Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gas Prices Soaring Amid Mideast Turmoil

Ummm, not so much.

What part of this is so hard to understand?

"The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline costs 48 cents more this February than last."

OK, that is an increase of 16%. Hurts, yes, but it was entirely predictable. I must mention that I have no formal training in economics, except one class in High School (30 years ago).

Are we heading for $5 a gallon gasoline? Yes, as I said about 6 years ago. The only reason we haven't seen it already is the economic disaster of 2008/2009 delayed it.

There are some things that have changed. China is the big one. As I said last year, and about 30 months ago, China is a big player in this market now, and the winter decline in fuel prices will no longer be seen.

UPDATE: On review of this article, I noticed I did not include a link to the article that gave me the headline. Here it is: Gas Prices Soaring Amid Mideast Turmoil

Our Favorite Mode of Transportation

I have neglected this topic for about a year now, but plan to write a series of articles on our favorite mode of transportation, and of course some other modes, as well.

The first thing I want to mention is that I believe most of the problems our auto industry has faced in the past 40 years have been mostly their own undoing. This is not to say that unions and government have not played a role, but that much of what circulates about those entities causing trouble for the automotive industry has been pure fiction.

Take for instance, the widely circulated myth that CAFE standards have hurt them. Quite the opposite is true. Had they not been forced to deal with the gas mileage problems, they would have been in bankruptcy years earlier than they were. Why do Toyota and Honda not have problems with gas mileage standards? They saw the problem before hand, and adapted more quickly.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Manufacturing up - among down numbers

Economists are blaming the weather. Like January and February are different this year than any other year. Well they are different, but not by that much, that you can blame the economy on them.

Employment numbers are dismal this month, but with a slight bright spot in manufacturing. Manufacturing added 49,000 jobs last month, and that is just enough to call a bright spot. Manufacturing continues to look healthier than it has since Sep'08, however, it has a long ways to go to look as good as it did before the crash Strangely (in my view), markets did not fall much on the news that virtually all of the economic growth for the past couple of months is an illusion.

Inflation has already begun to show its face. Even though the government keeps telling us there is no inflation, as Carla Fried from MoneyWatch pointed out "the ring of the cash register doesn’t square with the government’s reports."

And more is on the way. Cost of energy is driving the prices of almost everything the average citizen buys, from motor fuel, to food, to ammunition. From aluminum cans, electric lights, to steel for cars, it all depends on energy, and its all going up. Virtually every commodity is going up. Everything except wages. And that is why the government's numbers are not showing inflation.

Hat Tip to John Keefe who writes "The Marco View"

I have mentioned before that I never invested in precious metals, and I still don't. (I also mentioned, had I, I would have made some money) On a few occasions I have said I might be persuaded if the price got low enough. There is quite a bit of hype and speculation in the prices. Gold might be a good deal at $1000 an oz, and Silver at $19 an oz. I don't foresee either of those prices showing up, unless it in the middle of a general melt down of some multinational economic system. There are a couple of sub-national economies on the brink of meltdown (Greece, Ireland, California, Illinois), but I don't see them impacting the price of gold enough to make it worthwhile. If China begins dumping its holdings in either gold or T-Bills, that might do it.

Another reason I wouldn't, and the primary reason I haven't invested in Gold or Silver is that those are places to park your money until after a meltdown. I expect to need funds during the meltdown, and as they say, you can't eat gold or silver, and in the middle of a meltdown, you can't trade them for anything worthwhile either. For those who are storing up their treasures on earth, and plan on emerging from the disaster as a tycoon, go ahead and invest in gold.

In the mean time, if your going to put your savings into something tangible, I have mentioned steel (as in tools, or a bicycle) in the past. It also looks like certain energy intensive metals might be useful places to invest. Like copper or aluminum. Be advised though, minimum time for return will be two or more years.

I should note, several of the "economic collapse" web sites(even some that I have quoted) are running advertisements (think "infomercials," for us older folks) for buying gold, other precious metals, or other survivalist stuff. That doesn't mean they are wrong, just one sided. They can be good source or links to good information, but over the long run, they tend to just repeat themselves in various forms.

All of the following headlines showed up on "The Economic Collapse Blog" in about a week's time.
  • 10 reasons why the latest unemployment numbers are no reason to cheer
  • nothing is stable anymore
  • even Donald Trump is warning that an economic collapse is coming
  • 12 facts which show that we are in the midst of the worst housing collapse in US history
  • warning signs
  • 5 reasons why Barack Obama's state of the union address was completely wrong about the economy
None of them are wrong really, but if you ingest too much of this stuff, you will grossly overestimate the immediacy of the threat. Economics is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Random items facing Christians

I find myself to be wholly unprepared, this month, to write a cohesive article on any Christian or Theological subject. I will however bore anyone who wants to read further with a couple of random things I have recently run across.

Christianity and Christian Theology continue to be under attack from multiple directions. Virtually any and all so-called television evangelists are heretical hypocrites. However, one recently did have a coming to terms moment on CNN, when he was backed into a corner and forced to take a stand on homosexuality. He admitted he believed the Bible, and that the Bible calls it sin.

I was impressed. I didn't know Joel Osteen had any use for the Bible, other than as a tool to steal money from people who follow his feel good theology. Of course, so called human rights groups (violent extremists wearing sheep's clothing) and so called baptist pastors (preaching a watered down pseudo christian philosophy) attacked him immediately for telling the truth about what the Bible says.

Chic-Fil-A came under attack for providing box lunches to a marriage seminar. Tolerance among liberals? NOT.

A petition against Chick-Fil-A was posted on the human rights website, urging the company to do more to promote homosexual marriage. Of course, those who put it there even lie about the presence of the petition. After reading an article on "Good As You" stating there was no petition, I looked it up myself and found the petition myself. It was also attacked by college campus gay pride promoters. This is the same reaction as the criminal "pride" groupes that attacked Christian Churches in Califoria last year.

I am concerned that they may back off from their pro Christian, pro Family stance, but for now they seem to be holding firm.