Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stimulus Package?

Here was the morning headline. A 787 billion dollar bailout package. Look at the picture. The editor of the newspaper selected a picture of everyone laughing. There is an editorial statement here that speaks volumes silently ("Insanity strikes the Capital").
It Kind of reminds me of the Mad Hatters Tea Party in Alice and Wonderland.


Then down at the bottom of the page we have reality coming home. If 787 billion dollars wasn't enough to smile about, here is a real knee slapper!


You get to laugh with Congress and wet your pants without having to turn the page.

Too much spending got us into this hole, now we are going to spend print our way out? Notice how it is labeled a "Stimulus Package," it's not a "Titanic Spending Bill." Choice of words is what it's all about. A "stimulus package" has a subliminal link to the successful pretty little blue pill Viagra. A "titanic Spending bill" has a subliminal link to rearranging deck chairs and icebergs. What we have here, is a titanic blue pill with deck chairs, that's going to hit an iceberg and sink in the Atlantic.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim,
Per my economic history readings, the 1930's actually had two recessions... which the Hoover and FDR administrations turned into a depression. If they had just let the corrections take their toll and didn't intervene we would've bounced back a lot sooner. Obama is following FDR's actions. He doesn't realize that FDR's socialist programs didn't get us out of the depression, WWII did. If not for WWII the depression would've continued on for who knows how long. Is this your understanding as well?

Is this why Obama is intent on going after the Taliban in Afghanistan... is he keeping a window open for war? Will the troops being withdrawn from Iraq fo right over to Afghanistan? Or maybe it will be a Middle East war with Iran under the excuse of a nuclear threat or the protection of Israel? It will have to be war on a grand scale in order to "solve" a depression.

This stimulus package will be a huge waste of money and a big debt for we the people. They will continue to borrow and print in a futile and effete attempt to try and halt the decline before they give up.

They've got it backwards... borrowing, lending and spending is not the way out of this.

Being frugal, saving and producing products and services on a massive level for domestic and foreign markets is the way out.

This is Economics 101. You run a government the same way you run a household or a business. The basic rules always apply.

Our leaders can't be this ignorant. So it can only be intentional. This is where the conspiracy theories start to rise up. But you know what? There has to be a conspiracy behind this. The question is no longer are they deluded or dishonest? No one could be this deluded. They are dishonest.

Anonymous said...

There isn't much stimulus in this package. It is all spending. Not even hitting the right targets.

Why lower "troubled" home owner's mortgage principle or interest? Their equity is negative, they will walk anyway!

Why force banks to lend? No one wants to borrow anyway (they don't have the extra money to take on additional loan obligations), and those that do want to borrow don't qualify anyway (plus their assets/collateral is still and will continue to depreciate)!

When has government ever created long term jobs that have lasted? Only entrepreneurs and employers within the private sector can create jobs.

I agree with the last guy. No one can be this stoopid. This has to be intentional. The intention to destroy this country and steal its wealth.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 7:23

Your right, there were two dips in the Great Depression. It is really hard to argue that political intervention really did anything. This sort of problem will solve itself if given time. Government is usually accused of prolonging the problem.

Obama is pretty much considered a light weight by the rest of the world. "Water-boarding is torture." So I expect him to be perceived as a real candy ass on fighting anywhere.

His real problem with the economy, is that doing nothing gives the wrong image to the general public. He must show that they are doing all that they can. The trouble is, government didn't create the problem, but it does affect them as well as us. Less tax receipts means less revenues for projected programs already passed. The government this time around could face bankruptcy with this lunatic stimulus package.

I don't think that Congress gives a damn, if it happens it happens. If a Congressman faced 20 years of jail time, the voting might be a tad bit different.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 7:37

You raise a good point "What good is common sense?"

It doesn't seem like the village idiots (an euphemism for Congressmen) have any idea of what is going on in the real world.

You can't force a bank to lend money. It just doesn't work that way.

I do disagree with your idea that this is intentional. Shoe size is a pretty good IQ indicator up on the hill.

AngryTaxPayer said...

Hi Jim,

Haven't said in a while so I will repeat it... Keep up the great work with your blog. Its during these insane times that only sanity will prevail. Fortunately yours always comes with some priceless one liner slap-stick that keeps me smiling.

Tom

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Tom

I'm glad my weird humor has a home with you. Thank you

Complements are my paycheck.

Take care and God bless.

AngryTaxPayer said...

The government creates jobs all the time… The problem of course is they are government jobs. Government employees never go away since they are all considered essential (by politicians) to the functioning of our country. Not one of the 4.8 million currently unemployed is from government layoffs. Neither will the next 4.8 million.

If I am a politician, how could I get unpopular fiscal legislation passed quickly and relatively easy? Very simple… take full advantage of a crises situation. Bush did this in the years following 911. If not for the doomsday rhetoric back in October, TARP would have never passed. The Congressional Rehabilitation Action Program (CRAP) about to be signed by the POTUS one is just another example of this.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Most everything in the CRAP bill is Democratic programs that have been shelved for many years waiting to be appropriated. What about the tax breaks in the bill? Someone explain how $13/wk is very stimulative when it will easily be eaten up by inflation by the time it’s enacted?

CRAP is nothing but a political play. Both sides of Congress engage in this behavior. The pendulum has swung and many more CRAP bills will be passed in this manner. Majority leaders are banking on the economy getting worse giving them even more reasons to pile the CRAP on.

Tom (ATP)

AngryTaxPayer said...

Here is an idea... What if the $1T was the grand prize (tax free of course) in a national lotto created by the POTUS and open to the world for playing?

I wonder how much money the government would generate through ticket sales? Perhaps we could pay off our national debt? I personally would throw down a minimum of $1,000 for the chance to win...

$1,000,000,000,000.

Political benefits of this lotto... I seriously doubt there would be one citizen complaint of how the governmental would spend the proceeds.

Any thoughts?

Tom

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Great pictures. It makes me want to ask that they are laughing at.

This bill has taught me that DC is all about theater. Back when the Wall Street Bailout was being ramrodded through, I emailed, faxed and called my representatives. Their office workers said sentiment was running about 95-to-1 against the Wall Street Bailout. Yet my VERY Republican representative happily voted for it, even though it was obvious it whould be flushed down the toilet (and it was!).

Now, we have a bill that is not focused on billionaires, but more on the rest of America; gotta admit, it won't do much useful, but it is not focused at Wall Street this time. And that same very Republican representative goes apesh%t railing against it, even though dollarwise both plans were similar (and equally wasteful).

So bailing out Wall Street is okay? If a 95-to-1 sentiment won't make my representative vote the will of the people, what WOULD it take? Is this what it felt like to live in the American Colonies in 1775?

Confused in Texas
John

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi John in Texas

The smiling Congress picture was an editors choice. I'm sure he had several somber serious pictures to choose from to use on the front page. It shows that an editor can make an editorial statement without having to say anything. You'd think the people in that picture just won the lottery.

I give the editor or the Union Tribune an A+ on this one.

The thing that bothers me, is the stuff they are going to do in this bill are things that were being put off because we didn't have the money. We still don't but "By God were going to get it done! Ra!Ra!" I call this "Short Bus Logic."

I wish I could pay my bills the way Congress does.

Rob in Nova Scotia said...

Jim

The Federal Government in Canada is trying the same thing to get economy going here. I doubt it will work in my country either.

A couple of questions. I don't mean to be getting off track here.

Can the banks using the inflated house values to write home equity loans be seen as a cheque kiting racket? I say this because it looks like banks were in league with people underwriting all these mortgages that are currently underwater. If the FRB cannot find buyers for the treasury bonds to finance this spending and is forced to buy them themselves then does this constitute the same aforementioned racket just on larger scale?


rob

Jim in San Marcos said...

