Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Have A Couple Of Questions

I didn't mean to be gone this long. sometimes, life gets in the way of blogging. There ought to be a lot of things that aren't but who's counting. Which brings up a few questions, naturally.

If we have a bunch of Senators running for the Presidency as soon as the mid-term elections finished, who is taking their place representing their constituents in the Senate? The other Senator?

If they take the whole two years to run right up to the next election, that's a third of their term. Should they get paid to be a Senator during that time frame? Weren't they a candidate instead?

It is clear that we have an on-going process that we'll call the dumbing down of America. No one fails, and we don't ask kids to do much. We don't even ask them to show up all the time. Yet business has plans to expand. Everyone is going National, and then Global. Where are the people coming from? Wait, they're going to do it all with computers? I see how well that works now. That massive computer system shipped me insulin for a syringe and needles for a cartridge system. That same computer system had a history of doing it right. It had records stored with the correct 'stuff' stored in it. But no, it had to blindly follow an error. The error? The clerk filling out the prescription in the doctor's office forgot the notation for the cartridge system, and the default in the computer was the syringe, or straight needle.

"Not our fault", argued the voice on the telephone from the pharmacy somewhere on the planet. So I have a three month supply of insulin that I can't use because the needles work on a different system. Can *I* solve this? Yup, I just go to the doctor and get a prescription for regular needles (syringes) and go to a local pharmacy and buy them. And I avoid the hassle of arguing with my insurance company who had just sent me the $40 worth of cartridge needles and therefore would not be entitled to any more needles for three months. You know how us insulin addicts are.

The point is that we still need human beings that can think. Any pharmacist would have seen the problem instantly. Most people working a pharmacy counter after a period of time would have seen the problem. Insurance companys that force their clients to use mail-order pharmacys where there are insufficient computer editting, and it takes over two weeks to get a prescription take a problem like this and dump it on the client, seemingly with no recourse. Think this is a small example?

The stock market is hemorrhaging today. The housing market is still crashing. Part of the problem is called the sub-prime market. This is the market for people with less than stellar credit. Mortgage products with names like Interest Only and Option Arms were brought out and are very lucrative loans for the people that sell mortgages. Don't kid yourself for a minute, the people that sell mortgages make great money when interest rates are coming down.

I spent some time in a Mortgage Company. The ONLY mortgage they sold was the Option Arms Mortgage. They sold no 30 year mortgages, no 15 year mortgages, if you weren't an option arms customer, you were a bad credit customer, and you were going to be paying 2 points over the going rate to get a mortgage. That was because those were the two mortgages that paid the most money to the firm and the salesperson.

What was the big deal with the Option Arm? The Interest Rate adjusted, seemingly slowly. And, you didn't have to pay the entire payment. You could pay as little as 10% and that made the interest rate look as low as 1.25%. The balance of the payment was added to the principal of the loan. Two years out, you refinance, and the appreciation on your home paid for what you borrowed, plus, when you refinanced, you took out more money!

These are the defaults you are hearing about now. The prices of houses have dropped. Some salespeople were taking home, after taxes, $8K, 10K, 12K. I was gone in two months. I didn't fit in. Must be the economics. Some of you may want to think about running for your School Boards. Or overthrowing a local government. I don't know anymore. I'm not that bright, look who I have been hanging out with, the lady on the phone from the pharmacy. My cat is smarter.


Matt said...

Man, there's a lot of money to be made off the poor.

Echomouse said...

This reminds me of the late 80's (in Canada anyway). I was working in law and handling Estates and Trusts, but filled in for Real Estate when they got swamped. Good Lord, people were getting 2nd and 3rd mortgages to buy homes, based on their overtime pay! All I kept thinking was "what if the overtime dries up?" Sure enough, economic downturn and people lost their homes to foreclosure all over the place.

It is true that those who don't need the money as much get better deals. It's when you really need it that you pay the most. And that is truly awful.

I'm so sorry to hear about your pharmacy and health insurer problems. Good God, I remember when they forced my sister to switch to human insulin. She was terrified and rightly so. Turns out, they were full of it. They still make the old kind today and if she'd stuck to her guns, she'd never have had to endure all that. Sometimes I hate the healthcare systems in every country. They can make what is the most vital service for life be the biggest and scariest nightmare.

