Latest

Back to the Farm!

It’s no secret that along with the national economy, our Michigan economy is going to get much worse.  So finding ways to cut costs makes sense.  Besides, even if you’re not worried about the economy … gardening is fun!

michigan farmGardens are popping up all over America, partly because of the “green movement.”

Hey, I may be a “global warming denier,” but you don’t need to “go green” to enjoy gardening.  You can do it for the improved quality and taste.  You can garden to be self-sufficient.  You can do it because you’re the type of person who thinks about next year, and the year after that – long-term.  Gardening is taking individual action!

Think about it … we all need to eat, right?  Then having your own healthy garden puts you in ownership of a significant asset!  Take the time to watch the 10 minute video below.

Reading the following article from Mlive.com is how I got thinking about gardening:

A return to the farm

Several small West Michigan farms are promoting the concept, which has developed successfully over the last 20 years on the East and West coasts.

Community Supported Agriculture comes in many varieties. It can range from paying in advance for a summer’s worth of produce to actually doing some of the farm work for a reduced cost when purchasing “shares, memberships or subscriptions” in the farm.

It helps farmers because they receive payment early in the season, which eases the farm’s cash flow … helps the local economy. Money that might have gone for produce raised in South America, now supports a West Michigan farmer …

It helps area residents as well, who are eating ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits … And there’s the sense of community that develops. When people share the risk — and the work — it creates a bond.

There’s an exchange of experiences, and even recipes, that helps strengthen relationships between people who live in the same community but might never interact.

Basically, here’s how Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) works:

A farmer offers “x” amount of “shares” to the public.  A share is usually a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included.  As the consumer, you purchase a share (or “membership”, “subscription”), and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

This isn’t a government program.  This is smart, self-sufficient people working together.  Looks like a smart idea all the way around.  Learn more about it and find participating Michigan farms near you at Local Harvest.

 

Auto Warriors

auto industry

There’s too much negative news in Michigan these days.  Let’s see …

  • The Michigan State budget deficit is now $1.3 billion.
  • Residents of Macomb County get to pay higher taxes.
  • MEA’s cooking the books.
  • Want more government transparency? Well, only if you speak bureaucrat-ese.
  • C’mon, politicians don’t want transparency.  With more transparency, how would they continue getting away with voting against our state?

So before even bringing up the auto industry, let’s watch this funny video from The Onion (below the fold). Sometimes, you just gotta laugh at it all.  At this point, laughter may be the only way to keep your sanity intact.

News concerning the auto industry is dismal at best.  The government, with it’s incredible track-record of inefficiency, waste, and failure, is commandeering our beloved car companies.  They’ll be forced to make tiny, little “green cars,” that nobody wants, and Michigan will end up in a far worse situation than we are now.  It’s sad.

After soaking up billions in “bailout” dollars, Chrysler is officially filing for bankruptcy and merging with Italian auto maker Fiat.  And oh, goodie! The Obama Administration will bedictating what kind of cars Chrysler will have to build! As noted in The Detroit News:

The company will offer fewer trucks and a lot more cars … There is a market (for smaller cars) — you could look at the Mini or the Smart car — but, if you add all of it up, it does not make a profitable Chrysler.

Let me sum it all up for you.  Detroit is going to go from making fabulous cars like this:

Making matters worse, it appears the federal government is going to do the same thing to General Motors!  I mean, really … Will GM soon stand for ‘Government Motors’?

What the future holds for Michigan and our Motor City, nobody knows.  The federal control of General Motors is game changer:

How is a company like Ford supposed to compete with Government Motors- whenever they produce a better car, they have to worry that the government is going to subsidize cars produced by GM- or let’s say the Ford F-150 does really well- maybe the government will get upset and pass laws that make the Ford F-150 ‘environmentally’ incorrect? There are conflicts of interest all over the place with this arrangement, and no one is going to win.

No one, no country, has ever nationalized an industry in this manner- it is shocking. Not only that, but the deal that the government is forcing GM to take is also a mobster deal- the banks (who GM owes money to) and the shareholders (who invested in GM by buying its stock) get nothing out of this deal, and instead ownership of the company goes to the labor union and the government. This is organized looting of private companies by mobsters.

And all of this for what? To produce cars that are not competitive?

These sure are strange days, my friends … strange days indeed.

 

 

Facts You Should Know Before Selling Your Gold

Have you noticed the big increase in advertising, by companies hoping to buy your gold?

