How bad is the economy? My wife and I have been shopping for a vehicle this week, out of necessity. I didn't see another prospective buyer at the dealerships we visited. Not one. It was a hassle trying to test drive vehicles because the batteries were dead, and even the electronic keys didn't work because they hadn't been used for so long.

I think it will be years before many new homes are built in this country. Between the price uncertainty that will linger for years, and the ever-increasing regulatory hurdles, it's no longer rational for a builder to build. My wife and I started building our home before the economy cratered, so stopping the project wasn't an option. But the process has taken over four years to get approval, and even though we do expect to finish on budget (sort of), the market price of the home will be worth maybe half what it cost to build, assuming home values keep dropping. I can't recall seeing any other homes under construction anywhere in this area.

Restaurant business is down about 40% nationwide. That puts almost all of them underwater. No independent operator who has a lease will renew it when it comes up in the next three years or so, unless they can fund the operating losses from some other source. I expect about half of all the restaurants in California to close. When that happens, it will free up enough customers for the restaurants that stick it out.

I think we'll all survive. And we'll find ways to be happy. But I don't believe the economy will roar back in 2010 as the experts are fond of predicting. I think this is the new reality until some innovation comes along to drive another bubble.

One could argue that previous economic bubbles were driven by sex, directly or indirectly. Guys bought cars to attract girls. The VCR business thrived because of porn. So did the Internet. If you want to predict the next economic boom, figure out who is inventing technology that 19-year old boys will crave in order to increase their chances for sex.

Any ideas?
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Mar 16, 2009
My best guess is realtouch....I suspect that is the next thing 19 year old guys will be interested in.
Mar 13, 2009

Some time ago, before the invention of Blog forums, I had quite a bit of free time on my hands and researched the mysterious absence of references to the War of 1812 (and Canada in general) in US media and history books. This is what I discovered:

Alex Trebek, one of the many really smart "Canadian Beaver-Backs" known to have illegally crossed your northern border in the Twentieth Century (called The Century of the Fox in Canada), is known to have written a scholarly work in the early 1960s; a treatise that brutally exposed the fact that Canadians (Upper Canadians, not Lower Canadians) were terrorizing the US eastern seaboard between 1812 and 1814.

The title of Trebek's masterwork was "Yes, Those Quiet Canadians Once Kicked America's Ass in an Honest-to-God War".

The Canadian (socialist) government got wind of the exposé and immediately assigned the RCMP to investigate. Alarmed we were, because Canada had long been concerned that this embarrassing story would come to the surface and compromise our long standing and lucrative Wooden Toothpick Export Agreement with America.

Anyway, one thing led to another, as it often does in a RCMP investigation, and it was determined that tens of thousands of copies of Trebek's book were being stored in the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas -- packaged and ready for distribution to prominent US universities on November 23rd 1963.

A covert RCMP raid on the Texas School Book Depository was planned for November 22nd and executed. Things went terribly, terribly long.

Please do not repeat this story to Lou Dobbs. He is a mean person and clearly doesn't like Canada. We are afraid of him -- as any right (or left) thinking person should be.

Mar 13, 2009
the economy over here is the UK is just as bad. I work in the travel buisness and local hotels have reported that the trade over the past 3 to 4 months has been drying up forcing a few to even close.
Mar 12, 2009
Webgrunt said to Webster: "Didn't you burn the White House to the ground? That had to have been satisfying on some level. I've felt like doing that many times myself..."

How did you know that? It was my understanding that American history books are quite silent on that ... unfortunate incident.

But yes, it's true. Canadians did burn down the White House in 1812. But I'm equally sure that it was not an intentional and malicious act; what with Canadians being known around the world for their peaceful, passive nature.

More likely a case of careless smoking, Webgrunt. Yeah, that's it ... just careless smoking on Canada's part.