HI Tom

I agree politics is at play here big time. If the Republicans went along on the plan they wouldn't get any credit if it succeeds.

The Democrats are digging a big hole. The Republicans are planning funeral arrangements. The next election (if there is one) could be very different.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Rob

I think you can blame the banks for being incompetent but not for check kiting.

When the real estate bubble was in full bloom, the banks had no trouble recovering the loan amount on a default. Everything was going up in value. There was no way they could lose the depositors money.

Things have changed drastically. Try and get a home equity loan now.

As for the Treasury issuing new paper to pay for this mess, they will get the money, it's the interest rate that they will have to pay to get it. That's the big question. If it hits 10% that would be the equivalent of pulling the emergency break on the economy.

I think everyone is waiting to see what happens next. My crystal ball is shot, so your guess is as good as mine. I would bet that it is not going to go as planned.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

The problems with the "Stimulus" Bill are:

1. It isn't large enough.

2. Too many obstructionists in Congress which portend the mess will get much worse than need be.

The reason we didn't come out of the Great Depression until WWII, is because government debt rose to about 120% of GDP during WWII, creating tons of government jobs like soldiers and retooling manufacturing to produce war needs, paid for by the government. Previously, before WWII, debt was only about 50% or so of GDP, much less than needed to have ended the Depression. Obstructionists existed then, too.

Plus, with this "window" (low inflation/deflation and low interest rates on Treasuries - plus the massive destruction of money - home prices, stock prices, etc - sure this isn't counted in M1, M2, etc - but it is still a form of money which ends up with less currency being transacted/demanded), it is nonsensical not to use it to issue Treasuries at this time. There is a great demand for them. Sure, there has to be a plan to address that. The "window" won't last forever. As for socialism, that is nonsense. Right now I'd rather have less mortgage broker jobs and keep teachers, cops, etc employed. Plus, releasing massive amounts of prisoners from jails, rather than paying for prison workers, is more stupidity.

As for all the government debt used for infrastructure, most of the stuff is is done by private contractors. Fixing/rebuilding schools is done by private industry, etc, etc.

Many of the major banks will also need to nationalized temporarily. They are insolvent. It would be cheaper to take them over, and a more efficient way to resolve the bad assets. In the 90's we essentially did that successfully, the only difference was that those banks/S&Ls were smaller and with less complex assets - no SIVS, etc, etc.

What obstructionists don't realize is that much of the New Deal, re-regulation and social protections like FDIC, SS, etc set the stages so that the eventual solid recovery would be on a more surer footing, and be greater than it would have been without the New Deal.

...Joseph

dearieme said...

At what point does it become better to let a vast organisation go bankrupt than spend huge sums on trying to rescue it? The vast org that I have in mind is the US federal government.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the governed say or want. The politicians will do what they wish. They cronyism, partisan agendas, power plays, personal ideaologies, etc. will dominate the scene (human behaviour).

The problem is that Congress isn't united in a vision or a goal. There needs to be specific goals for America. What is government's ideal role? What role do we play in the world? What are our economic goals domestically and globally? etc. etc.
If a group can't decide on a common set of goals, then it will be a confused activity with no real understanding of where it is going or what it is supposed to achieve. Without being alligned to a set of goals how can you expect the group to make the correct decisions about current events? This is true for any group (a household, a business, a religious group, etc.) and it is also true for a government.

Every new president comes in with his own idea of what the role of government should be and attempts to make whatever he and his advisors consider to be the necessary changes... which is impossible to do in a 4 or 8 year term. He leaves all of his construct in place and when the next president comes in he builds his construct on top of the last one. As a result, government gets bigger and costlier with each new administration. It is very easy to grow government, next to impossible to shrink it.

I believe the system doesn't work and will fail. Every empire has fallen due to flaws that also exist in our paradigm. This empire will fall too. They will continue to fall until man isolates the actual factors that cause the demise.

Although it is a big emergency, there are much more basic issues to be dealt with than a recession or depression—because long term survival considerations are most important, otherwise you are dying a slow death. A recess/depress is a symptom of a system, or components of a system, that don't work.

There are specific reasons why Greece, Rome, Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, etc. all failed. To this day we haven't isolated those reasons so that they could be overcome. I believe most of it has to do with man not understanding himself and his mind.

A nation that doesn't understand and have specific goals and ideals and isn't united in their accomplishment is doomed.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Joseph

I agree the stimulus bill isn't big enough and it never will be.

When FDR tackled the great depression the country had little debt, hardly anyone paid income tax, there was no social security or Medicare and the government was very small by todays standards.

It looks like the government is going to grant your wish and issue those treasuries, 787 billion of them. It will be interesting to see where interest rates go from there.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Dearieme

Thats an interesting thought. The people pulling the strings would be the first to lose their jobs.

But when you think about it governments don't go bankrupt, the people that loaned them the money go bankrupt. Grandma and Grandpa will be moving in with you--soon--just thought I'd warn you.

dearieme said...

Grandma and Grandpa are dead, Jim, but I there's always the risk of a boomerang child.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 10:34

I agree with you.

Your writting and style remind me of Anon on a California Mountain.

The founding settlers had to act as a group to survive and moral fiber of the nation was different then.

Things have changed and as you alluded to most great civilizations fail from within and collapse. I hope we still have another 100 years to go.

Thank you for your comments-that's a great piece of writting.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Yes, Anon 10:43 was me (Anon on a Calif Mtn). I just forgot to sign my post with that moniker. I've been following your blog and just caught up on everything.

I was surprised that you featured my two earlier posts on your blog. If I'd known such a thing would happen I would've thought out, organized and polished my posts before hitting the publish button!

I'm still up here on top of this snowy mountain... observing the fall of the American Empire.

Yet, as stated earlier... this will be an opportunity for us to evolve to a better system. Hopefully, in the next empire, we will learn from history and occupy a longer span of history and furnish ourselves with a society of production, prosperity and happiness. And rid ourselves of the unnecessary suffering and ignorance that has plagued us through the centuries.

Best,
Anon on a California Mountain

Anonymous said...

Jim, and anon,

Is there any chance at all of uniting behind the Constitution? No republic ever lasted as long as this one has. I believe that the Constitution is a wonderful document and it gave us an excellent form of governement. It wasn't a perfect document but it served us pretty well for the first 150 years and, for the most part, we followed it fairly closely during that time. Socialism doesn't work nor do democracies nor fascist forms of governments. Democracies will never work because they depend solely on the will of the people instead of a body of laws not easily changed. The will of the people changes every few years and democracies so easily begin to decay into a never ending spiral of interst groups developing from a desire to elect politicians who will grant their interests in order to purchase their votes which eventually ends in socialism anyways. The politicians are all too willing to grant their wishes in order to purchase their votes to make careers of being politicians for life. Americans need to relize that we are heading into socialism or some form of totalitarianism lest we move back toward the Constitution and the limited form of government that it gave us. It's all very sad to see this happening before our eyes and in such a rapid manner.

an anonymous concerned citizen

Anonymous said...

an anonymous concerned citizen...

If my memory serves me well, our Constitution does not mention the word "democracy" at all. There is a lot of confusion and debate over the difference between a democracy and a republic, as well as debate over what our founders intended our governmental form to be.

Both are representative forms of government. Simple definitions of each would be...

DEMOCRACY: a gov run by the rule of the majority.

REPUBLIC: a political group that runs under a charter, which limits the political group's responsibilities.

To have a republic, the people have to be willing to live by the dictates of the charter; and the charter protects their individual rights.

