Monday, February 14, 2011

US debt to exceed GDP in 2011

Take a look at this article and judge for yourself.

A few of the more salient points:

1.  2011 deficit is going to be around $1.65 trillion.
So the 2010 deficit was $1.4 trillion and the 2011 deficit estimate is $1.65 trillion.  Can anyone spot the problem here?  The deficit is increasing.

2.  The initial estimates for the 2011 deficit were $1.4 trillion and if you take that number and subtract it from the revised estimate, you have $245 billion.  This means that the estimation errors made by people trying to pin down Obama's actual deficit figure will be are larger than the entire deficit in 2007.

3.  Obama is proposing to cut $1.1 trillion from the deficit over 10 years.  This amount of money is beyond miniscule.  Consider that it is decreasing the deficit by $100 billion per year.  That amount is about 2.9% of the current amount of government spending.  Not exactly cinching up the belt another notch.  And notice that they aren't talking in concrete terms.  Nothing is said about eliminating the deficit unless you consider this piece of self contradicting crap from one of Obama's mathematically challenged, fellow Democrat:

White House budget Director Jacob “Jack” Lew said the goal was to get to a point where the debt is at least stabilized by the middle of the decade.

“The government will no longer be adding to our debts, and as a share of the economy, we’re going to stabilize the deficit,” he told reporters. “We’ll, in short, be paying for what we spend every year. The goal, to put it simply, is for the deficit to be in the range of 3 percent of our economy by the middle of the decade.”

Well, actually, a deficit of 3% of the US economy is still massive.  And yes, any deficit number will definitely be adding to the debt.  How about this:  How about we start changing the dialogue a bit here and begin talking about actual surpluses.  How about a surplus of 3%.  In terms of economic health, wouldn't that be a little, well, healthier?

Sometimes you have to watch what these guys are saying because they tend to mentally wander off into their little dreamscape that they have constantly running in their brain.  Lew-ser was probably deep in thought about a time in the not so distant future when $400B - $500B USD is such a small sum of money it's insignificant.  We will all be living, carbon neutral, in our very own shanty town shack, outside the mine where we work.  A mine owned by a Chinese conglomerate.  And it will cost $1B USD to buy bread down at the bread line.

4.  The US debt will exceed the size of its economy in 2011.

It's over for the US and it can be solely attributed to Barack Obama.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saving Mula

So a big part of my life is my concern for and my value for money.  So I guess you could say, I am a bit of a miser.  I really don't see it that way in that the word "miser" has a negative connotation and being careful with one's money is never a bad thing.

I also do some pretty generous things with my money such as travelling and the purchase of large ticket items if I need.  I would say that I think about the value of money a lot and I don't let other people separate me from my money very easily.  I watch it flow in and out of my hands and I count it religiously.  Not literally of course... well, literally actually.

One such example of saving money has to do with a situation which was bothering me a lot, my coffee habit:
  • I drink a lot of coffee.  A lot.  I am pretty sure it is borderline dangerous for me, but I try to keep it under 10 cups a day.
  • It costs me a lot of money.
  • I am addicted to Tim Hortons coffee
So in terms of the number of cups that I drink per day.  I drink one cup in the morning, when I get to work, coffee break, after lunch, and most of the time one in the afternoon.  I sometimes have a coffee after dinner at night.  So I think that amounts to between 5 and 7 per day.  I am sure that this is a lot to some people, but I have been drinking this much for years now.  I once encountered a trainer who taught me a Cisco course and he told me that he drank upwards of 25 cups of coffee per day.  So I should survive.

So while at work, I spend $1.53 per cup (Timmy's) and that means I spend about $6 or so per day.  This amounts to $120 per month!!

In addition to having to pay for the coffee, I also have to go to Tim Horton's in the mall here and that means I have to walk.  It usually takes between 12 and 15 minutes per trip.  Annoying.

So now I have a coffee maker at my desk.  I buy k-cups for $0.50 each.  So in one fell swoop, I have cut my coffee spending to 1/3.  And I save about $80 per month, which is more than I pay for Internet and TV.  I did have to pay for the coffee maker, but in terms of an investment, it is going to pay off in about 1.5 months.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The most frightening words uttered during this whole "Egypt" thing...

Walid Abdel-Muttaleb, 38. “Now it’s up to the intellectuals and politicians to come together and provide us with alternatives.”
(Emphasis mine)  I would rather entrust a committee of 10 orangutans, a rubber mallet, and 3 randomly placed bells labelled 1, 2, and 3 in their cage.

I want this situation in Egypt to turn out right, but I have very little hope.  I suspect that the military leaders are the real power and they will simply install another dictator.

UPDATE:  I read this today and it states very plainly the situation in Egypt:
A population that was convinced just two months ago that sharks in the Red Sea were implanted by the Israeli Intelligence Services is hardly at a stage of creating a liberal democracy in Egypt.
In reality, these things are rarely done in a bloodless manner and go through multiple iterations before it gets done right.  This would be anathema to the Egyptians, but they should look to the history of the United States and the development of their constitution as a model.  And it is true that they need "intellectuals" (preferably those who don't refer to themselves as such) that will guide them through the process of creating a new constitution.  What they don't need are ex-army officers dressed up like politicians.

However, if all else fails, Egyptians should implement this protocol:
Every single time the Internet and/or telephone service is shutdown by the government or the army, a million people should gather in Tahrir Square. They should then make their way to the seat of government and dismantle it brick by brick.

h/t Kate

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

X10 Website Sucks

Wait!  Don't go to their website!

Actually, I think X10 technology is pretty useful, however, I have a big problem with their website.  It seems to me that it is obviously designed to confuse and distract people instead of clearly showing what is for sale and the costs.

So I did an "online chat" with someone one name Nathan who attempted to help me through their site and after, they let me fill out a survey.  I am pretty proud of my response to the question whether or not I would buy from the x10 website:
My experience with the online chat representative was just fine.  He was courteous and actually helped me quite a bit.  The reason I won't buy a product from the X10 website is due to the fact that the items are available for a fraction of the cost on ebay.  For example, the outdoor motion sensor that I was asking about is $4-6 on ebay, but $30 on the x10 website.
My problem is with the X10 website itself.  This is the worst POS (piece of shit) website in the world.   If that were my child, I would hit it over the head with a shovel and bury them out behind the barn.  Anyone who has anything to do with the design of that website should be ashamed of themselves.  In fact, if I had anything to do with that website, I would go into the datacentre with a barrel of napalm, kick it over and then light a match.  No, scratch that.  I would do the napalm thing, but then shoot myself in the head making sure to take the precaution that the muzzle flash would be guaranteed to ignite the napalm so that no other person in the world could be harmed by looking at that horrifying website.