Mar 8, 2009
1) I roughly agree with Phantom II.
2) Falling prices of houses are wrong for owners and mortgage payers, but there is also the other side of the market - the buyers. (I will buy new house this or next year, so the cheaper, the better). Why the rising food prices and gasoline prices are (were) wrong, but falling prices of housing are wrong too?
3) The idea, that we can cure economic crisis resulting from living on debts by means of making more debts, really can come from a brilliant economic mind only.
Mar 7, 2009
Mar 7, 2009
THE ECONOMY: There's a franchisor in Florida who takes shipping crates (the big ones from China) and makes modular homes from them -- want an addition? Crate idea!!!

IDEA: We'll dump our overly huge and costly homes, get together in "like groups" (birds of a feather), buy land, make a few noise rules and visitation rules based on PROVERB 25:17: "Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and [so] hate thee" and set up our crate new homes! We'll have big gardens.

OUR FUTURE: In our affordable housing, we'll finally have enough disposable income (even in this economy) to follow our dreams (write that book; paint that picture; draw that cartoon) and we will be much happier.
Mar 6, 2009
I love the people that use their own blindness to point out the blindness in others.
Mar 5, 2009

I must say that you have raised some pretty sobering arguments against Canada's long standing plan to purchase the United States of America. Things don't quite seem like they are made out to be in the brochures and television commercials. Bay Watch comes to mind, but in fairness, I did realize that it was not a bone fide NFB documentary.

Anyway, as it happens, I will be having coffee with the Prime Minister tomorrow at Tim Horton's. We may have to rethink the strategic plan. There seems to be quite a bit of risk associated with our otherwise simple ambition to get our hands on some decent vacation real estate. Maybe we should buy Cuba instead. A lot smaller, but quite a bit cheaper, I would think.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Arby. Much appreciated.

Mar 5, 2009
Webster. Are you sure you really want the US ? Several deterrents come to mind. RCMP would look rather foolish and be quite uncomfortable in bright read wool uniforms in the Florida sub tropical climate. Flowering pots you have hanging from street lights in downtown Victoria, Vancouver Island would last about a New York second in Miami. They would be harvested for food. We would be glad to have you responsible for all the homeless, unemployed, poor, illegal aliens, !$%*!$%*!$%* prisoners, liberals, conservatives, gray panthers , and uninsured.

You can have Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Jessie Jackson, Sean Penn and several sets of octuplets with crazy mothers.Good luck disarming the good old boys across the landscape. Not to mention a massive national debt, ungodly deficit and out of whack balance of trade. Our royal families are the likes of the Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons and some that you can find in the tabloids daily. Oh, you get Paris Hilton too.

Remember there was a reason that Great Britain gave up ruling the world after the 19th century. Your Mother country almost went broke trying. Being the USA is no piece of cake, ruling it would be a poison pill. It is not much but, we like it. But hey , knock yourself out and we can eat out of your bean pot for awhile.
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Mar 5, 2009
It's interesting to look at how often prosperous economic periods are driven by bubbles in various sectors (sometimes aided by lax regulation in that sector) as opposed to good economic fundamentals. It's my personal observation that at least half of the prosperous periods are bubble driven. Sometimes we delude ourselves en masse because we want to believe the good times will never end. Sometimes we're deluded by the news media and corporate PR. But eventually the bubbles burst and we fall back down to reality, do some regulating, and set ourselves up for the next bubble. The trick is to be able to recognize a bubble, know how to ride it up, and know when to jump off of it before it bursts. But with our penchant for self-delusion, that's practically impossible to do.

If we're going to stay grounded all the time, it means constantly acknowledging some horrifying facts. Acknowledging that there is and always will be a gigantic worldwide labor glut, that corporate execs are in a race to the bottom, and that under lassiez-faire capitalism corporate execs can get away with murder in dealing with workers. Based on the economic fundamentals, the future holds worldwide poverty for the vast majority of the planet's population, though lifted up by the occasional bubble to keep the public from noticing that the system itself is the problem. To lift the world out of poverty, the change has to come in the basic economic system. Will workers rise up and demand the needed changes, or will they just keep taking it as they always have? I predict they'll keep taking it for quite a while longer. How bad will we let it get before the breaking point comes? We'll find out eventually.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 5, 2009
There is something you all need to know about these exotic economic times. There is a hostile take-over threat to your north.

