped out at me. A simple phrase- "make ends meet". The guest poster was lamenting the differences between now and then. Then being the age of the single income household. I grew up in those days. The stay at home Mom days. Believe me, I have thought about this issue a great many times over the years, and I don't mean just recently but for most of my working (when I did) life.

My Dad worked and my Mom stayed home with the kids, not unlike millions of other families in the 50s, 60s and into the 70s. Before you say it, yes I am well aware that she worked very hard too, likely harder. I am currently home with two grandchildren and know how tough it is to raise kids and keep a house clean. Believe me! That's not my point.

My point is how did my parents do it? I have read much about this over the years. I've seen tons of charts and graphs and wonky economic explanations. Very informative but missing what I believe is the basic issue- consumption. I know wages have been stagnant for a long time and purchasing power has diminished but there is, a least in my mind, a more obvious explanation.

My Dad had a good job. Not great but good. Solidly middle white collar. We always had two cars, television, an occasional meal out, and a vacation each summer. My Mom generally got a "new" two year old car about every five years or so and my Dad drove a clunker that required  frequent repair or replacement. We had a "big" RCA color TV (content via antenna) in the living room, ate out maybe once a month, and during the summer we would take a car trip. Life was pretty OK.

During what were in retrospect my AND my wife's prime wage earning years, there was and still is a TV in every room receiving hundreds of cable channels, several computers with the requisite high speed connection, cell phones for one and all, at least two new or almost new cars, frequent meals out due to lack of time and/or energy, activities outside the home for us and the kids, and all kinds of crap purchased to entertain the kids when they weren't playing baseball or whatever. We weren't a big vacation taking family because we really couldn't afford it. Some of my friends take ski trips and annual vacations in Europe or Mexico. Good for them! The thing is we are all two income families. No way could we have all this junk and go all these places on just one income- unless our names are Steve or Bill or Warren.

We all wanted to give our kids a "better" life. Give them "more" than we had. Looking back, there wasn't a damn thing lacking in my childhood. All we have managed to do in many cases is create unreal expectations for our kids, especially given our current, ongoing economic woes. Was it worth it? Hell no!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

....or not!

Just when the network cheerleaders began to nearly universally celebrate the strengthening of the "recovery",  fresh employment numbers snap them back to reality. Smiles turned upside down. I guess these fools really thought that all of the temporary seasonal hiring represented a trend of some sort. You know 150,000 this month, 170,000 next month and before you know it about 3,000,000 a month (give or take)...

Last night as I was  listening to the Jim Bohannon Show ( love late night am radio) I heard a guest named Dante Chinni who is  the director of the Patchwork Nation project. Though not nearly as apocalyptic as I, he nevertheless put forth the opinion that we are in fact in rather deep shit- at least from the standpoint of employment. Well worth a listen. In any event he was one of the few guests I have heard on any of these shows who not only was concerned about the overall unemployment numbers, but also the fact that the "created" jobs may not be sustainable or in fact may not pay enough to support the sort of life many had. I'm sure you may be thinking that these folks will just have to "get used to it"or "make some changes". That's obvious. What might not be as obvious is that many of these people, including yours truly, have built a life on the income that they had- and thought they would always have. They thought that if they lost a job another could be found to more or less replace what they had...with perhaps minor alterations. In many cases this was a very naive and unrealistic expectation. Believe me, I know.

True, not everyone is in denial, but it does in fact evoke odd emotions when you are constantly bombarded with "good news" when all around you seems to be just more of the same. Of course, none of the cheerleaders realize that life on 50k a year is even possible let alone what it would be like to suddenly have to manage on $9-$10 AN HOUR. My God, this is America! Just go out and be an entrepenuer and get rich. Everyone can do that.  This is America. Right. Go to hell!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Things are getting better...again.