The problem with a democracy is as you say... the will of the people can change and be tainted by special interests, emotion, upheavals, etc. Because a democracy is based on a majority rule, it can destroy or change a constitution. This can't happen with a republic because law (the constitution) rules. And a republic's government organization can vary... could be a benevolent dictator who rules for a lifetime; a group; an ad hoc organisation created from a group; etc. etc.

(Switzerland is a republic in which the head of state is actually a committee, and certain categories of issues are brought before the people.)

I personally believe our framers wanted a republic and the Constitution was supposed to be the senior law. Our democracy has already destroyed the US Constitution and basically relegated it to the junk yard.

I recall a joke told by Jay Leno: "The Iraqi's are looking to set up a constitution for their new government. We should just give them ours, we don't use it any more."

It is my opinion that it is obvious that our founding fathers could not see deeply into the future (although they did on many fundamental points). Yet, I don't think they envisioned a multi-ethnic population of 320 million; high technology; and all of the cultural and global changes that we have had.

It may sound heinous and seditionary, but I believe that our existing constitution should be revived and revised to fit our modern times and our future. And we should switch to a republican form of government that is run by a group/committee (like Switzerland) that is guided by the constitution as its charter, and key issues are referendums that are passed out to the public for voting. The committee could hold its position, based on certain standards, for as long as the country's statistics, growth and well being were positive and acceptable, but mostly to the degree they follow the charter. They could be removed, or specific members removed and replaced, if those standards were violated. There could be one or more watchdog committees with revolving members, that use oversight to ensure the charter is being followed. As another idea, the governing committe itself could have a revolving membership basis as well.

Heck, I'd even welcome a benevolent dictator for such a republic if the person was indeed were a selfless and great leader possessed of integrity and intelligence and could lead us down the path of growth, prosperity and give us something that actually met the definition of "a civilization" -- which is something we don't actually have now.

OSR said...

It looks more like looting than stimulus to me--if you want to what Washington is up to, just follow the lobbyist money. You can even devise successful trading strategies from it, if you are so inclined.

Anyway, I went back and read your first posts in 2006. You nailed it, in Schiff-like fashion. Good job.

Anonymous said...

anon, I was not referring to any old republic in the history of mankind but to our Republic as defined by the Constitution. I will be in perfect agreement with you that our Constitution is no longer being followed to any great extent.

I will be the first to admit that our Constitution does not speak of a 'democracy' specifically but if you consult what our founding founding fathers had to say about a 'democracy' you will certainly find that they were not generally favourable towards a 'democracy'. Surely this would have some bearing on the question.

I would think that a House of Representatives would serve quite well as a 'committee' that served the people's interest since they are elected every two years and the people can throw the rascals out if they don't represent the people well. Of course the people do have to pay attention to what is going on. If they don't pay attention to what their representatives do then I don't think they would pay much attention to some other form of committee that you speak of. Even our senators were originally set up to be appointed by their state legislators originally and the state legislators are even more closely controlled by the people. So the original purpose for the senators was to look out after the state's and the people's interest. Instead they were placed in a situation where they had to run in a popular election that invariably became quite a costly campaign and was spread over a larger area. This invariably led towards the large corporate interest being able to furnish the money to finance these campaigns making it much easier to 'buy' a senator than it was to 'buy' a representative.

As far a being able to change our government the Constitution allows for that quite well. It gives the representative the right to pass amendments to the Constitution and then three fourths(if memory serves correctly) of the states have to ratify it for the amendment to pass. Again, it must be the state legislatures who do so and they are elected by the people of the states who have a close hold on them. Of course the people do have to pay attention to these things and stay on top of it. I would think that this should be the case no matter what form of government you have. If people loose their vigilence then their goose can become cooked no matter the form of their government. However, I think that it would occur much quicker in some other form of government than what our our founders gave us.

Good luck on the benevelent dictator rout. I believed that our founding fathers understood that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They gave us 3 branches and checks and balances. Once again you can refer to the founders personal writing on these things and see that they believed this was so.

So far as your thinking is concerning the founding fathers being able to look into the future and visualize what our nation would become and what modern society would be like, I certainly think thay did as well or better than any other people who formed a government did. Our Constitution did pretty well for 150 years. Did you have someone else in history that you were thinking of?

They did make it clear that if we did not be vigilant of our liberty that we would loose it. They also made it clear that if we did not remain a moral people that we would loose it. I believe that this also can be found in their writings as well.

I am told that the present EU is pretty much run by a form of a committee. I am also told they are very much in the process of loosing their freedom.

If we are loosing our republic or have already lost it then it doesn't mean that we can't start working back towards that ideal. Does it?

an anonymous concerned citizen

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi OSR

Looting works for me.

A lot of the talk shows on radio are giving this bailout both barrels. People are pretty mad.

Thank you for the complement--I didn't have many readers for that first post. Now, we're almost at our destination.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Response to: an anonymous concerned citizen 5:33
From: anon 4:13

I understand your points and can't argue with them. I could see the House of Reps being the committee and I'd like to see it go back to the state legislators electing the senators. I'd like big business and all lobbyists and campaign donations OUT of Washington (rampant corruption and imbalanced influence could then be stopped); let things be influenced by the ballot box only.

To clarify: I would go for a truly benevolent dictator compared to what we've got today (socialism and huge and continually expanding government). Also, the word benevolent connotates no corruption. Of course that is very idealistic. I'd rather have a republic with a committe run under an expanded and sane constitution. I would adopt the Swiss government model in a heart beat.

And yes, morality and vigilance on the part of the population is vital. A mindset that would be difficult to instill in an ignorant and irresponsible populace such as ours. But without it, an empire can't last very long.

The EU arose from a decadent, socialist mix of European countries. It's more of the same.

I don't think we can go back and revive our founder's original plans. (Change on a national or governmental level is difficult, the power elite is imbedded, corruption is rampant and permeates every fiber of government, etc.) I think this system has to collapse and only then can we evolve into a new paradigm such as we are discussing.

England died, Spain died, France died, the Netherlands died and all of the earlier classical empires died. Why? Because of the human variable.

A detailed, pervasive, logical and forward looking constitution that forms the charter for a governing committee is the best concept that I can think of to best control the negatives of the human variable.

An Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...

You two discussing republic vs. democracy ------

My representatives got a 95:1 response in emails, letters and phone calls from their constituency requesting that they don't vote for the stimulus package.

They voted for it anyway.

What does that tell you about our system?

I agree with swiss republic guy. This diseased system needs to die and be replaced.

Anonymous said...

I am not worried about this depression. If things get nasty here, I'd take what's left of my savings and move overseas and live like a medieval lord. You all are welcome to join me.

Before you say overseas is not for you, let me say that suffering is not for you either. Man's natural state is happiness, and that's the state he should aspire to all the time.

It's unhealthy to worry daily over this crapzilla. You could die a premature death, and then all your worrying would have been for naught.

vancouver realtor said...

Spending is what caused the great troubles we are facing today. More spending is not going to get us out of it. We don't need to spend, we need to do the exact opposite! We have to start living on less than we make and try to save the rest. More spending not the answer.
Mad Hatters Tea Party indeed.
Jay

JMS said...

In responce to: Anonymous Concerned Citizen

Is there any chance at all of uniting behind the Constitution?


Ron Paul tried this and got shafted by the media. So I would say that at this present time no. The general populous needs to feel some pain before they wake up. I think this might happen by the next election. I am a Gen Y'er and I was able to convince about 80-90% of my friends to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. My generation is already feeling some pain. We are tired of being robbed by SS. We are sick of watching people taking advantage of the entitlement system while we go to college for 6+ years and bust our balls to make a decent living. A 4 year degree is no longer good enough. Without a master's your a nobody these days.

