Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So the fed reduced the overnight federal funds rate to a hovering area between 0% and .25%.

So what happens when we print so much money and make it so absolutely free and easy to use as possible?

I think that's what got us into this mess in the first place. So why the heck are we doing it again? And what REALLY concerns me, is that the government has been dumping trillions into banks and companies, and the companies are KEEPING this money so they don't fail. The general idea for the bailout was that once the companies had enough cash on hand to stay afloat, they'd start loaning money out again and new house loans would be easy to get, credit card rates would go down, lending restrictions would ease, and the general public could go back to their merry ways of charging everything and getting loans for everything else- spurring spending and economic growth. Well it's not happening. The companies are keeping the money, and the interest rates are only moving downward a little bit, meaning those banks are going to be getting some very large profits on the few loans they do make, to very non-risky folks.

I don't blame em. If I owned a huge bank and the government told me what to do with my cash, to give it to people that can't pay it back, like they did in the 90s, and then it made me go bankrupt, and then the government told me it was my fault and then gave me 50 billion to stay afloat, I probably wouldn't go and take that cash and loan it back out. I'd keep it and pay my employees and keep my branches open and survive the stormy waters. So is it really the bank's fault? Not in my opinion. I'm seeing the government try very very hard, and very many times, to "fix" our economic crises, to pretty much NO EFFECT. The latest figure I've seen is the government's various orgs, the fed, the white house, congress, and so on have pumped over 3 trillion dollars into the economy, yet our stock market is still hovering at about two-thirds of what it was 6 months ago. Why!? Because you can't just print more money to make everything better! You can't just lower an interest rate and toss money out of your window on the way to your congressional meetings! It makes the value of the money MEANINGLESS! If I started giving people coins made out of iron and called them Ochses, and gave them to EVERYONE who wanted them, they would be absolutely WORTHLESS. Just like the US Dollar!

In my minds eye, I see a guy- let's call him Mr. America. He's a smart upstanding guy who makes his decisions by listening to a group of a hundred people that all disagree and get paid under the table by different companies to make bad overall decisions that solely help that company. Because of some of the accumulative bad decisions, Mr. America was sitting in his plush chair that was financed by China, and one of his thousands of loan officers called in some debts, and Mr. America sold his arm to pay just the interest on one of the thousands of loans. So Mr. America has a bloody stump of an arm, and the one hundred decision makers started talking about how to fashion a band-aid. They have over the last six months designed and fashioned about a dozen bandaids of various colors, sizes, and with different cologne on them to make them smell better to everyone who meets Mr. America. In applying these band-aids, they hired the lowest bidders to put them on, and now you see Mr. America has twelve poorly placed bandaids on a bleeding stump of what used to be an arm, smiling gayly at anyone who will look his way. And it smells like twelve mixed colognes covering up dying flesh. The blood is drying around the bandaids and the wound is starting to fester, and Mr. America is going pale, but his hundred decision makers are applying makeup on any visible skin, and are holding meetings to talk about what kind of makeup to apply, and possibly if they should sell his forehead as ad space to help offset the cost, before deciding that they could just use all of Mr. America's friend's money. No big deal, they thought, because it's not their money, is it? Who really cares, especially if you're spending someone elses money.

Have a great Christmas everyone! I hope you aren't charging your purchases :(

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So, hello Christmas time. I welcome you. Life has been pretty good lately, with a good mix of serving at church, having some fun date nights with my wife, and playing with my son. Work has been a little strange lately, with my current boss, who thinks my job is obsolete and wants to remove me from it and put me on other stuff. He doesn't really see any value in build engineering, which sucks because thats what I love and am particularly good at. But I'll move on to working on some other things for a bit and once I get my next boss I'm sure that they will see a need for smart build engineers and I'll probably fit back into an engineering role, so I'm not that concerned.

We haven't really decorated for christmas much this year, which surprises me. Rosemary has a love affair with christmas every year, and the past few years it includes coercing me into buying and setting up a tree and helping her set up lights and stuff. That's been surprisingly absent, and with Rosemary at home most all days, I'm curious why the christmas bug hasn't bitten her harder. I know she's been able to let some of it out by doing quite a bit of shopping lately which is great, but the festivity usually lies in decorating, old boring movies, and the music, which we haven't done much of.

We did do our annual ochs candy house, and it turned out about like I expected, except one small difference- usually Mandy and James go head to head because they have different ideas on how the house should look, and just trample on eachother. But this year, after a couple drinks of Baily's, my wife decided to take on James and scraped off half of his roofwork. She got really fiesty and smeared the old roof all over the front yard and tried to replace the roofing with a big custom made wreath, which ended up looking like dribbly poop on a roof, to the heckling of everyone around the table, and then fended off the attacks and recreated what was a pretty good looking wreath decoration and roof after identifying the right tools for the job.

I've never seen my wife go heads up with any of my family... I mean, I do it pretty consistantly, and so does mom, dad, and mandy, but this was a first for Rosemary. And I guess she's learned from the best, because she pretty much won, hands down. Dad even said it was cute (even though he was the one that got crushed in defeat).

I'm not sure if it's an overall positive or negative experience for me. It's just so new, I've never seen that happen before. Half of me felt uneasy and nervous because my wife was trashing my family, and half of me felt really good, because my family needs to be beaten back like a pack of rabid wolves at times (me included). The most interesting part is probably the transformation of Rosemary after two drinks of Bailys, which makes me wonder if I should either hide the stuff forever, or experiment with her and see what happens in other scenarios, too.

The holidays look to be about average for me- make a list of things I want, and get absolutely nothing on that list. At least it makes me refocus on what is important, about my salvation, and the family I now have. :)

Ricky