Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ruminating Thoughts On The Coming Year

The Sun will continue to rise and set. Basically I expect a slightly worse version of this year.

Taxes- Taxes will go up. Part of this will be strait forward rate increases but most of it will be increases in 'fees', eliminations of various loopholes and such. The bottom line is that more money will flow from your pocket to multiple levels of government.

The Economy- I am not sure about our economy. My initial thought is that the lost decade our current jobless, non housing inflation and cheap money fueled recovery will continue. In this regard I expect a bit worse version of 2012. Then again who knows.

The European Sovereign Debt issue could well reemerge. With China's unsustainable growth rates turning to inflation and the economy slowing the US may well be one of the better looking horses in the glue factory this coming year.

I suspect artificial manipulation of gold and silver prices to continue. Silver will probably continue to be a pretty good buy over the coming year. Once our food storage goals are met we will put away some more PM's for sure.

Inflation- Hidden inflation will continue. The current CPI calculation seems manipulated to suit political aims inaccurate on how inflation affects normal folks. Most of this inflation will be covered up by smaller packages, less food by weight and the usual tricks. Expect your income to purchase fewer goods and services than before. 

Gun Control- I think that gun control could go many ways.  Were I forced to take a guess something will probably happen next year. The Dem's will do something, potentially via executive order if needed, to get a symbolic victory. It could be as benign as mandatory reporting of certain behaviors by medical professionals and maybe import limitations on certain guns like Siaga 12 shotguns and AK's or could be worse.

Crime- It ain't gonna get better. The flat lined economy will push some marginal folks towards crime. Also as state and county agencies try to make budgets work they are going to continue or increase prisoner releases. Yes these folks will generally have been arrested for nonviolent offenses but that is just what they were caught for. Plenty of violent criminals are incarcerated for various minor offenses and some of them will inevitably be released.

Down here in the South West I think the Reconquista downward spiral of drug/ cartel violence and unchecked illegal immigration will continue.

I wish that it wasn't my opinion that the partisan nature of politics in the US will get worse. Identity politics and hate mongering to suit various agendas will continue. There is potential for short flashes of localized violence being orchestrated to suit specific purposes. Think twitter flash mobs against political opponents.

Afghanistan- It isn't going to get better. The writing is on the wall that we are leaving. Expect limited conflict to support political goals. Think 'Nam in about 1971.

Wellthose are, for whatever they are worth, my thoughts on what is coming in 2013. Hopefully they give you something to think about. Again in closing I expect it to be a lot like last year but a bit worse.  Good luck,

What are your thoughts on the coming year?

Ryan




Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life is What Happens When You Turn The News Off

I seem to go into a sort of cycle with the news. Right now I am about sick of it. I still check out the drudge daily and if things get boring cruise the BBC. Instead of listening to the news at work I have been using a comedy show as background. I keep up enough to have a clue what is going on but really am having a hard time pretending to care.

The issues of police abuses has been weighing pretty heavily on my mind lately. Over a short time (since my being able to pay attention to these things at a relatively adult level) the changes which have occured are widespread and universally negative. Right now I do not have any additional thoughts on this topic which I am willing to share in a public venue.

Gang/ Mob attacks seem to be on the rise. The perpetrators, victims and area demographics seem to be quite consistent. The only thing that concerns me more than this is the total ambivalence of law enforcement about these crimes. The widespread efforts of government and media to conceal these events does not weigh positively into the mix either. I am not personally concerned about this. I do not frequent the kind of areas where this sort of thing has been happening. Also my life patterns, like being home at 7 to put the kid to bed, drops the odds even further. In any case it is still troubling.

Greece getting out of the Euro may almost be a foregone conclusion at this point. The idea of Euro bonds is laughable. Like cosigning for a loan your deadbeat brother in law/ whatever to get a loan it would require Germany be on the hook for things in the end. Like cosigning in general it is just a terrible idea. Banks or private markets are far better judges of who is a worthwhile risk than friends and family. I get what is in it for everybody but Germany, who actually has their financial house in order.

Also to complicate things there is significant risk to the Euro itself. As Tam put it "So Greece's profligate habits are threatening to drag the Euro under. Germany, the only wino at the bar keeping a squinty eye on the tab, is urging some restraint on Greece's part, which makes the Jerries the no-fun bad guy of the story."

The biggest way this inconveniences me is that it means I am not going to Greece which sucks. It was definitely on our short list before the mess of the last few months. Now the risk of getting stuck somewhere with a toddler in tow makes it a no travel zone for us. I guess it is a significant global risk, blah blah blah but I don't care about that.

So what did I do today?

After getting off work I came home for some quiet family time. For no clear reason I decided to make home made pizza. I had never done this but with some help from Wifey utter disaster was averted. I learned to do something new and we had a pretty good dinner. It was a nice quiet evening and I got something out of it.

