Enough With Professional Politicians! Go Away!

Leave us alone and go back from whence you came. And I mean all of you. This great nation needs a fresh start. And we may be witnessing the worst crop of leaders in many a generation. Many will protest and I say go ahead. But I am talking reality here not wishful thinking or a D or R in front of some slick dudes name.

Excuse my somber thoughts on this topic especially in this big election year but are you kidding me? These are the people that presumably lead the free world. God help us all.

I mean seriously can you trust a one of them? I see them all as a Saturday Night Live skit. From the mass corruption to the outright bribery let alone the selling of a soul for some pet pork project. Arm twisting, towing the party boss line. It is all so unseemly.

Yet America it is we who vote for these people. So therefore it must be us to blame no? Are we just gullible? Do we take payoffs in the form of government goodies? Likely all the above. So the conclusion is we are to blame for the current state of affairs.

It is also their fault. The two main parties stymie us with a mediocre selection and we all know that when in the ballot box we face the “lesser of two evils syndrome”. How awful. I believe they have so polluted the climate that the best we have run like the plague from seeking office. I know as a professional mortgage person I needed a shower whenever I came across lets just say less than professional mortgage people to protect those who are probably now selling you cell phones and helped to ruin an industry. The same goes for good people not wanting to engage in “the inside the beltway” cesspool. I know the feeling. Conclusion #2 is they are also to blame.

Promises promises every two years and the same problems exist as 50 years ago. Why do we even listen to these carnies any longer let alone shower them with adoration. I for one am befuddled by it all and most annoyed. And those with limited leadership skills let alone skills of any type get stinking rich off of our votes. How undeserving. Then they proceed to divide us into groups so we are so busy attacking each other, we have no idea what they are up to.

Clever job the hucksters have created for themselves. I wish I were that clever but unfortunately my conscious would not allow me to engage in such tactics. My hope for the people is a reevaluation by each of you individually as to what your leaders have done for the common good and what damage they have done. Let your conscious guide you as the heart can be easily manipulated. Happy voting.

Article first published as <a href=’http://technorati.com/politics/article/enough-with-professional-politicians-go-away/’>Enough With Professional Politicians! Go Away!</a> on Technorati.

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Thanks Dodd-Frank. You Got Us Again!

A few thoughts and other musings from the finance world. As one who has been in finance for 29 years and has paid close attention to the happenings of the industry and those who presumably have oversight on same, I suppose a tell all book would be in order as there is much to be told. But you would likely be bored so just a few points and you decide. Besides there are plenty of these books out there but unfortunately most come from those who know not what actually happened and have a preconceived agenda.

Briefly the subprime era began in the late 90’s at the behest of the Clinton administration and with the blessings of Dodd and Frank as well as many in Congress, Fed Chairman Greenspan and of course Attorney General Janet Reno. FNMA and Freddie Mac were stacked with political operatives with a mandate. Perhaps an admirable mandate but surely not one that works in the real world.
You know the rest if you could breath you received the loan for your mansion and who cares about fundamental underwriting criteria. We will stamp AAA by Uncle Sam on all this paper and who will know? Today everyone knows as the unraveling has been going on for five years and very similar to that of Japan’s post 1989 bubble which made ours look tame.

So here we are today and the names Dodd-Frank sit atop the so called legislation designed to solve the financial ills. Let us see, those who helped get this mess off the ground are presumably now going to fix it. Have you noticed neither ran for reelection?
Most telling wouldn’t you agree?

As one in the mortgage game for so long I once was proud to so state. Today I feel shame at what these hucksters and pack rats which entered the industry have done to us and have no sense of pride and barely hang on to a dose of professionalism.

Dodd-Frank among other changes have wrought a nightmare in lending of all types. If you do not believe me go and apply for .5 cents at your local bank. Or better still attempt to get a mortgage. This will be an eye opener you can’t even imagine.

No transparency just convoluted rules which seem to change by the minute. And will continue to do so. It seems as is the norm in D.C., they start a problem so they can be seen “doing something” for the people. The cure is usually worse than the disease. I lived through the S&L crisis which was not all that unlike the subprime mess. The difference in my opinion was adults handled the problem with a market oriented approach in the early 90’s and kept harm to a minimum. Makes me wonder if these so called leaders actually want a solution. Likely not as we would not need them and therefore they would not be enriched by campaign money and perks unimaginable.

Try speaking to the employees at the former Main St.Bank in Kingwood Tx. Highly successful by any banking metric. Yet the regulators beat them to a pulp and tried to tell them how to run their bank. The CEO finally said enough as was quoted in the Wall Street Journal and sent back his Bank charter. They sold the branches and do not exist anymore. Talk about ruining something that worked. The sad part is the average loan size was $100,000 and mostly to small business people and we know they are the job creators and the hardest hit. So is this going to heal our problem. Hell no!

As stated earlier I have 29 years in my field and feel like a neophyte. The hurdles are high and someday we will normalize but this is not the way to do it friends. Remember too much regulation is not a good thing. The market will work if given a chance but herein lies the problem. We do not give it a chance.
Pray we do and to those who say the market failed I say it never really had a chance as Big Brother was in the game all along.

Article first published as <a href=’http://technorati.com/business/finance/article/thanks-dodd-frank-you-got-us/’>Thanks Dodd-Frank. You Got Us Again!</a> on Technorati.

Happy Easter. Christ Is Risen? Some Agree, Others Not.

