"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Greek Bonds May Offer Contrarian Clues to U.S. Stocks - NYTimes.com

Greek Bonds May Offer Contrarian Clues to U.S. Stocks - NYTimes.com: IT’S come to this. For day-to-day guidance on the likely direction of American stocks, there’s an unlikely contrarian indicator: the battered Greek bond.�

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

We already knew this

Our home town

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan Voted Good Morning America's 'Most Beautiful Place' - ABC News

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, tucked away in the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, won the title of "Good Morning America's" Most Beautiful Place in America.

Tens of thousands of viewers voted online for this Michigan park, which is one of the nation's best-kept secrets. The hidden gem boasts 64 miles of beaches along Lake Michigan, two islands, 26 inland lakes, more than 50,000 acres of land, and the monumental sand dunes from which it gets its name.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Take that Ron Paul ...

Standard & Poor's Downgrade: How Debt Has Defined Human History - Speakeasy - WSJ: "...contrary to popular belief, credit has been the predominant form of money in world history. In ancient Mesopotamia, elaborate credit systems predated coinage by thousands of years. Periods in which people assume that money really “is” gold and silver, let alone use cash in most everyday transactions, are more the exception than the rule. Ancient empires, for instance, used coins mainly to pay soldiers, and when those empires dissolved in the early Middle Ages, society didn’t really “revert to barter,” as its often believed, but returned to elaborate credit systems—denominated in Roman (and then Carolingian) currency that no longer actually physically existed."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ken Langone on Obama

Pithy comments:

here, CNBC clip

College english

Highlights in red ... it's education issues ... stupid

Looking Inside the Consumer Bust - NYTimes.com:
"Among all 4 of my brothers and sisters, all of us have college degrees and all of us are unemployed most of times during last 20 years in heath care, education and IT sector,
all of us have less than 2 kids and married.
Yet all of us are constantly in deep debt, none of us paid off even 20% of our outstanding student loan, one of us
are in foreclosure and one of us has file bankruptcy protection, etc.
In short, I sincerely believe American Dream is the greatest fraud in human history, because I REFUSE to pretend middle class anymore, I refuse to deluding myself anymore!!"

Monday, July 25, 2011


MotoGP: Second Half of the Season Kicks off with US GP US GP Laguna Seca MotoGP

Stoner chasing Lorenzo at Laguna Seca CA, 325lbs, 200hp, leaned over and honkin

Sunday, July 24, 2011


July 24: Daley, Coburn, Hagel, Kinzinger, Booker, Goodwin, Mitchell - Meet the Press - Transcripts - msnbc.com: "MR. GREGORY: Joining me now, a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the so-called Gang of Six negotiator, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Senator, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
SEN. TOM COBURN (R-OK): Good morning. How are you?"

