Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010


Memorial Day is observed today.  It is the end of what commonly is a long weekend filled with family and fun and relaxation.  But it first an foremost is a day to honor those Americans who died in service to their country.

Those millions gave up their lives preserving our nation's security and values.  We should take at least one day each year to remember that... and that being an American means accepting a commitment to those values.  E pluribus unum... not vice versa.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama's Press Conference On Gulf Oil Gusher


President Obama was adamant that those who feel the Federal government has been sluggish in responding to the deep water oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico simply do not have the facts.  He has been involved in meetings since day one.  He was also adamant that British Petroleum [BP] has been operating under the supervision of the Federal government.

He was clear that the Federal government does not have the expertise to deal with this situation, but the administration has made sure that it supervised and BP followed the government's instructions.  Of course, when efforts failed, it was BP's fault... and BP will pay for the failures.

To be fair, this is the same situation the Federal government faced with hurricane Katrina except the "fix" was not to stop the hurricane.  The fix was to make decisions regarding the affected areas.  In true Federal government fashion, the response to Katrina was slow, costly, and has resulted in a lot of relocated people being on the government "payroll" for years.

The question is whether the oil gusher situation will be another Katrina ... and will the next president be talking about the failure of Obama to lead in times of crisis?  Hard to say.

George Bush couldn't say that the Federal government had to wait for the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana to request assistance ... which was exactly the case ... so why should President Obama get a pass about not having the expertise to respond even though in this case the Federal government was directly responsible and has been an obstacle for the State of Louisiana's efforts to take action to protect its shores?

The reality is that it generally makes little difference what the disaster is.  The real expertise of the Federal government bureaucracy is to fix the blame... not fix the problem.



Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tired And Sore


We've completed our move.  Three weeks of packing and five days of shuttling belongs about 30 miles to our temporary home.  About four 24' cargo boxes full of caulk to carpets, sandpaper to sofas.  Along the way, we distributed quite a bit to our sons and nephew.  All was relocated as of 6:00 PM yesterday.

Today it was find and organize and get the AT&T man in to set up TV, phone and Internet service.  We're finally back on line.  The bedrooms still have to be set up.  The basement is filled with full boxes.  The garage is half filled with boxes and half with all of my tools and equipment.  It will be a few weeks before we feel "settled."

Meanwhile, we have to refocus our attention on our lake cottage which will be torn down and our new home built there.  Utilities to turn off, permits to be acquired, design issues to be finalized... and then the work begins and continues through Autumn.

... and then there are blog posts.  Time to multitask.  I got rid of my desk so that I can watch the news and "surf the net" from my recliner.  "Normal" begins next year, but regular posting begins soon.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Blogging Break


Blogging has to take a back seat to moving for the next few days.  Our internet service is discontinued today and will not be back up until sometime Wednesday.

In the meantime, check out some old posts or the list of other bloggers in the links below.



Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kermit The Frog Seems Upset


From Ace Of Spades ... Reading Is Fun-Damental  So is legal immigration.  Watch both videos.

[h/t - Kathy]



"Hybird" Cars?


From The Detroit News - May 20, 2010:

Carmakers to give quiet electrics some noise

Move designed to alert the blind, others that vehicles are operating


The Detroit News

Washington — Drivers of electric and hybrid cars won’t be able to rev noisy engines but chances are they still will be heard.

Automakers and advocates for the blind reached an agreement, announced Wednesday, that would require automakers to equip “quiet cars” with chirps or other sounds to alert blind pedestrians, bikers and others that a vehicle is nearby.
That ought to be interesting.  Imagine walking outside listening to the sounds of thousands of "hy-birds" chirping away.  Manhattan will never be the same.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Changes Coming 7


Today we begin our 5-day adventure of moving into temporary quarters... and hope to repeat the moving process by the end of the year [when the reconstruction of our other home may be complete].  The process begins with boxes of books, dishes, lamps, cans, tools... you get it... and bags of clothing and other soft stuff.

