Stimulus plan

I keep hearing about a stimulus plan but it all sounds like bunk to me. Do you know any road construction people? I heard about a big tax cut for corporations so they would take the money saved and hire people and build new plants. Hey guys, corporations hire and build if business is good, not because they have lower taxes. When business is bad, it wouldn’t make any sense to hire or build and they already pay lower taxes by virtue of having lower profits. So I devised a surefire stimulus plan and most importantly, it would solve the biggest problem – housing. The gov’t mortgage agencies, Freddie and Fannie, will offer a loan auction plan. They will offer thirty year mortgages on existing inventory for zero per cent interest. I would define existing inventory as any home on the market and ready for occupancy the first of January 2009. I might consider a one month grace period so that homes close to completion would be eligible. Each month the interest rate increases by one point. I would be ok letting the total amount of any single loan be $350K. One loan per customer. My thinking is that this plan would suck up the available inventory quickly and jump start the home construction business. The regular banks and mortgage companies would sit on the sidelines until they were ready to jump in – say in 5 months when the gov’t rate reached 5%. That caps the duration of the program. Buyers would have to be qualified buyers – no loosened credit requirements. I might consider a refinancing program along the same lines- offering zero point, no cost, refinancing starting at 3% to increase 1 point per quarter phased out in one year. That would put money in people’s hand quickly and permanently. It would also take the sting out of an underwater mortgage because in affect, people would have a monthly payment equivalent to a much lower principal value. That would help stem the foreclosure rate for many people just walking away from upside down mortgages. With this approach, I’m thinking the housing problem is history in 6 months and mostly done in 4. The gov’t sells off all the loans it originates at a 2-3% discount from face value so the program cost is more or less defined by the discount and is contained in short order.

Don’t know whether i mentioned that Nancy got me a new filet knife for Christmas. It’s a Cutco boning knife which means two things – very expensive and very sharp. It’s like cleaning a fish with a razor so I have to be extra careful and count my fingers with each fish I do. The blade slices thru fish with almost no pressure at all which translate into really high quality filets (compared to my usual chop job) and cuts the cleaning time significantly.

Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to get into the boat from the dock. One of the factors that comes with freezing weather is a dramatic drop in the lake level. You know when you see on TV how the farmers and nurseries put a blanket of water/ice over the plants to insulate them from temperatures under 32. Well we’re surrounded by ferneries and orange groves and the farmers pump water from the lake to protect their crops. These pumps, I think there are 4 of them, are giant diesel driven pumps with 2′ intake pipes and they run basically all night when a freeze is expected. In the past 3 days they’ve probably pump 24 hours and dropped the lake a foot. The lake is 60 acres so a foot of water is an awesome amount. Plus this is our dry season so we’re not likely to see much replenishment until May or June. In my quest for scientific knowledge, I wondered if the spec’s would be impacted by so dramatic a change in their environment. The only way to really tell would be to go fishing so I sucked it up and went again today. No problem. Got a dozen or so in a couple of hours.

Added a new ingredient to the compost pile, Elephant Ears. Around here they grow wild and get as large as 8′ tall with 4 ‘ wide leaves. The only thing that controls them is an occasional freeze and since we haven’t had one in several years, they were taking over. The leaves and stalks are mostly water – which is why a freeze is so devastating to them – so a 6′ tall pile shrinks down to nearly nothing -but really moistens the pile. The freeze also brought down the few remaining maple leaves so it finally looks like winter here.

One plant variety that I thought for sure was gone were the Bromiliads. These are airplants with succulent leaves which I thought marked them for disaster. But they all seemed to make it just fine. Boston fern hammered – good riddance to another out of control plant.

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