MR. GREGORY: I'm fine. I want to get your reaction to what you heard from Bill Daley here from the White House this morning, which is the president will not sign a deal that results in only a temporary increase of the debt limit. He wants to see something that gets us through 2013.
SEN. COBURN: Well, first of all I think that's a ridiculous position because that's what he's going to get presented with. That's the compromise way through that's going to build the compromise. David, everybody's talking about the, the symptoms of our problem instead of the real disease. The government's twice the size it was 10 years ago. It's 30 percent bigger than it was when President Obama became president. The problem is that we're spending way too much money, and, and it's not hard to cut it without hurting entitlement benefits. But we don't have anybody that wants to do that without getting a tax increase.
MR. GREGORY: Well, all right, well, I want to get to taxes in just a minute. But I want to talk about the here and now, which is a failed political system at the moment, and what you heard from Mr. Daley, very difficult days in the financial markets and a lack of confidence around the world at the United States' credit worthiness and its ability to reach some kind of consensus. Does that not have to create a breakthrough along the lines of what the president is talking about? Cuts that are large enough and an extension of the debt ceiling that's long enough to say to the markets, you know, "You can count on the United States."
SEN. COBURN: I don't agree with that because, if you give an extension of $2.4 trillion to this president and this administration, which is--has policies that have actually hurt our recovery, I think you actually hurt the possibility of keeping our AAA rating without making the fundamental changes that have to come to this government. Unless you reform entitlements and unless you get rid of the waste and duplication--there's, there's $2 trillion over 10 years in duplication and fraud in the federal government before you even talk about entitlement programs. You mentioned the FAA program with Mr. Daley. You know what's holding up the FAA program? Is essential air services where the American people are paying $1,000 a ticket in subsidy to people that are riding from airports with six passengers on a plane when they could drive an hour and a half and get an airplane, and we wouldn't be paying the $1,000. So it's continued waste and duplication in the federal government and they won't approve the FAA because they continue to want to subsidize irresponsible and wasteful behavior.
MR. GREGORY: Is it responsible to get to a point where we pass the August 2 deadline and risk default?
SEN. COBURN: I don't think so. I think we'll get there, and I think the president--I understand why they're saying they won't sign a short term, but I think they won't have any choice, and I think that's the only answer right now. I would make the other point, the deficit commission put out a pretty good plan. It was dead-panned by this administration. Had they come alongside, started supporting that long time ago, we wouldn't be where we are today. And that was the president's commission. He had 11 members out of the 18--60 percent--that supported that and it got absolute cold shoulder from the administration.
MR. GREGORY: I want to ask...
SEN. COBURN: So for them to come back now and to say, to use that, when they rejected it out of hand, did not embrace their own commission. So it's not intellectually honest to say that that was one of the steps, because they didn't want it because it had entitlement reform in it.
MR. GREGORY: Let, let me get to the heart of the matter, you have been outspoken on the issue of taxes. You believe in lower taxes, certainly as a matter of principle as a conservative, but you've also talked about the need for compromise. That is not something that's happened among conservatives on Capitol Hill and among the leadership. This is how The New York Times editorialized about it on Saturday morning. "The Party That Can't Say Yes," it writes, "In the end, it was Mr. Boehner who torpedoed the talks. He said Friday evening that he and the president had come close to agreeing on $800 billion of tax--of revenue increases"--tax hikes--"but could not stomach another $400 billion the White House wanted to raise through extending tax loopholes and deductions. So on the eve of economic calamity, the Republicans killed an overly generous deal largely over a paltry $400 billion in deductions. Mr. Obama was willing to take considerable heat from his liberal critics over the deal, and the Republicans were not willing to do a thing to anger their Tea Party base." What do you say to that?
SEN. COBURN: Well, I'd say a couple of things. Number one is nobody in America has actually seen a plan from this administration put on paper for us to visualize and to actually look at what they were willing to give up. So we don't know what that, what that is. There's no question there's waste in the tax credits that are in the code. There's no question there's favors for individuals in the code that ought to be eliminated. And we can do that, but you ought to do that as you lower the rates because our biggest problem isn't that taxes are too low, it's that the government interference and the oppressive nature of our government on our economy is lessening the economy's response. So I, I would vote for a compromise, as I did in the deficit commission, as I worked with the guys in the Gang of Six, provided you get significant changes to the real problems that is facing us, which is waste and the duplication and the fraud in the federal government programs; and number two, reforming the entitlements. Mr. Daley also said that they were going to oppose anything that would fundamentally change Medicare. Well, Medicare is belly-up. Anybody that's on Medicare today, I want to tell you, in five years, it's going to have to change.
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
SEN. COBURN: We cannot borrow the money to keep it going the way it is today.
MR. GREGORY: All right. Senator, final...
SEN. COBURN: So people need to know that, rather than to take a false assumption that you won't change something.
MR. GREGORY: Final question, what is your message to those in the tea party caucus in the House about tax increases and what needs to be done to get a deal?
SEN. COBURN: Well, ideally, we would not have tax increases. But to get a deal, if we eliminated ethanol blending tax credits, wind energy tax credits, tons of other tax credits, then we could get a deal and what that would not do is impact the average American, would not raise rates. We should use that money to lower rates and--but with that, get significant fundamental entitlement reform and discretionary spending reform.
MR. GREGORY: All right. We're going to leave it there. Senator Coburn, thank you very much.
SEN. COBURN: Glad to be with you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Antrim Bellaire Fishermans Paradise

Once upon a time, mid 50's till closing sometime late 60's ? this was summer.
American Plan resort, family and friends (of the adults, some amongst the other kids) fond memories

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

File under duh ... do ya suppose?