We've reserved a truck with a 24' cargo box and are ready to get really sore.  7:00 am pickup to 7:00 pm return for the truck.  Plenty of Advil in between.

Moving forces you to look at your accumulation and decide what is inertia [things that get stuck to your life] and what is intentional [things that are useful for the way you live].

Oddly, our present home seems more like the former.  While there are innumerable fond memories here, I find little sentiment toward the structure.  Our life has always centered around our family and this move brings us physically closer to many members of our family.  Therefore, with the exception of moving away from many friends and neighbors [and my golf league], we have no reluctance to make this change... and we know that this will be a great home for the next family.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jon Stewart Just Having Fun


This is funny no matter what your political persuasion.  Click image....

[h/t Pierre Legrand]



Arizona Senate Bill 1070


Click image below for the full text of the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070 regarding enforcement of immigration laws.

You may wish to compare this with Mexican immigration law.  Then Mexican President Calderon can explain why Mexico's immigration laws are justified and those of the United States are not.

Of course, poll numbers only indicate what people support or believe... at the time of the poll.  As President Obama's approval rating shows, poll numbers can change dramatically based on performance versus rhetoric.



Appearances Do Not Matter


"In the United States of America, no law-abiding person — be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico — should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like," Obama said.  [SOURCE]


or this

or this

or this

We understand perfectly.

That's how things work in the Obama administration.



Mexico Advises The U.S. How To Handle Illegal Mexican Immigrants


Image: U.S. President Obama and Mexican President Calderon talk during the official arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters [via]

U.S. President Obama and Mexican President Calderon talk during the official arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. 

It's good to know that President Obama is listening so intently about how the U.S. should fix its immigration problems... from the country that has caused them.  Judging from the latest presidential popularity polls, President Obama may want to be listening elsewhere.

It is apparent that beyond his die-hard very liberal supporters, President Obama is experiencing very little love from the rest the the American public.  Any wonder why the 2008 "landslide" [52%] is turning into the 2010 mudslide for the Democratic Party?

If the Democratic Party was a TV show, it would be called "Fringe."



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Immigration Law As Required By The Constitution


For those who may have missed this, here is a summary of current immigration law.  Those who wish to enter the country must:

  • be in the country legally;
  • have the means to sustain themselves economically;
  • not destined to be burdens on society;
  • of economic and social benefit to society;
  • of good character and have no criminal records; and
  • contributors to the general well-being of the nation.
The law also ensures that:
  • immigration authorities have a record of each foreign visitor; 
  • foreign visitors do not violate their visa status;
  • foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country's internal politics;
  • foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported;
  • foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported;
  • those who aid in illegal immigration will be sent to prison.
Confused?  Support this completely?  Think it is immoral?  Want it repealed?   Perhaps that is because this is Constitutionally-required Mexican immigration law.

Could it be that Mexico simply wants the U.S. to have an immigration policy that allows Mexico to get rid of citizens who don't meet Mexico's own standards for becoming a citizen?  Duh!  Los Angeles seems to think that is quite proper and even threatened the economy of Arizona because that state dared say that the U.S. immigration law should have as much enforcement as indicated by the law... or as much as the Mexican law. 

Arizona replied: [Click image for larger view]  



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

20 Million Illegals: A Minor Infraction


This blog excerpt confuses "liberty" with ignoring the law of the land:

Conservatives claim to endorse family values. Why, then, do so many conservatives tolerate or endorse immoral immigration laws that split up families over minor technical infractions? [read more]
Many bank robbers feel the same way.  Well, they need the money and it is immoral for the wealthy banks to keep it locked up when the need for that money is so great.  How can a nation that values liberty and freedom cause such hardship from immoral laws that split up families due to minor infractions like taking some paper from a fat-cat's storage room?

Apparently, it is immoral to restrict entry into the U.S. from people who want to be here.  Besides, all of that cheap labor is going to waste in Mexico and Central America.  Our problems stem, not from 20 million illegals, but because we have a system that makes them illegal.  

