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Key points:

  • Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 created during Carter Administration.
  • Under the Clinton Administration, the Democrat Congress poured fire on it by enacting the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.
  • This created the environment for predatory lending by Wall Street and was guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie.
  • Banks were sued if they did not make loans to low-income, minority consumers.
  • John McCain warned Congress about these problems (So did Ron Paul).
  • Congress did not listen.
  • Media did not report.
  • Why would they? Home prices were skyrocketing because of the flood of buyers (re: demand) into market compared to the limited supply of homes.
  • Low-income consumers begain to default on their loans they could not afford.
  • Banks began to foreclose.
  • Housing prices began to tank. The Market began to get nervous.
  • Congress did NOTHING.
  • A veritable snowball of foreclosures continued. Housing prices bottomed out.
  • Fannie/Freddie and Wall Street fat cats jumped ship with “golden parachutes” (one as much as $25 million) because of “accounting inaccuracies.”
  • Henry Paulson firmly plucks a number out of the air (or some other orafice) and tells Congress it will cost $700 Billion to fix this mess.
  • The House does not pass the “Bailout Bill.”
  • The Market dives 777 points.
  • The Senate, ignoring the Constitution, takes a tabled bill about mental health and adds approximately $700 Billion to it with some provisions to bailout the economy. It passes.
  • The House, which narrowly defeated the bill just four days earlier, decides it is a better idea to pass the aformentioned un-Constitutional Bill sent from the Senate, with an additional $110 Billion of bacon attached. (Apparently in the current economic climate of thousands of foreclosures, repossessions, lay-offs and unenployment, not to mention and expensive two-pronged war in the Middle East, it is way more palatable to foist over $810 Billion on the taxpayers of the US and not just $700 Billion). Good idea.
  • With the Bush Administration, Treasury Secretary, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Democratic Leadership, Republican Leadership and the Mainstream Media (MSM) telling us we “need” this bailout bill, or we will be living in a recession/depression until the next ice age, the Dow drops another 157 points on the great news!
  • The President signs the bill into Law.

Mark my words, the bailout will cost us a lot more than $700 billion.

Not just money.

Short term, this may look good. The market will ralley, Obama will be our next president and there will be a chicken in every pot.

Long term (this means more than 4 years to politicians), this will be bad.

The House voted it down on Monday, but now it smelled right? What changed?

Any congressman who voted for this, should be fired.

Sen. Luger: FIRED.

Sen. Bayh: FIRED.

Sen. Obama: FIRED.

Sen. McCain: FIRED.

Any Representative who switched, should be fired, find out who should be fired here.

Here is the lead-in to an article published over at (registration required):

$34.06 an Hour

That’s how much the average public school teachers makes. Is that “underpaid”?
Friday, February 2, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
Who, on average, is better paid–public school teachers or architects? How about teachers or economists? You might be surprised to learn that public school teachers are better paid than these and many other professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public school teachers earned $34.06 per hour in 2005, 36% more than the hourly wage of the average white-collar worker and 11% more than the average professional specialty or technical worker.

Being that my wife is a [former public school] teacher along with most of her family and I am an architect primarily serving public schools clientele, this stings.

Read the rest of the article here.

It seems that with every other profession, compensation is directly proportional to productivity. Not in public schools.

And don’t even bring that up at family gatherings. Or client meetings.

The real question that should be asked is: who is responsible for the education of my chldren? (Emphasis emphasized for a reason: wink, wink, nudge, nudge). offers, like, a biz-illion short (usually one page) manifestos about change in our culture, business, politics…well, everything.

Faith is noticeably absent though.

An excerpt from their FAQ:

Do you have a political slant?

Yes. We are against demagoguery, dishonesty, shortsightedness, superstition, fundamentalism, unequal rights and violent argument.

We are optimists and we believe that an informed, motivated electorate is likely to do the right thing, given the facts and given a chance.

We reject the status quo of both parties if it is just the status quo.

And we’re realists. We don’t believe it’s a good idea to cut off your nose to spite your face. We don’t believe in anonymity. We don’t think someone should do something just because they can.

All of the above sounds good…but it seems the above worldview is based on the foundation of the ‘inherant goodness of man’ which I, along with the reformed tradition, soundly denounce, both out of experience and because it is true.
I denounce it because of the experience of my own sin; I am not inherantly good.

The reformers denounce it because the Bible states otherwise:

…just to name a few.

Freakonomics blog reports on the increasing cost of metals in construction and their impact on society at large.

