28 February 2009

Counter-cyclical Asset via Marginal Revolution

I find it funny that Ayn Rand (the champion of unbridled capitalism) is selling ridiculously well during an economic downturn purported by many to be caused by unrestrained and under-regulated greedy capitalist bankers.

Marginal Revolution's "counter-cyclical asset" posts are generally quite good. I would suggest following them.

20 February 2009

Things to Come

The red bars are predicted vacancy rates for office space in the United States. The blue are the actual rates. Things could get hairy.

Thanks CalculatedRisk.


Many people are upset over this possible housing rescue plan that President Obama is proposing. I've been thinking about it, and I'm rather upset myself. I'm of the opinion that we should just let this thing correct itself. Very philosophical, very principle driven...the consequences would be dire, but saving everybody's ass because of bad decisions and random events is just not something we should do.

Anyway, since the federal government is borrowing all this money, and me and my kids (if I have any) will pay through the nose for it, I'm wondering where my cut is. Since people under the age of, oh let's say 40, will be begin footing the bill about 15 or 20 years from now, I want a little something now to compensate for the future sacrifices I'll be making. Now I don't own a home, so all this bailout isn't doing a thing for me. But all those people who kept sucking the equity out of their homes to finance their spending are going to get a break on repaying their debt. And me? Oh, well I don't get anything. I borrowed money to finance a lifestyle that I couldn't afford too, I'm not saying I didn't. So why don't I get special consideration in the repayment of my debt, since so many others are? It's the least society could offer me for footing the bill for everybody else. Modify my debt. Send me a check right now for about $20,000 to lube me up before you screw me, okay USA?

15 February 2009

Whom to Blame for this Mess...

The biggest culprit in my mind.

Round 2

"There are many more bank failures to come over the next couple of years, mostly because of losses related to Construction & Development (C&D) and Commercial Real Estate (CRE) loans..."

Many people that I speak with about the current economic crisis reject the idea that this contraction will get considerably worse due to a likely wave of defaults in commercial loans. I have a feeling that the default frenzy in home mortgages was just a glimpse of what is to transpire in commercial real estate markets.

I spoke with a colleague the other day about a property in Las Vegas that was appraised for over $6 million about two years ago. We just received a current appraisal and the value came in at under $2 million. A $4 million loss in just two years! And we're probably not even half-way through this contraction in terms of lost growth. So as businesses continue to fail and the number of new ventures to replace them declines, the demand for commercial real estate will fall through the floor in a market that is already arguably vastly over supplied.

Let the good times roll.

11 February 2009

The Re-Birthday

I turned 24 at 9:49am today.

First, a quick run-down of the day. It was a good day. My boss and co-workers brought me a large box of donuts this morning at the office, along with a flipping sweet Napoleon Dynamite card and 100 bones. Very fine people indeed. We also lunched at the Claim Jumper in Town Square (for approximately 1.5 hours, which makes the workday feel much shorter even though it's only 30 min more than usual). Pepperoni pizza for dinner and a quite night at home. Not very eventful, but a great birthday all in all. Friday night will be party night; some friends and alcohol and a great time will be had.

My 23rd birthday passed without much notice (or perhaps I'm more perceptive this year), so I found myself more appreciative of the "Happy Birthday"s from friends and family. Thank you all again if you read this.

The start of this 24th year has me thinking about making some changes in how I live this life. The attitudes, habits, and conceptions that I've had for the past 5 years are in need of recalibration. So with this new year of life starting, I intend to make some resolutions and change the way I experience the world. This sort of thing is usually reserved for New Years, but why should resolutions be made only on January 1st?

The few things I intend to start with to begin changing my life:

1. Change my philosophy. I think it was Tyler Cowen who gave me this idea, either in his book Discover Your Inner Economist or on Marginal Revolution. The idea is to keep in mind the following question: "What can I do today to improve my life?" I was struck deeply by this when I first came across it. I'd never thought of my life like that before. The idea of controlling the quality of my own life experiences, given the exact same conditions, is still a profound one to me, and in my mind evidence of continuation of my enlightenment.

2. Become happier by making progress in self-development. I need to grow as a person. I'd never really comprehended that statement before, I guess I was too young. I'm now starting to catch glimpses of what this actually means. The past 3 to 4 years of my life have been like that movie Groundhog Day. I've stalled out. I'm numb. Depressed. Indifferent. In a way, it could be said that I've been insane for the past few years. It's been said that insanity is when you keep repeating the same actions while expecting different results. It's time to move forward, grow, and become a happier human being.

3. Take better care of my physical self. Stop smoking completely and for good, exercise more, eat healthier (even if just a bit at first) and take a vested interest in the condition of my vessel. Physical health greatly impacts emotional health. It also expands the list of possibile life experiences.

I'm seeking a higher quality life, and am preparing myself to take action to make this a reality. A Happy Re-Birthday to me!