Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Will Environmentalists be biggest killers of all time?

Rachel Carson was responsible for the deaths of millions of African children due to her hysterical, non-factual rant about DDT. Al Gore's global warming hysteria has created a large spike in food prices (as we switch to ethanol which does nothing for global warming) and nations riot over food prices causing many to fore go food. Fear of genetically modified food has prevented Africans from using drought and pest resistance seeds. The world has the technology to provide energy, food and good health for the people of Africa, but are being forbidden by zealot environmentalists. That will continue to kill large numbers of people.

A large group of environmentalists subscribe to the theory that the cause of all the worlds problems is people and the only way to solve the problems is to eliminate people. Looks like they are well on their way to killing off most of Africa. People in the West are unwitting accomplices to this through our environmental policies, support of abortion and Europe's move to euthanasia.

Update: Looks like someone just wrote the book on what I'm talking about

Update 2: From the Corner:

So how does that add up? Check out this piece in Foreign Affairs, from last year's May-June issue:In a study of global food security we conducted in 2003, we projected that given the rates of economic and population growth, the number of hungry people throughout the world would decline by 23 percent, to about 625 million, by 2025, so long as
agricultural productivity improved enough to keep the relative price of food constant.

But if, all other things being equal, the prices of staple foods increased because of demand for biofuels, as the [International Food Policy Research Institute] projections suggest they will, the number of food insecure people in the world would rise by over 16 million for every percentage increase in the real prices of staple foods. That means that 1.2 billion people could be chronically hungry by 2025 — 600 million more than previously predicted.

The world's poorest people already spend 50 to 80 percent of their total household income on food. For the many among them who are landless laborers or rural subsistence farmers, large increases in the prices of staple foods will mean malnutrition and hunger. Some of them will tumble over the edge of subsistence into outright starvation, and many more will die from a multitude of hunger-related diseases.

More genocide here Guess the one Green focus is population reduction.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

1970's Again?

In some ways the economic environment today is eerily similar to the 1970's. We have rising gas, food and precious metal prices. There were incessant fears about the coming climate crisis (a new Ice Age). The government was screwing things up with price controls then, now they are mandating CFL's, and ethanol and preventing oil drilling (there's talk about price controls for mortgage rates). We have claims (again) of peak oil and predictions of depression (much less a recession that hasn't even started).

So should you be afraid? That's what the media wants. That way you'll buy more of what they are selling. But the facts don't support the non-sense.

The stock market has barely dropped 10% from its peak which is usually called a market correction. Take a look at some statistics from 1996 when Clinton ran on the greatest economy ever:

Key Labor Market Statistics in 1996 and 2008

March 1996 March 2008
1. U.S. Unemployment Rate 5.5% 5.1%
2. Number of Long-Term Unemployed 1.33 million 1.28 million
3. Average Weeks Unemployed 17.3 weeks 16.2 weeks
4. Median Weeks Unemployed 8.3 weeks 8.1 weeks
5. Not in Labor Force because discouraged over job prospects 451,000 401,000

Of course, if the Democratic candidates that are preaching anti free trade get elected and create another Smoot-Hartley Act, all bets are off. My employer (a large international chemical company) is booming with earnings rising faster then they have since the 60's. Most of that is due to the drop in the dollar and expanding oversees markets.

I expect that we will have slow positive growth this year. However, since this is an election year and the press is trying to discredit the incumbent party, we are going to hear recession, depression and everything else that's negative about the economy.

By years end the press will be moving on to something else to create fear. In the words of Emily Litella "Never mind...."

Update: More perspective Economic Hysteria

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Underwriting Hell

I've been trying to refinance my Cheektowaga rehab since November. My latest loan application has been in underwriting for a month. The loan to value ratio of this house is really low and during past years would have been approved in days. Though the Fed is pumping money into the economy and interest rates are low the underwriters are being much more cautious about lending to investors. I expect this is due to all the investors that bought houses on speculation and then defaulted. I don't have any data, but I suspect that a lot of current foreclosure "crisis" is related to people that though they could make easy money by purchasing houses and flipping them quickly - assuming that the prices were going to go up forever.

So this year I have not even been looking at properties. This is unfortunate since I think that the current market is good for buyers. But flipping is too risky in this market and the only money available to me is hard money which is too expensive for a buy and lease strategy.

1st Quarter Net Worth Update

I've updated my net worth at NetworthIQ through the first quarter of this year. Overall my cash on hand is up and debts are down compared to the end of December. This is largely due to two large tax refunds (from the IRS and NY State) I used to pay down debt. I paid no taxes due to huge losses in real estate last year but had my withholding higher than normal since I was expecting to make $40K in profits from sale of two flips. My 401K is up $2K as well which I think is OK considering the market was down 9% in the first quarter. Must be due to the interest I am paying myself from the loans I took from my 401K :)