Anonymous said...

JMS, I'm a Ron Pauler myself. But we're headed for totalitarianism and had better wake up and wake up fast. We'll be done for in a few short years if we don't.

an anonymous concerned citizen

Anonymous said...

we are following the wrong policies and formulas.

failure is unavoidable.

this failure will take its toll on innocent citizens who have been too busy trying to make a living to look up.

the big question is, "who will come along and pick up the pieces?"

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:24 said...

"I am not worried about this depression. If things get nasty here, I'd take what's left of my savings and move overseas and live like a medieval lord. You all are welcome to join me."

My response:
You can run but you can't hide. Don't forget that this is global. Developing countries are going to collapse and feel even more pain (they already are). After the US hyperinflates, your USD won't be worth very much in Brazil, Fiji, NZ, Argentina or wherever you plan to run off to. You'll live like a medieval serf not a lord.

Make a stand. Be responsible. Fight to put better leadership in place in your country. United we stand, divided we fall.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

JMS wrote:

Ron Paul tried this and got shafted by the media.<<<<<<<

Sorry, but the media gave him plenty of coverage, especially during the GOP presidential debates, certainly not "shafted".

He had his chance to make his case. It is the American people who told him to take a hike. It's called the US Constitution, actually working.

....Joseph

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Joseph

I think JMS might have a point there.

Ron Paul is widely quoted and refereed to. I think the Newspapers and the media had more to write about and reached more readers with the entertaining of the idea of a black or woman president.

Politics is pretty dull stuff. We just elected a guy with no management skills to be president. Looking at both men that ran for the office, I don't think either one was what we needed.

The media is a very powerful force. I think Obama used it well and Ron Paul depended more on his message being the truth that would set you free. The latter idea doesn't sell newspapers.

I am a firm believer that the population of this country will always choose the worst leaders, only because the truth is painful and won't get you elected. That concept is what keeps democracy alive. No one has enough time to consolidate power and take control.

Jim in San Marcos said...

JMS

Here is a concept not talked about much. Two thirds of the states can call a constitution convention and do what Congress won't do.

We need thirty-four states to call a convention and 38 to ratify the amendments.

There is something really absurd about a congressman having to raise 50 million dollars to get re elected. Then we have a Congressman turn around and tell the big corporations to limit CEO salaries to half a million. I guess it's OK to spend other people's money as long as it didn't go into your private bank account.

Just maybe it is time for the states to rise up and be heard.

Anonymous said...

Texas was never ratified as a state into the union. It was done by and still exists on a treaty.

Texas could end the treaty (secede) and start its own republic and become its own country.

Could create a new improved constitution, maintain small government and strong currency.

I'd move to Texas in an instant if that occurred.

Anonymous said...

Jim, please don't even consider wanting such a thing. It would be our worst nightmare. It's the worst thing that could happen for people who love the Constitution. What you are talking about is called a Con Con. The Constitution is very vague about how it should even be handled. As best anyone can tell as soon as 34 states call for one it would be up to congress to choose the delegates. There's no guidelines on how they would do this so they would just make up their own rules. Once the delegates are chosen the delegates are in complete control and can do whatever they like, including calling the present Constitution void and re-writing one from scratch. Unfortunately 32 states have called for one already and it only takes 2 more to have one. As a matter of fact, 7 to 10 states who have called for one have since rescinded because they were convinced by the John Birch Society and other organizations about the dangers of having one. Unfortunately, Congress may ignore these rescended votes. That's how vague the rules are for having one. So, if Congress chooses to ignore these states' withdrawals of their vote for one we are waiting on just two states to vote for one to be in the works. Can you even imagine what would become of the Constitution if such a thing happened? It would be a disaster. Go ahead and do some research on this you'll see that all the organizations that support Constitutional government are dead set against this.

see:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=29931

for example

BTW, Jim, one of my hobbies is internet technology. Do I use bbcode to format my posts as is done on forums?

an anonymous concerned citizen

Anonymous said...

The states could be heard if they would just stand up and reclaim their sovereignty as states under the Constitution. All power besides those specifically given to the federal government belong to the states or to the people. Their is probably not more than twenty powers that were specifically given to the federal government in the Constitution. All the rest the federal government claims has been usurped by the federal government. The states have become nothing but administrative offices for the federal government; but they could stand up and reclaim their rights - but they won't.

an anonymous concerned citizen

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 1:37

I agree I have read the arguments. It could be messy but I don't see anyone voting in that sort of convention with the idea of making a dollar.

Over two hundred years have passed. We have gone from flintlock rifles to submachine guns. Ever try to kill 20 people with a flintlock rifle?

I'm not scared of modifying the document. The Convention people have to agree to it in order to make it a part of our government fabric. Disagreement will keep the bad parts from even being considered for ratification.

If we bankrupt this country with stimulus packages, we might end up with martial law and a dictator. A bankruptcy would destroy the middle class and the rich. Socialism is the result.

I haven't tried to use bbcode, the HTML code works for links in the remarks section. Somehow they get truncated now and them.

Thank you for your comments

Rob in Nova Scotia said...

I hate to point this out but didn't the Southern States try to leave the union about a 150 years ago. It didn't turn out well then so I doubt it would be any better now.

rob

Anonymous said...

The people will always elect their executioner.

They are not capable of making the right choice. (They are never really given a decent choice anyway, it is always the lesser of two evils.)

The public's "reasons" or "logic" re: voting for a candidate are always shallow, emotional and misguided. Based on irrelevant criteria.

Only astute individuals with a decent grasp of history, economics, finance, foreign policy, etc. could make a judgement about a candidate. That excludes 95% of the nation.

The Super Bowl, NASCAR, golf, basketball, TV, pizza, cheeseburgers, beer, movies, cheap thriller novels, shopping, classic cars, etc. Now that's where America shines and where the population's reality and intelligence lies.

Sorry for being so sarcastic. But we Americans are responsible for everything that is happening to us now.

As a citizenry that is supposed to understand the workings of government and ensure our representatives act on our behalf... we are a degraded lot.

Anonymous said...

RIGHT!

Look what we've allowed our leaders (and I use the term lightly) to do --

In addition to the $152 billion Bush stimulus package in the spring of last year and the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in the fall, the U.S. government has loaned, invested or committed $200 billion to nationalize the world's two largest mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ... over $42 billion for the Big Three auto manufacturers ... $29 billion for Bear Stearns, $150 billion for AIG, and $350 billion for Citigroup ... $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration Rescue Bill to refinance bad mortgages ... $87 billion to pay back JPMorgan Chase for bad Lehman Brothers trades ... $200 billion in loans to banks under the Federal Reserve's Term Auction Facility (TAF) ... $50 billion to support short-term corporate IOUs held by money market mutual funds ... $500 billion to rescue various credit markets ... $620 billion for industrial nations, including the Bank of Canada, Bank of ! England, Bank of Japan, National Bank of Denmark, European Central Bank, Bank of Norway, Reserve Bank of Australia, Bank of Sweden, and Swiss National Bank ... $120 billion in aid for emerging markets, including the central banks of Brazil, Mexico, South Korea, and Singapore ... trillions to guarantee the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's new, expanded bank deposit insurance coverage from $100,000 to $250,000 ... up to $500 billion in Fed purchases of asset-backed securities ... plus trillions more for other sweeping guarantees.

Grand total: Over $9 trillion ... and counting!

These efforts were designed to stimulate the economy, avoid a housing bust, restore public confidence, contain the credit crunch, reduce the danger of a global debt collapse, and shore up sinking banks.

