Friday, 10 February 2012

That $2,000

The news folks wanted everyone to know this morning that because of all that crap that the mortgage companies and banks created.....if they messed around with your loan.....you get $2,000 now.  Congressmen and news media folks were all happy about this deal.  This twenty-five billion will be paid out by five banks.....and everyone's life so much better.

I sat there....looking over the $2k deal.  Basically, you have to pay taxes on this, to both the state and federal folks.  So you end up with $1400 at the end.  It's nice to have $1,400.....but it really isn't going to fix your house troubles, your mortgage, or your happiness.

But here's the issue with the twenty-five billion.  It doesn't come from some mystery pit in your backyard.  The banks actually consider this profit money that they have to give away.....to make the President and the lawyers happy.  So they need to make the money back up.  You can anticipate....various fees and angles will be created for new homeowners over the next year.....to regain the twenty-five billion for the banks.

So in the end.....other than a great five-star press conference with the President.....there's really not much in this story.....except $1400 that you will spend on a new refrigerator, a new set of rims and tires for the pick-up, or a full-up week in Vegas with Wanda, your wife.

Oh, and all the new incentives and deals for banks to re-write your bank loan crap?  Well....the question is....are we at the absolute bottom of the pit, or could dig a bit more and make this financial pit forty feet deeper....in which case....a re-write just gets you to round two of the mortgage issue.   Just something to think about.

The Contraception Dilemma

I've sat and watched this White House comedy for several days, and finally came to a fair analogy.

You are the President and have ordered all Ford owners....when your headlights go out.....to return to Ford and only have Ford mechanics swap out your bulbs....even if the car or truck is twenty-two years old.  You naturally have to pay dealer prices, to have first-rate bulb service done.  You aren't happy about the President getting into your Ford maintenance business.

So the President wakes up and realizes that he's upset a number of Ford owners.  So he whips out an executive order (not a law, just his order, which he can amend later if he desires).  The new executive order is that you must utilize the Ford dealer for your broken headlight, but Ford will pay for the headlight out of their own pocket.

Everyone is happy over the decision....mostly because they don't have to pay Ford $61 to change their broke headlight bulb.  But eventually, some idiot from Alabama will stand up and ask a stupid question here.....how will Ford pay for the broke bulbs and the three minutes of maintenance time involved?  The answer?  They will make everyone who buys a new Ford.....to pay $600 extra.....to ensure there's enough money in the pot for free light bulbs for the life of the Ford vehicle.

At this point, everyone will turn to the President and his car czar.....who will both be grinning now and not saying much.  Ford will be shaking their head because they didn't want any of this to start with, and no one in the White House can explain how this all became a priority.

Adding to this analogy.....there is this one obvious problem here.  This free contraception pill deal.....only helps women.  There's no one out there ready to mandate that all guys get fifty condoms each month from their insurance company.....for their birth control method.  The cost for the package of fifty manly high-strength condoms?  Probably near $70.....three times what it'd cost for the women's package deal.

Obviously, there's a good deal here for someone, if you think about this long enough.

Oh, and for the long-strategy folks.  Let's say that President Obama wraps up business in 2016, and some Republican idiot from Texas who shows as the next President, and decides that insurance companies don't have to be forced to cover this.  The odds of this one announcement being used for a four-year anti-President rant and having him kicked out in 2020?  Better than ninety percent chance.  Now that we've shoved this four-hundred ton boulder up to the top of the mountain....anyone who changes bits and pieces....faces a mountain of trouble as they try to change or modify the package.

Simply Observations

I've sat and watched this Administration birth control argument this week.  Opening up an argument with the Catholic Church (which ends up with the Southern Baptist crowd eventually)....was not that bright.  You end up with Priests and Bishops hyping up their seventy million members, and in an election year....that really screws up things.  The President will end up back-tracking....which will irritate his faithful anti-Catholic crowd who were expecting to take the church down a notch.  But I'll offer this one prospective on the whole mess.  If you were to buy a whole month of pills and pay full price at a discount pharmacy....you'd be talking about $20-$25.  What most women get in their health insurance package....is this really great discount price of $5, and sometimes....it's just plain free.  So they all think this is the way to go.....but then you have to think.....who is paying the missing $20 (if the price was $5)?  Someone is paying it, and it's not the President's imaginary friend Gus.  And the amazing missing part of the story?  If a guy came up and said he wanted twenty-five free condoms each month as part of his birth-control plan.....there just ain't any healthcare policy that would give out such a deal.  So it's all mostly a  plus-up deal for women, and the President.

Very shortly, the Pentagon will open up 14k jobs to women, which were traditionally manly jobs.  These all relate to combat, and the basic idea is that the Pentagon is more willing now to accept women in combat.  The truth here is.....if you recruit the right folks and train the right folks.....it doesn't matter if they are men or women.....they will kill you in a heartbeat, if necessary.  This may shock a few folks who still have the 1950's idea of women, but in the last thirty years.....things have changed.  My advice to any future adversary.....if being killed by a woman bothers you or your religious beliefs....you might want to find a safe place and just act friendly toward folks.  Otherwise, we may have Ms Rambo knocking at your front door.

Finally, they announced the end to House MD.  This spring will be the end of the series.  To be honest, I think the peak was the spring of 2010, and this season has been one of the most marginal periods for the show that I can remember.  The problem with good shows....if that no one really knows or grasps the best time to retire.  And in this case....we've got two lousy seasons at the end of a series....which are worthless.