Monday, September 25, 2006

Hey America – Don’t Pay That Bill!

As an American taxpayer do you really want your government to pay creditors around the world top dollar with your hard earned money? Shouldn’t your government be negotiating the very best deal for the American taxpayer? Of course they should. But they didn’t. Instead your government was so hungry to provide both guns and butter that they borrowed hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars at whatever market interest rate the world saw fit to charge. I never asked my government to borrow money from the world so that we could turn around and save the world from itself using those same borrowed dollars.

If we are going to save the world from itself, making it safe for democracy and whatnot, then we need to charge a ‘world safety’ tax for performing this great and noble service. The question to date has been how do we make the world pay tribute? I suppose we could go to the UN and plead our logical case but the UN is notoriously illogical and in any event they don’t seem to appreciate America as much as they should. We need a way to make the world pay without arousing their suspicions.

I know of a wily woman who has just the solution we so desperately need. It’s time to set the temptress free. Right now she is kept locked up in deplorable conditions in the US Treasury basement. She’s basically a good girl. She was good to us in the 70’s and 80’s. Most people who brag at cocktail parties about their six figure incomes have only her to thank. The temptress was called inflation and she made the average Joe a six-figure giant. Look how we thanked her. Oh, the shame of it. We partied hardy with her and then in a fit of self-righteous indignation we locked her up and threw away the key. But our redemption may be near, there may still be time to set her free. The question is will she forgive us our trespasses and work her magic yet again.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Iran – Please, No Nukes

There is no need for a broad war with Iran. All that is required is the surgical elimination of a few of their nuclear power plants. There is no need to destroy their underground research labs. Just a quick bombing of perhaps two of their surface nuclear power facilities would be enough to end this conflict. A nuclear plant costs billions to build but can be heavily damaged or ruined with million dollar cruise missiles by remote control. After America destroys one or two of Iran's nuclear plants the game will end and they will negotiate. If America fails to act aggressively we will live to regret it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Inflation – Your Best Friend

A best friend is always there for you, year after year. Currency inflation can be there for you to, year after year, your constant companion in the fight against unreasonable creditors. Right now the Fed has your erstwhile best friend locked in the pokey. Ask congress to set her free from Fed bondage. The way the Fed treats her you’d think she was public enemy number one.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Cold War in Public Schools

When I was a student in the Baltimore Public School System in the 60’s and 70’s we had a clear idea of who the enemy was and where they lived. We were taught in social studies and geography that we were the world’s greatest nation. Students of the era were taught that Russia and China were our sworn enemies and a threat to be reckoned with. We were taught that capitalism was the greatest system ever devised by and for a free people and that communism was an atrocity against God and humanity.

Imagine that, declaring an enemy in public schools, actually pointing the finger. Just thirty years later and the politically correct liberals have taken control of our public education system. Students are not taught who our enemies are or even if there is such a concept as an enemy. They are taught that all people and forms of government have merit worth considering. They are taught that every person is basically good. This is because they fear offending the obvious parties. Our public schools have gone PC. The American Empire crumbles from within. Liberal teachers, armed with politically correct textbooks, teach that the USA is less than perfect and hardly in a position to righteously declare an enemy.

Modern teachers equivocate. They refuse to take a stand and declare America for what she truly is, the greatest nation and civilization ever to grace planet Earth. An entire generation is being taught that America is not all that hot. This new generation of Americans will not recognize evil when they see it. Their future dithering will bring about the collapse of America and global devastation.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Globalization – Better for America?

Globalization brings you cheap goods from China. Globalization brings America unemployment and lower wages courtesy of China's slave labor. Globalization continues to destroy America's manufacturing base. Globalization teaches Americans to think smarter not work harder, leave the hard work to the Mexicans. Globalization is converting black and white America to a nation of paper pushers. Ten years ago globalization was making us a nation of burger flippers. That era ended five years ago, now the Mexicans flip our burgers. We just eat them, growing fat and lazy and more liberal every day.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Inflation – Meet the Temptress

Currency inflation is so very tempting. As currency inflation heats up it makes pesky debt problems vanish in a puff of greenback smoke. If you could pay off your debts in half the time why wouldn’t you? If you currently make $100,000 per year and have a $400,000 no money down, no questions asked adjustable rate mortgage at 4% with a mortgage reset looming, by any means possible, yield to the inflationary temptress. She will dab the sweat from your forehead with newly minted designer currency. Within the blink of an eye she can give you a 10% raise this year and next. In three years you will be making over $125,000 without having to work any harder. It is monetary magic. She will save your lifestyle. She will save America. Inflation can be wonderfully soothing to man and nation alike.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Running for Congress – Don’t bet the house

A friend of mine just ran for congress. He lost the primary. Lesson learned – don’t bet the house. My friend spent his own hard earned money trying to get the message out. In the end he garnered barely 10% of the vote. It was not that his ideas were bad or wrong. His ideals and lack of sufficient funds cost him the election. You simply can’t run for congress without tremendous financial support. You won’t get financial support from wealthy backers if you don’t make promises you won’t want to keep. My friend wanted to remain independent. He did not accept money if it meant faithfully towing the party line and for that he was punished.

