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Archive for July, 2008

Well, is this any surprise? George Bush helping out some of his fellow rich friends by attempting to bail out the mortgage industry from its self-created mess. I honestly cannot claim to be surprised. After all, he already saddled taxpayers with a $15 billion dollar bill for the bailout of the airline industry after 9-11. While the rest of the country was morning the loss of thousands, the US airline industry was busy lobbying Bush and his minions for billions in the form of a federal handout. And of course, they got it: at our expense.

And like most things, its monkey see, monkey do. The mortgage industry now seeks this stupid bailout at our expense because of poor investment choices they have made. The calls for the bailout have been more fervent as IndyMac Bank failed. Whats intresting about the IndyMac failure is how despite the fact that the bank is insolvent, there is still plenty of funds to pay the former executives for thier services rendered (i.e. running the bank into the ground) at IndyMac.

For years the mortgage industry has given anyone who can sign a promissory note a loan, many of the products with bloated balloon payments and other such things. Then they are absolutely astounded when folks cant pay for the loans. There is a reason why these people did not qualify for loans under the old rules and it didn’t have anything to do with the color of their skin. It was because they were a bad credit risk.

Then there is the no-so-small issue of real estate appraisers who continueally overvalue real property, causing banks to write loans for far more than a given parcel and structure is worth. While the linked article is a paticularly agregious example, this has been going on for a while. In some areas, appraisers have been able to generate growth in the value of homes north of 10% a year. While it is true that they arent making any more land, the population is not expanding so fast that it warrants the value of homes doubling every decade. Of course, this makes homeowners feel good that thier home is gaining value even as it gets older.Except that it is not real value, its artifically inflated value.

What we ought to do instead is sit back and watch the fireworks as the industry implodes. We should not bail it out. Its not the government’s job to bail out businessmen who make stupid decisions. Nor is it the job of government to compensate for stupidity on the part of home buyers who bough more house than they could afford or bought at prices that failed to reflect the true value. And yes, this would leave alot of people homeless and some investors screwed, but thats fine with me. After all, I bought a modest property that was within my means and properly setup the buying arrangement so that it is owned by a corporation that leases it back to me providing assert protection and personal liability. I shouldn’t have to pay (through taxes) for the stupidity and/or poor choices of others.

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Most thinking people in the United States (all ten of them) now admit that Wal-Mart is the great Satan of retailing. And even some of the less intelligent people on our planet realize it as well. So then why is Wal-Mart still here, why is it still expanding, why haven’t we gotten rid of this disease that plagues us? Its simple, really. People are selfish. They know what shopping at Wal-Mart does and they don’t really care.

So what is so bad about Wal-Mart? And why is shopping there so bad? And most importantly, why are the people who shop at Wal-Mart so bad?

First off, just try going to the hardware department and finding anyone who knows anything about hardware. You won’t find it. In fact, you’ll be lucky to find anyone who can even tell you where something is. While you are in the hardware department, try to find a plunger made in the United States. Wal-Mart is partly responsible for the increasing rampant stupidity that infects our country.

    Wal-Mart has destroyed good brands that made quality products – like Rubbermaid – which cost a good many jobs that paid well by constantly forcing US jobs overseas. You can learn more about this by watching Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. Our country has lost hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs with good benefits and retirement plans, to be replaced by low paying dead end jobs at Wal-Mart with no benefits and no retirement.

    Speaking of benefits and retirement plans, do you know what Wal-Mart tells its employees to do when and if they complain about not being able to afford medical treatment? Wal-Mart must give them a discount on their insurance of something, right? Nope. Instead, Wal-Mart sends them to the welfare office where our tax dollars provide – at no cost to Wal-Mart – health coverage, housing, food and retirement.

    We all know the crimes of Wal-Mart. They have been extensively covered in the media and elsewhere. I started to rehash them here, but there is no need. Those who continue to say “Hey, what’s so bad about Wal-Mart?” are simply burying their heads in the sand so that they don’t have to face the fact that their continued patronage of Wal-Mart is ruining our country.

    Bottom line: If you shop at Wal-Mart, you are a selfish prick. When you shop at Wal-Mart, every dollar you spend screams “I want my plastic crap from China for a few pennies less than anywhere else, and I don’t give a damn how many people die, lose their jobs, get thrown out of their homes or get sold into slavery to make it happen. I also don’t give a damn how bad my country gets screwed, because I am more important, my needs wants are above all and I am what matters – all that matters.”

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