Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peak Oil, The USDA, Warren Buffet and Bob Rubin, not necessarily in that order...

Bob Rubin, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and CEO of Goldman Sachs (but then I repeat myself) was out in the media warning of a coming "Bond Market Implosion.

Thanks, Bob... not really sure what we would do without your top level decision making and informed opinion.  Weren't you Chairman at Citibank when they blew up the f&($#@!! world?

Every day that I wake up and don't read about a "crazed gunman" (or gunmen)  at Goldman Sachs et al I am pleasantly surprised... Even Warren Buffett is getting into the act of opening his mouth when he should keep it shut.  Seems Warren was out on the news wires today thanking the Federal government for all those bailouts.... Warren, didn't you learn ANYTHING from your nit-wit-curmudgeon-partner Charlie Munger? Ya know.... I even went with the TARP... even though I knew it would save many that deserved to blow up from blowing up... because it was better than the alternative - martial law.... but this has gotten ridiculous.  Not only have we kept the establishment jag-off-emporors-with-no-clothes in f&*^ing power... we are handing them bonuses and helping them refi their luxury diggs in Manhattan (not that those diggs will be worth 2 nickels rubbed together).

WTF is with TPTB?  I thought they were educated... knew their history... this "Let them eat cake" talk is a really, really dumb idea at a time when 50 million Americans are food insecure.  Here's my response as to what the establishment should eat: "Let them eat S!#!".

The USDA has the freaking gall, the b@11$, to come out with that?  More than half of those 50 million food insecure folks live in rural America - the same rural America that has been destroyed by government policies emanating out of the very same USDA that brings this to our attention.  These knuckle heads have reduced working class people in rural America to Food Stamps/SNAP... and with the same policies encouraged the wave of illegal immigration our country does not know what to do about.  Read this thoughtful article at Sharon Astyk's excellent blog.  The USDA has conceived and enforces regulations that came about in the time before refrigeration and germ theory.  We have 50 million unemployed Americans... but if one of them wants to go into the home dairy business they can't - unless they have $16,000 for a pasturizer.  You mean Americans can't heat milk up to a certain temperature on their stove? Really?? We have 50 million unemployed Americans... but if one of them wants to open a butcher shop or a slaughter house they have to build a facility that includes all the comforts of home, including a PRIVATE BATHROOM, for a USDA inspector?  And the purpose of this is to protect us?  Or is it to provide a monopoly to the industrial food giants?  It certainly isn't to protect us... last time I checked thousands of Americans were sickened or killed by eggs, cheese, spinach... just last year.

The regulators have made it IMPOSSIBLE to open a business, in food or anything else.  The regulatory compliance our government's have created has hamstrung American entrepreneurship... and at a time when Corporate America isn't hiring, well this is baaaaaad JuJu.

Because Peak Oil is here.

That's right.  As it turns out, despite all of the public denial from Big Oil, the MSM, world governments, and the rest of the establishment, after further review the IEA is out in print saying that 2006 was the peak in  conventional Oil production... BUT we don't have to worry because Saudi Arabia's production will increase by 50% and the Canadian Tar Sands along with the Orinoco Tar Sands will save the day...

I got a better shot at getting pregnant.

Forget the IEA's silly assertion that we will find and then produce 50 million barrels a day from fields we don't know of by 2030... WTF is up with their models that say the exporter's will continue to export to us right up until they can't?  What, they have no internal political debate? Those nation's will just altruistically keep sending their oil abroad when it is obviously in their best interests to retain the oil domestically?  Or does somebody really think we'll send the military "over there"... and just steal it?  Yea, those wars in Afghanistan and Iraq went sooooo smooooothly that we just can't wait to do it again.

Oil imports are down 3.5% this year from last, and down a little over 20% from their peak in 2005 - 20% in 5 years - and our body politic thinks the best thing to do is to print MORE money to try and grow the economy.... without Oil?  And then.... what if?  What if Saudi's ruling family falls in a revolution? What if Iran sinks a couple of tankers in the Straight of Hormuz? What if Nigeria decides they want the Oil internally?  What if.... a lot of things...

There are no macro solutions for a system predicated on ever increasing oil imports... there are only individual solutions... every time I read one of those sob story pieces in the New York Times about some middle class person falling into poverty I want to reach out to the writer and say: "soon you too will be in the same fix... you and everybody else". This is not a problem with a solution.... this is a condition to be managed and lived with.