All we need to do is make legal the activities that are presently illegal and all of the crime goes away [here the prohibition argument comes roaring to the fore].  Legalize all drugs and crime goes away.  A compelling argument for mass abortion: if no babies are  born, the infant death rate plummets.  How many more people have to come from Mexico before the problems associated with them disappear?  Or do we have to legalize all drugs from Mexico.  How about all violent gang activities... as long as they are from legalized Mexicans?  Do the problems disappear if we say "all is forgiven?"  

It works... as long as one does not consider carefully the ancillary changes that take place.  Millions of unskilled, under-educated, people who require a wholly separate set of social support mechanisms in their own language [at the expense of the communities which they have invaded illegally].
The wants of the few outweigh the needs of the many. - Mr. Spock on a  bad day.
My response was essentially, "If you don't like the present immigration laws [and many don't... but not in the same way you don't like them], then convince enough people and their representatives in Congress to eliminate those laws.  But if more citizens believe those laws should not only be enforced, but strengthened, you as a citizen are obligated to accept those laws.  Even the other NAFTA countries do not accept massive influx of workers into their economies.  Perhaps that is because a certain amount of order is necessary for any society to survive.

Liberty and freedom are not the same as lawlessness and anarchy.  In fact, they are quite the opposite.

The author of the article refused to accept my comments opposing his viewpoints [apparently, he doesn't believe in freedom of speech either... supposing an argument against his position is a personal affront], but he is welcome to comment here.

Timothy Charles Brown, a Hoover research fellow who believes illegal workers can positively benefit American business, calls for regulation of illegal workers. “We need a holistic approach that looks at illegal immigration not as a political problem but as a business opportunity,” Brown explains. “By transforming illegal immigration from a large-scale, off-the-books, black-market operation into a revenue-producing program that manages the movement of workers in and out of the U.S. economy, we could maximize its benefits to all four major stakeholders—the workers, their employers, the countries the workers come from, and the American taxpayers.”
Conversely, Victor Davis Hanson, the Hoover Institution’s Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow, argues, “by closing the borders, the U.S. would stop subsidizing Mexican failure.” Hanson states Mexico must rid itself of the corruption, elitism, and cronyism that has continued to stagnate its economy and forces its citizens to cross the border in search of opportunity. The solution to ending illegal immigration, Hanson believes, lies in the hope that someday, “Tijuana might become as prosperous as San Diego.” The goal of the United States, Hanson explains, should be to help Mexico by providing the “tough love” it needs. According to Hanson, closing borders, but also offering favorable trade incentives, will spur Mexican citizens to seek employment at home and demand more from their own government.
So, is illegal immigration just a "business opportunity" or are we simply "subsidizing Mexican failure?"  Or is it an uncontrolled social disruption that could create [more] massive problems for the United States?

The answer is far simpler than reforming immigration laws.  The answer is to annex Mexico as the 51st state and let the Obama administration "fix" it.  That will keep the Obama administration busy so it can't continue to screw up the 50 states on which they have been focusing.  Call it a win-win.  Oh, and of course the new "State of Mexico" will have to provide bi-lingual services for all of the non-Spanish speaking citizens who come in from the other 50 states.

What could possibly go wrong?


For those who argue there are great economic advantages in two official [or an additional unofficial language] CLICK HERE.




Monday, May 17, 2010

Political Ads Are Getting Better


You wanted change?  You got change!  No more dry, aloof politics.  No more "Vote for me because I am fiscally responsible" or "Vote for me because I will save the redwoods."

