Hard Truth Week in Review – Advent Conspiracy Edition

November 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I’m back from my weekend visit in Atlanta with good friends from high school. It met and exceeded my expectations in all respects. You can’t put a price on an opportunity to spend quality time with guys you’ve known for 45 years (and can still put up with me!)

Atlanta is such a mix of economic cultures. As my friend and host drove us around some of the wealthier neighborhoods with endless multi-million dollar homes, we all wondered out loud: “Where do all of these people work?” There are similar neighborhoods in Nashville and when I drive through them I often ask myself that same question. My gut feeling is that a lot of the money is inherited. I also suspect that many of the owners are house rich and cash poor. Our oldest son has worked in a number of area McMansions. He regularly finds overly large homes with many rooms having little or no furniture in them. That’s a telling sign.

Speaking of over-the-top consumption (how’s that for a segue way), Lynnae at Being Frugal tipped my off to the Advent Conspiracy site which seeks to diminish the materialistic nature of the holidays. The mantra is Give Presence (not Presents). I like that.

Other interesting reads this week:

Over on my Go To Retirement blog, I wrote a short summary of different approaches to planning for tax-free retirement income.

Clever Dude wrote a post celebrating the end of his family’s consumer debt.  He deserves a lot of credit for that $113k payoff accomplishment, particularly considering that it included $40k in student loans.

Forbes published an article that interjects some hard truth into the current “you must buy gold” craze. I know that gold speculators (I can’t really call them investors) have enjoyed a nice run-up this year so I ask again: Is it time to take your profits? If not, when?

Also check out this past week’s Carnival of Money Stories and Carnival of Personal Finance.

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10 Responses to “Hard Truth Week in Review – Advent Conspiracy Edition”
  1. MasterPo says:

    As far as gold, wait until Obamacare, Tax&Trade, VAT, Porkulus 2, and Heaven-knows-what-else is passed (along with allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire end of 2010).

    Can you say double-dip recession?

    ps- Want to make a bet on 11% unemployment sometime in the 1st quarter 2010? 😉

    • Rick Beagle says:

      “Want to make a bet on 11% unemployment sometime in the 1st quarter 2010?”


      Two things you should be aware of: 1) in many parts of the country, the unemployment rate is much higher and 2) cry all you want, but Obama didn’t create this nightmare. The fact that people -like you- still cling to the failed ideas of our past is simply dumbfounding.


  2. MasterPo says:

    Allocated $800 BILLION for a stimulus that did nothing.
    Wants anouth $700 BILLION for stimulus-2.
    Replacing highly paid professional jobs with bridge builders and concrete layers.
    About to pass a healthcare bill that will tax individuals and employers, mandate coverage under the penalty of $25,000 fines and/or 1 year jail time.
    Wants to pass an energy bill that he *PROMISES* will **DOUBLE** electric rates!
    Wants to enact a VAT tax.
    And promises to allow the Bush tax cust to expire end of 2010.

    You’re right.

    What’s there not to like about all this?

    Please sight the historical example of these kinds of tax and spending policies that has brought a country – any country – out of a recession into economic prosperity.

    I’m eagerly awaiting.

  3. MasterPo says:

    ps- On February 5, 2009 your Master said in the Washington Post Op-Ed section quote:

    “That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.”

    He also said quote:

    “And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach DOUBLE DIGITS.” (my upper case)

    Here’s the link to the full article:


    That was in February when unemp was 7.8%
    Today, after passing this all important/no-time-to-read-or-debate-it stimulus unemp is 10.2% (and I agree with you it’s MUCH higher in many locals), MILLIONS of jobs have been lost, and *now* he’s going to hold a “jobs summit” in December!

    How’s all that hope and change working for you?

  4. MasterPo says:

    ps- Ricky,

    I thought the recession as over?!

    Just a few scant weeks ago it was being reported up and down CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NPR et al that economists “universall agreed” the indicators were strongly looking up and we had turned the corner on this recession?

    Let me remind you – From AP News on 10/29/09 quote:

    “After a record four straight losing quarters, the economy finally grew again. It was hardly a boom, and it was almost all because of government spending. But it was enough to change the question from when the recession will end to whether the recovery will hold.”

    (link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091029/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/us_economy)

    So why suddenly is the Messiah himself saying we’re in for a double-dip?

    Why does he need stimulus-2 or a “jobs summit” if it’s over?!

    Could it be he’s talking out is ass on matters of economics? (among other things)

    Nah. The Messiah wouldn’t do that.