But based on the overall net results to date, every single one is an outright, unambiguous, proven failure:

The economy was not stimulated.
The housing bust was not avoided.
Public confidence was not restored.
The credit crunch was not contained.
The danger of global debt collapse was not reduced.
The finances of the nation's banks were not shored up.

And trillions more of money that doesn't even exist will be robotically thrown at our problems without any result other than chaining the next 5 generations of Americans to unserviceable debt.

If I had my way I'd go back to Reagan's era with a guillotine and start lopping off the heads of all the maniacs that drove us into this ditch.

Anonymous said...

Addendum:

Just to be clear. I mean from Reagan forward through all the presidential administrations, including Fed Reserve Board, SEC, Congress and the whole mess of idiots and criminals who have no place holding government positions.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Concerned Citizen

I agree there isn't really much left of state rights, we move around too much as a nation for it to be so. People have more devotion to a football team than the state they were brought up in.

The real issue here is money and funding. The states have to have a balanced budget. The Federal Government doesn't. Between the Federal Reserve Banking sytem and the Treasury, they have decided to bail out everything that should fail to save us.

We ought to send Schwarzenegger "The Governator to Congress and set them straight. Somebody needs to show up with some common sense.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Texas could end the treaty (secede) and start its own republic and become its own country.<<<<<

I've been hoping they would.

Our war with Mexico was an immoral one. Texans who rant about Mexicans illegally coming into Texas, would be wise to remember that Americans did that very thing to Mexico in populating and eventually taking over Texas from Mexico.

Oh yeah, Southern states wanted Texas so it could be another slave state, to cheaply make money from cotton.

Texas, as a state, has always looked at land for one purpose, and one purpose only, to make money from it.

One would also be wise to remember that is that very mentality which led us into this financial mess. Guess what kind of person was in charge, oh yeah, a Texan.

....Joseph

Anonymous said...

Jim

To get thread back on track. What do you think will happen to interest rates? All this money required for lending must have some upward affect on rates. I can't see how governments in the G7will be able to pay for everything if rates go thru the roof.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 3:24

I wish I had someone like you to do my taxes.

Great work on the totals. It kind of gives you an idea of where we are headed---no where.

Thank you for your comments.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 6:42

Interest rates have to be the big question. I forsee them doubling or tripling in weeks.

The Euro could collapse within the month.

We're mad as hell about the stimulus bill, but we might not have the time to spend it. This whole mess could be over in the next three weeks.

I could be wrong so take it with a grain of salt.

Thank you for your comments

Anonymous said...

Obama's economic experts believe Japan not acting fast enough was the reason for their current 18 year slump. Not true...

Japan govt built up a public debt of 180% of GDP. (For us to duplicate that we'd have to triple our public debt!)

Japan govt spent 6.3T.(Since the US GDP is 4.6X larger than Japan's in 1990, we'd have to spend 29.1T to match that spending.)

And realize that the govt didn't stem the decline. They made it worse, and prolonged the agony for almost 2 decades!

Our crisis is far worse than Japans... we're crashing faster, deflation is deeper, we have bigger debt collapses and financial losses.

Obama's people think we are more capable of handling this crisis than the Japanese was in the 1990's.

But... Japan's personal savings rate was around 14% then (ours has been zero for many years). Those savings allowed the Japanese to pour trillions into the economy. And the people had reserves to spend more.

Japan's crisis wasn't really caused by govt (although they mishandled and prolonged it). They created a bubble in the 80's and it had to collapse.

Our bubbles have to collapse and correct too. Our bubbles are bigger and we are in poorer shape than the Japanese were when their bubbles popped.

The market and the laws of economics are stronger than our government. They will create the future, not the government.

This tsunami can't be stopped. It is going to crash and wash a lot away.

The stimulus package is about as effective as standing on the shore and "hiding" from the tsunami under a beach umbrella.

Everyone must realize that the government's actions will be futile and they will print, borrow and spend an AWESOME amount of money before they realize they just have to let the corrections take their course.

Let's all build a list of what we can do personally to be prepared:
1.
Ensure your cash is in a safe bank (use Bankrate.com).
2.
Set up a Treasury Direct account so that you can immediately shift your cash into US Treasuries (4 week or 13 week T-bills). In case bank failures run rampant.
3.
Set up an account so that you can move your cash into another stronger currency (yen? swiss franc?) if the USD tanks. (I use EverBank for this.)
4.
Don't spend a penny more than you need to at this time (save).
5.
If you have a job, do everything you can to secure it. If any chance you may get laid off, start looking for a new one NOW.
6.
If you own your own business you'd better streamline, cut costs, reduce unnecessary labor, build up reserves, advertise like hell, etc.
7.
Have some stored food and water on hand and some cash just in case any systems or subsystems in your area break down.
8.
Get a little business started to supplement your existing income.
9.
Get completely out of the stock market (unless you are an expert trader that knows how to profit in a down market).
10.
Get out of debt.
11.
Scale down and start living a frugal lifestyle.
12.
Exercise, walk, eat well and drink plenty of pure filtered water so as to stay in good shape.

That is all I can think of for now.

An Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...

Rob in Nova Scotia said...
"I hate to point this out but didn't the Southern States try to leave the union about a 150 years ago. It didn't turn out well then so I doubt it would be any better now."

Rob, if you were referring to my post about the states standing up for their sovereignty, I wasn't suggesting that they try to leave the union. I was simply stating that they stand up for their constitutional rights just as each individual in this nation should.

Some one else pointed out that Congress acted on the stimulus in spite of the fact that the will of the people was running 95% against their vote.

So, when they continue to go against the people's will why don't we just throw the rascals out at election time? Why do we keep sending the same idiots back to office election after election?

I understand the reasons why the people do this, as I believe anonymous said in so many words our government is not as big of a concern as:

"The Super Bowl, NASCAR, golf, basketball, TV, pizza, cheeseburgers, beer, movies, cheap thriller novels, shopping, classic cars, etc. Now that's where America shines and where the population's reality and intelligence lies.

Sorry for being so sarcastic. But we Americans are responsible for everything that is happening to us now."

No need in feeling sorry for saying the truth.

Hey, anon you left out "who is going to be the next "American Idol". :)


an anonymous concerned citizen

Anonymous said...

[b]Sorry, Jim, testing bbcode[/b]

[url]http://www.djindexes.com/[/url]

AACC

Anonymous said...

Jim, I've tried to use simple html tags on some of my posts and google wouldn't even let me make the post, so not sure how to do it.

anyways

AACC

JMS said...

I have a couple of questions about investing in US treasuries. I currently have all my cash stored in a very well run credit union. I can say that I'm 99.9% sure it is safe. I looked at their balance sheet and checked them out at bankrate. It seems like the only reason to invest in treasury bills/notes is if you think there will be a bank failures in pandemic proportions.

I was checking out the rates and they are horrible less than my credit unions CDs (which I don't have any at these rates either). I would rather keep my money liquid. From my point of view we are heading for a crash of the dollar. If this is the case wouldn't treasuries be the last thing you want to invest in?

I'm hoping that the hyper inflation doesn't start for at least another 2 years. I'm positioning myself to buy land with cash at the bottom. Just land also, I don't want to worry about maintaining any "improvements". This is the worst case scenario for me. I am hoping for deflation but I doubt that it will keep up for the long term. I have been pondering the idea of buying up precious metals but I am skeptical about it for a couple of reasons. #1 I don't know what I am doing and #2 I wouldn't trust it unless I have actual possession of the it. The last thing I want is to have gold stashed in my house. I also think the price of gold is kinda wacky these days. Its almost higher than platinum. How can this be without manipulation?

