Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Annual Gas Price Forecast

As promised, here are my annual gas price forecast, and it looks a lot like last year. While I did blow it badly a couple of years ago, I have provided my readers with somewhat accurate forecasts for 5 out of 7 years, and last year was not that far off, even with the economy doing much worse than many people predicted. The only thing that caught me off guard was that China's economy did worse than I expected.

The Bottom Line, Right Up Front.
I am forecasting gas to be $3.54 early next May.

This is in areas where gasoline taxes are low, and where the price has been hovering around $2.49 to $2.56 for the last couple of months. This web page will give an idea of the price of gas around the country. For next spring's pricing, just add another dollar a gallon.

In reality, I don't think it will get quite that high, but as I pointed out in previous forecasts, I do this for budget forecasting purposes, so if it doesn't quite get that high, there is no harm.

The ever increasing role of China, the recession the ongoing and somewhat deepening recession, and the prospect of a high inflation rate (which I don't think we will see this next year) are challenges, but in this year's forecast, I think the ongoing recession will be the most important factors in the coming year.

Here is the formula I used this year:
The predominant price of crude oil in July this year
is $76 a barrel, divided by 25 (you can get about 25 gal
of gas at the pump from one barrel of crude) gives
$3.04 - to which I add $.50 tax (the tax in some states
is much higher) to give $3.54 per gallon.

I will likely, in coming years, add an inflation factor to compensate for the weakening of the dollar, and maybe a supply stress factor for increases in consumption, or for overt destruction of sources (think war). Neither of those are a factor this year. In addition, the price of oil seems, historically to rise at the end of July, and there tend to be disasters in Aug and Sept, as well as hurricanes in the fall, but the market prices already have these things built in so I don't think getting too concerned there is of any use.

One concern is the ongoing oil spill (even though the well is now capped) and the disastrous handling of it because of both the incompetence of British Petroleum and the congressional grandstanding in our Federal Government. One consequence that is just now beginning to materialize is the movement of drillers out of US waters. This has the potential of worsening our recession AND increasing the price of gas at the pump by more than a dollar a gallon within a couple of years.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The New Economic Name

We have a new name for this economic crisis.
It is now known as the Great Recession.

The height and breadth of insanity in the world is just breathtaking. Many continue to insist that the only way out of a hole is to dig deeper. That people, corporations, or nations can borrow and spend their way out of debt.

Some small signs of recovery are evident, as private payrolls continue to climb, though very slowly. Manufacturing payrolls are off this month, although this is on a world wide scale, and that is likely to keep the price of oil (and other energy) down. Lower energy prices are good for US manufacturing, and the US economy in general.

A long talked about commercial real estate slump may be at our door step, but whether it will usher in a "double dip" recession is still in question. I don't think so, but I have been wrong before.

Recently the 2 year treasury bond rate plunged to less than 3/4 of a percent. While some of the above mentioned insane people think this is a good thing (though it does beat the Greek T-Bill rate), what it tells me is that the economy will remain in the crapper for at least another 2 years. The extremely slow gains in private payrolls are not yet enough to offset the increases in population, let alone the increases in government corruption we have seen since the Democrats returned to power in 2007 and 2009. (We need to have an increase of 400,000 jobs a month in the private sector, or an increase of 40,000 jobs in manufacturing per month, something we haven't seen since the mid 80's.)

I still foresee a round of high inflation, some time in our future. But, as always, I don't know when it will be. I can say it will be before we see any real recovery. But at this time, I can't even say if we will seen any real recovery. I thought in 2008 that it would be a couple years after the collapse, but now it still seems a couple years away. More, now it looks like 4 to 6 years away.

Gold is still too high to invest in.
(Needs to be down around $1100 an once.)
I still recommend investing in tools
and other things to help survive
this "Great Recession."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Some Definitions and Observations

Apostasy - to turn away from a belief one once held. To deny, what a person once held to be true. Many old mainline Churches have fallen into Apostacy. They no longer believe the Bible is the final authority.

A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons. There are no coherent liberal standards; often a liberal is merely someone who craves attention, and who uses many words to say nothing. Liberalism began as a movement for individual liberties, but today is increasingly statist and, as in Europe, socialistic.

G Gordon Liddy : A liberal is someone who
feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt
he proposes to pay off with your money.
(May be originally attributed to Barry Goldwater)

I heard a new acronym, that might be of interest to some folks.
LEFTIST: Lying Everywhere, Fighting Truth In Society Today

Progressive - a liberal, trying to pretend they are not a liberal.

Friday, July 02, 2010

First - Three Things

First: Three things to look for when buying a Bible.
Some advice for the elementary level, and some for the intermediate level.

Then below, three things to read after getting a new Bible.
  1. The translation, and translation or copyright dates
  2. Cover and Binding
  3. Size composition and color of type, and page transparency
1. The translation and dates tell you what language it is in, whether Modern English, Old English, American English. I devoted an article to translations some time ago. I personally recommend anyone who is at the elementary level avoid any translation newer than 20 years old. Just so you can be sure to have one that has been tested by time.

2. Look at the cover and binding to see if it is suitable for what you want it for. To give away, you might go with a paperback, and they all have glued bindings. But these don't last long. A better one is to go with an imitation leather cover and sewn binding. If the book is going to be handled a lot or loosely stood on a shelf quite a lot, it needs a hard cover.

3. Look at the size of the type, whether it has center column references (more on that below). Does it have chapter or section headings (a single line providing the main topic of the chapter)? Does it have Jesus Words in Red? Is the type easy to read in moderate light? This is especially important when you reach middle age. Sometimes with thin paper, the ink from the other side of the page can be noticeable, making it harder to read in low light. The Bibles I linked to above are good in low light, but have fairly small type and no center column. Sometimes on Amazon it is hard to find that information.

1. After acquiring a new Bible, again, read the copyright page. One thing to look at, if it is not one of the Old English translations, is what foundation, publisher, or seminary is listed there. Someone may ask you that someday, and it is good to know about those publishers. And read the preface. Often it will tell how they balanced word for word accuracy against thought for thought ease of reading. More than just a conversation piece, this information is important when trying to discern subtle shades of meaning in many passages.

2. Many prefaces have a discussion of italics, block lettering and capitalization. The original languages did not use a lot of the grammatical building blocks we use today, so in many cases words are added simply to make the passage readable in English. Often these will be in brackets or italics. And any personal pronouns referring to God will likely be capitalized, although the details may vary from one translation and/or college to another.

3. Notice the center column and the passage headings. These are good for finding other passages on similar subjects to the one you're reading about. Remember though, these are some person's opinion of the material in the Scriptures. I have occasionally found a center column reference that I couldn't figure out why it was there. But I guess it made sense to someone. The passage headings are important to all us beginners, to help us find things when looking for a certain subject, assuming we know its approximate location. Same with Jesus Words in Red. Mostly just a location tool.