Nope, political ads are taking aim at the irony and craziness that plagues politics... and giving us some entertainment in the process.  They make Obama's "revival" style seem a little... ironic and crazy?  My wife ran across these two gems.  I'm sure you can come up with more.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Taxed Flat


From Forbes:

Taxes. The Bush tax cuts on income, capital gains and dividends are set to expire at year's end. On top of that some in Congress want to slap on a value-added tax (VAT) of 5%. That would be quite a one-two punch. If you make a six-figure income in a high-tax state, such as New York or California, your overall tax burden would be more than 50%. As go our dollars, so goes our productivity: The federal tax code's forest of confusion, moral hazards and ethical traps means that we spend way too much of our time and energy filling out tax forms.
Question: What is a better tax code? Answer: If 17% to 18% is the ideal size of federal government (as a percentage of GDP), then 17% to 18% ought to be the tax rate. It would apply to everyone's first and last dollar, including capital gains and dividends. There would be no payroll tax because it would be built into the 17% to 18% flat tax rate. [read more]
That got me to wondering if Rich Karlgaard had run across my post from
FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2005
Excessive Spending - Taxes and Shelters
I think my original would address some "liberal" objections to Mr. Karlgaard's approach.

This approach allows either the "nominal rate" or the exemption to be changed without increasing the complexity of the approach.  Examples of how a simple, flat tax with a single, constant exemption would work with an 18% nominal rate:



Friday, May 14, 2010

Big Government; Big Problems


From The New York Times:

It’s easy to look at the protesters and the politicians in Greece — and at the other European countries with huge debts — and wonder why they don’t get it. They have been enjoying more generous government benefits than they can afford. No mass rally and no bailout fund will change that. Only benefit cuts or tax increases can.
Yet in the back of your mind comes a nagging question: how different, really, is the United States?
The fine start to  this article then breaks down a "solution" into pablum:
What would be? A plan that included a little bit of everything, and then some: say, raising the retirement age; reducing the huge deductions for mortgage interest and health insurance; closing corporate tax loopholes; cutting pensions of some public workers, as Republican governors favor; scrapping wasteful military and space projects; doing more to hold down Medicare spending growth [read more]
Of course there is waste and corruption and idiocy in our government. We demand it.

Every special interest group... every social justice group... every protect-us-from-everything group... demands it.  Everything from subsidized corporations to subsidized day care demands it.

There is only one way to reel this in... CLICK HERE.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Democratic Party Prepares To Commit Suicide


Nothing has changed....  Unfortunately, this was not an April Fool's joke.


Bill and I talked about this the other night... how long before Obama dooms his opportunity for a second term? 
Bill was under the impression that the General Motors situation would be his undoing... neither pleasing the left or the right wingers. I'm not so sure. I think there has to be two or three major blunders... and I think they will happen because of Obama's conviction that the U.S. voters and taxpayers strongly support his energy and climate notions... and are willing to pay the price for them.
Polls are unreliable sources of information for politicians to run a country. People will say what they think is the correct response to questions until it comes time to write the check. But when the reality comes that voters and taxpayers are going to pay much more for much less... the responses change... big time.
Obama is on shaky ground with many of his supporters because of the General Motors handling. He is neither all the way in nor all the way out. He is just enough in to claim that he tried and just enough out to be ineffective in accomplishing anything more than wasting money. But there are enough Obama supporters who will say that he did the best anyone could given the situation... whether that is factual or not.
The single action that will be the suicide of the Democratic Party will be the passage of the Cap and Trade... or Cap and Tax... or Cap and Scam... legislation. There is simply no good that can come out of this.
  • It will have no effect on climate, the red herring used to justify the legislation.
  • It will slap every consumer in the face with enormous energy costs that are wholly unnecessary, destructive, and avoidable.
  • It will place U.S. manufacturers at an enormous disadvantage to Third World competitors.
  • It will destroy more jobs than the supposed "green" jobs it creates and suppress the economy for decades.
  • It will replace reliable energy sources with unreliable energy sources that have no access to the energy grid without even more costs.
  • It will not achieve energy independence.
  • It will replace the efficiency of the marketplace with the inefficiency of centralize control.
Other than that, it will have no effect on U.S. businesses and citizens... and no effect on the Democratic Party.
It is obvious that Obama is nothing more than a "mouthpiece" for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. His schedule of television appearances, as Bill points out, is so extensive that he has no time to lead... to understand and direct appropriate actions. Obama reflects the two central tenets of the Democratic Party marionette masters:
  • Tax
  • Spend
It has always worked for the Democratic Party in the past because they were able to convince enough non- or low-productive voters that they were better off with this approach. It will not work with Cap and Whatever because everyone loses. It is the logical extension of the Democratic Party under Obama, Pelosi, and Reid... leading to an illogical and destructive conclusion.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fraternal Twins?