It is worth noting that Dave Duffy wrote an article that inspired this one but was much better.

Anyway I hope you all have a nice quiet evening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Randomness

Well it seems President Obama's view has evolved to where he now supports Gay marriage. My thoughts on that issue are on the record and I am pretty much ambivalent about this new development. I suspect it is about firming up his base and making Romney look like an evil hate monger.

If you have been waiting to buy PM's at a dip it might be time to pull the trigger.

In case you were wondering 2 year old girl scout cookies taste just fine.

If you are short on doom and gloom there is an outbreak of whooping cough in Washington State. In case you needed any more reason to vaccinate yourself and your children.

JP Morgan lost a couple billion dollars in the last few weeks.

Greek leftists want to stay in the Euro but avoid any sort of austerity.

France's economy isn't doing so well.

I have been enjoying the show Person of Interest lately. It is a bit big brothery and will make you want to delete all social networking stuff then smash your laptop and cell phone but those may not be thoughts worth fighting anyway. There is always action and the good guys win which makes for an enjoyable show.

Dewars Scotch whisky has found a place in our liquor cabinet.  It is smooth and affordable enough to drink whenever the mood strikes me.  It isn't going to be mistaken for a nice single malt but at half the price that would not be a reasonable expectation. One of the downsides of scotch is that a decent blend is the price of a bottle of Crown Royal or a good burbon.

Have a good weekend,

Ryan

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Randomness

So France elected a Socialist president. I am pretty ambivalent about this as I do not live there or have any meaningful ties to the place. This could be interesting because it would push back against Germany's austerity measures when it comes to their broke, dysfunctional and still running a deficit southern neighbor Greece as well as not far behind Portugal and Spain. Right now Germany is the only one that can really try to bankroll continued enabling temporary aid. As their smaller, poorer, weaker and generally far less masculine next largest European partner France has really helped this be a united front instead of mean old Germany. This could be fun to watch.

The thing that lots of folks don't seem to get is for governments spending  and income as measured by taxes or growth as measured by GDP are related. Spending affects the economy through jobs, buying things, etc. Increasing revenues via taxes can also hurt the economy. The typical IMF style austerity plan is really a downward spiral. Imagine a company deciding to save by cutting out the advertising that brings in customers or in a more extreme case a dairy farmer cutting expenses by feeding his cows less. Obviously not a good plan. I don't know the answer is. You can tell the debtors to shove it (if you owe the bank 10k they own you but if you owe them 10 billion then you own them) which Greece is not big enough to do; or to not get into the situation in the first place.

Mexico is still a mess. Their government can't or won't stop the cartels from acting with total impunity and doing things like hanging a bunch of bodies from bridges or decapitating people. If there is anything good in the future there I am not aware of it and in fact the place seems to be in a downward spiral. I would not be suprised if I get a paid vacation there at some point in the next few years.
Metals are down a bit but I am not sure it is buying time. I feel a dip coming.

I have been trimming up some lately. I switched to light beer and have been paying more attention to what I eat as well as to portion sized. It seems to be working. Nothing huge really but I didn't need a massive course correction anyway. Hopefully in the next few days I finally kick this bug and can get back to doing some good PT. Don't worry I am still lifting heavy things in order to continue to be awesome. I don't believe in big changes in routines (powerlift for 3 months to "bulk" then do cardio and bodyweight to "tone" or whatever) but running, rucking and biking or whatever more during the spring and summer then hitting the gym a bit more in the winter when it is nasty outside seems like a pretty natural rhythm.
Anyway I hope you all have a decent Monday. Mine was pretty chill and I got to hit the gym so I will call it a win.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week for preparedness here. We got some flips snap diapers and inserts at a great deal in preparation for having a second kid (at some point in the future). Also I picked up a pair of backpacks at a great price and a 3 piece ECWS sleep system. I tried to purchase one of these sleep systems awhile back but there was some issue with the order and it was never processed. Also we got a 5 piece 18 volt Ryobi power tool set gently used for $80. It has a drill, a circular saw, and a sawzall as well as a flashlight and a little vacuum. Also I stumbled through our house finding half empty packs of batteries organized the batteries. An inventory found a couple deficiencies which got filled.

Wifey mentioned that it would be good if I didn't buy anything for awhile. As we don't want our balance sheets to look like Southern Europe I agreed.

Along other fronts I kicked the running program into gear going three times and also hit the gym. Wifey started making bread again which kiddo and I have appreciated. Anyway that is what we have been up to.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greek Debt Downgraded to Junk

Read about it. I have heard this called the year of sovereign risk. Will next be the year of sovereign default?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Future Is Not Set

Dollar to regain parity with Euro, if it still exists.

Belgians vote on future, united country in doubt. 