The Canadian Government has been accumulating and hoarding cash, vast amounts of cash, for many, many years. Our strategic plan has long been to wait for just the right moment ... the moment when we can purchase the United States of America at a deeply discounted price.

We thought this a better idea than attacking you with a military force. We did that in 1812 without a particularly satisfying result. And besides, other than the Air Canada fleet, we don't have many aircraft. Certainly none of the really scary looking ones that America owns.

Of course, we do have a couple of submarines, surplus inventory purchased from the Brits, but they leak rather badly. They might get us as far as Seattle, where we could take over the Headquarters of Starbucks and force their executive group to drink Tim Horton's coffee, but that's just about as far as we would get with a military incursion.

Anyway, I thought you should know. Resistance is futile, eh. We have a plan ... and we are very patient up here.


PS ... to be honest, we only want the spots with the nice climate. Florida, Southern California, etc. So we may sell the other bits back to you, at an inflated price, in due course.
Mar 5, 2009
Its intesting the areas affected. Rural is not as affected

So the question if the other part of the US to buy like crazy!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 5, 2009
WHY? Do 19 yr olds have money?
Mar 5, 2009
Yea, things are different.
But, we had our best year ever, '08, and this year is on track to be even better.
Only pay what it's worth to you and enjoy it.
It's all perspective.

Neighbor Dave
Mar 5, 2009
The next bubble will be based on Sexbots. At some point, you'll be able to plug in your iPhone and stay connected to people in an all new way.

Honestly, I'm not sure what the next spark would be...but the Sexbot would be damn cool. Personally, I believe the economy is still in reset mode. The stock market went all wonky for a while and shot up like crazy...now it has to get back to where it should have been had we continued on steady progress instead of greedy, wonky progress.
Mar 5, 2009

That's an excellent observation on the potential economic impact connection between the internet and the green movement -- but you missed the most important connection -- Al Gore invented both! ;-)

Mar 5, 2009
Am I the only one that sees the similarities in the "green revolution" to the early (well...not THAT early) years of the internet? Low buzz all around. Only a few experts. All the news stations are carrying something about it. There's TONS to be done. It is going to have to be everywhere. New terms are popping up all the time (vampire power was one I heard a few days ago).

You want a link to sex? It was probably a movie I saw it in, but I'm running with it. 75% of Greenpeace is female. Maybe this time, instead of watching sex on a VCR or the internet, maybe the "green" guys will actually get laid.
Mar 5, 2009
Recession, yes I guess, but you gotta look at the bright side. You will not loose anything if you do not sell your well-balanced stock portfolio and just add to it with dollar cost averaging. The market always eventually goes up. Your comfortable home is worth what you paid for it if you enjoy it, live in it and do not sell. Store brand foods are just as good in most cases and national brands. High priced goods are going for firesale prices as retailers are dumping inventory. Travel and tourism are real bargains. Nearby local, state and federal parks are still busy with locals. Yard sales and thrift stores are booming. More people are knocking on your door looking to do work at very a very reasonable price.

There is less traffic, low gas prices. There is more community participation in local events. More families are eating in, having actual conversations, and playing games with their children. People are discovering and revisiting their hobbies of their youth that do not cost much. Home gardens include more food items for your enjoyment and surplus to share with friends, coworkers, neighbors and those in need. More windows and doors are open with people sitting on their front porches visiting with their neighbors. Bike paths and trails are filling up as people park their cars. Public transportation is vastly improved, more accepted and friendlier. Days off are more frequent and stress levels are down.

Sure, there are those in the lower income levels that are suffering and need help. But, the time of supporting over consumption, ostentatious keeping up with the Jones, lifestyles and entitlements is dwindling. It is becoming more like America used to be. Maybe Ford should retool and sell an electric, made in America, Model A (Model E?) with off the shelf technology that runs on regular batteries and is not freeway legal. Those fold-down rumble back seats were cool. Bet it would sell. So, the outlook is really all a matter of perspective.

Mar 5, 2009
viagra cheese strings?
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