I have, and it concerns me.  I don’t want any of my fellow Michiganders getting the short-end of the stick.

You see … There’s a reason for the increase in this type of ad. It’s more than just the fact so many people are struggling in Michigan today too.  Gold is going up.  In other words … it’s a good time to be buying gold.

 

WARNING:

It’s totally understandable if you find yourself stuck in a position where you must sell your gold.  Hey … we do what we gotta do in times like these.   So if you find yourself in that position, just make sure you visit a few reputable, local jewelry stores.  You’ll find the majority offer a reasonable price.  But make sure you steer clear of anyone wanting you to mail your jewelry to them!

Now … if you don’t really need to sell your gold now, you just want some extra cash … don’t do it! We’ll get into why in a minute.

Whatever you do … DON’T SEND YOUR GOLD IN BY MAIL TO ANYONE!

A company I see advertising a lot right now, is Cash4Gold. How it works, is … you call in and talk with a salesperson who proceeds to send you a “refiners pack.” This is for you to put your jewelry in to have it mailed to the company.  Once your jewelry has been “inspected,” you’ll get a call from your salesperson, in which they’ll offer you a ridiculously low price.

Since few are willing to accept such a low price, the salesperson then “negotiates” with you, and (finally) “agrees” to a higher price.  Now you feel good because you got the price up, but the problem … you still got much less than you deserved.

ShoeMoney has a great post on the whole Cash4Gold scam! He posted an entire email from a former Cash4Gold employee.  Make sure that you read ShoeMoney’s post!

Here’s more from MSNBC:

“I had some gold I was going to sell anyways so I was thought I would keep track of the details for insurance in case of loss and to give (Cockerham) the information for one of his articles,” Kutz said. So before he mailed the jewelry to Cash4Gold, he took it to a local pawn shop and received an offer of $180. “I really didn’t think I would have a problem with the amount before I did it. I was more looking at it from what I could get locally and then from Cash4gold as they advertise paying higher amounts,” he said

Kutz said Cash4Gold sent him a check for $60. When he called and balked at the offer, it was increased to $180. He then sent the evidence to Cockerham.

“This tells me (consumers) should never accept Cash4Gold’s first offer,” Cockerham said.

 

Inflation & Gold:

As we’ve discussed before, we are set to enter a period of high inflation. Take a look at the following chart for a second, then, I’ll explain why.

st louis fed money supply
Let me ask you a question … if you had a one-gallon balloon, how many gallons of water could you pour into it before it burst?  Or, if you were building a house of cards, how high could you build it before it collapsed?  Of course, the laws of physics will answer the questions for you. The balloon will burst, and the house of cards will eventually fall to the floor.

The above chart illustrates the annualized 13-week rate of debt monetization by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Never in the history of central banking has so much debt been monetized in such a brief period of time.  We are lurking uncharted waters.

The huge spike in debt monetization you see on the chart (which started last fall), is going to impact the value of the dollar.  Unless the entire history of economics is repudiated, the dollar is going to fall.  Inflation.

When we think of inflation, we tend to think in terms of the prices on stuff we buy going up.  This, however, is a bit of an illusion.  What’s actually taking place, is our dollars are getting diluted, thereby lowering the value of each existing dollar.  Because of it’s reduced value, it takes more dollars (today), just to buy the same stuff as before.  It’s the same things as watering down a drink.

In our fiat system, the government gets to print money at will! This is the moral and literal equivalent to a counterfeiter who prints money illegally. By simply printing money, they reduce the future purchasing power of our current U.S. dollars.  The higher prices we end up paying are the result of an increase in the money supply.

People get hurt by this willful dilution of our money too.  Those who get hurt the most are those living on fixed incomes, people who save their money, and the poor.  Savers lose because the money they saved is worth much less than it was when they first saved it away. People on fixed incomes and the poor get hurt due to their limited incomes continue to buy less and less.

Now, investors buy gold primarily as an inflation hedge. This means when there’s an expectation of inflation, the price of gold goes up.  Here, take a look at the following chart.  The green line is the price of an ounce of gold, and the red line is the money supply.

As you can see, the price of gold trades in concert with the money supply.  Looking back to our previous chart for a moment, we can see that the recent (and massive) upward spike in the money supply, still has yet to work itself through the economy.
The Moral of the Story:

The dollar is going to lose a significant amount of its value, which will drive the price of gold even higher.  In other words … that’s the reason so many companies are buying expensive TV commercials and offering to buy your gold.  It’s going up!