50 million Americans are "food insecure", according to our government, and; Peak Oil is 4 years in the past, according to the International Energy Agency... its all about you... its never too late to do something smart.

46 comments:

Dan said...

I disagree about us being better for the bailouts. The clowns who nearly blew us up did manage to do terminal damage; moreover, they are still in charge and have learned nothing guaranteeing that we eventually will blow up when we are even less prepared to deal with it than before.

By following my first rule, always go first, we would have hit bottom with everyone in a daze and scrambling to get by. Now we not only are guaranteed to blow up for the reason mentioned above; everyone is mad as hell about what is going on as well so you can kiss any semblance of civil order goodbye when it blows up. Everyone currently stewing in their own juices will be going over the edge- thank you extend and pretend!

Btw: This was bound to happen; it is a recurring theme in history. You know that subject they don’t teach at the ivy’s because their students don’t need it...

Quote
A Wolf had been gorging on an animal he had killed, when suddenly a small bone in the meat stuck in his throat and he could not swallow it. He soon felt terrible pain in his throat, and ran up and down groaning and groaning and seeking for something to relieve the pain. He tried to induce every one he met to remove the bone. "I would give anything," said he, "if you would take it out." At last the Crane agreed to try, and told the Wolf to lie on his side and open his jaws as wide as he could. Then the Crane put its long neck down the Wolf's throat, and with its beak loosened the bone, till at last it got it out.

"Will you kindly give me the reward you promised?" said the Crane.

The Wolf grinned and showed his teeth and said: "Be content. You have put your head inside a Wolf's mouth and taken it out again in safety; that ought to be reward enough for you." End Quote - Aesop

westexas said...

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/78b06d1a-f226-11df-9118-00144feab49a.html#ixzz15ba9AIpf
Fears of new food crisis as prices soar

Agricultural commodities prices have surged following a series of crop failures caused by bad weather.

The situation was aggravated when top producers such as Russia and Ukraine imposed export restrictions, prompting importers in the Middle East and North Africa to hoard supplies. The weakness of the US dollar, in which most food commodities are denominated, has also contributed to higher prices.

bureaucrat said...

1) I think you are alluding to the fact that the rural population is a bigger part of he welfare population than Meiyo would care to admit.

2) 99% of all these oppresive govt. regulations that everyone is accusing of not making it possible these days to open a business (which is crap as we have lots of new restaurants and storefronts opening here .. sadly, they are closing just as fast) are usually generated in the first place because some jerk decided to blow off common decency and skirt a natural regulation or two, and someone got hurt (putting up a sign that indicates a "construction area" shouldn't be a big deal.) We wouldn't have to regulate if lazy people took care of business.

3) There was a negative oil supply report today that slightly affected the markets. But bottom line ... the U.S. oil in storage is still way over the longtime average. Lots of energy available .. for now.

K said...

I think the longer they delay martial law, the less chance martial law could benefit them and thus the more apparant martial law means martial chaos.

PioneerPreppy said...

More complexity on top of complexity. Any new business which is opened can only do so with huge established money backing it which just further stretches the problem.

All this at a time when we really should be slimming down the reliance on transportation (ie Oil) and pushing less regulation for more local production. In the end it will just make it worse.

kathy said...

Great post Greg.
I think you missed the point Bur. I am not very worried about the inability to open an eatery but rather the inability to stock it with good, local, affordable food. I can eat at home but I have to eat. Example: I raise a couple of pigs a year. I raise them in my back field, feeding them primarily with leftover food from the food bank that my husband gets in exchange for volunteering there. A neighbor does the butchering in his non-USDA approved barn. It's a fine place. We have used this guy for 20 years with no problem. What I can't do is add a couple more pigs and sell the meat to a friend or relative unless I do it under the radar as neither we nor the butcher is USDA approved and can't afford to get approval. I don't make money, the butcher doesn't make money and a couple of households are denied access to terrific, local and affordable meat. It's stupid. I just bought a share in a couple of Dexters but the hoops we needed to jump through to run a dairy that will serve maybe 10 families and help support a yound farmer are crazy and expensive and unnecessary. The milk will cost twice what it needs to just to pay for the septic system. It may sound like a small thing to someone who doesn't farm but but there are no small things when it comes to food security. I hate having to be creative about the law: it sets a bad example for my girls, but I am at a place where I fear they need me to set a bad example as they will have to do the same thing if they are going to eat well on limited incomes.As a sidebar: those of us who grow most of what we eat are not cavelier about the health and safety of our families. If anything, we are way more careful as we would be the ones to suffer if we cut corners on our cleanliness standards. I would put the quality of my eggs, cheese and cider up against any commercial venture.

bureaucrat said...