Did the Continental Drift Create an Oil Bonanza? - BusinessWeek:
"More than 90 million years ago, when the land mass of Pangaea began separating into the continents we now call South America and Africa, the earth may have produced a lucrative farewell gift: huge oil and gas deposits along both coastlines where they had previously been joined. Now, Angus McCoss, exploration director and chief geologist at Tullow Oil, which in 2007 discovered one of the biggest oil finds of recent years off the coast of West Africa, is betting more than $100 million that a similar bonanza awaits off South America's eastern shore."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Commentary: A Few Bad Apples Spoil...Not Much

At least we have a system that flushes them out (like quail) and flushes them down (like ... sh*t)

Commentary: A Few Bad Apples Spoil...Not Much

Biotech's Fountain Of Youth

Scanning and saving older reading stuff - interesting on biotech and the future for humans - until I spotted that the author worked at MuSoft (new take on the blue screen of death) ... but also, imagine the Social Security issues with even greater life extension

Biotech's Fountain Of Youth

Monday, July 04, 2011

Sometimes valid, but often a warning sign

Diversification and liquidity may be valid reasons, but there are enough situations of failure of faith in the company is the reason

Full disclosure should be required

Some CEOs Are Selling Their Companies Short - BusinessWeek

Here we go again

Deeper changes afoot
More urbanization, which, ecologically speaking isn't all bad.
Drive population back from suburbs to the cities, less need for cars.
(are urban populations easier to manage?)
Mandate public transit as alternative, which is also workable.
(do passengers feel less independent?)

Discourage distance travel ... TSA is well on it's way to discouraging air-travel
(train population to be herded and managed by uniformed staff?)

For personal transportation :
We'll ignore physics, geography and infrastructure
Compare American market to Europe and make them equal ?


New Mileage Rules Debated by Carmakers and White House - NYTimes.com:

"The Obama administration and the auto industry are locked in negotiations over new vehicle mileage and emissions standards that will have a profound effect on the cars Americans drive and the health of the auto industry over the next decade and beyond."

Mandate for over 56MPG
Can be done, but, besides going hybrid, likely means mandates on size and performance.
Aerodynamics - smaller cross section... smaller
Mass - reduce it...smaller
Power, less horsepower, although "on demand" electrical back up could help.

HEARD ON THE STREET: A Long and Winding Road for Electric Vehicles - WSJ.com:

