People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Johnny On The Spot

Okay, who told the president what everyone else in America learned a week ago?

A note: We pay this guy to produce different headlines:

Obama Foils Plane Attack Planned by Al Qaeda

But no.  We get Mr. Monday Morning Quarterback.

I'm not feelin' at all good about this.

The American Dream. The American Nightmare.

I remember when Paula and I were looking to buy our first home, admittedly a number of years ago, we used the rule of thumb that was in play at the time: Look for one that can be purchased for no more than twice your annual income.  You make $50,000?  You can reasonably expect to afford a $100,000 home.

A quaint notion, wasn't it.

But it kept math-challenged people from doing stupid things.

These days, at least the days until the bubble burst, the rule became: Buy whatever you want, even if you have no income.  The monthly payments will work themselves out.

No, I'm not kidding.

And hundreds of thousands of Americans went "under water" with their investments (well, their mortgage lenders' investments).  Owning homes that they hadn't a prayer of paying off, homes that were worth less than what they owed on them.

Today, loan defaults and bankruptcy, in huge swaths of the country, are the order of the day.

But wait.  Uncle Obama wanted to ease your pain.

And he did.

And now matters are worse:
U.S. Loan Effort Is Seen as Adding to Housing Woes
By Peter S. Goodman, New York Times

The Obama administration’s $75 billion program to protect homeowners from foreclosure has been widely pronounced a disappointment, and some economists and real estate experts now contend it has done more harm than good.

Since President Obama announced the program in February, it has lowered mortgage payments on a trial basis for hundreds of thousands of people but has largely failed to provide permanent relief. Critics increasingly argue that the program, Making Home Affordable, has raised false hopes among people who simply cannot afford their homes.

Some experts argue the program has impeded economic recovery by delaying a wrenching yet cleansing process through which borrowers give up unaffordable homes and banks fully reckon with their disastrous bets on real estate, enabling money to flow more freely through the financial system. [link]
Thanks, Barack.  With friends like you ...

Poor schmucks.  Now they have no savings, no credit, no equity, and soon ... government-run health care.

It's like we went to sleep in Neverland and woke up in Zimbabwe.

Why Global Warmists BELIEVE Without Reason

Denis Dutton, professor of philosophy, University of Canterbury, writing in the New York Times, says, hey, it's easier than trying to actually solve the world's real problems:
Apocalyptic scenarios are a diversion from real problems — poverty, terrorism, broken financial systems — needing intelligent attention. Even something as down-to-earth as the swine-flu scare has seemed at moments to be less about testing our health care system and its emergency readiness than about the fate of a diseased civilization drowning in its own fluids. We wallow in the idea that one day everything might change in, as St. Paul put it, the “twinkling of an eye” — that a calamity might prove to be the longed-for transformation. But turning practical problems into cosmic cataclysms takes us further away from actual solutions.

This applies, in my view, to the towering seas, storms, droughts and mass extinctions of popular climate catastrophism. Such entertaining visions owe less to scientific climatology than to eschatology, and that familiar sense that modernity and its wasteful comforts are bringing us closer to a biblical day of judgment. As that headline put it for Y2K, predictions of the end of the world are often intertwined with condemnations of human “folly, greed and denial.” Repent and recycle!
Heck, who wants to go to the trouble of fighting poverty when we can go out and buy a curlicue light bulb and declare that we are one with the Earth?  Poor Somalis?  How about the poor troposphere?

"I drive one of those wretchedly ugly and inconvenient electric cars to stop global warming!"  The heart bleeds.

And Al Gore, who looks like he's never missed a meal - his or anyone else's - is livin' large.

They award Nobel Peace Prizes for that, you know. 

"Repent and recycle!"  Gosh, the world is a better place.

Here's To Capitalism

Anyone reading this weblog post should thank his or her lucky stars that the free market system exists.  After all, what non-profit - or government agency - or socialist monolith could have possibly invented the internet?  It was, in fact, greed that brought the idea to the marketplace in all its wondrous facets and offshoots.  Men and women wanting to make a buck.  Men and women wanting their ideas to become reality and to see their plans and aspirations come to life.

And it was the investment of capital that made it happen.  The desire to attract wealth.

Yes, greed.

And hundreds of millions of human beings - including, especially, capital investors - shareholders - have prospered mightily from it.

Oh, and Bill Gates ain't done bad for himself either.

There is no other economic system ever devised by humankind like it.  And there never will be.

So here's to capitalism.  Long may the Democrats be prevented from destroying it:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently encapsulated one fallacy regarding for-profit activity prevalent among intellectual elites: “The point of insurance companies is not to provide health care but to make a profit,”  he said, as if these were mutually exclusive goals.

The anti-business mindset often takes a more specific form: it is “corporations” that are the enemy, not, by implication, the corner grocer.

[T]his knee-jerk contempt for business is worthy of a pampered adolescent who is searching for a cause with which to display his unique moral sensibility.  It is not worthy of an adult who should be able to use his imagination, if not actual experience, to appreciate the extraordinary human effort that has gone into creating the delightful tools that we daily take for granted.  On my desk sit various humble objects—a tiny clock, a stapler, a paper clip box, a Lucite cook book stand for holding up drafts and other papers while I type.  Each object represents a fractal geometry of complexity, composed as it is of parts that themselves require enterprise to manufacture, assemble, and deliver, all born along on waves of energy and infrastructure to which yet another set of entrepreneurs contributed.  The fact that all of those distributors and manufacturers tried to make a profit does not detract from the fact that  they offered goods which enhance our lives. 

It is the ingratitude that kills me the most among anti-business types.  The materials that furnish a single room in an American home required daring, perseverance, and organizational skill from millions of individuals over generations.  I hope they all got filthy rich.
Heather MacDonald, "Secular Right," December 26, 2009