Things are improving so fast I just can't stand it. The BLS keeps trotting out these amazing job gains and the Street reacts with big gains that will probably be lost (or maybe not) down the road. Not that gains in the DOW piss me off- I still have money there. The thing about the jobs report, at least as I see it, is that for I don't know how long we were told that we needed  +250,000 per month to stabilize the unemployment rate. Now we hear it's 200,000. Next we will be told that as long as we get 100,000 new jobs a month it will signal good times. Well as I said before I'm betting that a whole lot of those jobs are temp jobs for the holidays. Better than not having a job? Of course it is. The thing is, many if not most of those seasonal jobs will go away after Christmas. What will be left? Lots of retail jobs. The jobs report indicates that a large number of retail jobs were created. Good news to be sure except that many of those jobs holders will still require assistance to make ends meet. Probably a lot of jobs will be created in our ponzi financial sector for those that are qualified. Well, that takes care of upper and lower income jobs I guess. Now what about the rest of us? 

As I have said before and am sure it is apparent to anyone reading this, I am a doomer. Here's the thing. I am a skilled labor, decent income earning type of guy. At least I was until the end of last September. I've been unemployed for 2 months without really even a sniff at a job. Am I just lazy?  Not hardly. Am I any good at what I do? Damn right I am. I am excellent at what I do. Any jobs available for me? Very few that don't include leaving my family behind and working in BFE. That comes next. You might think that having specialized skills would necessarily improve your employment outlook. Maybe if you're young. What about folks like me that are north of 50 and should supervising the kind of work they have mastered rather than hoping to find an entry level job in the field they have worked in all their adult lives? For people like us, the future doesn't look quite so rosy. In fact, my future pretty much sucks.

I will be interviewing soon for a job that is some 300 miles from home. I have a good chance of being hired. What will that mean for me and my family. Well for starters, I will once again have health insurance. That is a BIG deal, especially when you are older. The pay? Similar to what I earned at my last gig. A 600 mile daily commute? Nope. Ain't gonna happen. So now, to earn a living and have health insurance, I have to earn enough to live elsewhere, while sending my family enough money to make this move make sense. Why not move? The other half of the financial equation (my wife) has a job here which can't be easily replaced there. We have a house that fits our needs, great neighbors, and a great community. Maybe I can find some other kind of job so that I can stay here? Been trying that for 2 fricken months with no success. Either over qualified or not qualified enough for a different kind of work.

So, when I hear about the drastic improvements in the labor market, I have to wonder how many people are in same leaky boat I am. Maybe millions. That's why I view these job numbers as a feel good stat intended to drive the Market up despite seeming indicators (at least to me) to the contrary. The much talked about destruction of the middle class. Coming soon to someone you know.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday...good grief!

To those of you who decide to stay home with your families on Black Friday-congratulations for making the right choice. To the rest (the participants), what in the hell are you thinking?

Whether or not you believe as I do that we should be saving and paying down our debt, words can't describe my perception of the idiocy of this tradition. Hopefully you have the opportunity to see yourselves in one of the many videos currently viewable online or on TV. Bunch of buffoons.

Is this a sign of an improving economy? Seems doubtful to me and here's why. As has been noted on various other blogs (good blogs... not like this one), many who are effectively squatting in homes that they aren't bothering to pay for are using what money they do have to buy cheap Chinese crap instead of paying their mortgage payment and at least attempting to provide for their own and their family's future. It is horribly sad when someone prizes to such an extent a 40" flat screen TV that will either be shortly outdated or a nonworking piece of shit. Talk about screwed up priorities. Second, much of the amazing recent employment gains are very likely temporary seasonal workers who will  once again be  unemployed in January.

We as a society do seem to place undo emphasis on possessions. I think most would agree with that statement. If not- fine. If your idea of America is working 40 hrs. a week (if you're lucky) to own a bunch of stuff that will lose it's ability to make you feel good about yourself in short order, then more power to you. I certainly don't eschew possessions, I have lots of useful, durable stuff. Good quality stuff that was built to last. Not cheap Chinese crap made by poor people who are paid third world wages for the privilege of enriching Walmart and Target.