By the way, I hope you're doing well in other respects. I keep you and your family my thoughts {hug}

Eau De Incognito said...

Your cat is not only smarter but I would elect her to office in a HEARTBEAT.

I am very ensconced in the financial world from, you know, a lowly grunt status because though it is people like me who keep the world from collapsing into pandemodium, I am not a bank president or stock market guru so I am worthless. Hah. We braced for the onslaugt of people defaulting on mortgages (particularly option arms) nearly a year ago because that was just where the market was going. Never mind that the economy is fucked and that most creditors actually want you up to your eyeballs in debt so they can make money off of you and nevermind that the housing market was unnaturally inflated by people picking up mortgages that were bound to default on their damn toaster ovens they had so little credit/security/money, you know, someone had to make a buck.

But the above? Doesn't bother me as much as the self satisfied, self absorbed generation of assholes we are turning out. I am just above average college age now (25) and if I have to deal with one more fucking indulgent college kid who thinks that they are the greatest, the smartest, and the best because they weren't taught to base worth on work or accomplishment but rather the act of breathing I am going to wind up facing charges of homicide. You know what kids? My generation too? LIFE IS HARD. And you work. And you work hard. And you aren't entitled to a 60k job right out of college because your parent bought you a liberal arts degree. Everyone has to get a job and work and put in the time and effort and if you complain to me that the world isn't fair, so help me god, I will take my life savings and ship you to ethipia you fucking waste of carbon molecules.

I am tired of the world too.

Wicked H said...

Alright. Listen you, just because you took a break, no fair throwing this many topics at me all at once. Sheesh.

Please tell me that your automated pharmacy is at least within the borders of the US of A. You'd be surprised.

The mortgage business is a travesty. Enough said there.

I have no extra cash to worry about the Market, yet I feel badly for anyone suffering currently. My only advice is stay in it for the long haul.

Politically, well I'd like to be able to vote for someone I really believe in but I am also hooked on alcohol. So I am sad that I might have to vote for someone that I disagee the least with.

My olives are wilting.

Welcome back!

Glamourpuss said...

Holmes for president!


Pickled Olives said...

Call me cynical, but i think the matters are only going to get worse or bust completely before they get better.

Lee said...

Welcome back you!

Bureaucracy is alive and well I see! There is an interesting book by Daniel Pink called "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future." It speaks about the time of automation having peaked and having to go back to creative humans again.

Thanks for the explanation of the housing market. I was wondering what was going on and what you say makes perfect sense!

cinders said...

Do you really want to know why the DOW dropped 200 points yesterday. It is because yesterday I set my 401k up to put my new contributions into stocks. I'm throwing in with the LordAbbett Midcap stocks, whatever that means.

The CEO said...

Matt, you are so right. Ignorance is expensive.

Echo, the same thing is happening here. Everyone I know in real estate tells me that the number of foreclosures is growing, and that there's a tidal wave coming.

Eau de Incognito, you and me both. There's a lot of rampant incompetence around. And, it's ugly.

Wicked, I'd vote for you for President. And G*d help anyone saying the wrong thing in the bathroom if I was in there. No bad press for Madam President. Nope. Not on my watch. I have rules.

Puss, Holmes says that she will not run if drafted, and she will not serve if elected. She won't deal with Congress until they learn to get their act together, and she has little hope for that in her, or my lifetime. Smart cat.

Olives, this is why I tell you that you're smarter than me. It's because you are.

Lee, it's so good to see you. I got fired because I couldn't "get with the program". I just wasn't a believer.

Cinders, my heroine (please note the 'e'), Midcaps are perfect for this market. Since you will be dollar cost averaging into them over time, you will have an excellent growth vehicle. And the market gave you a discount to start. You buy more shares at a lower price. Good for you!

Claudia said...

I remember when I owned my house--I refinanced once to get rid of my PMI. I think my neighbor refinanced at least 3 times while I was there...the last time was with an ARM. She didn't seem to grasp the concept that every time she refinanced, she paid fees and that this ARM was risky business for her. She just said she'd refinance when rates changed.