 

$6? Kwame Spits In Detroit’s Face

Public vs. Private Transportation

Disgraced former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, is claiming he can only afford $6 a month to pay back Detroit a million dollars for costing the city millions of dollars when he fired three honorable police officers to hide his affair with Christine Beatty and lied in court about the whole thing.

He can only pay $6 a month because he is living the high and mighty lifestyle he was used to while being the “Hip Hop Mayor,” instead of being the “Trustworthy Mayor” he should have been.

He was ordered to pay $6,000 a month and now he is claiming he can’t afford it on his $10,000 a month salary. Cry me a river. Guess what Kilpatrick, that payment is like any other bill so you have to factor that into your budget. I know when you were mayor you used the city’s coffers to live like a rap star and pay for your “posse” to live the same lifestyle, but you don’t have the unlimited credit cards now.

If he violates the court order, through him in jail.

One of Kilpatrick’s lawyers has been quoted in various media saying:

“I don’t think he was ordered to live a more modest lifestyle.”  And: “Is it better Mr. Kilpatrick drives a beat-up Yugo?”

Can you believe the arrogance of Kilpatrick and his people? actually, seeing how King Kwame abused his power, fooled around on his wife, spent city money like it was his own and trampled anyone who got in his way, I can believe it.

He acted as the Lord of Detroit and Detroiters were his personal serfs.

According to a Detroit Free Press report, Kilpatrick spends $2,700 a month on rent and $900 on an Escalade lease. What a joke. Yes, he should be driving a beat up Yugo if it means he lives up to his legal obligations.

This is another Kilpatrick tactic to try to get sympathy. Poor Kwame, he can barely afford his expensive home and luxurious SUV because of the mean court system that had the nerve to hold him accountable for his actions.

Nothing is ever his fault. It’s the white people in the suburbs or the media or the governor. In his mind, he deserves to live “above” the common people and “how dare the legal system deny him a lavish living” even though he screwed the city for years. Actually, he thinks he did a great job as mayor. That is very sad.

Claiming he can only afford $6 a month is a spit in the face of Detroit. He doesn’t care about the city or its people. He never has and never will. Kilpatrick only cares about “King Kwame” and his image.

When he was released from jail, I said he should have the chance to work and I hoped he really woke up and would try to live up to his promises of making Detroit a better place.

Boy, I was really wrong. He just doesn’t get it, and I fear, he never will.

Until next time, enjoy Michigan and think of ways Detroit can spend that $6 a month.

 

Check Out Michigan!

Michigan is one of the best kept secrets on the planet.  Strange … because we Michiganderssure do enjoy a fun and active culture.

Let’s take a random look at a few of the things that make Michigan awesome!

Snowmobiling:

If you’ve never been snowmobiling (sledding), just do it!  The sport offers everything from pure exhilaration, all the way down to complete relaxation … letting you experience nature, in ways you may never otherwise.  And with over 6,000 miles of groomed trails, Michigan ishands down, among the worlds elite snowmobile playgrounds!

Michigan’s Great Motor Sport Secret:

Deep in the dead of winter, the folks in Atlanta (MI) are too busy having fun, to bother noticing the cold.  As host of the RallyAmerica racing circuit’s annual Sno*Drift Rally … life is good!

 

Sno-Drift Rally

Cars:

It may be true that there’s a lot of things wrong with the Detroit auto industry, but in spite of the ill-informed, yet popular belief … making crappy cars isn’t one of them.

Detroit may not pump out manure-fueled “green cars,” or pretend that people prefer a go-cart sized automobile, powered by less horsepower than a lawnmower to transport their families … Detroit manufactures real, genuine All-American automobiles!

Community:

When push comes to shove, we Michiganders stick together, and look out for each other.  One of my favorite blogs, Michigan Taxes Too Much, is busy putting together a survival guide – just in case the recession continues to get worse.  Better to be safe than sorry …

If you’d like to help (wink, wink)click here and offer up some tips and tricks of your own.  The following is a list of suggestions (to help jog your mind):

  • Recipes for Foods that taste great but stretch the budget.
  • Stories of how you overcame debt and brought about positive change in a tough environment.
  • Other positive stories that prove we can be as tough as any in an economically challenging time.
  • Craft ideas which could be used to help able hands keep productive between jobs.
  • Locations of where to go if you need a meal.
  • Any other suggestion or experience that we can pass along to our brothers and sisters in Michigan (or elsewhere) which will guide them toward prosperity.