Electric cars can draw their power from natural gas, coal, wind or even the sun. But their economics are purely nuclear.
Nuclear power stations are relatively cheap to run, but enormously expensive to build. To commit to that, you need either very cheap financing—preferably subsidized—or clairvoyance on long-term electricity prices. The same goes for electric cars.
In a forthcoming report, the Boston Consulting Group estimates that even though costs should fall by 64% between 2009 and 2020, a typical 20 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery for a pure electric vehicle will still set you back almost $10,000 in today's money by the end of that period. So while your futuristic ride will run on lower cost electricity versus presumably expensive gasoline, the upfront outlay could negate this benefit.
Compounding this, BCG foresees manufacturers breathing new life into vehicles using traditional internal combustion engines, spurred on by tightening tailpipe emissions standards. Tweaks range from sleeker chassis reducing drag to lighter materials and better engines. Getting a typical compact car to 47 miles per gallon, or MPG, under this scenario, could cost just $2,000 extra per vehicle. Current average fuel economy is about 26 MPG.
Above, a 2011 Chevrolet Vol.
That could be a powerful headwind not just for battery-powered vehicles, but also hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles such as General Motors' Chevrolet Volt. Under BCG's scenario for tailpipe emissions reductions, the extra cost involved with a hybrid vehicle compared to current combustion engine vehicles could amount to $5,000 in today's money by 2020, about half the extra cost of a battery-only vehicle. Plug-in costs would lie somewhere in between.
So how many years would it take for a typical driver to make back the extra outlay for different technologies with fuel savings?
Assume a driver travels 14,000 miles per year. The advanced internal combustion engine gets 47 miles per gallon. The hybrid and, during the 20% of the time it runs on its gasoline engine, the plug-in hybrid both get 79 miles per gallon. That assumes they maintain their efficiency advantage relative to our new and improved traditional engine. The all-electric vehicle, meanwhile, and the plug-in's electric motor get four miles per kWh.
Assume also that annual maintenance costs range from $400 for the vehicle with the internal combustion engine down to $200 for the pure electric vehicle, which has fewer moving parts. In addition, discount annual cash outlays at 5%, in line with vehicle financing costs.
The key input is energy. At long-term prices of $4.50 for a gallon of gasoline and 11 cents per kWh, it takes just under six years for the hybrid vehicle to be more cost effective than the one with the advanced internal combustion engine. The plug-in's payback period is seven years; the electric vehicle about eight years. That's a long time in car years; beyond the expiry of a typical lease.
Higher gasoline prices shift things in the electric car's favor: At $6 gasoline, it pays off in less than six years. That's still pretty long and also doesn't factor in any costs for, say, installing a charger in your garage.
For electric vehicles to make serious headway, they will need much higher fuel prices or taxes, faster reduction in technology costs, or continuing big subsidies. The latter looks unlikely to prove sustainable in the U.S., which is why, in line with BCG's thinking, China and Europe— where regulatory incentives are more widespread than the U.S.—could be more receptive markets. What millions of Chinese driving gasoline-free vehicles will do to the oil price that underpins the electric vehicle's economics is another matter.

Fourth of July

Walter Russell Mead: The Future Still Belongs to America - WSJ.com:

"This tsunami of change affects every society—and turbulent politics in so many countries make for a turbulent international environment. Managing, mastering and surviving change: These are the primary tasks of every ruler and polity. Increasingly these are also the primary tasks of every firm and household.

This challenge will not go away. On the contrary: It has increased, and it will go on increasing through the rest of our time. The 19th century was more tumultuous than its predecessor; the 20th was more tumultuous still, and the 21st will be the fastest, most exhilarating and most dangerous ride the world has ever seen.

Everybody is going to feel the stress, but the United States of America is better placed to surf this transformation than any other country. Change is our home field. It is who we are and what we do. Brazil may be the country of the future, but America is its hometown."

Saturday, July 02, 2011

China: Keep it in perspective

"State-owned enterprises, an immature financial system, the specter of unpredictable social forces - hardly the formula for spawning aerospace giants."

Aviation Week April 25-May 2, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Flop gear: the failure of Formula 1 - FT.com:

"Formula 1 racing is a sexy sport … so how come it’s also so incredibly boring? Seriously, it takes a particular kind of genius to take something whose components include astonishing cars, vast amounts of cash, high-speed chases, fit drivers and hot women hangers-on and turn it into an afternoon of mind-crushing dreariness."


Flop gear: the failure of Formula 1 - FT.com:

"Formula 1 racing is a sexy sport … so how come it’s also so incredibly boring? Seriously, it takes a particular kind of genius to take something whose components include astonishing cars, vast amounts of cash, high-speed chases, fit drivers and hot women hangers-on and turn it into an afternoon of mind-crushing dreariness."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Office in My head

I know how this feels : office full of people (topics) in my head

Javier Bardem On A 'Biutiful' Acting Career : NPR:

"DAVIES: I mean it's a really dramatic role. And one of the things that's fascinating to me about it is that it takes place in Cuba but much of the dialogue is in English. How is acting in English different from acting in Spanish for you?