  5. Rick Beagle says:


    yes, i remember the stimulus plan. i remember the republican boycott, and the cries of many people like you. i remember that it was reduced because of these efforts and many stated it would be insufficient to create the necessary corrections. you of course now point to it and yell how it was a big fat failure completely oblivious to you and your ilks’ outrageous, and detrimental efforts to subvert any positive efforts and for that matter our country.

    you offer no leadership, and no new ideas, but you are bound and determined to prevent our president and this congress from doing anything constructive. not because the ideas are bad, but because they are democrats.

    at what point do you realize that you are a traitor to our country, and a pox on our legacy?

    as to your comments about the recession, you should do less cherry picking with your information. honestly, you spent the time putting that pile of words together and didnt even bother to “fact check” or put what is occurring in historical and economic perspective.

    lastly, what exactly have your people done to fix this issue? i mean, who on the Right has actually provided any leadership whatsoever?

    honestly, what the heck are members of your party doing to help middle class america other than trying to start a race and religious civil war?

    so stuff a sock in it masterpo.

    rick beagle

  6. kitty says:

    Amusing bickering, but I don’t see how it relates to the original post. I am not a fan of Obama policies or new taxes, but I am sufficiently fair to admit that this crisis wasn’t his fault. And while I don’t think the stimulus bill was that effective, some of this “bridge building” involves a lot of high tech support and maybe orders for companies like Cisco, GE, IBM, etc. As I work for one of the IT corporation who is hoping for a piece of the pie and really like my job, it’d be hypocritical of me to complain about all of the stimulus. I do have to say that taxing my corporation (including for overseas profits) would be counter-productive. At the same time, calling someone who simply disagrees with government policies “a traitor” smacks of a country I grew up in…

    In terms of gold, I have really mixed feeling. I have friends who strongly believe in it, but I really am reluctant. I think if we believe in inflation, wouldn’t more useful commodities like silver, platinum, oil or stuff people eat work better? Also, future inflation is not a given: if we get double dip, for example, we may get deflation instead. Or Japan’s 10 years of going nowhere. Now, the coins do look shiny and pretty…

    In terms of multi-million homes, one case you didn’t mention is simply that people bought it a long time ago. We have quite a few of rich homes in Northern Westchester. Mostly, you don’t see the houses themselves, just the fence or a wooded area. In our case, I think it is just really rich people. Donald Trump has an estate in Bedford which is about 15 minutes from where I live. A friend of mine used to work as a live-in nanny for one family who was not super-rich, but reasonably well off and had a home that cost a few million. In their case it was a combination of their high salaries (a lawyer working for major TV networks and a producer of once popular TV show) as well as the fact that they bought the place a very very long time ago. My friend also interviewed for a housekeeper’s position in an even richer house – a seriously rich one, a real mansion. This mansion was really something: a 2-year old house built in a style of a 19th century palace; 3 entrances, lots and lots of rooms including “library”, “sun room”, a full size indoor pool with pool chairs with silk upholstery; you needed to go through the gates and drive for a few hundred yards to get to the house. We got there earlier – I gave a ride to my friend who didn’t have a car then, and then the lady of the house came in in a car I’d not seen before with doors opening upwards. They had full stuff too – a separate nanny, another housekeeper, etc. They gave an offer, but my friend didn’t take it – they needed somebody to work on weekends but were willing to hire her for 5 days as long as it included weekends, and she didn’t want that. The lady of the house seemed pretty nice. BTW – my friend no longer works as a nanny. This was before she got her green card; after she got it, she finished some courses and is now a DBA; she also made money on this real estate bubble instead of losing it…

    I’d imagine in case of a one million house, it may be the case of “house rich money poor”. But once you get to seriously expensive places, it has to be some real money.

    • Rick Beagle says:

      1. a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
      2. a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.”

      I understand Kitty your reluctance to use the word, but any person, or groups that actively promote acts of violence against our president and our people (i.e. civil war) are not exercising their free speech. As an example calling Obama the Messiah as he is apt to do, stokes the religious zealotry into a frenzy. They *actually* believe that he is the Anti-Christ, and are encouraging people to kill him. Sounds absurd doesn’t it?

      I read this just prior to coming here…. this is getting out of hand. This is a left leaning site, but the article is not.

      rick beagle

  7. kitty says:

    Rick – I don’t see Master Po encouraging violence or murder. As to “Messiah” word, I don’t quite see it as promoting violence. It’s just that there are many who indeed look at Obama as a “savior” for the country, so it is natural for people who don’t agree with this to use the “Messiah” word. I think it is a stretch to go from using this word to being a traitor. Master Po didn’t tell any of us to engage in any acts of violence. Besides, maybe I am optimistic, but I think people who read this blog are intelligent and pieceful… not murderers.

    BTW – I strongly disapprove of calls for violence or murder or even talk of “death panels” when discussing medical reform, but also using words like “traitor” unless someone is planning to sell some government secrets or blow up something. I think it hurts any chance of intelligent discussion of the issues. Some parts of discussions are indeed getting out of hand. Like the whole idiotic “death panels” discussion with respect to IMHO long-overdue and very reasonable change in mammography guidelines by USPSTF. If you are interested in the subject, read this http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/11/obamas_fixin_death_panels_uspstf_mammography.php – this is not political, it’s written by a doctor (cancer surgeon) with fairly conservative political views but who talks about idiocy of “conspiracy theorists”.

  8. wendy says:

    I think you make a excellent point! your post sets me to thinking…. I think it is a stretch to go from using this word to being a traitor. Master Po didn’t tell any of us to engage in any acts of violence. Besides, maybe I am optimistic, but I think people who read this blog are intelligent and pieceful… not murderers. I’m a girl who louis vuitton and louis vuitton handbags!
    You always have good info here. Please keep it up!

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