Recession: How to start one

Time for another Recession? We’ve finally recovered from the one back in 2008, and a lot of folks think it’s time we had another one.

In case you’ve forgotten, the Great Recession of 2008 was caused primarily by pressure from Congress (mainly Congressman Barney Frank) that told banks to give low interest mortgages to low-income people who were unlikely to ever pay it back. That was a small percentage of the housing market. But it caused all home prices to balloon. So homeowners in their fifties, sixties and seventies (who should have known better) refinanced their nearly-paid-off houses with a 30-year loan at the high price, and lavishly spent the new-found money. Or they bought a new, more luxurious house at an inflated price.

When the housing boom turned into a bust, a lot of folks found themselves owing, say, $400,000 on a house worth only $300,000. Or maybe owing $200,000 on starter home, but with no income because they lost a job. A few unscrupulous bankers played a role, but the result was a crash in the housing industry.

That’s one way to start a Recession.

Now, we have other folks determined to start a new one in the next year. This small group consists mostly of twenty candidates for President and Democrat politicians hoping to unseat a Republican Congressman or Senator in 2020.

As a favor to the Democrats, here are three sure-fire ways to start a Recession.

  1. Don’t buy anything. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of the economy.  So ask all Democrats to stop spending, except for the bare essentials. (What? No Christmas presents? Well, remind the kids that Christmas 2020 will be twice as good.)
  2. Sell all your stock, including retirement accounts; put it all into cash. Of course this only applies to those who did not already dump their stock the day after Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
  3. Don’t pay back student loans, only the minimum interest payment. Senator Warren and other candidates promise to cancel student debt anyway, so only a sucker would pay it off early.

Now, I’ll admit this is not guaranteed to start a Recession. But it would be fun to watch Trump and the Republicans scramble to prevent it.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

(After the stock market crash in October 1929) “When Wall Street took that tail spin, you had to stand in line to get a window to jump out of, and speculators were selling space for bodies in the East River… Now they know what the farmer has been up against for eight years.” DT #1013, Oct. 24, 1929

(my old friend, Speaker of the House) “Nick Longworth… blamed the Democratic party for the financial depression that is enveloping the world. It’s really the biggest advertisement that the Democratic party have ever had. Why, if they was that important, they wouldn’t be Democrats. They would all be Republicans.” DT #1312, Oct 7, 1930

Can Biden become Silent Joe? Bidding on Greenland

Joe Biden is the Democrat front runner, and his supporters want him to stay in front. Their suggestion is for him to imitate President Coolidge from now until November 2020. “Silent Cal” had “Economy” as his platform in 1924. He was just as economical with his words as he was with our tax dollars.

Now, telling Biden not to talk is like telling Trump not to Twitter. So as a compromise he has agreed to only speak before noon. From noon to midnight he can ride in parades and wave, and go to fundraisers where he will only stand there and grin. Yes, he will pose for selfies with big donors, but with his hands tied behind his back (yes, literally). We poke fun, but actually Joe Biden is no different than he has been for the last fifty years, but now his critics have video cameras.

The biggest surprise of the week is that Greenland might be up for auction. Yes all 500 million acres of it and 60,000 residents. It is owned by little Denmark, which is like Rhode Island owning Texas. Greenland is suspected of having vast natural resources but Denmark is losing their shirt because they don’t know how to drill or mine through all that ice. The citizens are opposed, but when Denmark cuts off their welfare payments, they might welcome a bid from America. And they had better hope we can outbid China.

Greenland has the potential of becoming the world’s number one exporter of ice. With global warming, that might be the main reason to bid on it.

Greenland was named by the same advertising agency that named the Cherry Sisters vaudeville act. (Those five young “singers” from Iowa were awful, and Will Rogers said one time, on stage, “the Cherry Sisters were named before anybody discovered Lemons.”) See, the perfect name, “Iceland,” was taken. And “Frozen” was already trademarked by Walt Disney.

Greenland holds the distinction of being the only big island you can fly over all day and not see anything green. Except maybe for Australia in a drought.

The idea of us buying Greenland has come up before, but President Trump is being criticized for even hinting at it. You would think that everyone yelling about global warming would be praising the idea. They are always preaching that all the ice in Greenland will melt, and oceans will rise, wiping out our coastal cities. So it ought to be logical for them to see that if we own Greenland, it gives some place for those millions of flooded out citizens to relocate to.  And our farmers could use most of the 500 million acres to grow corn, wheat, cotton, bananas, and pineapples. Even lemons.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

(paraphrased) “Buy land, because they aren’t making any more of it.” WA #381, April 13, 1930

Did candidates Biden and Warren misstep? Did Federal Reserve Board also misstep?