I now know first hand that campaign reform is essential to our crumbling democracy. While we are busy making the World safe for democracy, America is witnessing the futility of our own democracy.

Term limits are a must. Only if congressional terms are limited to two consecutive two-year terms can the people really get honest decision making in government. Under the current system only a machine can win and only a machine can defeat a machine. The ability for an independent thinker to gain federal office is essentially non-existent. The machine is in firm control of our two-party system and our two-party system is in firm control of federal campaigns.

Term limitation is the most efficient way to allow the typical American the potential to gain elected office. With term limitation some of the financial incentive is taken away from the machine, the perpetual “professional politician” is at least hindered.

Remember, professional politicians vote in their own best interest, not yours.

Born to learn – Intellectual curiosity

My parents probably provided the initial spark but I also had a tremendous inner desire to comprehend the world around me. I was intensely curious from age 5. By age 8 I was already better educated in astronomy and paleontology than 95% of adults. By the forth grade of elementary school my vocabulary exceeded that of most college students. I was able to do this partly because my parents taught me to read at age 6. In elementary school, in downtown Baltimore, I realized that most kids did not have my measure of curiosity about the world.

They were all taught to read and if they did not want to use that new ability toward greater understanding, so be it. Our society held plenty of promise for them. They could one day work at the assembly line or the steel mill or construction or maintain our highways.

Most humans are not born intellectuals. Most humans are born toilers. We should not try to alter this natural state of existence. The concept that every child must become a thinker is very modern indeed. This concept did not exist in the 1960s Baltimore City Public School system. Before 1980 you either took vocational classes, as the majority did, or you attended Baltimore City College or Baltimore Polytechnic Institute to begin preparation for future intellectual pursuits. I chose BPI because of my love of science and engineering, other friends chose BCC for their love of the liberal arts and still others chose vocational schools for their love of working with their hands. Some like getting their hands dirty and others do not. It is natural selection at work. Don’t mess with Mother Nature.

Darwin says leave the child behind

No child left behind is another example of silly government. Yet another unfortunate example of politicians pandering for votes by “doing good”. When it comes to educating our children, both the secular left and the religious right should be able to find common ground.

For the secular, evolutionary theory suggests that we ought not interfere with natural selection. If a student selects not to learn, leave that student in the slow lane. Darwin will lead them to my door where they can always find work scrubbing my floors or tending my garden.

For the religious adherent. let the child take their lumps. It is all in God’s hands. If God wants that child for a higher purpose, God will provide that child with the gift of curiosity and the desire to learn.

Whether God fearing or secular our society and its education system have no obligation to make children learn or to succeed. Schools should only invest in those who want to learn and release the rest for menial work. Someone has to do the dirty work in America. Let the dirty work be done by those who lack intellectual curiosity. They are the best fit for menial work. That has always been the way of the world and America cannot escape this truth.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ruling the world isn’t fun anymore

When I was growing up it was fun watching America rule the world. Sure, the Russians were a threat, but Tom Clancy had us pretty well convinced that we’d come out on top, and we did. Ruling the world is not so much fun anymore. Perhaps I should say that the next day hangover from ruling the world isn’t much fun. Back in the good old days of Korea and Vietnam we could dish out a good ass kicking and still have money to spare for ‘Great Society’ experiments and urban renewal and domestic boondoggles galore. It used to be that our great nation could light cigars with hundred dollar bills.

Forty years later and something has gone terribly wrong. Now we must borrow heavily at the International market rate in order to finance any given ass kicking. Not that America does not enjoy being the world’s beat cop, just that it is getting very expensive.