Mr. BARDEM: It's a different, it's a totally different situation and it's like here, I'm trying to express myself and share some opinions and be relaxed and giving you what I think, giving you some thoughts about what I feel or what I think and there's this office in my brain full of people working at the same time that I'm talking to you trying to not, I mean, be wrong with the intonation, with the words and so it's very exhausting."

Change you can believe in ...

Restrict domestic drilling but open SPR, but no, it's not political ...

White House taps reserves with eye on votes - FT.com:

"The decision to release oil from the SPR caused surprise in Washington, with analysts saying it was unprecedented because the US has released oil only twice before – after the 1991 Gulf war and after hurricane Katrina.
Even after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration decided against using the SPR on the grounds that oil supplies were not affected.
Since the Libyan conflict has been going on for almost four months, the move fuelled suggestions that the administration’s motives are purely political.
The White House denied this, saying oil was being released because the president was concerned about the “greater tightness” in the market because the conflict in Libya had taken 140m barrels out of global supply. Hurricane Katrina resulted in the loss of only 38m barrels, a senior administration official said."

Change you can believe in

Water boarding is evil, targeted assassinations are OK.

A weak America roars but retreats when the going gets tough | The A-List | Must-read views on today’s top news stories – FT.com – FT.com:

"Imagine how these same liberals would have reacted three years ago if it had been George W. Bush who had been ordering a campaign of targeted assassinations – not to mention overriding legal advice on the decision to launch air strikes against the Libyan government."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What can happen to hype

Can Think's electric car revolutionize the auto industry? - August 1, 2007

"There is a fundamental shift happening that is going to require new business models," says Ed Kjaer, an electric vehicle veteran who runs the EV program for Southern California Edison. "The timing is right. We are on a path now toward electric cars, and there is no going back."

Norwegian EV maker Think files for bankruptcy - AutoWeek: today

"Tiny electric car maker Think Global AS filed for bankruptcy today in its home market of Norway after attempts to keep the company going through recapitalization and restructuring failed, the company said in a statement. It is the fourth time Think has collapsed financially in its 20-year history"

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Fascinating visit this week

Computer History Museum | At the Museum

and just finished reading

Bob Lutz's book 'Car Guys vs Bean Counters' (excerpt)

Columnists | Lutz says business theorists hurt auto industry more than UAW | The Detroit News

"...it is the management style of the big car makers that was the principle reason for the domestic industry's demise, led by theorists with impressive MBA degrees from the top universities who had massive IQs but no common sense, in Lutz's view.
"For the better part of my career, I have seen what these bright, analytical, dispassionate, data-driven geniuses have done to our country's industry and commerce. Through a relentless pursuit of 'winning strategies' and elaborate 'missions, values and goals' statements - which incidentally, consume vast amounts of non-value-added time - these modern MBA graduates reject the obvious as being 'simplistic' and believe that elaborate alternative scenario planning and 'test wells' will provide a better (if not logical) answer," he says.
'Throw the intellectuals out'
"(Successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs of Apple and Britain's Sir Richard Branson) have a blissful lack of awareness of the analytical science of business. Uninfected by the MBA virus, they simply strive to offer a better product, one that delights the customer. They control costs, of course. And they tolerate a necessary level of bureaucracy. It's essential. But the focus is on the product or service ... thus the customer. American business needs to throw the intellectuals out and get back to business!"

So is there a disconnect? 
Not really
In business, you need passion for the product and/or service.
But, the age of the computer allows fast, detailed collection and analysis of data, which can (and should) be used to sharpen focus, improve speed to market, communications and all in all make business better.

I would agree with Lutz that data and analysis should not run the business
Computers and systems are tools

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lutz vs the MBA's

Just like economics is not a "science" maybe business isn't either

Make delightful products, and or deliver delightful service and your company will work.

Beguile with quality not baffle with BS

"Lutz reckons that his experience is not just applicable to the automotive industry, but to business generally.
"Shoemakers should be run by shoe guys and software firms by software guys and supermarkets by supermarket guys. With the advice and support of their bean counters, absolutely, but with the final word going to those who live and breathe the customer experience. Passion and drive for excellence will win over the computer-like dispassionate, analysis-driven philosophy every time," Lutz said."

