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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Entry for October 15, 2008

Rambling notes:

The GMC van passed emissions inspection yesterday morning. Next inspection is two years from now; by then the major-purchase fund may contain enough money to pay for a new vehicle.

Gasoline is $2.95 per gallon at a few of the Waukegan, Illinois gas stations. My opinion is that high fuel prices contributed as much to breaking our economy as anything else. Our government must NEVER again let a speculative oil bubble get out of control.

I am seeing some anecdotal signs of a touch of economic recovery. During the peak of the fuel price bubble, highways were eerily light on traffic except during rush hours. Even rush hours had noticeably lighter traffic than in earlier years. Now traffic-jams grab me before and after rush hours.

Mall parking lots are filling up quite well, surprisingly so. There are some real bargains out there and people are finding ways to pay for them. I don’t believe the holiday shopping numbers will be high, but my guess is the stores will sell more than the experts believe.

Loans are available, but expect to verify every detail on your application and expect to pay some hefty down payments. It is a return to the old-days; you cannot get a loan if it looks like you cannot repay it, silly concept that it is. Credit Unions are doing quite nicely, I highly recommend belonging to one, they are often more accommodating than are banks.

My humble opinion is that we are very near the bottom of the housing crash, although we may bump along that bottom for a while. I see no for-sale signs in my neighborhood and very few elsewhere. People that own homes are now unwilling to sell them at these deflated prices. Once the foreclosures clear from the market (with luck, many folks will get some help refinancing), I believe there will be a very slow, very gradual but sustained uptrend in the market.

I’m not excited about the recent big stock market rally, and I am not excited about the subsequent big market dive either.

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