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Obama's economic experts believe Japan not acting fast enough was the reason for their current 18 year slump.<<<<

And, they are 100% correct.

The crux of what caused Japan's economy to remain so bad for so long, was because Japan refused to have their banks use mark to market accounting to show the true worth of bank assets, resulting in basically a zombie banking system.

Our banking system uses mark to market. The result has been a nastier beginning, but is really healthier in the long run as long as the mess is managed decently. There may be a need to tinker a little with mark to market in our case, but that probably is too risky. That is why nationalization of several of our major banks is a better approach, so that we can write down all the bad assets to zero, pull them out of the banks and manage them separately, then return the cleaned up banks to the private sector and have taxpayers get a good amount of money back from the value the new bank stock will command on the open market.

That's basically what we did to keep the 90's S&L/bank mess from getting worse. The only additional problems this time are the troubled banks are much larger and the assets (SIVs, etc) more complicated to value. But, that is why nationalization is the best approach.

Sweden's model for handling their mess years back, is probably the one we should more closely follow. There are tested ways out of this. FDR was right, just that there wasn't enough stimulating until massive spending during WWII. But, he did masterfully reregulate the financial markets so the eventual recovery would be powerful and real and have as honest as possible infrastructure of population and businesses and government. Note, he also ended prohibition. Our whole society was corrupt, but no one complained during the 20s because everyone was making money. We probably should legalize pot, though I doubt that will happen. All keeping it illegal does is make the illegal pot trade more profitable and have thugs run it and turn everyday people into crooks, plus the violence is escalating. I guess free-market types like that, but I'd rather the government legalize and regulate it like with alcohol and tobacco, much worse drugs. And, like is done with gambling.

Stimulus programs are still necessary, but cleaning up the banks is the first step, otherwise the stimulus programs won't work well enough.

...Joseph

Joseph Oppenheim said...

I have a couple of questions about investing in US treasuries.<<

Inflation-protected Treasuries (TIPs) are the way to go. Not that one should put all their money in them, but that part which is in Treasuries. Althouh CPI numbers will understate inflation, they still are a reasonable protection against inflation. FDIC insured CDs are still the preferable way to invest one's money to be in standard income producing vehicles like the safest of bonds. There is a time for regular Treasuries, but not at this time - CDs are better - plus if you hunt around some pay about 5% that last time I checked, but probably 4% is still easy to find. I'll check later and report back.

....Joseph

JMS said...

So that brings me to another question. When is the best time to invest in regular treasuries not TIPS?

Also, if TIPS offer some protection from inflation what happens during deflation? I guess that question is more theoretical since I have never seen the gov't publish a negative CPI number.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

So that brings me to another question. When is the best time to invest in regular treasuries not TIPS?

Also, if TIPS offer some protection from inflation what happens during deflation?<<<<<<<

The way TIPS are now, you can buy some which are less than face value, so no matter what happens with deflation, you still are guaranteed a profit up to the face value, plus whatever interest rate they are guaranteed, about 1.5%.

The one I like best is that January 2015's which pay 1.625%. They are priced about 98.67 per $100 face value. I touted them a few weeks ago on this blog when they were a real bargain at about a price of about 89. You have to watch these markets closely to spot windows of opportunity, but right now they are still a good value. My approach is to buy half of what you want and keep half in reserve to pick up more later if the prices get better. Never act out of panic.

As for when the best time to buy regular Treasuries, it is when they are priced favorably to FDIC insured CDs. Right now, CDs pay much better. The only reason there is so much demand for regular Treasuries, is because the wealthy, corporations and governments need to invest mega amounts of money, which would not be practical because FDIC insurance is for relatively smaller amounts and require spreading the money around into many banks, impractical for billions or multi-million dollar amounts.

This is actually an advantage the little guy has in times like this. FDIC insured CDs are tailored for them, and aren't good for the really big players.

Same with a lot of other investment vehicles. The little guy really does have advantages, as long as he/she recognizes them.

...Joseph

JMS said...

Thanks for the explanation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:19

Treasuries wouldn't be for income, just preservation. Only if banks begin collapsing all over would you need the preservation step.

Probably won't need to shift into another currency because the USD will probably remain the top currency. (If not, it would probably be the Canadian, Australian or NZ dollar as they are commodity based and those countries will continue to supply China.)

An Inquiring Mind (AIM)

I agree land is best. I'm waiting for the bottom to buy a farm. That is my solution to the depression and the next 20 years of my life.

Precious metals are volatile, risky and manipulated. Plus you could put your money into gold and then have the US govt confiscate it or disallow ownership (that's what FDR did).

To me it would be better to own a farm that sells produce to markets, (and also does farmer's markets and road side sales all for cash -- to avoid income tax). If you are selling food you can take payment in whatever the acceptable currency is at the time (fiat, gold or barter). In other words, instead of being locked into a currency, have products to sell that are vitally needed and collect whatever the existing currency is.

I'm hoping for a few more years of deflation as well so that I can make a bunch more money and then position myself for the inevitable inflation.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Oppenheim:

I'm glad you are not a legislator, presidential advisor or president. You might as well be because you are programmed into Keynes' economic theory. You'd destroy our country just as they are doing.

The general (and erroneous) opinion is that we need to stimulate consumption to solve this mess of problems that we have.

That is so illogical and backwards!
If government really was concerned about these problems and the future of America they would cut their costs by 50%; cut their employees by 50%; close down 80% of our overseas military bases and bring those people home; cut income taxes by half; and assist in retooling this country so it becomes a manufacturing country again that produces and exports. That would really be stimulus.

They should let all the corrupt and ineffective industries die and let this correction do its work and clean everything off the table.

What is it with you people who think stimulating consumption is the answer when that is the cause of our problem?! Overconsumption is our problem.

Can't you see that when Nixon took us off the gold standard in 1971 inflation really began to take hold? The government was now free to print money. That was when Mom had to go out and get a job so the family could make ends meet (the end of the family unit, the birth of day care and latch key kids = the increase of juvenile delinquency, drugs and crime). People couldn't save because of the cost of living. Then it got worse. Then dad needed a second job or his own little business to supplement the existing household income. Then credit was made to be cheap and easy. People like Greenspan stimulating consumption by lowering interest rates. Now assets take off and people have another reason not to save... "our stocks and homes are going up in value every year and will continue to do so forever, we've reached a paradigm of growing prosperity... who needs to save?".

Now assets have crashed and will continue to crash and we don't have savings. The rug has been pulled out from under us and we've allowed ourselves to be sitting ducks.

What is it with you IDIOTs that want to stimulate consumption?!
We need to stimulate production... stop being consumers and start being producers and savers. And creative destruction needs to take place... let the dying die and rebuild, not prop a system based on erroneous ideas that is doomed to failure.

What a bunch of morons they are. How can you subscribe to their destructive philosophy!? You are a cow being led to slaughter. Their road is the road to destruction!

Joseph Oppenheim said...

JMS, as for CDs, the sites I think are best to check out for the best rates are bankrate.com and money-rates.com.

At bankrate.com, you have learn to navigate the site, but you can get both bank and credit union rates, plus a feature which has ratings for how safe each are. money-rates.com is a good at spotting good bank CD rates.

One thing to keep in mind, is not to be afraid to tie up a long term CD, as long as you pay attention to what their early withdrawal penalty is.

