Thursday, 30 October 2008

Does The Man Read This?

There's a report out there that says the White House is considering a plan to manipulate mortgages to help stem the tide of foreclosures. This is the first "drain the swamp" concrete idea I've seen coming from any party since this situation really started to reveal itself. The rough edges of the plan are the the government is talking about putting about $50 billion into play to split the losses with mortgage lenders who agree to lower homeowner payment amounts for at least five years.

With so much and so many to hate over this whole deal, the semantics of socialism this and moral hazard that are pretty much out the window for me. As the first really talented site manager I worked with said just a BIT too loudly as we left an owner/architect/construction meeting - "I hate ALL of these people." So we've got that out of the way, I hate everyone, but if I'm going to get stung to throw money at people I hate, we might as well have it go to good use. As I've espoused many times in the past, this is the only kind of plan that I can see working. Stop the foreclosures and the mushroom cloud of our economy's dissolution might actually slow down.

The next shoe to drop is still credit cards, and my prediction last year was the we would start hearing about all that nastiness in that sector in March '08. I was early with it. The first I hear about bailing out credit card debtors or credit card issuers, you will see me get very unglued. There is no predatory lending with credit cards. Every Tom, Dick and Harry used to get about a dozen credit card solicitations in the mail every week. You know the only thing easier than saying "yes" to them? Saying "no." Rip them up and throw them out. I've had to work down a credit card balance and it sucks, no other way to say it. Whatever piece of crap thing you just HAD to have (with apologies to Mike May's recent GamJams update) is long since broken, stolen, obsolete, forgotten, rusting in a basement somewhere, but the bills still come. Too bad. Shouldn't have bought it. At least the dumbasses who bought houses they couldn't afford could tell you that they had a reason to believe that their "investment" would appreciate. Ski trips and Mahnolos have never, in known history, appreciated.

I had an interesting conversation with my wife the other day. This might be a little sappy. She was kind of stressed about some things happening at work (and would said things result in the problems at work once and for all not being problems at work anymore, in a bad way, you know?) and about how all of this crap that we didn't have anything to do with is screwing up the world and all of the crap that we've been working and trying to get into a position to do. After a brief time I got very sanguine and said "this whole thing started without any input from us, it's going to take the course it takes no matter what we do, we can do what we think is best to prepare for whatever's going to happen but in the end what happens and how it affects us is out of our hands." Very Tao of me. I think I might actually start a new religion called Pragmatic Taoism, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, without kids, the basics for us become very basic indeed.

In other news, I guess we are rich. As things get more impacted, the definition of rich has gone from John McCain's $5mm a year to Barack Obama's $250k a year to the street where the missus and I live on. There are households making way less than mine who are now described as rich. Funny, we never acted rich (except for our fifth anniversary dinner) and certainly never felt rich. Our big vacation is renting a house in Hatteras for a week during the off season (under 24 hours to go until that debauch starts), we live in a small condo, drive seriously reasonable cars (okay, the Mini's a little nasty), so the bottom line is if we're rich, it certainly isn't all it's cracked up to be.

The forecast for our entire time in Hatteras is for serious breeze. There is no equivalent in cycling. That's the crappy thing about windsurfing, but also part of what makes it so awesome. It is so weather dependent that you can only do it when conditions allow, but that makes the anticipation so good, and it's so freaking exciting when you get to do it. When the wind blows, you use it until it's GONE. Awesome. And oh yeah, I don't scuk at windsurfing. Already got my upgrades as it were. Fun to do stuff you're good at.


GamJams said...

The base layers are only $30 each, less than a gym membership that goes unused.

S'funny, the intention of the Weekly Picks, Promos and Premes was meant to focus on value. But so far, the industry isn't giving me too much to work with. But I'm keeping an eye out for it.

dave kirkpatrick said...

Shortsightedness becomes even worse in times of stress. Our developers are getting held up at gunpoint by municipalities that are strapped for cash and watching development fees vanish. The solution of screwing the people who actually want to still build is just absolute bright shiny genius.

$30 for a base layer is brilliant. The Cold Gear one that I have is like high $40s low $50s. Still good value since way less than Craft etc and it's been through two winters with no let up. Maybe I'll get another one. Throw it on the credit card...