What happens when the holiday season is over is any body's guess. Probably temp workers will be let go, sales will return to their normal level (which wasn't good), truck freight will decline as well, and all the while the pundits will declare the economy healed. As I posted previously, excellent quality blogs such as Charles Smith's Of Two MindsMish, and Zerohedge  paint a far different picture, at least for me.

I sincerely hope all will be well, but I very much doubt it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Is the economy improving? I certainly hope so but- a look at the various charts and graphs supplied today by Zerohedge says otherwise. You can almost bet that first time claims will be revised higher next week. Adding that to the aforementioned charts will likely give you a different and more realistic perspective. Sorry to be negative folks.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Do something-even if it's wrong!

Guess that must be our new mantra. Maybe it always was. The Fed messing about in the economy. The TSA messing about in our pants. We expect results in a hurry and if what we just tried didn't work, let's wait a day or two and try something else. We demand instant gratification.

Problem is, we don't really know what we want except in a vague, general sort of way. We want a strong economy and security. Just make it so! Ain't gonna happen-at least not tomorrow or the next day. Solutions? I sure don't have any. Maybe all we can do is raise our voices to the people who can do something. Ourselves.

Will a majority Republican house make a difference. I hope so but deep down I doubt it. I don't believe a solution to our problems will ever come from a politician. The world really is different now and we have only ourselves to rely on. Better get busy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Well the economy may or may not be improving depending on who you listen to. Jobs may or may not be improving depending on who you listen to. Probably a whole host of things may or may not be improving. If you are like me, it really doesn't matter who you listen to, something just feels decidedly wrong.

There just seems to be no end to potential problems out there. The economy, employment, housing, our education system, the oil spill and other environmental worries, and it seems to me that under the surface there seems to be bit of racial tension bubbling up. Starting to seem as though we may never get beyond that. Just plain bad karma-I don't know what else to call this period in time. I am just north of 50 years old and can honestly say I don't ever remember a time like this. Whether or not we are in an economic depression, as has been posited by some very smart folks, something is most definitely wrong in America. I think that most of us can feel it even if we don't admit it.

I feel that we as a society are in decline. Tommy over at Freedom Guerrilla has a nice rant about this. His blog is always a good read but his latest is a cut above. It is hard to put your finger on our problems until you realize that it isn't just one problem or five or twelve but it seems as though everything is wrong. Everywhere you look the story is "it's all about me". It is pervasive. All ages, races, ethnicities,etc. NO ONE seems to give a damn anymore about anyone but themselves. Whether we go down the tubes in six months or six years or six decades, the fact is we ARE going down the tubes. We have become so shallow, with our heads so far up our collective asses, that I simply don't have much hope anymore. I mean, talk about the head up the ass-on local talk radio today there was still advice on flipping houses. Millions are hungry and unemployed and hopeless and we're talking about flipping houses. WTF.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Well, it seems like regardless of the week, month, or year we just aren't doing well. The construction sector got hammered again as was expected by most. I can't help but wonder what has happened to all the "shovel ready" projects we heard about from this administration before and after election time. I visit The Infrastructurist often and there seems to be lots of potential work out there. You may or may not agree with a WPA type of program but the potential for lots of jobs is there. Having said that, I wonder where other types of jobs would come from? If you have an answer for that one for goodness sake let someone know.

As I have said before I am a certifiable doomer. It isn't so much that I think the world will end soon but I think we have problems in this country with our economic and political structure that will not be easily solved soon if ever. A radical reset will be in order.

There just doesn't seem to be much demand out there for the things that drive hiring and production in our economy, namely stuff people can't afford or don't want. Consumers aren't consuming as much so businesses aren't hiring as much. Pretty simple concept. People may be getting the idea that the ability to make payments is not the same as being able to afford the current object of their lust.

If we don't buy things we can't afford or spend our weekends at Walmart, how do we keep our economy afloat? Good question. Seems to me that we need to begin producing goods in our own country for our own people to buy. We need to maybe lower our expectations a bit in regard to our homes and our rides. We need to begin rebuilding our infrastructure post haste as things seem to be crumbling before our eyes. I don't think anyone really knows what will resurrect our economy but I think it is destined to be a slow painful process for millions of people because it feels as though we may really be in deep shit.


