Amid the gloom, German short-haired pointer rescuers come to the rescue. From our last issue.
Wow. A lot has happened since we last spoke, dear diary.
I have been on the road. Last week I was in Boston speaking to some really smart people, and then to New Orleans to speak to J. W. Roth and Dave Lavigne’s group, and to have a fantastic meal at Mr. B’s. Now, I have been to New Orleans many a time. I have been to many cities. I have stayed at many hotels. But the rooms my wife and I got for this trip to New Orleans at the Ritz Carlton were off the charts. They had the most amazing antiques and antique art I have ever seen anywhere in my life. It was like staying in a super high end antique store. (Frankly, I like the Phoenician better because the rooms are so big and bright, but the furnishings at the hotel in N.O.La. were breathtaking.)
However, I do not feel well. Somewhere, I picked up a cold or flu and I really feel pretty tired. Going out to Bourbon Street and getting mobbed by fans was not a good health move either.
So, now I am back from my trip, in my office in Beverly Hills, and I definitely do not feel well. My brain is sort of racing right now, though. (As I write this, the phone is ringing. I won’t answer it because this is the witching hour at which the various arms of the GOP call me to ask for money and I have already given enough. They are real pests.)
I was just lying in bed thinking about the year 2005, when I bought the home I love so very much at Morningside C.C. in Rancho Mirage. Times were great then. Money was pouring in. Mortgages were easy to get. I used to just call my woman at B of A, tell her the price of the home, tell her when I wanted to close, and bang, it was done.
Now, that seems like ancient history. Now, although my life is still pleasant, the days of easy money are over. I can recall asking my brilliant and wonderful late father-in-law, war hero extraordinaire, what life was like in the Great Depression. He said something like, “It was all right except that there was no money.”
That’s sort of what it’s like now in the world of housing credit, only worse.
Yes, Americans can still get credit for cars and trucks and refrigerators, and those businesses are doing well. But just try to get a home loan now. The banks are not lending, at least from what I see. They were so wild and reckless back in the good times that they got burned terribly.
“Once burned, twice shy,” as the saying goes. That’s the way it is now. Yes, the banks will borrow from the Fed at zero percent and relend to the Treasury at 2.8 percent. That business is working well for the banks. But if you want to know why the housing market is kaput, look no farther than banks that won’t lend.
But if you want to see why the economy is so stubbornly weak, you have to look a little farther.
Warren E. Buffett, probably the smartest man of business that there has ever been, told me last year and the year before that he would start hiring in large numbers, or in any numbers to speak of at all, when the demand revived and there was more purchasing.
He is probably doing just the right thing for his stockholders.
But there is slack demand for some excellent reasons:
(1) Americans are terrified because so many of them have been laid off in recent years and months and they fear that they may be next. Even if they have not been laid off or have not known anyone laid off, they definitely know someone who has lost his home. That scares people into not buying anything they can avoid buying.
(2) Much of the demand for durable goods comes from people buying new homes or buying existing homes and refurnishing them. This just is not happening at all.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?