My wife noticed the resemblance...

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan Photo: AP 
That's Bob Costas on the left.



Cultural Immaturity


It just seems peculiar....  From The Washington Post:

A chorus of black commentators and civic leaders has begun expressing frustration over Kagan's hiring record as Harvard dean. From 2003 to 2009, 29 faculty members were hired: 28 were white and one was Asian American.
tzleft.roland.martin.cnn.jpgCNN pundit Roland Martin posted a column slamming Kagan's record on diversity as one that a "white Republican U.S. president" would be criticized for. "There would be widespread condemnations of Republicans having no concern for the non-white males in America," he wrote.
Black civic leaders discussed their concerns Tuesday with White House officials, including senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Afterward, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Jarrett had described the role civil rights groups could play in supporting future nominees for solicitor general and district and appellate court judges.
Kagan's nomination, Sharpton said, "is already made and most of us are inclined to support it."  
U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan On Sunday, members of a coalition of black women sent a letter to President Obama expressing both their concerns about Kagan, now U.S. solicitor general, and disappointment that a black woman was not chosen for the nation's highest court.  [read more]

U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan Photo: AP 
I can appreciate their focus... as voices of an immature viewpoint.  Why immature?  A mature perspective would argue that merit... legal knowledge, judicial experience, and judicial respect by peers... should be more important than gender or ethnicity.  After all, this is about selecting someone who has the ability to judge based on the letter and logic of the law... not how they were treated by some other ethnic group vying for neighborhood supremacy.

Given the fact that blacks represent a small minority of the U.S. population and have a smaller percentage of their percentage advancing through the rigors of law schools... or any other college curriculum... than most other racial/ethnic groups, is it unreasonable that, based on merit as defined above, the choice of a black woman to the Supreme Court would likely be on some other basis than merit?  And is that desirable?  This is not the 9th Circuit Court where law is loosely interpreted.  This is the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

The argument for blatantly racial and gender bias shows the immaturity of the black voices who are supposed to be representing the viewpoints of their racial/ethnic brethren.  If they are indeed representative, then one must conclude there exists a basic immaturity of reasoning associated with that group.
I find it easier to conclude that those so-called "representative voices" are simply children who have aged physically.
That said, it should be interesting to see how Ms. Kagan stands the test of merit.

It is unfortunate that it seems a Supreme Court candidate has to be a black-Hispanic, lesbian, with "experiences" rather than a supremely knowledgeable scholar of Constitutional law in order to satisfy the mindless yammering of those who believe "representation" is the proper criterion for that high court.

Perhaps they are confusing the process with Dancing With The Stars where you get to vote for your favorite... so the really klutzy one can stick around because he or she is "your klutzy one."



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Energy Report


Yesterday's The Wall Street Journal had an entire section devoted to energy developments.

If you don't get that newspaper, you can access the online version here.

The world's focus has temporarily moved away from energy issues due to the financial problems in Europe.  That diversion will be short-lived compared with the probable fallout from the Federal government's inexorable incursion into the energy marketplace.

As individuals, we are going to feel the pinch in our pocketbooks in the near future and the pinch will become a vise as regulations and restrictions choke off coal and oil.  The Wall Street Journal rightly focuses on natural gas as the only viable U.S. alternative to those energy sources.  The bureaucratic and political nightmare surrounding nuclear power in the U.S. makes it unlikely that the French solution has a chance here.  Wind and solar energy may someday... decades from now... achieve 15% of our energy supply.  Those are not solutions... simply stopgaps... because they are subject to the whims of the weather.

