Thanks for the invite, Kevin. I see several of my buds have signed up already, which made me realize that I've been deActively Rainless for far too long. Scrambling for survival takes up way too much time, and is an activity that is highly overrated. I've hardly taken the time to get in any arguments with anyone, having been humbled somewhat by the adverse market conditions for the past several months. It seems I'm turning into more of a traveling loss prevention specialist for the insurance industry, a fact which saddens me. But, it is Spring, and hope, as they say, springs eternal.
Speaking of markets, what is at the back of my mind (and surely some others as well) is the fear that the downturn in the real estate market is merely symptomatic of the larger problem of debt in our American society. Yesterday, I heard the discouraging news that last year, we Americans spent more than we earned, in terms of GNP, for the first time in our history. Now, since there are lots of folks out there still sitting on a growing pile of cash, that means that many millions of us are seriously in debt. I also suspect that much of that debt has been accumulated in the vain attempt to uphold an image of being middle class. Our middle class is actually shrinking, our lower class growing. The stock market seems to respond positively to reports of consumer spending. In the end, what it all represents is a massive transfer of wealth to a limited number of individuals and entities both inside and outside our country. That's a very dangerous thing for a country that has long prided itself on and independent spirit and financial opportunity for all. It's dangerous because it puts economic power in the hands of the few, to the further detriment of the many. Can you say "Rome?"
Sorry for jumping right in there and tossing cold, muddy water on the group. I hope I'm dead wrong. Somebody, please say I am.