Columnists | Lutz says business theorists hurt auto industry more than UAW | The Detroit News:

"For the better part of my career, I have seen what these bright, analytical, dispassionate, data-driven geniuses have done to our country's industry and commerce. Through a relentless pursuit of 'winning strategies' and elaborate 'missions, values and goals' statements - which incidentally, consume vast amounts of non-value-added time - these modern MBA graduates reject the obvious as being 'simplistic' and believe that elaborate alternative scenario planning and 'test wells' will provide a better (if not logical) answer," he says.
'Throw the intellectuals out'
"(Successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs of Apple and Britain's Sir Richard Branson) have a blissful lack of awareness of the analytical science of business. Uninfected by the MBA virus, they simply strive to offer a better product, one that delights the customer. They control costs, of course. And they tolerate a necessary level of bureaucracy. It's essential. But the focus is on the product or service ... thus the customer. American business needs to throw the intellectuals out and get back to business!"


This book is about what happened to America’s competitiveness, and why. Most of the examples and observations are from the automobile sector, for the simple reason that that’s what I know best, and I was a participant in the decades-long decline of General Motors. But the creeping malignancy that transformed the once all-powerful, world-dominating American economy from one that produced and exported to one that trades and imports is now common to all or most sectors.
It really boils down to a matter of focus, priorities, and business philosophy. Leaders who are predominantly motivated by financial reward, who bake that reward into the business plan and then manipulate all other variables to “hit that number,” will usually not hit the number, or, if they do, then only once. But the enterprise that is focused on excellence and on providing superior value will see revenue materialize and grow, and will be rewarded with good profit. Is profit an integral part of the business equation and a God-given right, no matter how compromised the product or service? Or is the financial result an unpredictable reward, bestowed upon the business by satisfied customers?
To some restaurant owners, people booking reservations weeks in advance is a sign that “we did something wrong.” Perhaps the food is too good . . . best to back off a bit on the quality of the meat and produce. Ease off on the butter! We’ll reduce cost, improve margins! And the customers, presumably, will keep coming, right?
But to other owners, the excess demand is a sign of success, of the formula working, of customers appreciating the value of their efforts. In this case, profit can be increased by selective higher pricing to keep the waiting times reasonable while gaining a premium reputation. Want to guess which restaurant will be in business longer, and be more successful?

surprise surprise

Unemployment and construction trades

Jobless Rate Below Average in 25 States - Real Time Economics - WSJ:

"Joblessness has mostly fallen nationwide but the pace of improvement has varied widely. Western states, many of which were battered by the housing bust, are still plagued by high unemployment rates. Meanwhile, conditions have improved greatly in the Midwest, helped along by a strong manufacturing recovery. The Midwest and Northeast reported the lowest jobless rates regionally."


Visited the Computer History Museum yesterday

It's all there

Flashbacks to my own, meager, exposure 
Brief video covers most of it for me
The Art of Writing Software - CHM Revolution

Fortran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "Formula Translation" and the need to develop a language higher than machine language (binary code) 

I hired on to do punch cards for MSU Grad Students while in high school, learning a bit of Fortran in the process

Later, pretty much passed on Cobol COBOL - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and picked up a bit of Basic BASIC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia to run on my first Apple II

While I managed to develop a basic financial oriented program (as if my lines of code could be describe as such) that would plot cyclic data patterns (stocks) it was cumbersome and not time efficient. I could manage to follow a handful of stocks, updated at the end of the day.

Then: VisiCalc 1979

Bob Frankston and Dan Brinklin
Harvard MBA candidate Daniel Bricklin and programmer Robert Frankston developed VisiCalc, the program that made a business machine of the personal computer, for the Apple II. VisiCalc (forVisible Calculator) automated the recalculation of spreadsheets. A huge success, more than 100,000 copies sold in one year.

Spreadsheets !!!

A higher level of data manipulation and I was home
Been working with spreadsheets ever since. 
When "macros" were introduced, I commented "looks like code - I don't do code anymore"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Home Ownership Matters ???

