Monday, January 30, 2012

Report on housing prices says no need to panic....yet

Doesn't this sound like the chatter going on in the US back around 2007 before the balloon that was their housing market went BANG!!!

Like many I've been waiting for the bubble to burst, but continued low interest rates have largely kept real estate values afloat and now mortgage rates are at an all time low of 2.99%.  For those who worry more about monthly carrying costs than about over paying, this is providing a nudge into the market, so perhaps prices can hold on for a little while.

But watch out fot 2013 when Canada's sub prime mortgages come due. 

Remember those 40 year ams with zero down?  They started being offered in 2008 when the global economy just starting to slip off a cliff.  It did serve us well in the short term, bolstering our economy.  It won't be much longer though before we find out whether the cure was worse than the disease.

Homeowners who dove into an overvalued market with no skin in the game are going to be facing renewals with a shorter am and increased monthly costs. 

In the meantime you can watch "expert" opinion from the US talking about how fundamentals and demographics  were going to prevent the US housing market from collapsing.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Mitt Romney...Can a Mormon become President of the U.S?

The Canadian political scene is relatively quiet now that Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have finally attained majority status.  For a political junkie that means looking south of the 49th for a fix, and let's face country does politics like the United States. 

The Republican race is heating up and looks to be a two way race at the moment, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich duking it out.  Interestingly it is Romney's faith which is drawing the most scrutiny, not that of Gingrich who is on his third marriage and also his third religion in Roman Catholicism. 

I know a bit about the faith of Latter Day Saints (LDS), the official name of what is commonly called the Mormon church.  My father's grandmother was a convert, and I used to play basketball with a couple of elder missionaries, and yes they tried very hard to bring me into their fold. 

While my opinion and a bus ticket will only get you a ride downtown, nonetheless I will express my view on a Mormon in the White House. 

Why not?

Religion plays a huge role in American politics these days.  One need only look back to the furor over Barack Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, for proof of that fact.  And you can be certain that for many Americans, particularly evangelicals, Romney being a Mormon is a huge issue. 

Many consider the LDS faith a cult, I do not ascribe to that view.  Those who know a bit about the faith consider Mormon theology to be screwy, but then many fundamentalists think men and dinosaurs walked together on the Earth and that this planet is only 4 or 5 thousand years old....pot to kettle. 

For those who are curious, the Mormon church was started by one Joseph Smith who claims to have discovered golden plates buried somewhere around Palmyra New York.  These plates were said to have contained accounts of Jesus visiting the America's after his ascension into heaven. 

Okay, I see some shaking their heads saying...."Yeah, rigggggggggggggggght".  Fair enough.

But many of those same people also expect to see Jesus coming back some day riding on a cloud.  So if Jesus can come back riding on a cloud, why couldn't he have beamed himself down to this side of the Atlantic to preach the good news to Native Americans?

If morality is an issue I think evangelicals would find they have more in common with Romney as a lifelong Mormon than with Gingrich,  a twice divorced, three times married Lutheran/Baptist/Roman Catholic.

Say what you will about Mormon beliefs and practices, but in my experience you will never meet a more down to earth, friendly and genuinely wholesome religious community.

My own preference is to see Ron Paul win the nomination....yes, yes I know, snowball's chance.  But at least with an Obama/Paul race there would be a clear and definitive choice, big government versus almost no government. 

But if its a choice between Romney and Gingrich, I don't think Mitt's religion even warrants consideration. 

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why is Ron Paul the Rodney Dangerfield of the GOP race?

For those following the Republican Party's nomination proceedings it must be at least somewhat curious how the second place finisher in New Hampshire gets 'no respect'. 

While I've heard the Texas congressman described by some as a 'wacko' for his Libertarian views, I would welcome a Presidential election in November between Mr.  Paul and President Obama.  For once there would be a clear and distinctive choice, Ron Paul his a  HUGE ELL Libertarian.

For those unclear on what it means to be Libertarian, do not confuse it with Liberal, nothing could be further from reality.  Liberal politicians typically  believe that government has a major role to play in running society, be it via taxes or regulations.  From our Canadian lens its obvious we don't have a Libertarian party, with the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP all arguing about how best to run BIG GOVERNMENT.

Ron Paul has been advocating for years that the U.S. federal government stop encroaching on State responsibilities like education.  Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, this is what America's founding fathers had in mind when they drafted their constitution.

Americans typically adore their constitution, sometimes with religious zeal.  So why hasn't this Texas Dr. caught on?

I think the answer is simple.  I don't expect corporate media to tout his candidacy at all, even though they're desperately searching for someone....anyone...who can challenge Romney and juice up the race.  Business interests love the current system in the U.S, as do politicians benefiting from all the lobbying and insider stock trading tips.

Politics is for me a spectator sport  much of the time, and certainly so when it involves our neighbours to the south.  Here's one hoser though who's hoping the GOP is ready for an old style truly conservative Republican candidate for President. 

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