Sunday, June 6, 2010


I have not posted on this blog for many months now mainly because I didn't have anything new to say and quite frankly no one really sees it anyway. That's fine- it's really just a way for me to vent. Others such as Mish, Charles Hugh Smith, Zerohedge and others have much more in depth and technical information that I can provide. This blog was from the outset simply a way for me to point out what I think is wrong with the world and just to bitch in general.

I am no supporter of the current administration and have to agree with Rush in the larger sense in regard to my desire to see their policies fail. Having said that, I have to say that while am a general detractor of their positions, I am currently mad as hell about a couple of things. First, I have to say as someone who is very conservative AND very concerned about our environment, while I understand that the "Big O" can hardly be expected to swim down a mile and plug the leak himself, the spin involved in this thing is completely absurd. How about some truth and honesty here? And not just from Obama, how about Big Sis also. The truth is, the damn situation is or was out of control, and no one really know how to handle it. No one knows what the final result will be- but it doesn't take a PhD. to know it won't be good. How about simply "we are doing the best we can" and then really do the best you can?

My other big beef is the latest jobs report that took the market for a ride down on Fri. The advance jobs report sounded good and offered a nice bump up in the market early in the week. The thing is, the jobs report wasn't worth shit and the administration knew it wasn't worth shit. The amount of spin on that report was disgusting. Rather, not the report itself but the chest-thumping about the report. You know, "Economy going in right direction" and that sort of effort. I know Obama is an intelligent guy but really? Can he really believe that? Is it spin on his part or is he simply reading what he has been given to say? Well, one thing is for sure. The Street saw the report for what it was-abysmal.

My sense, for what it's worth, is probably like millions of other folks' out there. Things are bad and getting worse. That feeling is backed up by people like Gerald Celente and Peter Schiff among many others. Before you write those guys off as simply gloom and doomers, remember that they have forecast our current situations much more accurately than the majority of economists and forecasters. These guys simply state the facts and extrapolate and trajectory from there. The optimists issue cheery forecasts based on what they hope will happen. In my opinion that is potentially a huge disservice to us all. Someone needs to stand in front of the American people and give it to us straight. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Charles Hugh Smith

Charles Hugh Smith's blog Of Two Minds is one of the best blogs out there and his current posting is without question the finest rant I have ever read. You will find a link to the left and I heartily encourage all to visit. I can't say I always agree 100% with Mr. Smith, but most days I feel as though he is saying what I would like to say. Excellent, excellent work Mr. Smith.

I am not a particularly religious person but I do consider myself a spiritual person and this country is in fact spiritually and morally rotten to the core as Charles Smith points out. It is difficult for me to express in words how screwed up we are. Our sense of honesty, fair play, and integrity are almost totally lacking. It seems as though we no longer as a society care much about right from wrong. Stealing cable? So what. Cheating on food stamps and welfare? Big deal. Laying on your fat ass while others pay for your existence? Your deserve it, right?

Whether or not the economy tanks again is almost certain in my view but certainly not assured. We may pull out of this, but when and for how long? In my mind when or if things get really tough, we are screwed because the values of the past are long gone. Many have no clue how to take care of themselves because they never had to. They don't really understand the concept of sacrifice and doing without because, let's face it, those things, which I consider to be necessary for us to right the ship, where never taught to them.