Kathy, the point of Jeffer's post (which we all seem to lose track of actually responding the actual post these days,) was partly about how hard it is to open a business today.

And it should be hard to open a business. Banks don't give loans to startups cause they know most small businesses fail within 5 years. These new businesses are almost always paid for by borrowing from family and friends, and self-saving. So if they fail so much, who gets screwed? The stupid friends and family members.

I have no doubt you create fine food products. But there is no way in hell you can meaningfully contribute to feeding 320+ MILLION Americans. We have to face reality sometimes. :)

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Kathy:

Thank you for expressing my point better than I did myself.

The regulatory burdens extend in every direction. Sure, new businesses open - and fail more often than they should because of these burdens...

Some these burdens the populace likes - like disability insurance for all those bogus claims, unemployment compensation for alcoholics and addicts, contrived harassment claims, local business licensing, communications taxes... I could go on forever.

I was a career entrepreneur for the most part. Those that fret over de-regulation really need to understand the cure is SOOOOOO much worse than the disease.

tweell said...

Bur, are you wilfully blind or just love playing devil's advocate? Rural America has been all but gutted by the government/corporate complex over the past two generations. You either get the dole or work on one of the huge corporate farms, the small farmer is an endangered species. How did this happen? Because it takes a corporation to handle all the minutia and paperwork necessary for food production, as well as those wonderful agriculture subsidies. Are you trying to tell me it's a coincidence that the regulations (written by corporation lobbyists) keep small operations from viability while protecting large corporations from competition and liability? Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining.
These wonderful regulations that 'protect' us are now stopping kids from selling lemonade and cupcakes. Heck, they shut down a PTA baked goods sale here.
The Roman Republic went from the small farmer that was their backbone to large slave-manned farms (owned by the elite) that drove the small farmer out of business and on the dole. At the same time it also went from being a republic to being an empire. Yeah, bureaucrats did well in the Roman Empire, for as long as it lasted. My stint as a bureaucrat is coming to an end and I am going to the family stead. Perhaps it is too little, too late, but I will do what I can to make that future empire an alternate reality.

K said...

Kathy,

There is nothing morally wrong about teaching your children to not follow morally wrong laws. If you did not teach them such, they'll eventually know you want to stay out of jail more than you want to do the right thing.

bureaucrat said...

What I do not follow is one of Jeffers's points not too long ago .. that anecdotes do not reality make. One news report about some kid being hassled because of their lemonade stand does NOT equal the 99.99999% of people whose lives follow the predictable path (the Drudge Report is FILLED with anecdotal stories, designed to infuriate the older people who reads his stuff no futher than the story itself.)

Tweel, your post is FILLED with one-time oddball happenings, also called "anecdotes." Even though I use "anecdotal evidence" in my own thinking, sometimes you have to take the anecdotes for what they really are -- rare happenings, signifying nothing. :)

Anonymous said...

Bur,

At this point, no matter what business you want to open, and you don't want to cruise under the radar, you need and accountant and a lawyer just to start. The rules and regs are unbelievable. I was a contract engineer 10 years. Not for one day was I in complete compliance, since I really couldn't legally sit at the computer at my desk at home and work ( run my business ). But, mostly the laws were not vigorously enforced. Thank goodness, or I would have had to rent some room, somewhere, that never got used. The regulations are a difficult maze to pass through, and it is easy to get blindsided.

The Obamunists would like to unionize and license and regulate every trade and profession. It would be like the old USSR. If you open your mouth, you soon find out that you can't work. Anywhere.

We also have to realize that at least half of the contractors are in business because they are unemployable. It isn't that they are lazy or incompetent. It is just that they may have a hot head, or a big mouth or habits or temperament that just won't fit well in the corporate culture. The ability to easily create a small business provides them with the opportunity to support themselves outside of an environment that they are incapable of surviving. Take that away and there will be a lot more folks "going postal" than there are now.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Greg T. Jeffers said...

"We also have to realize that at least half of the contractors are in business because they are unemployable. It isn't that they are lazy or incompetent. It is just that they may have a hot head, or a big mouth or habits or temperament that just won't fit well in the corporate culture. The ability to easily create a small business provides them with the opportunity to support themselves outside of an environment that they are incapable of surviving. Take that away and there will be a lot more folks "going postal" than there are now."