Ultimately, technological advancements will make some clean, reliable, safe, inexhaustible energy source available to the world.  But for now, natural gas appears to be the heir-apparent to coal and oil... unless the EPA gets in the way again.

Yes, natural gas does produce CO2.  So what?



Changes Coming 6


Our garage is now about 2/3 full of boxes and equipment [including a large Precor treadmill we are giving to our daughter-in-law].  Closing on our present home occurs in two days and moving begins a week thereafter.

The "stuff" keeps appearing; we keeping buying more boxes.

Yesterday, the buyer's family and agent stopped by to check on a couple of items the inspection revealed as needing attention... which were attended to.  It's a lovely family with two children... a boy and a girl... who were polite and well-behaved and obviously excited.  The kids got their mother's permission to go to the playground in the commons while I went through a list of "how to's" to properly maintain their new home.

As we went through the unfinished basement where I have spent many hours working and working out, I asked the mother if her 10-year-old son might like this.  Sure, he is a bit young right now, but in a blink of an eye he will be a teenager ready to compete in sports.  This is a safe way to get his body ready.

We really will not have room for it when our new lake home is completed.  I could have sold it on Craigslist, but this made the new family just a little happier with their purchase, so it was worth it.  Sometimes, it is not all about money.

The boy will get that as a surprise when they move in.

Sometimes, "downsizing" is not all that bad.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Urban Planning Detroit Style


It seems that every few weeks the Detroit newspapers run a story about how to fix Detroit.  If Detroit was a person, the question would be how to fix a homeless, drunken bum with gangrene.  Where do you start?  The Detroit Free Press reports:



When he took office a year ago, Detroit May or Dave Bing arrived with the notion of having no time to waste — and no time for distractions outside City Hall.

He was determined to overhaul city govern ment, avert bankruptcy and ignore his critics. Now, as he reflects on his first year, Bing says the city’s financial and bureaucratic realities have led him to refocus his leadership approach. Starting Wednesday, Bing will begin holding a se ries of community summits that will focus on land use, public safety, education, health, youths and jobs. The summits, he says, will serve as a kickoff to his restruc turing policies, bit by bit.

“I think I’m a person who has always planned well, but when you inherit the magnitude of problems and inefficiencies that are here, there’s no way for you to make the long range plans without doing it on a project-orient ed basis,” Bing told the Free Press. “For the rest of the calendar year and into 2011, I’m not so worried about being forced to put a plan out there. I’m more interested in looking at the pro jects that I know we can complete.”

Despite the demands of the job, Bing has vowed not to quit.

“I’ve got this desire — I’m a competitor — and I’m not satisfied with how we’re perceived here within the city and outside of this city, and I want to change that.” he said.
That reminds me of this [click images for larger view].

When the going gets tough, the tough do something... anything.  "Patience my ass, I'm gonna kill something." The problem is that doing something is not necessarily all that constructive or effective in the absence of vision and leadership and in the presence of entrenched special interests.

Some well-meaning individuals believe that Detroit, like that homeless derelict, can be cured without surgery.  "Downsizing" is confusing to them.  They prefer "right sizing" or "regenerating."

The first question might be, "What is 'right sizing' in the context of a city like Detroit?"  There is a direct correlation between the de-populating process and this:

How do you "right size" a half-empty city without shrinking the physical boundaries of that city?  How do you fill the empty spaces with something that contributes to both the fiscal and social well-being of the city without surgery or a plan?

There is nothing in the near term... the next 5 to 10 years... that portends any "regeneration" for Detroit.  Perhaps if Michigan had a strong economy, the "project" approach could be supported with a stream of state funds.

Therefore, I refer you, once again, to this: 

Detroit Will Not Downsize Area Until Everyone Is Gone


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)