We have become largely a nation of get what you can, as much as you can, without worrying about what we have to do or who we have to step on. We feel entitled to a big house, nice car, and plenty of toys just like what we think others have. The thing is, many of those with "all the toys" really can't afford them either. We are not doomed because of the "big banks" or car companies or credit card companies or government or name your villain. We are doomed because of what we have become. Nothing wrong with being rich or poor. It just is. Nothing wrong with wanting things. What is wrong is expecting good things to come your way without earning them.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Generally I use this blog to vent about what I feel are society's ills. To shift gears a bit, I want to comment on Glenn Beck's interview of Debra Medina. I listen to Beck each day and am in general agreement with his views. True, he can be a little alarmist but these may be times that need an alarm to be sounded. We really need quality leadership and we need it right now. Since I will be voting in the Texas Republican primary and am a Libertarian, I have followed Ms. Medina's campaign with much interest. I thought she embodied all the qualities that I think Texas' governor should possess. I was absolutely shocked that she wouldn't either confirm or deny the allegation that she is a 9/11 truther.

Now, Beck has taken much heat today in the blogosphere about that interview. Some have called it a set-up or hatchet job or worse. First, I don't smell set-up at all. I think Beck expected a simple "no" and then move on to the next question. I think it was intended as a softball question. I could sense the consternation and then frustration from Beck as Ms. Medina sidestepped the question. He immediately wrote her off as well he should.

Second, I don't want a governor that is afraid to admit what he or she thinks. For the record, I think the truthers are absolute wack jobs. If they are right, God help us. Debt and budget crises don't mean anything compared to a government that would kill it's own citizens to justify a war. I am quite sure we don't know every detail of that horrible day and I'm not sure I want to. But, the idea that our own government was involved in any way is too monstrous to consider and I for one refuse to give it any consideration. However, if Ms. Medina, or any candidate for that matter, really thinks that is a possibility, they should at least have the courage to make their views known.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Well, any who follow the market noticed that the "better than expected" employment numbers didn't do much for the Dow. I had expected wild optimism after the marked decline of the previous day. What happened? Perhaps the numbers were not believed or employment wasn't the reason for the decline after all. Many in the know, of which I am not, believe the current fear is largely due to debt. Massive debt from the consumer level up to and including states and countries. Of course the world runs on debt. Most never think about it but look at your own spending. How much would you consume if you paid cash for everything excluding houses and cars. Not nearly as much I'll wager.

The thing is, there's really nothing wrong with some amount of debt. It keeps consumers consuming which creates jobs. That's obvious. Most of us use credit in one form or other. Mortgages, car loans, credit cards. The first two are revolving- for most of us they have to be. Credit cards are another thing all together. Everyone I know says they pay their balance off each month but the stats I have seen indicate otherwise. So we keep on consuming and our credit card minimum payments continue to rise. Maybe you can keep up but eventually something unforeseen happens like an illness or job loss. Multiply that scenario my millions and and you have USA 2010.

Of course, we aren't just talking credit card defaults. A personal situation of serious magnitude nowadays will often result in the loss of a home or automobile or both. What happens when a city, state, or even country can't cover it's bills. I as I have said, I'm not an economist but it doesn't sound like a good situation to me.

I recently heard James Galbraith on a late night talk radio program. The thrust of his talk, if I understood correctly, was that all the debt amassed by the US really doesn't matter and that in reality the government will never run out of money because we can continue to print it. Wow! Doesn't make sense to me but then who am I anyhow. The only thing is, if it doesn't matter, why are investors all over the world worried about it. It seems to me, in my woefully inadequate understanding of these matters, that debt makes you beholden to someone for something. I guess maybe the important question is what you owe and to whom.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Give me a Break

I don't know about you, but when I hear the mainstream media use the term "unexpectedly" to describe yet another bad jobs report or a weaker than hoped for economic indicator, I don't know whether to laugh or punch a hole in the wall. I mean it must be obvious to all but the most detached of us that we are in a bad way. It is hard to buy into this "recovery" when most of us know people who are in very dire straits. Well, it must be getting better somewhere else right? I don't see it. The jobs report for Jan. is expected to be bad, and if you follow various sources such as Mish or Drudge, there are lots of lay-offs announced for the near future. But people are going back to work right? Doesn't seem like it when first time claims are up, continuing claims are up and morale is down. Foreclosures-up. Home sales-down. Instead of planning for the future, many are hanging on for dear life.