Coal Guy! I am one of those guys... pretty much unemployable - irreverent, self-educated, opinionated, difficult, and a terrible team player to boot! What corporation would want me? There are, in fact, a lot of "me's" out there... thankfully I was able to run a business... but when the market crashed in 2000 I went from a big operation to never more than 10 people.... and made more profits than ever. When the regulatory nightmare got too far over the top, I withdrew my membership in the NASD (now called FINRA). BTW... FINRA now has the fewest members since the late 1960's!

Coincidence? I think not.

bureaucrat said...

Been my experience (as a bureaucrat and as a bureaucrat that "watches over" contracts and contract employees) that reasonableness is the name of the game. Every violation of anything requires reports, hearings, responses, lawyers, confrontation, etc etc and are to be avoided as much as possible.

You said it yourself, Carbon. The majority of little a** things that affect no one are ignored by government regulators. It's only the BIG things like no-interest and subprime mortgages that bureaucrats like me are forced by political appointees to ignore. :)

Under the work-at-home rules, I'm supposed to take home my work laptop computer (which is at risk for damage, and being lost or stolen), so guess what regulation I'm ignoring? :)

Starting a business takes capital and learning some common-sense local, state and Federal regulations. Once you got it down -- no problem. The regulation for having to wear a hat when dispensing food seems like a bother, until you as a customer are the one to find a hair in your Quarter Pounder.

You can start a business if you have the money, some common sense, and a great business model that can't be undercut by WalMart.

bureaucrat said...

Where "regulation" comes from (from the New York Times regarding a story on Indian "microcredit") ...

"Responding to public anger over abuses in the microcredit industry — and growing reports of suicides among people unable to pay mounting debts — legislators in the state of Andhra Pradesh last month passed a stringent new law restricting how the companies can lend and collect money."

Bureaucrats don't usually dream up these rules for no reason. :)

Anonymous said...

Mr. American Energy Crisis,

Me - modest income, wife, handful of rug rats
Savings/Pension/401 - $100K
Debt - minimal mortgage on about $100K
Income - > mean U.S. household, not by much

For a mental exercise, What would you do in my position to get ready for Peak Crude?

Anonymous said...

Hey Bur,

I never once stated that Rural people didn't use welfare resources, and in some areas a fair amount of them. My issues again, since you are apparently dense were with your statements that the rural populations used the 'most' public assistance--which is patently untrue.

And additionally your attempt to project your own family of origin issues and biases to re-write the history of the contraction of rural living in this country to people wanting to escape their white daddies--rather then mechanization/industrialization of farming in this country.

In some states as the rural poor weren't even white, such as in Alabama where there were huge numbers of rural poor, from the sharecropper days.

At least you took a break on race-baiting, but unless you were trying to use ESP, why don't you just stick to what I wrote, rather than what you think I believed.

I don't know why its even an issue, why does it matter if someone is rural poor or urban poor, either way there are people struggling mightily in this country, and the fact that everything hasn't fallen apart quickly is no real help to those who are suffering their personal depressions/hopelessness.
-Meiyo

PioneerPreppy said...

Bur's talking points are just the standard liberal/progressive attempt to try and claim those opposed to an entitlement are guilty of using it or if that fails use the standard one...it's for the children.

Rural welfare, defense spending, everyone wants social security.. on and on. Each one has been debunked in it's turn.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dear Mr. "Modest Income":

How old are you? What part of the country do you live in? (I am assuming you are American). How out of the box are you willing to meander?

Greg T. Jeffers said...

But without knowing a thing I will answer in the general basics.

I would save money by shutting down spending... and I would own my dwelling outright - even though I am in the deflationist camp... debt free is crucial. Ideally, your dwelling would be in close proximity to railroads and perhaps a major port and in a moderate climate where it rains enough. The dwelling would have an acre or 2 attached (the more, the better), but would be close to a town or city (my farm is 30 miles to Nashville and 5 miles to a pretty big town with a RR).

I would open a business close to your dwelling (commuting is the single worst development since STD's)! woodworker, shoe repair (or any kind of repair), salvage, flea market, distillery/winery, collection agency, diner, plumbing supply, handyman... dentist is my favorite, but if you aren't one already... and I would build the business around yourself... small, with few employees, and I would resist the temptation to try to expand... rather I would work on efficiencies and work LESS.