We need to not fall into a pre WWI mindset that history is set and all that can change is minor details. Seriously if you take a look at any period of (just to toss out a number) say 50 years in history some crazy stuff happens. The future is not set and things will change. Currencies will fail and borders will change and countries come and go all together. There will be conflicts.

I think that most notably sooner than later European nations and in particular Germany (man they really aren't happy about this Greek bailout madness and the Euro tanking) are going to collectively forget about the massive horrors and almost two entire generations of young men lost in WWI and WWII and give up on their whole recent pacifism kick. They may come to question the status quo in the tried and true fashion of war.

Just like the last 50 years (or any recent start point you choose) it is going to be a wild ride. Buckle up tight.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Little Bit of Life

We were real busy today. Definitely the busiest non traveling weekend day in awhile. We got a whole bunch of super cheap used baby stuff. Everything is major brand (same stuff we would have gotten anyway) and in very good condition. We seem to be paying between 10 and 15 cents on the dollar. Of course we could buy the stuff new without it being an issue. That is because unlike so many young people these days we waited till a decent financial place to have a kid. However (except for safety stuff) I see no reason to shun perfectly good used stuff. As soon as Walked Texas Ranger slobbers, pees and barfs on a given item it is used so why not save the devaluation. Reality is that quite often people who can afford to not worry so much about the cost of stuff (because they make choices to earn a good living and spend below it) do worry about it and make intentional plans to put themselves in the best position possible.

We also got a great deal on a chest freezer. It might be a sign of adulthood but I am so excited about more freezer space. Now we can store more meat and other low frequency stuff (popsicles, breakfast sausage, hamburger and hot dog buns, etc) which will be super nice. Also instead of picking up 1 extra when there is a good deal we can now pick up 5. This will let us save even more money and keep more food around.

Wifey decreed that we are moving things around in our residence. It falls inside her area of responsibility so my only real function will be physically moving stuff to its new locations. On the plus side she decided that we need more shelving, like big industrial type metal shelves for the kitchen. First we can just use more space for food storage in the kitchen and second we need to improve the ability to organize and easily access food. It is generally easy to find the canned stuff you use often and thus keep around in quantity. Spaghetti sauce, rotel tomatoes, baked beans, tomato soup and such are easy to find. Laying your hands on that one can of a thing you hardly ever use but really want to make a recipe at 8 in the evening is a bit harder if it is buried in a cabinet. I've been thinking when we get more shelves having a dedicated random area will be good.

Tonight we got Chinese food which was very tasty.

The Euro tanking is nice. Well it is nice for me anyway as I'm paid in dollars. It is fair to say that the shift is more a realization of the Euro's weakness than the dollars strength reemerging. I don't know what will happen with Greece or Spain or the Euro Zone at large but it sure makes for interesting reading.

I haven't been on the world band in awhile. Will probably fire it up tomorrow night. That is all for now.

Take care of each other.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Euro, Europe and Common Currencies

It turns out that my prediction of the dollar going up and the Euro zone feeling some pain is developing live on the BBC. Greece is in a bad spot. They have massive debt and high expenses coupled with a low income. They spend too much, earn too little and have maxed their HELIC, the Visa and the Mastercard. This is of course bad. It is in some ways worse for them because they are part of the EU and thus have a currency they do not control. They can not inflate their way out of this mess (if that every works anyway) or play with interest rates. Their political and welfare classes are unwilling to make the changes necessary to address their massive deficit. The risk of them facing hyperinflation is very small but they might well default.

Interestingly enough Portugal, Spain and Ireland might not be that far behind. This might make the stronger countries like France and Germany think twice about the cart their have their horses tied to. The concept of a broader currency being more stable only works if the countries are stable themselves.

I would not be surprised if the dollar bounces back a decent amount over the coming months. I doubt it will get back to a 1 to 1 exchange but moving into the .80 range would not surprise me. That would be pretty cool for me as our travel and entertainment dollars would stretch further.

As I mentioned before, I do not think the dollar is going to get stronger because its fundamentals are improving. I think it is going to get stronger because it is becoming more and more clear that the fundamentals of other currencies aren't so awesome either.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maybe It Is Premature To Bet On The Euro

Greece is bankrupt. The regional currency they are a part of doesn't leave much room for economic maneuvering. Also their high level of socialist spending doesn't help matters any. To me this brings up a couple of interesting points. First the Euro is fairly new and relatively untested in times of economic turmoil. Secondly being part of a broad regional currency takes a lot of the traditional tools to fix economic problems away from a country.

Right now the dollar is back up to about .68 Euro. As the true problems of the Euro zone (they got into all the same stupid stuff the US did, just later and to a smaller degree) come to light over the next year it would not surprise me if it slips up into the .75-.80 range. 

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