Let's say a 5-year CD paying 4% with a 6-month interest early withdrawal penalty. Worst case, is the penalty is only 2%, assuming a 4% interest rate on the CD. SO, as long as you hold it 6 months, you don't lose any money, plus even with the penalty the penalty is tax deductible. It is best to ladder CDs, so you always have one coming due every 6 months or so, never looking to catch the top rates, but always getting a good average. It is a good protection in case interest rates drop much more, but if interest rates go up a lot it is still easy to switch to them as long as the penalty is minimal.

Also, what is common now, a lot of banks offer 3% or so rates on savings accounts, probably the best way to be absolutely liquid. Even E*Trade has a bank to put money in, plus a good savings account paying 3% which is available to buy any security when one spots a window to buy any there, including Treasuries.

I notice Pentagon Federal Credit Union is paying 4.39%, a pretty good rate on some CDs, if one meets the membership requirements. Navy Federal CU is also good, but a little lower rates for now, but sometimes they are higher, so you have to watch as all banks, CUs fluctuate rates as their needs for money varies. Generally spring time is good for rates for some of the CUs as that is when home sales generally pick up so they need more savings so they can lend more money.

Remember, NCUA insurance with Credit Unions is essentially the same as FDIC with banks, just as good.

Another thing to remember, as smaller banks are being taken over by the big banks, the result is usually lower CD rates. So, there was a window to lock in some pretty good rates by going long term, but that window is closing, not just because the Fed has lowered rates, but because the big banks are getting bigger, strangling the little guy as far as rates go. So, I reapeat, don't be afraid to go long term as long as the penalty is reasonable.

....Joseph

Anonymous said...

Joseph:

Please don't call that investing. Using CDs and savings accounts is not investing; it is just parking and preserving money. 2-5% yields are ridiculous. Per the "Law of 72" a 3% return would take you 24 years to double your capital.

That is really dink think.

Due to inflation and/or hidden inflation, rising costs of living, and the value of money those paltry rates are cancelled out instantly. If you aren't minimally making 10% or more, it is not an investment of any significance that is going to do anything for you.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

Please don't call that investing. Using CDs and savings accounts is not investing;<<<<<

Savings acounts, no that is not investing. However, CDs can serve as both preservation of capital and investing, depending on the situation.

Heck, only a few years ago one could lock up CD rates of 7%+. Only several months ago I locked up a 6% yield on a 10 year CD, with still some decent options about the early withdrawal penalty, for instance the penalty doesn't apply to any accumulated interest, so the interest can be removed at anytime w/o a penalty. Not that I would want all my assets in that, but just part of a diversified investment approach.

Buying a CD is similar to a bank issuing a loan. It is an investment, hoping to take advantage of the interest rate yield curve. I always liked the concept of being my own bank.

Plus, one could sell RE a few years ago and take the profits near the top in the RE bubble and easily get 5% yields on 5 year CDs. If you can't understand that that is an investment decision, so be it. An investment is such that it returns dividends, interest or some form of income on a regular basis, for some reasonably long time. Short term CDs and savings accounts are not investments.

It is best to be flexible in turbulent times, so you can be protected no matter how the markets turn.

By the way,, responding to some other posters' comments, I am not an ideologue about handling financial crises. It is best to react as situations present themselves, using what can work best wherever the idea comes from. History NEVER repeats itself exactly the same way.

Also, sure, there is a risk that we could experience a lot of what happened with Japan. Japan's interest rates went to zero, but CD rates went negative, since banks would pay no interest, but also tack on charges to hold the money. So, locking up even 4.4% rates on 5 year CDs now, is even more of a protection than just the nominal rate. Plus, with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, one is still protected if rates shoot much higher.

Plus, onething Japan ran into which extended their mess beside having zombie banks, was the carry trade, where people would borrow money in Japan for virtually no interst rates, then invest it in other countries, like the US, where bonds, securities, etc returned more. That is a risk we will have, but as the rest of the world melts down worse than us, there is less risk of us being hurt by a carry trade because of our low interest rates.

....Joseph

Joseph Oppenheim said...

As for the comment that an asset isn't an investment unless it returns 10% or so, that is nonsense. We are in deflation, now. Plus, even if one doesn't beat some published inflation rate, each person, if they are clever, know how to buy things at discounts, much lower than whatever some posted inflation rate is.

Plus, a lot of so-called experts touted things like mutual funds were virtually guaranteed 10% returns, especially index funds. Plus, home prices never go down. Pure nonsense! Best to be diversified and react as situations present themselves. Plus, I would add, best to be conservative. The really wealthy do that. Preservation of capital should always be the centerpiece of one's investment approach. If one wants to be a gambler, fine, but that is not investing.

....Joseph

Anonymous said...

I submit that it's time for a third party. The Third Way Party.

No candidates. Just members. The Third way will consist of the great undeclared middle. The 10% that each party is fighting for in the National Elections.

The Third Way Party will have its convention AFTER both the Polar Parties have had theirs.

They will declare their allegiance to one party based on who represents the middle the most.

It's kinds of like Aristotle and the Doctrine of the Mean.

Anonymous said...

Just Barter.
No more money.
Live the Star Trek dream.

The problem will then be,
where are people, those who
wanted to live in a different
environment, going to move
to ???
There are many empty houses now.
Just move them there.
Forgive all mortgages.
People still have to work to
improve society. Those who don't work, don't get the "IPODS"
New toys.

AngryTaxPayer said...

AIM,

You forgot the most important item to be added to your list!

#1) Protect yourself and your family by taking up arms. Buy plenty of ammo before its illegal to do so.

You always need to be on the lookout for thieves, but as unemployment surpasses 15% and the government's revenues dwindle over the next several years, expect the IRS to go door-to-door looking for anything of value.

Tom

JMS said...

Angry Tax Payer

You are correct. I am a believer in the right to bear arms but I have not actually gone through with it and purchased my own. I have been looking at trying to get a shotgun. I really think that the savers will be targets once things get bad. I figure your best defense is not being an easy target. Guns and large dogs =) I already have a soon to be large dog.

AngryTaxPayer said...

Jim,

I said it before, but I seriously believe that the POTUS signing the CRAP bill marks the beginning of the country's Depression. This is the other shoe that we have all been waiting for and symbolizes the sign of the times. Many more like it are being queued up.

Our government has over $12 trillion in debt, fiscally irresponsible, highly incompetent, and bottom line... bankrupt. Banks and large financial institutions are insolvent. Most if not all states have budget deficits. And last but not least, our savings rate is below 0%.

I agree, complete destruction of the dollar and the economy is on the way. The country has been in a Great Recession since Jan 2008. Are we now in a Depression? You bet! Is it Great? Lets ask the CEOs of the auto industry (the country's last manufacturing base).

Tom

AngryTaxPayer said...

"Texas could end the treaty (secede) and start its own republic and become its own country."

I would love to see any state stand up against the abuses from the federal government. Huge statements need to be made. The government needs to be held accountable for devaluing our currency, stealing tax revenue, and using it without proper representation.

Stealing? Absolutely... taking what is rightfully ours and without permission. Anyone here remember giving the government authority to make deductions from your income, hold it for a year and collect no interest? Underpayments are penalized by the IRS and we get nothing for overpaying.

Just a little angry? Only slightly!

Tom

Anonymous said...

Obama sending 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. Great more unnecessary war and spending. Brilliant.

DOW drops to 7,553.

Happy President's Day Obama!

USA now stands for United Socialists of America.

Anonymous said...

Geesh! All this spending on war. Ron Paul is right... we need to shut down our military bases abroad. What a government spending reduction that would be. With our economic condition the last thing we should be doing is military spending.

If we leave the Islamic Nation alone, they'll leave us alone. We don't need to be in Iraq or Afghanistan and we shouldn't be meddling in their business.

And let Israel fend for themselves.

Anonymous said...