I would buy farmland with your cash - UN-LEVERAGED... and I would rent it to farmers.

I would work on hobbys and interests to make you happy OTHER than your career, and encourage (insist) that your family do the same. For myself, I am an avid (rabid) gardener and woodworker (my woodworking is amateurish but getting there, my garden is the real deal), I raise all manner of livestock, make cheese, cook with the stuff I grow/raise and endeavor to get better at it with each season, play chess, guitar, read voraciously, have wine with dinner... and if the kids allow I endeavor to make love every day.

That's how I roll. How you roll will depend on your particulars.

Anonymous said...

I think Bur is actually Nancy Pelosi, or maybe John Kerry.

Regards,

Coal Guy

PioneerPreppy said...

Funny stuff CC

Back this Summer one of Bur's posts tweaked my interest and I ran a few of his comments through a gender filter program I came across linked from a men's rights site.

It came up male so my guess was wrong or maybe he/she is just that good. Hell maybe the program sucks...

I am sure we will never know for sure :)

bureaucrat said...

You guys need to find something better to do with your time. :)

Meiyo, I've seen two quotes in two difference magazines saying that rural welfare is more expensive than urban welfare. The point was this quote tries to debunk the idea the "black welfare queens in the inner city" are the largest $$$ users of traditional welfare. Anyway, that is the only point we are arguing. When I find the quote again, I'll bring it up. :)

And as far as non-white people escaping from rural areas, the PBS documentary "Promised Land" pretty much confirmed that black families in the 1940s-50s south did not take the trains up to Chicago and Detroit because of "better farm equipment." They indeed were fleeing their "white daddies" who were cheating and abusing them at every turn. "Anywhere but here." Why wouldn't the white farm women and children leave for similar oppressive reasons?

Anonymous said...

Corporate regulatory capture is the problem, not regulations per se.
The porno scanners at airports are a good example. We all want good and accurate regulation regarding who flies on planes. But when the former head of Homeland Security, Chertoff, pushes the product of one of his clients (the porno scanners), that is called regulatory capture.
Same thing in agriculture. The dairy corporations have captured the regulatory process regarding dairy products and want to shut down competition from small producers. So they write burdensome regs to cut out the small producers and their boyz in government pass them.
Tainted agricultural and food products have been sold since Babylon and governments have tried to control it for that long.
We just have a particularly corrupt regulatory system right now.
Rational Liberal

Stephen B. said...

I joined this discussion late....I was out of town....shopping for farmland...!

Bur, yes, lots and lots of new stores and restaurants open in this country every year. Just look around the American landscape. It's become covered with malls and eateries. Why is that? Well I think it's because those are the few businesses left that haven't been completely regulated to death yet. But a business that actually makes something such as a factory or farm...? Forget it. This and the fact that it's hard to export all our stores and restaurants to China. No wonder our economy is becoming nothing but office parks filled with lawyers and bureaucrats along with strip sprawlvilles of fast food shacks and nail salons.

Anonymous said...

Bur,

The exodus from rural to urban has been huge, and not restricted to blacks. Sure, the rural blacks moved to the big northern cities. They were the next wave of immigrants, replacing the Italians, Eastern Europeans, Irish and Germans that came before them. Before they could work their way up and out, like those who came before, they got the Great Society. The economics of welfare made it economically advantageous for fathers to leave their families and women to have children but never marry. Welfare has damaged the blacks in this country far worse than Jim Crow ever did. And, that is saying something! In 1965 the illegitimacy rate for blacks in this country was about 21% which was also about the average for all races. Today it is close to 70%. How well do fatherless children do? Don't even ask about how much I resent that my tax dollars support that tragedy. Is welfare the liberal way to keep them down and dumb, or is it an accident? (Thought I'd do a little race baiting of my own.)

Regards,

Coal Guy

westexas said...

Re: Modest Income

My suggestions from early 2007 (ELP Plan):

http://graphoilogy.blogspot.com/2007/04/elp-plan-economize-localize-produce.html

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Rational Liberal:

I am going to use your "Regulatory Capture" term early and often. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

Regulatory capture is the problem, and it is itself the biggest single reason to deregulate. The USDA, FDA, SEC and FCC are all effectively controlled by the industries they oversee.

Bur,

You went on about all the rules and regs the go effectively unenforced. The downside of that is that government could decide to enforce those rules on a whim, putting everyone in danger being deprived of his livelihood at any time. In things like this are the seeds of tyranny.