It is without question the holiest time of the year for the Christian people who total some 2.5 billion worldwide. But I ask do you agree or not? Did he ascend? Or is it a myth? We must all decide for ourselves in the end.

As the story is told 2000 years ago Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected to a heavenly place with his father. Obviously many accept this on faith as only hundreds actually witnessed the events so long ago so faith based it must be. And of course many think it is sheer lunacy and no such event occurred.
I for one believe it as “It Is Written”.

I can analogize when people say the good book is fiction by saying how do you know the history of George Washington is true or for that matter King Henry VIII? Because there where actual witnesses to these events and have historically documented them as was done with the Bible.

In more simple terms if Jesus was a crazed man, I view it as highly doubtful he would have had such a following let alone 2000 years of material impact on peoples lives. Just think next time you see a man on the street claiming to be Jesus. Most pass by and think the man insane. Not a second thought is given. So here we are 2000 years later and his impact is still immense. To my way of thinking this is huge.

And of course his words and teaching are beyond profound and comforting. Wise indeed. So was he here or not and did he rise? Again it depends who you ask. Many tell me how can your Jesus allow this tragedy or that? I say perhaps it is the minions of the competing force I like to call Satan. After all he is a fallen and envious angel and he was given dominion on this earth. As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it “the battle of good and evil goes on for every second and every inch in the universe”. So to those I will reply it is not Jesus causing the harm but his arch enemy. As to Jesus he will be there to comfort you in your time of need.
Again this is my view and you are free to form your own.

And we must recall that even Jesus stated that suffering is part of the deal on this planet. After all look what happened to him.

So good and bad exist and if I ever question my tough days, I can always remember that God himself had to watch while his son was tortured and finally killed. That could not have been an easy thing to do for the creator of all things. The one who placed the Sun in a perfect spot 95,000,000 miles from us to keep us warm knowing full well that 10,000 miles in either direction and there would be no life on earth.

Life has its ups and downs and heavenly paradise most assuredly awaits us all some day. Then we will know who is right or wrong. For now blessings to all and I look forward to seeing you all someday.

Article first published on Technorati.

Is This The Healthcare Reform (Cure)The Doctor Ordered?

Let us begin by stating the obvious which is the current mechanism for delivery of health care is abominable. What I mean is although we have the best care on the planet, the payment system and the delivery system has its considerable problems. So what is the solution and is it addressed in Obamacare? I will be among many who would like to restructure the system so as to make it more consumer friendly and patient based delivery and my bias would be towards reducing government interference and more towards a market oriented system. One major caveat to the naysayers, “A True Market Oriented System”. We do not have that now!

Let us view some numbers and attempt to discern what needs/has been done and at what cost. As was reported this weekend on an in depth report on Bloomberg News, 86% of Americans now have a health care plan. This leaves 14% without. A tenuous position to say the least. But these 14% do have access to the care they need via various state aid programs and federal as well. As a backstop the hospital is the caregiver of last resort. So it appears that care is available to all but systemically treated differently. According to the Bloomberg report the cost annually for those without care runs $39 billion per year. According to a variety of sources Obamacare will likely cost $1-2 trillion over the next 10 years. And if Medicare is any guide, the early forecast on its cost in the out years was off by a factor of 10 fold. Scary thought if history repeats.

But this begs the question. If we need $39 billion a year for the uninsured, why are we projected to spend many times this amount and convolute the whole system with 3000 pages of regulations no one understands? And as the regulators get their hands on these pages you can bet they will multiply as will the complexity of this program. Seems a lot of hassle for what amounts to a rather small sum by D.C. standards. In fact costs have been rising steadily these past two years and at twice the average historical rates for most private health policies and the plan has not officially started. They promised it would drive the costs down. What happened?

The usual happened. D.C. wraps its arms around an issue and does have neither the experience or capability of dealing with the issue. Recall former Speaker Pelosi stating “we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it”. Surely you jest. No human knows what is in it. It is no surprise that Medicare suffers the largest waste and fraud of any program we can compare with private sector insurers who for better or worse do a fine job of containing costs. I know they screw some people but in the main they treat us well and contrary to conventional wisdom they work on very thin margins of typically 2-5% net profit. Not much when you consider many firms net 20-70% profits such as the one who made your phone. So cut them some slack as they employ millions and are not “evil”.

I will grant there is a decent clause or two in this bill but I for one do not want to relinquish any authority over my health to this organization although they already play a huge role in it. Enough for now. There are better ways.

The last issue on the “uninsured” is many select this position and polls have reflected they prefer to buy cars and who knows what to paying premiums especially the young and healthy. So I conclude this is just another power grab without our permission by the power hungry. As always be careful what you wish for when you seek their help.

How to bring costs down? Try a health savings account. You are entitled to the funds that are not spent each year. In this context you actually pay attention to costs as opposed to leaving it to someone else. You will notice if your doctor bills $200 for a physical, you might seek a new physician who will bill $135 for same. It is a start at the minimum. It allows the client a stake in healthcare spending and a huge benefit for being frugal.

Try it the next time you get the sniffles and you may know instinctively you have a simple cold and sip some chicken soup as opposed to visiting your doc for $85. One step at a time.

Article first published as <a href=’http://technorati.com/politics/article/is-this-the-healthcare-reform-curethe/’>Is This The Healthcare Reform (Cure)The Doctor Ordered?</a> on Technorati.