Taxpayers have turned a blind eye to this grave situation. This is partly because the taxpayer simply can’t win. You and your spouse work two full time jobs with hardly a raise worth mentioning in 5 years. Meanwhile the Democrat will take your hard earned money and give it to the shiftless poor and the Republican will use it to go kick ass over in Nowhereistan.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Energy Conservation, It’s for Suckers

I use energy in abundance. I’ll never cut back. America was built on high volume energy consumption. Energy consumption without guilt is what made America a great nation. Don’t stop now. Consume. We must find more sources of cheap and abundant energy to consume at our whim. In the meantime, do not be tricked into using less energy, if you do, you are a sucker. Do you think that the rich will ever use less energy? Energy savings means that you are snuffing out creative energy. Abundant energy usage translates directly into abundant and joyous living. Being stingy with energy leads to being stingy with everything else including jobs, family and charity. Do you want your family to suffer from heat and humidity or a little cold and damp, well then fine, buy into the conservation con job, a sucker is born everyday. Just remember, those with money will still be enjoying an abundant energy consuming way of life. When you hear the phrase use energy wisely, think abundantly. Count me among America’s maximum energy consumers.

America – When it comes to energy, burn baby burn!

Inflation – America’s Best Friend

Inflation can save America. Inflation can save your lifestyle. Without inflation life will become difficult in America. Inflation is America’s most dependable ally though you’d never know that by listening to the Fed. America has amassed debts that no honest nation could ever hope to pay back. I suggest that we continue to inflate but at faster rate of perhaps 12% per year. This will allow a nation and its citizens to pay their debts with ease.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Housing Boom is Great for Boomers

As a boomer I am trying to figure out how to retire comfortably. I've been in the stock market for years without making a killing. After adjusting for inflation, my progress has been rather slow. I live in the Baltimore / Washington metro area and I've done well over the past 25 years with house appreciation on multiple properties.

Why are so many pundits worrying about a pending real estate crash? Stop holding your breath. The specter of the real estate bubble may indeed be just an apparition. Even if prices fall back 25% over the next 5 years that would not constitute a crash or bubble popping. In fact, a five year decline followed by a normal upward resumption would mean that most of us will still have done very well indeed. I have lived through previous price declines such as 1990 to 1997 here in Annapolis. Many waterfront homes did indeed fall 20% or more. However, by 2000 all of that loss had been recovered with a vengeance.

Take Baltimore for instance, my father bought a row house in Bolton Hill for $12,000 in 1955 and sold it for $33,000 in 1966 the home later sold in 1999 for $347,000. Nearby homes are now selling in the mid 500's. Where was the bubble? When that house tripled in 10 years, was that a bubble? Apparently not because it went on to increase another 11 fold over the next 40 years. He bought a waterfront rambler in Middle River in 1966 for $26,000 and sold it in 1970 for $35,000 the home later sold in 2001 for $297,000 and then $395,000 in 2004 and now nearby homes sell for the upper 500's. Again, where was the bubble? Which of these price points was absurd or represented a bubble and when did it occur?

My point is that generally neither stocks nor homes are ever sure things. A specific home can be a great investment as can a specific stock. Take care in the picking. What I can say is that when people are generally getting rich in the stock market it is hard for homes in desirable locations to languish at low or descending prices. As overall wealth increases, so do home prices in desirable areas.

I think that homes will also remain a good hedge against inflation. Having been a homeowner in the 70's and 80's it could be said that inflation was actually my friend. My first house had an interest rate of 11.75% and I still did pretty well on it. My salary increased rapidly and my mortgage was fixed so my payment shrank in size with each passing month.

If you were a boomer and you invested $250,000 toward retirement 10 years ago you would probably have done better putting that money in an Annapolis area waterfront home than by putting it into the stock market. The home would have more than doubled, perhaps even tripled. I see no evidence that there is anything wrong with housing doubling in price again over the next 10 years. Many times in the 20th century housing safely doubled in price and statistically it should continue to do the same in the 21st century. Yes, there will be fits and starts and declines, but in the final analysis housing generally does well if America does well.

Boomer Investing

Building your nest egg. Wise investing. Smart investment strategy. How many ads do you see everyday telling you with whom to best invest your money? I note that most of the investors depicted are aged 45 plus. How is it that we can all be in the stock market at the same time, use the same nifty management tools, watch the same talking heads and all make a profit? Common sense would indicate that for each sale of stock that makes me money someone somewhere must lose money. So how is it that all of us aged 45 and over can count on making enough money in the stock market to cover our retirement years? When the first of the baby boomers start selling their nest eggs in 2008, to whom will they be selling? If there are more sellers than buyers will the value of my nest egg decline?

A day on the Saltworks

Summer draws to a close. Family values declining, property values following. American dream fading. Baby boom bomb ticking.