Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year end review

Taking stock of the year as 2011 slides into 2012 I'd say it was a mediocre year for me at least. I haven't fallen off a cliff yet but I still have a few obstacles to over come moving into the new year. Somehow all of those once in a while bills decided to converge in the month of January. The bi-yearly insurance couldn't have come at a more inopportune moment. And some long over due dental work had to be done before loosing out on the few crumbs the insurance pays. I would just love to be in the position of offering my services the way they do. I'm sorry sir/madame but in order to get my services you'll have to submit to my lengthy questionnaire, physical and be drug tested. Upon review of your application a determination of your eligibility will be made by our acceptance board. A minimum of three month waiting period is required prior to consideration. Should your request be denied you may have the right to appeal the decision. All requests for appeal must be received no later than 7 days after notification of denial. And on and on etc etc.

On the national economic news front it looks like stocks are up a bit. One would have you believe that everything is going well after an increase in retail sales. A few tiny bits of overlooked information on that front. In order to get shoppers into the malls retailers had to slash prices. And this didn't happen just once as is usually the case. Normally they drop prices the day after turkey day then it's back to business as usual until January. Not so this year. There was an uptick as usual on Black Friday but then a large fall off. Retailers fearing full shelves at the end of the year slashed prices even more. They may have moved a bit of inventory but at a cost to their profit margins. And now that the boa constrictor of consumers has been fed it will be a while before the next feeding. I'd bet that those seasonal temps have already gotten their walking papers and are or will be joining the ranks on the unemployment line sometime next week.

But hiding in the depths far from the economic news are a bunch of 800 lb. gorillas. We have the european economic mess which has been neatly shoved off the front pages for cheerier news. They still have no concrete solution in spite of what they're telling you. So once again it's crank up the money presses to shovel money at more debt. Isn't that like trying to eat yourself skinny? The problem there is that in order to keep the body alive you can't starve it to death because after all dead people don't pay taxes. And it's those taxes that pay for the debt or at least lower it. There always is and always will be an imbalance of economic activity. That's what causes the system to operate in the first place but too much imbalance will cause things to stop.
The other 800 pounder is the housing market. I have to wonder just what the banks plan to do with all those foreclosed homes they hold on their books. They can't leave them there forever as they fall into decay. We saw how Cleveland bulldozed their problems but what about all the debt that went with it? Will it become a write off or will they figure out some sneaky way to package this junk into something they can foist on the world markets as they did with the subprimes?

Just a thought, maybe I can package my debt into a bond of some type and sell it on the open market. If I could leverage it at nine times like the banks do I could be retired in no time at all. Just need to buy a hedge when I can't pay the bill when it comes due. It's all paper after all.


S.W. Anderson said...

Demeur, you need to come up with a trendy gimmick all the cool guys and girls gotta have. You know, like the guy who made a bundle years ago with the Pet Rock gimmick. Or how about Nike, which managed to turn fancified sneakers, $11.99 in the old days, into $180 status symbols. Apparently, some models now fetch over $1,000 as collector items. It's all in the marketing — or it better be, because we don't make much in these parts any more.

Re: retail sales. Don't kid yourself, manufacturers, wholesalers and the big retail outfits factor in future discounts when they price most things in the first place. I'm sure they get surprised and burned sometimes, and some are less good at it than others, but they mostly know what they're doing.

There's a terrific model of digital camera now selling for as little as $149, or $100 off its MSRP. Last year's edition of that camera sold in the second quarter of 2011 for $229, although if you watched closely you could find it for as little as $189 in limited-time sales. Now, last year's model can be found for as little as $117. I'd be willing to bet the manufacturer and retailers are making a respectable profit on both models at $149 and $117. When they sold a bunch of them at $239 and $199, respectively, they made out like bandits.

BBC said...

I'm no going to do a year end review, it's all behind us in millions of blogs and news site posts.

I'll speak about the coming year some next week but there won't be anything hopeful in it.

Me thinks there's going to be a good market for explosives, even hand made guns, not to hard to make cheap black powder guns.

an average patriot said...

Good piece! I was surprised as just today sears announced over 100 sears and k marts would be closing.

On the question of foreclosed homes I was pissed to know what we would go through and lose and foreclosed on and instead of helping someone banks have started bull dozing them. The way things are stacked it really sucks.

BBC said...

I didn't know (or had forgotten) that Sears had anything to do with K Mart.

The K Mart here closed 12 years ago, there's a new Wal Mart there now.

I haven't shopped at Sears for about 10 years so if they close here I guess I can deal with it.

Randal Graves said...

Plus, with a hedge, you'll have something to hide behind when The Man comes a' knockin'.