I wish I could say I spent Saturday outdoors, but duty called and instead I worked most of the day at our small business performing the quarterly maintenance on the machinery that is part and parcel of our business. There's still some electrical work to be done, replacing fluorescent light ballasts in two fixtures and checking a third, but that will wait until later.
The day inside was a small price to pay for our business to survive.
**********Could it be that the cure for the problems with our housing market could be solved by taking a lesson from our neighbor to the north?
Canada's housing market hasn't been suffering a downturn like we're seeing in the US because they've managed to avoid the mistakes our government has made over the years. Unlike the US, Canada has always managed to finance its housing through private banks with no government funding or guarantees. And even though the US government efforts to increase home ownership through numerous government housing finance agencies, Canada has a higher percentage of home ownership than the US. There has been little or no government interference in the housing market in Canada, meaning there aren't the distortions in the Canadian housing market as seen here in the US.
Maybe it's time for Washington to get out of the home financing game because, quite frankly, they suck at it. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and a whole host of other government agencies dealing with housing finance should go away.
**********Another thought: The US should also take a lesson from New Zealand and do away with farm subsidies. The Kiwis did that a number of years ago and their agricultural system stopped shrinking and farms actually started making money again.
The farm subsidies here in the US distort food prices and only help the big agribusinesses at the expense of family farms. (The agribusinesses are usually the ones receiving the subsidies.) In effect, the government has been choosing the winners and losers, something that always ends up costing consumers more in both prices and taxes.
**********Another subsidy we could do without? Ethanol.
Ethanol has been sold as the answer to our greenhouse gas and foreign oil dependency problems. But it's scam. Just like farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies distort the market, raising food prices as farmers grow crops (corn) for ethanol production and not as food. With a guaranteed price, courtesy of Uncle Sam, it makes economic sense to the farmers (or should we say agribusinesses) to grow a crop where they know exactly what their profits will be.
It's one thing if crop-based ethanol actually did lower our dependence on foreign oil sources and lowered the greenhouse gases generated, but it doesn't. Instead it tends to be neutral or even have a negative return, meaning it takes more energy to produce what we get back and generates more greenhouse gases than if we did nothing.
Now if that ethanol was in the form of some good sippin' whiskey, I might be willing to pay for that...
**********Ron Enderland reminds us (at least those of us who are Baby Boomers) about how foul language by kids was usually taken care of by washing their mouths out with soap.
It never ceases to amaze me how expletives that would have gotten us grounded until we were 35 are now used like punctuation in every day speech. And it's not just kids using it, it's adults, too.
I am guilty of that infraction from time to time, but not like so many I hear today. I use far fewer of them than I used to, and then only when I do something like mash my thumb with a hammer or some other self-damaging accident. BeezleBub certainly had something to do with that, calling me on it back when he was 10 years old.
Sometimes there's something to be said for the old ways.
**********Even though it's still summer we've already started preparing for winter here at The Manse.
We received our first of three cords of dried firewood for use in the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove over the winter. The first cord was a pretty good mixture of ash, red and white oak, and maple, stuff that burns well and long. Farmer Andy tells me the other two cords will be the same. (BeezleBub tells me the same thing, seeing as he was the one who split and stacked it last year and the year before and loaded it on Farmer Andy's trailer.)
With the two cords of well dried wood we have left over from last winter we'll be pretty well covered for our heating needs...unless Global Warming gives us a particularly long and bitterly cold winter.
Deb has also made an appointment with the chimney sweep to clean our chimney of all the creosote and ash from last winter's use.
**********Skip's right on this one. The problems we're seeing today with our spendthrift and Constitution-ignoring Congress and President are all Woodrow Wilson's fault.
It certainly seems that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is following Wilson's progressive philosophy, seeing the Constitution as an impediment to government power. We also know she wants to silence dissent, as did Wilson.
I want a bumper sticker just like the one Skip found.
**********Obvious headline of the week from the Washington Post: With Consumers Slow To Spend, Businesses Are Slow To Hire.
Gee, ya think?
**********It may be just me, but it seems more people are missing Dubya as time goes by. The Anchoress has the reasons to explain why.
What I find most interesting is that an ever larger number of Democrats are missing him every day. Could it be because without him their cohesiveness has been waning due to the fact that they no longer have a GOP nemesis at which to point a finger? Or could it be they have come to understand that their president is either inept and/or malicious. Or could it be both?
(H/T Pirate's Cove)
**********Bogie brings up the subject of aging pets, something any pet owner has to deal with throughout our lives.
Of our eight cats, one is 11 years old, another is old but we don't know how old, and the rest are between 2 and 4 years of age. So far all of them are healthy, but we did have a scare when one of our younger cats became quite ill and it looked like she wasn't going to pull through. Fortunately the vets were able to save her and she's back home looking none the worse for wear, though she does have a few places were her fur was shorn.