Regards,

Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

Yesterday "Senator" Burris from Illinois bemoaned that when he leaves the U.S. Senate, there will be no blacks in that body. While I cry for him :), blacks have been 10% of the U.S. population for the last 30 years. They aren't growing. They are over, near irrelevant, Obama notwithstanding. He who births the most wins -- the Hispanics are growing in numbers and influence. They are the next thing. They will save America.

In that vein, the reason black fathers left their families was cause of lack of real jobs (leading also to drug abuse and crime). A family without a WORKING daddy (or mommy, or both) is going to fall apart. Welfare, however, kept those black kids fed and housed at least. A small price to pay.

When the 20 and 30somethings realize the good jobs are never coming back, woe to the baby boomers when this younger, destitute generation, comes after them.

No argument, Carbon, on sudden enforcement of government regulations, but that is also usually precipitated by some news event showing someone getting killed, hurt or screwed. :)

Stephen B. said...

Coal Guy @6:55,

Not to remind everyone of the obvious, but of course, the great thing about all those regulations as far as the govt. is concerned is that with so many laws and regulations, almost everybody is likely to be breaking some rule or law on any given day and hence, the govt. always has some stick to clobber one over the head with, should the govt. choose to do so.

Tyranny is exactly the word.

Anonymous said...

Bur,

Then, why were there so many more working daddies pre 1965 to post 1965? It wasn't affirmative action. Just what happened to make it so much worse? What destroyed those families that didn't exist in 1963?

Regards,

Coal Guy

Anonymous said...

S. B.

Absolutely. That way everyone has to suck up to the Kommisar or starve. That is what they are working towards.

Regards,

Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

Carbon, I think you and I both answered your own question. :) Like the families who came to Chicago and Detroit from the south in the 1940s and 50s to build for the war and build the American cars, that industry started to erode in the 1970s, when the Japanese cars started to usurp. Blacks started to lose decent-paying (city-based) jobs in the 1970s and 80s. Add to that the corrosive effects of public housing, suburbanization and increased welfare, it all conspired to destroy the black families & community, something that has struggled to survive since slave times. The whites will "age-out" of the system before it comes after us next.

tweell said...

Bureaucrat, how about providing what you decry in other folks comments - hard information? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, you're complaining about my anecdotes while providing even less. Get thee behind me, hypocrite.
As far as the plight of black families (and the lack thereof) in America, go read Thomas Sowell's 'Ethnic America' and 'Black Rednecks and White Liberals'. He does a much better job of explaining than I can. In addition, his works have footnotes, links and studies proving his conclusions. I recommend reading more of his work than those two books, his books on economics are incredible. That may require you to relinquish some lies near and dear to your heart, though (I'm betting on intellectual dishonesty, myself).
Now, to counter your anecdotes of seeing a couple of magazine articles stating that rural welfare is more expensive, please note the following: http://www.bridgespan.org/rural-funding.aspx
Here's some telling points from that link:
•Federal government funding: In each year between 1994 and 2001, rural areas received between $401 and $648 less per capita than urban areas for community resources, human resources, and national functions.[3]
•Private foundations: A 2006 "analysis of grant making of the top 1,000 U.S. foundations shows that…grants to rural America accounted for only 6.8 percent of overall annual giving by foundations,"[4] even though rural America accounts for 18 percent of the nation’s population and 21 percent of those who live in poverty.[5,6]
•Corporate giving: A 2000 study of giving by 124 Fortune 500 corporations found that rural organizations received only 1.4 percent of the 10,905 grants made.[7]

Dan said...

Personally, you have helped convince me. I am now preparing to move to the farm. It is only 20 acres now, down from my great grandpa’s solid section, however it will always remain “the farm” to me regardless of whether the term still fits or not. My brother is already out there in a 16’X20’ shed that is painted red and white like a classic barn, except it has a few windows. It is insulated and sheet-rocked; there is 6 foot lean-to on one side with a workshop in the front of the lean to and a full bathroom in the back. In the main room there is a combined galley, dining and living room with a sleeping loft. Combined with a oblong screened in gazebo that has an outdoor kitchen on one side and outdoor furniture on the other the place is under the radar, very comfortable, and probably would disgust the county tax assessor if he knew it was an occupied building. If I weren’t married I would simply build a shed just like it for aprox $10K and that would be that. However the Misses would have none of that so as it is I am building a 2’’X25’ garage/shop because I can put it up quickly then if all my assets go to zero before I can complete the house I can always move into the garage and work on the house later.

