Oct 21 2008

Dying from too much care

The patient takes vitamins and minerals in doses recommended by most physicians, and gets plenty of exercise.

The patient eats a reasonably healthy diet.  However, the patient depends to a large degree on imported food, which has become very expensive, and while the patient could grow plenty of home grown food, the patient hasn’t been planting enough lately to sustain present and future dietary needs.  So the patient is hungry, and losing weight

The patient is mysteriously ill.  Upon examination, it appears that the patient has been slowly poisoned.  The patient’s immune system and general state of health might have been sufficient to cover the symptoms of the poisoning longer, except for the strain imposed by the recent hunger and weight loss.  The symptoms have been coming on for sometime, but only recently have they become indisputable.

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Oct 07 2008

Quick Post-Debate Angry Thoughts

Category: election 2008,housing,McCainamuzikman @ 9:40 pm

What a fool I’ve been – scrambling, scraping, working overtime, working extra jobs, doing without, and tightening the proverbial belt.  In my foolishness I’ve made some pretty difficult financial decisions that will help ensure I can honor all debts I have accrued, pay back every cent of money I have borrowed, and try to keep the promises I have made.

What I should have been doing was selling my home and buying a much bigger, more expensive one – with a mortgage I knew I would not be able to afford!  Because that way I could just sit back and let the federal government “bail” me out.  And now the latest “rescue” – McCain wants to spend 300 billion dollars (of TAXPAYER money) to have the government buy up so-called “bad” mortgages, lower the value of the homes, and then issue correspondingly new lower, more “manageable” mortgages that reflect the lower home value.  Brilliant, simply brilliant.  (Gee, that won’t have any market-effect on home values, will it…….) Meanwhile, like some kind of faux-Steinbeck character, I plod along hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel before I die and maybe getting a chance to “tend them rabbits”.

I think if I had any brains at all I’d just stop making my mortgage payments right now. But instead, I have created a short self-quiz in honor of the debate.

After listening to the Presidential debate tonight I must admit I feel like a complete:

a. idiot

b. sucker

c. schmuck

d. all of the above

…I think I’ll choose d.

P.S.  For those of you entranced with the rhetoric of “change you can believe in” – you should be careful what you wish for.  Because you may wake up some day after the election and realize you should have asked a few questions about what kind of change you were getting.

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Sep 30 2008

The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling!

Category: capitalism,Congress,constitution,economy,housing,liberty,politicsamuzikman @ 9:41 am

Once upon a time….

Be it myth, legend, tale or fable we all know these four words and understand them to be a preamble to the telling of a make-believe story (though possibly based on fact).  Such stories serve many purposes, not the least of which is to teach an object lesson to the very young, a meaningful and memorable way to instruct children about great and noble virtues such as loyalty, honor, courage and truth.

Chicken Little is one such story. The diminuitive foul who determines Armageddon is at hand after being struck on the head by an acorn.  The story proceeds with Chicken Little determining the best course of action is to tell the king whereupon a journey commences and various encounters with other creatures ensue.  Depending on which version of the story is told, a final encounter with a deceitful fox who manipulates the circumstances brings about a close call or bad ending to the story.

I find several interesting parallels to current events.

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Sep 16 2008

Maybe I Just Don’t Get It

Category: economy,freedom,housingamuzikman @ 9:48 pm

I have had a home mortgage of some sort since 1980. In the 28 years since my first loan I have sold property and I have bought property. I have refinanced home loans more times than I can remember. I have made money in real estate and I have lost money (a lot of money), in real estate. I have had loans that were labeled as “creative financing”. (This formerly often-used term can be freely interpreted as “You-can’t-really-afford-it-but-we’ll-think-of-something financing”). I have taken risks with loans – betting (and hoping) that real estate values would continue to rise, knowing I would be in serious trouble if they did not. I have faced “balloon payments”. In short I have made decisions both good and bad and lived with the consequences of both. But never even once did I think it was someone else’s job to bail me out if I made what turned out to be a bad decision.

I have been to real estate sales offices, escrow company offices, and bank loan offices. But never even once did I witness a borrower forced at gunpoint to sign loan documents, or tortured until they signed a purchase agreement. In fact I have never seen anyone forced in any way to enter into any kind of financial agreement.

So here is my question: How in the world did we ever get to the point where we expect the government to step in and protect us from the consequences of bad decisions?

I’m sorry some people have lost their homes to foreclosure. I really am. Who knows, maybe it will happen to me. It happens every day in this country and has for many many years. People over-extend themselves, lose jobs, have unforeseen events changes their lives…and some are just deadbeats. Foreclosure is not new. So why does the government suddenly care about this? The answer lies in the unprecedented volume of foreclosures. OK I get that. But what do you say to someone who lost their home to foreclosure, say 10 years ago? “Gee, too bad there weren’t more of you at that time, then maybe we would have bailed you out too.”

Maybe I’m missing something here…

As an adult I understand that every decision I make carries consequences. It is a fact I have tried to instill in my kids as well. Understanding that is a part of growing up. But I make decisions knowing full well I will and should bear the consequences of those decisions – not my neighbor, not my co-workers, not my government – me!

I just don’t get it.

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Aug 04 2008

Privatized Profit, Socialized Risk: the problem of public/private companies

Category: capitalism,corporations,corruption,economy,housing,Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 11:28 am

Larry Summers on the underlying problem of joint private/public companies, and how they led to the current housing market crunch.

Here is a really good creative capitalism idea. All Americans benefit from increases in home ownership because of the values like hard work, community, and respect for property that ownership instills. Families want desperately to own their own homes and accumulate equity. Yet it is very hard for conventional banks that borrow money over the short term to lend over the kind of 30-year horizons that best help families buy houses.

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Jul 23 2008

When there’s a financial crisis, look to the government as the cause, part 2

Category: Congress,corruption,diversity,economy,election 2008,housing,politicsharmonicminer @ 12:11 pm

Thomas Sowell continues his previous discussion of how the government is the primary cause of our current financial issues.

We don’t look to arsonists to help put out fires but we do look to politicians to help solve financial crises that they played a major role in creating.

How did the government help create the current financial mess? Let me count the ways.

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Jul 07 2008

Why did the housing meltdown happen NOW?

Category: economy,housing,Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 4:03 pm

The usual suspicion, held by those of us who expect bad results from government meddling in the market, is that the housing/sub-prime meltdown is somehow a result of new factors entering the marketplace by government action. That is, the meltdown happened at this time, not 5 years ago, and the question in these matters is usually, why now? The main player with enough power to distort the market so as to create a fast moving set of bad circumstances is, you guessed it, the government. That is, why were all the sub-prime loans made recently, not ten years ago? In other words, what changed?

Steve Sailer details an important factor not considered by many, and not widely explained, or even mentioned, in the media:

the roots of the disastrous home mortgage bubble that popped last year
will keep economic historians busy for decades. Yet, one factor has so
far been largely overlooked: the bipartisan social engineering crusade
to drive up the rate of homeownership by handing out more mortgages to

More than a negligible amount of the blame for the
mortgage meltdown can be traced back to multiculturalism:
government-mandated affirmative-action lending, demographic change,
illegal immigration, and the mind-numbing effects of political

The chickens have finally come home to roost.

If you find this a provocative thesis, he has made a very convincing argument, that, like it or not, is worth a read.