What can we do? Well first, you can either be the sort that looks to the government for help, or you can determine to help yourself. If you have decided to curl up in ball and wait for the government to come to your aid, you do yourself and me a disservice. Hopefully that mindset is not contagious. If on the other hand you are determined to help yourself, you have to realize that despite your best efforts you may still need help. We all need help sometimes and there is no shame in it.

Problem is, I see more and more people unwilling to try. I know people who will accept food stamps but will not sacrifice cable. Maybe they're on Medicaid and still paying for a cell phone with an unlimited data plan. Good grief what has happened to us? I am not even advocating real suffering. How about this: If you expect me to get up and go to work each day to help support you, how about using coupons at the grocery store. Maybe actually take care of yourself so you have less need of medical care. How about realizing that although there is nothing wrong with accepting help, your goal should be to take care of yourself. Food stamps, medicaid and these giant tax returns that end up being spent on t.v.s instead of necessities don't come without a price. How about a little humility instead to the attitude of entitlement that is becoming more and more common?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Prepared

I'm sure most everyone has noticed in the last few years you can find extreme optimism and pessimism in equal measures. On one hand it's all good and on the other it's man the lifeboats. I must admit that I likely fall generally into the latter category. Yep, I guess I'm a gloom and doomer. There is a reason I think this way. It is simply prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That simple philosophy has served me well. Maybe my investments haven't paid off big time like others' have, but I also haven't lost my ass like many have. Perhaps I don't have the most hip ride, but I can easily afford to drive and insure it. You get the picture.

I guess what I am getting at is that I don't know if our economy will recover or go down the dumper again, but I will try to be ready for the worst. I have always grown vegetables- just more of them now. I am amassing quite a store of canned goods and toilet paper. A few smart and often very accurate people stopped me in my tracks and made me consider the worst case scenario. Could these things really happen here? I don't see why not. We have some 37+ million on food stamps and other assistance,and the unemployment numbers are going the wrong way. Foreclosures are up and will likely continue rising while consumer spending is sinking.

Times are indeed tough. How tough? I believe things are almost certainly worse than they are being portrayed by the mainstream media. For a look at what a couple of really smart people think, follow some of my links and see what Mish and Charles Hugh Smith have to say on the subject. I think making the same types of preparations one would make in the event of any crisis would be wise. Let's face it,even if the world doesn't end tomorrow, it is wise to be prepared for emergencies. It's hard to imagine all that toilet paper going to waste.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The State of the Union

While I am not going to go into great detail about the President's recent address, I must say there were several things that I found objectionable. The only subject that I will address here is the idea that we must somehow bring home values back up. I understand his reasoning,or do I? I assume that he wants values to increase so that we may once again use our homes as piggy banks to purchase things that we couldn't otherwise afford.

Speaking only for myself, it seems as though that is a quick way to get us right back where we were. I mean, my home is my home. I don't intend to sell anytime soon or borrow against it's value. Certainly the unforeseen does happen, but mainly I am poking at people who borrow against their home's value for that new boat that they can't live without. Really, we need a reality check in this country. C'mon people- let's get serious here. I know lots of folks want the new boat( or whatever) because their neighbor just got one but guess what-he probably can't really afford it either. Home prices were and still are too high and we all know it. Do we really need to trade up to bigger and better every few years? Of course not. What we need is a home we can comfortably afford in a community we love. That and good neighbors is about all that we need.

I think that if affordable homes are as important to President Obama as he has said, isn't a better solution to simply let home prices find their own level without the government mucking about with the market. If you are a speculator, I can see your desire for values to rise. But the vast majority of us aren't. Most of us simply want to be able to buy a home without having to raid the kid's college funds.
2Feb 2010- As the name of this blog may or may not imply, this is largely commentary about our disordered society. In general I will be sort of identifying what I view as social ills and how I think they relate to our current difficulties, both economic and otherwise. I may from time to time include charts and graphs and links, but in general, since I am neither an economist or psychologist, this blog is merely my opinions and observations and hopefully yours as well.