The Federal Reserve Board met last week and lowered interest rates by 0.25 percent. That was good news for the economy.

But the Chairman of the Fed stepped to the microphone and spouted off, telling the world this was bad news. So, every “federal reserve” in every major country, and a few minor ones, slashed their own interest rates. Some are so scared they set interest below zero. Yes, you loan them $100,000 and a year from now they will give you back $98,000. What a deal.

[Here’s Will Rogers, April 1929, “There is two things that can disrupt business in this country. One is war, and the other is a meeting of the Federal Reserve.”  He offered this advice, “Sell your house and lot this morning; the Federal Reserve Board meets this afternoon.”]

Joe Biden is leading the polls to become the Democrat candidate for President in 2020. He decided to borrow an idea from Hillary Clinton and go one giant step farther: Eliminate coal and all other fossil fuels. Has Joe Biden latched onto the Green New Deal?

The improving economy under the Obama-Biden Administration was greatly helped by the boom in our oil and gas production. Has Joe forgotten that though he spent most of his adult life serving in Washington, he went home almost every night to Delaware? On a train. Powered by diesel fuel. Replace diesel with solar? You couldn’t strap on enough solar collectors on a 100-car train to power one locomotive.

In Iowa, Senator Elizabeth Warren announced a plan to guarantee farm income by limiting the acres we plant to corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and other crops. She did not know we tried this in the 1930s. (See quote below)

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“It was a fine plan, well carried out. We wanted to raise commodity prices and Mr. (Henry) Wallace (Secretary of Agriculture), wanted to give farmers a profit…. It was a plan to plow under every third acre of wheat and the wind came along and blew out the other two acres. It was a plan to plow under part of the cotton. We did, and other nations like Brazil found out where we plowed it under, and they come along and dug it up, and now they’ve got more cotton than we have. Somebody had a plan to teach hogs birth control, and now it’s a habit with them… When a Senator comes to Washington with a plan, send ‘em to Russia. That’s the home of plans. They eat, sleep and drink plans in Russia. That’s why there’s starvation there, because you can’t digest a plan. Everything in Russia is run by plans; everything here is run by accident.” Radio, April 21, 1935 (this quote is slightly rearranged)

Mass murders and automatic weapons

In my July 21 article I asked “Are you a racist?” Of course I’m sure you are not.

I’ll tell you what a “determined racist” is: a white guy who drives 6 hours to a town where he thinks everyone is Mexican so he can shoot a bunch of ‘em in a Wal-Mart. He is alive to tell about it only because of the bravery of the El Paso police and his own cowardice.  The trial to find him guilty and define him as a “domestic terrorist” may cost a million. But perhaps we’ll get a hint as to why individuals lose all respect for human life and go on a killing rampage.

Meanwhile, in Dayton, Ohio, another young guy drove to a popular night spot with his sister and started shooting. He killed nine, including his sister! Police killed the shooter. Apparently there were many early “signs” that he was obsessed with killing.

The country is outraged by these and other mass murders in the last twenty years. Congress will pass another law banning certain weapons and ammunition. The President will sign it and everyone will celebrate the end of gun violence.

Until the next mass murder. I’m pretty sure we have a law against robbing a bank. But people still rob banks.

Is there a solution? Have you noticed that since Osama bin Laden killed 3000 on Sept.11, 2001, we have not had a major attack here by Islamic or other foreign terrorists? That’s because our FBI and other agencies track down prospective terrorists and stop them. Can we assign the same manpower against domestic terrorists as we do against foreign terrorism?

Another key: in almost every case, one or more people had to know, or suspect, the eventual killer. If it’s a head guy of a “Supremacist” group or website, throw them in jail also. I doubt if any of the mass murderers simply woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and said, “I think this is a good day to kill fifty people.”

I know this is a sensitive issue, with strong opinions on both sides. One side says, “Ban all guns.” The other says, “The Second Amendment is sacred.”  And, kinda similar to the immigration issue, we have schemers who flout the law or the intent of the law, no matter how sensible the law is.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“(Contrasted to the Wild West days) the young man simply walks up with no mask, just an Automatic, which a baby can shot as well as Billy the Kid could. There is no possible way you can miss any part of anyone in the building. If there be one thing that has increased crime it’s been the Automatic Pistol. Give any young Egotist two shots of dope and an Automatic and he will hold up the Government Mint… Murder is about the same routine (as robbery), course it’s a little more expensive on account of having to use a little ammunition… Oh, we are living in progress. All of our boasted inventions, like the automobile, and the Automatic (pistol), and our increased ‘Dope’ output, terrible liquor, lost confidence in our Justice, Graft from top to bottom, all these have made it possible to commit anything you can think of.” WA #441, June 7, 1931 [Note: automatic weapons have been banned since 1986.]