It'd be much more productive to instigate a war in southern Europe, particularly at Kosovo. Though it would have been a much better scenario if India and Pakistan got into a war and got China involved, it did not happen. The second best is obviously to whack Euro and get all the scared money back to the states.

Gorilla said...

RE:He doesn't realize that FDR's socialist programs didn't get us out of the depression, WWII did.

This is a stupid statement the only difference between WWII and and a stimulus program is the total number of jobs created and whether or not the products created by the jobs have any value after the war ends. When WWII ended most of the products that were created by the jobs that were created no longer had any value. There is no peacetime use for bombers or tanks bazookas, canons battleships etc.
In contrast, building transportation systems, energy saving devices, providing educational and medical services, building things such as recreational facilities, sidewalks, public buildings, etc such as were produced by the WPA all have a value. It's not WAR it's the JOBS and the good things working people can produce for the common good of society. How do you think homes will ever regain any value if they exist in the midst of a crumbling infrastructure inhabited by desperate unemployed humans? It's the Jobs stupid!

Anonymous said...

Try a few years not spending anything on agression and return all those US agressors who are stationed over the world back to the USA, where they belong.

Joseph Oppenheim said...

RE:He doesn't realize that FDR's socialist programs didn't get us out of the depression, WWII did.

This is a stupid statement the only difference between WWII and and a stimulus program is the total number of jobs created and whether or not the products created by the jobs have any value after the war ends. When WWII ended most of the products that were created by the jobs that were created no longer had any value. There is no peacetime use for bombers or tanks bazookas, canons battleships etc.<<<<<<<<<

Gorilla, you don't have to convince me, but I warn you, logic and facts don't go very far on this blog, or with the objectionists in Congress.

Last night, I had a phone call to listen in on my Congressman, Darrell Issa's town hall meeting. I finally hung up when Issa let someone in the audience rant on with the nuttiness you mention and as if it was music to Issa's ears.

...Joseph

Anonymous said...

As long as corporation can lobby politicians to pass law that only benefit them, we are doom. I believe we the people became to relax and let this happen, people are affraid to stand for what is just. my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Joseph...
Look at history. It is war that gets you out of depression. It creates necessity level: it forces a country and its people into a shoulder to shoulder effort to build up production and manufacturing on a huge level and it is easy to get loans for war because it is the most profitable for international financiers (who usually play both sides). The necessity creates the wartime jobs which then morph, through retooling, into peacetime jobs. The nation and people want to maintain their productivity level and raise their standard of living.

And home prices is a wrong thing to put attention on. Who cares if they go up or down. They are just places to live in. Appreciation is only due to inflation (caused by The Fed). Homes should be cheap and should just maintain the same price or depreciate a little. Basing an economy on inflating assets is ridiculous. Should be based on real production and building wealth and more assets. A home isn't an asset anyway... it is a residence and if you look at it as an investment it is a liability (if it puts money into your pocket = asset; if it takes money out of your pocket = liability; simple as that).

Anonymous said...

It’s Not Our National Debt!
Washington has bailed out the banks, Wall Street & their Washington special interests and the cost is added to the national debt to by paid by this and future generations. This is after they created a credit bubble which has burst into depression and the result is 50% losses in our stock portfolios and almost as much on our homes and real estate investments.

The Campaign to Cancel the Washington National Debt By Constitutional Amendment is starting now in the U.S. See the following URL for more information: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67594690498&ref=ts

Gorilla said...

Dear Anonymous I guess you think that war is the answer to economic problems if this is true I do not know where to begin to explain the reality of war to you so sad.

Gorilla said...

RE: Another stupid reworking of the benefit of war statement below-
Look at history. It is war that gets you out of depression. It creates necessity level: it forces a country and its people into a shoulder to shoulder effort to build up production and manufacturing on a huge level and it is easy to get loans for war because it is the most profitable for international financiers (who usually play both sides). The necessity creates the wartime jobs which then morph, through retooling, into peacetime jobs. The nation and people want to maintain their productivity level and raise their standard of living.

I guess you think that war is the answer to economic problems if this is true I do not know where to begin to explain the reality of war to you so sad.

Anonymous said...

Gorilla:
Don't assume. I'm just telling it like it is, per history. I'm non-violent and the last thing I and 99.99% of sane Americans ever want is war. But that has nothing to do with what our government will do.

I wish the US and USSR and all other nuclear countries would destroy all nukes and then set up an international force that prevents any country from using nuclear tech for destruction. Then we could dive into nuclear power (along with solar and wind) as a solution to our energy needs.

Apologize or I'll find out who you are and where you live and blow you and your family away. (Joke)

Gorilla said...

Look, as a Gorilla I cannot apologize for pointing out the annoying stupidity of your argument. To trot out a historical canard as if it was an immutable law of nature in order to question the advisability of spending money to update the infrastructure and provide jobs denies the basic facts that I and a lot of others understand.
The reality is that war has stimulated economies in the past because it provides jobs for everyone who wants one.But on the other hand the products of war are useless and are used to destroy so that it is in actuality a very expensive and round about way to get to where you want to go. The destruction wrought by war sets back nations and enriches the war profiteers
Once again I repeat it's the Jobs stupid.
Certainly war stimulates an economy because war harnesses the propaganda machine to get everything and everyone moving in the same direction.
Your bogus analysis is the accepted wisdom of the old days and must be trashed. There are other more effective more efficient ways of stimulating the economy. The recently passed stimulus package is a good start. Please don't repeat that the past dictates the present we are ready to move on. Consciousness is changing get on board or get or get out of the way. Do not parrot this ancient erroneous analysis when you claim to be against war.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

It is hard to believe that our "leaders" could be this ignorant. Their "noble" goal of providing low income borrowers access to loans to buy houses has done a disservice to both the now foreclosed homeowner, the banks who wrote the loans, the investors who later purchased the loans and the public at large. If their goal was to do the most harm to the most people in the shortest amount of time, then I think we can say: "Mission Accomplished!"

However, as the time warn saying goes: "Don't explain with conspiracy that which can be explained with stupidity!" Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, and other representatives and senators as well as prior administrations are responsible for getting us into this mess.

The financial world is responsible for leveraging up risk through credit default swaps, subprime loans and derivatives. I think it would give these buffoons too much credit to say that they had done this intentionally... Sometimes stupid is just stupid.

The Cato Institute published a very good paper last fall entitled "How Did We Get Into This Financial Mess?" by Lawrence H. White. Definitely worth the read. Here is the link:

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9788

These same people, and I mean the exact same people, are now going to get us out of this? How are they going to do this? By admitting their errors, changing their financial philosophy and applying sound economic theory? No... they are going to give us more of the same. You see, they truly believe that the problem isn't that we have spent too much to encourage home ownership, but that we haven't done enough! Thus the spending package!

Anyway, enough for tonight...

Anonymous said...

Spot on Anon 11:02.

Gorilla: Get off my back. You are not listening to what I said. I made and observation... I didn't offer it as a solution. I don't advocate war and I don't agree that it is a solution. I wouldn't use it as a solution if I were the decision maker. I'm just saying that this is what has been done in the past, and there is a potential for it to happen again. Of course it is insanity.

History points out that war usually comes out of a crisis. It can happen again. Hopefully it doesn't.

Man resorts to violence to solve his problems. Look at history, violence takes up the majority of it. All major changes geopolitically, economically, etc. etc. are the result of war. Collectively, man has never risen above his animalistic urges in this regard.

I'm not stupid. You are for continually attacking me for something I didn't say. You are preaching to the choir.

Gorilla said...

OK

Anonymous said...

This thread is dead. Up to the next one.