This has really been a problem for the last two years or so

Think of it this way, steel is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Concrete reinforcement.
  • Structural steel (hot-rolled shapes).
  • Metal stud framing (cold-rolled shapes); metal studs are used primarily in commercial construction whereas wood studs are used primarily on residential construction.
  • HVAC ductwork and piping.
  • Plumbing piping (schedule 40 anyone?)
  • Electrical conduit.
  • Fasteners (an architect’s fancy name for nails, screws, bolts, etc.)
  • Not to mention all of the finished products that include steel.

Copper is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Plumbing piping (hot/cold water).
  • Electrical conductors (an architect’s fancy name for wire).
  • Some flashing and roofing.

Aluminum is a major component in the following materials/products:

  • Architectural decorative metalwork.
  • Most flashing and some roofing.
  • Commercial-quality (Architectural) windows, doors and storefronts.

I haven’t mentioned petroleum products:

  • Asphalt.
  • Transportation of all building materials.
  • Plastics (including electrical wire insulation).
  • Extraction, refinement and fabrication of most products.

So, in the last couple of years, you mix an increased demand from China and India for these materials as these nations develop their infrastructure, as well as an OPEC-created false short supply of oil and petroleum products and you have the environment for a mess in construction costs in America (as well as other locations).

I and my clients have felt the sting of this for at least two years.

What would have been the original ‘butterfly effect‘ that caused all of this?

Check this out from the IRS Website: you can receive a telephone tax refund for 2006 only. According to the IRS:

“In general, anyone who paid the long-distance telephone tax will get the refund on their 2006 federal income tax return.”

“The IRS is making it easier for taxpayers by offering a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, so they don’t need to gather old phone bills. Taxpayers who choose the standard amount will only need to fill out one line on their tax returns. The standard amount is based on actual telephone usage data and the amount applicable to a family or other household reflects the long-distance phone tax paid by similarly sized families or households. Using this amount is the easiest way for taxpayers to get their refunds and avoid gathering 41 months of old phone records.

Businesses and nonprofits must fill out the new Form 8913 and base their refund requests on the actual amount of tax they paid.”

“Individual taxpayers can take a standard amount from $30 to $60 based on the number of exemptions claimed on their tax return. For those claiming:

one exemption, the standard refund amount is: $30
two exemptions, the standard refund amount is: $40
three exemptions, the standard refund amount is: $50
four exemptions or more, the standard refund amount is: $60″

The catch is:

“To get the telephone tax refund, you must have paid the tax. If you don’t have your telephone bills, the only way to be sure if you paid the tax for long distance is to check with your service provider.”

Sign me up for the $60!

I’m loaded.
It’s official.
I’m the 55,146,441 richest person on earth!
How rich are you? >>

The above table puts me in the top 1% of the richest persons in the world. By the [global] world’s standards, I am wealthy, but by American (and the West’s) standards, I am middle-class.

Perhaps some balance is in order, no?

Some financial perspective is in order to the PFblog community.

Read the rest of this entry »

Giving you $.02 for your 2 cents
Problogger has suggested techniques to get more comments on a blog; the short list is:

  • Invite comments
  • Ask questions
  • Be open ended
  • Interact with comments left
  • Set boundaries
  • Be humble
  • Be gracious
  • Be controversial?
  • ‘Reward’ comments
  • Make it easy to comment

Jakob Neilsen suggests that of the traffic to any website:

“90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.”

My stats thus far would sound a loud “here, here” with both problogger and Mr. Nielsen.

Read the rest of this entry »

FiveCentNickel and Consumerism Commentary both have a new ad with a new retirement calculator.

Supermomma4 & I score a 118 (which means based on information I supplied, in retirement, we would have 118% of our current living standard).

Both fivecentnickel and Flexo are suspect of the numbers; so am I. I would never have guessed I would be above 100%. I would have guessed I would have been more in the range of 85%-95%.

Reasons are:

  • We are “SILKs” (Single Income, Lots of Kids) not “DINKs” (Dual Income, No Kids).
  • I have only been funding a 401k for about 5 years (maximum to receive the match = 5% me, 4% them)
  • Although we have no credit card debt, we do owe approx. $8,400 on a new furnace/heat pump.

Consider the calculator suspect, but helpful.

Thanks FiveCentNickel & Flexo.

NCN has a new podcast whereby he explains how he met (last-minute, no less) his $20K emergency fund goal by 10/10.

It is one of the wackiest, but I would say, best podcast he has done! I thoroughly enjoyed it, NCN!

I really enjoy your down-to-earth, conversational way about you.

The talking to your Diet Mountain Dew and ice had me rolling on my way to work this morning; I almost had to pull over!

Great show!




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