On the regulations:
They are effectively a reinstatement restatement of middle ages noble birth laws. They force economies of scale that preclude the little guy. However if you are already wealthy enough to meet them you can also afford the legal support to allow you to ignore them. Again, this is class warfare.

On ME oil:
They will trade oil for food and their populations exceed the carrying capacity of their territory so they must import food or deal with revolutions. Also, just look at a map; The Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Persian Gulf, which the DOD has started calling the Arabian Sea incidentally. Anyway they are probably already blue so just color Iraq and Afghanistan Blue and look where that leaves us. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, essentially the whole Arabian Peninsula, is all effectively encircled. Same goes for Iran; however they do have CIA sponsored Color Revolution countries and the Caspian Sea to the north. Also keep in mind the new great game is afoot in the region. One of the big issues in the continuing 2008 Russa-Georgia crisis was the routing of a pipeline to deliver Caspian Sea natural gas to Europe. We want the pipeline to go through Georgia and skirt Russia, while Russia would like to continue to dominate Western Europe’s energy supplies. There is a lot more going on here than meets the eye and I am not so sure Chess is the best lense to filter it; perhaps Go would be better in this instance.

Dan said...
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Dan said...
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Crybaby said...

You think things are bad in the US take a look at what's going on across the ocean and around the world. After prospering for years on a real estate boom and enticing businesses with a low regulation and low 12.5% corporate tax rate Ireland is now virtually bankrupt and in the humiliating position to have to ask the rest of the EU and the IMF to bail itself out. The Brits helping to bail out the Irish...what a humiliation.
Meanwhile, in China the inflation rate is so bad that food prices went up 10% last year. The Chinese are raising rates aggressively to try to curb inflation but they are facing major social and political instability and the Communist party may not be able to maintain its grip on power now that the internet is here...
So be proud to be an American- things could be alot worse for you than you realize

Crybaby said...

And in case you don't have enough doom and gloom to worry about check out what Dr. Nouriel Roubini had to say about the Eurozone situation: Put bluntly, there is not enough money in the EU , the IMF, the US or the world to bailout Spain or Italy.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Spain is a pimple on Italy's @$$.

Italy has the 3rd largest national debt after the U.S. and Japan.. no, there is not enough money to bail out Italy...

Stephen B. said...

From Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris.
"We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Anonymous said...

Mr. American Energy Crisis,

early 40s
TX about 30 miles from major city
Is there a box...LOL

Mr. "Modest Income"

Anonymous said...

Dan,

Indeed there is a scramble for resources in central Asia. A couple of months back there was an article in the paper about the natural resource in Afghanistan. It seems the USGS was having a look around, and claims there is over $1T worth of ore and minerals. They claimed it would transform their economy. We ain't leavin' any time soon.

Reagards,

Coal Guy

westexas said...

http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/?p=6267
"The only choice we have left ourselves"

Stephen B. said...

Watching the continuing fiasco that is commercial flying now, with the pat down, TSA controversy only adding to the high costs, the $7 Swiss cheese sandwiches on packed flights that are the result of major airline schedule reductions, etc., I wonder when somebody is going to restart rail passenger travel outside of Amtrak?

I got to thinking that we still have a fair amount of rail cars used in the tourist and excursion railroad business. Already some of the fancy cars get towed around by Amtrak trains and/or charter trips on the freight RR lines and it seems to me that somebody is going to get the idea to start moving the focus of these operations to actually getting people between cities rather than just enjoying the dining car while nibbling on prime rib. The major railroad lines wouldn't have to directly mess in passenger rail, but rather could open their rails to contractors more so than they already do. It wouldn't be "high speed" rail, but it wouldn't have the multi-year, multi-billion $$ start up price either.

In time, said operators could build newer cars and build up the operating schedules.

Watching this TSA fiasco, and keeping in mind my further strengthening of my personal vow to not fly again for the foreseeable future, we might be closer to this transportation business development than we might think.

As owner of one of the nation's top, class one RRs, I wonder what Buffet thinks of this?

In the longer time frame too, bankrupt governments aren't going to be affording much highway rebuilding as hot mix asphalt prices push past $300 or $400 a ton or more, nor will they ever afford all these dream bullet trains. This nation is probably going to start oozing back into conventional passenger rail fairly soon, given all the flying headaches.