From Lansing Business Monthly

Plethora of inconsistent thought, so I'll reply (in red)

Home Ownership Matters

Recently there have been some in the media and academia questioning the value of homeownership. They ask if perhaps we would be better off as a nation of renters. This couldn’t be more wrong. Homeownership provides a litany of benefits for our nation, our community and for individual homeowners.
From the national perspective the 67 percent of American households that are homeowners pay 80 to 90 percent of individual federal income taxes which support programs that benefit all Americans. Research shows that for every home purchased $60,000 is pumped into the economy for furniture, home improvements and related items. Housing accounts for 15 percent of our gross domestic product.
GDP ... really?
Ongoing promotion of a consumer economy, without reference to source of products.
Does this help American production?
For our community, homeownership is critically important. In late 2010 the National Association of REALTORS® and Harris Interactive surveyed 1,880 homeowners and 1,115 renters about their community and quality of life. Though no causal relationship could be established, there is a strong correlation between owning a home and community satisfaction, quality of life, community connection, civic engagement and volunteerism.
"no causal relationship" ... then state correlation
Data please. What about urban areas where there are many long term renters.
Homeowners are often the glue that holds a community together. They do not move as often, vote and volunteer more, and bring stability to neighborhoods which helps reduce crime and support upkeep. Homeowners report enjoying a better quality of life, are happier and healthier, and feel a greater sense of control over their lives.
do not move-but now talent is tied down - double edged sword
According to a recent white paper by the National Association of REALTORS® titled “The Social Benefits of Homeownership” owner’s children tend to do better in school and stay in school longer.
unbiased source!
For the individual, besides the quality of life and health benefits, there are significant financial benefits of home ownership as well. Data from the Federal Reserve show a very real and extreme disparity in wealth between owners and renters. In 2007, the median net worth of home-owning families was $234,200 compared with $5,100 for renting families. The disparity has existed for many years and will continue to exist despite a decline in home values. Why is this?
disparity of wealth - no chicken and  egg reasoning here!
A homeowner’s equity in a home links a piece of their financial portfolio to the long-term growth of the economy. As our economy improves, homeowners will benefit. Real estate has greatly outperformed the stock market over the past 10 years despite declining values. With real estate you get to live in and enjoy your investment daily.
what benchmarks?
housing bubble followed the stock market bubble of the late 90's 
now housing prices down the last 5 years about 30% while S&P is about flat since 2000 (not including dividends), my conclusion - total BS 
No provision for transaction costs, realtors, closing costs, finance costs.
The portion of the mortgage payment that goes to principal repayment is not a cost of home ownership, it is forced monthly savings. As a forced monthly savings it is disciplined and largely painless.
forced monthly savings - if your property increases in value and we aren't even talking liquidity, which doesn't exist in today's market.
compare to constant dollar investments - invest the same amount in equities every month, if the prices are high, you buy less, if prices are low, you buy more shares.
Home ownership costs are generally stable while rents rise on the average of 3 percent a year. Renters are paying the landlord’s mortgage and homeowners pay themselves. Homeowners can also deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from their federal income tax. No wonder homeowners’ net worth is so much higher.
ownership costs - let's talk property taxes ...
will grant that there is a tax policy bias towards home ownership
if one does a bit of research, you would find that the genesis of tax law came about during the Great Depression, with an eye to both stability of the workforce for employers and assistance to this same population who otherwise had become more migrant
simply - to try to head off social unrest

today, you can have ossification of the work force where they cannot move to where there are better jobs if they are tied to failing property, having placed too much of their investment in an illiquid asset.
Here in Greater Lansing the opportunity for home ownership is better than it’s been in decades. Due to declines in average selling prices over the past four years and low mortgage rates we haven’t seen in 50 years, affordability here is remarkable. The average household income in Lansing would qualify for the conventional purchase of the median-priced home in most communities and low down payment FHA loans put houses in reach that would not have been possible for buyers just a few years ago. In fact, for first-time buyers, investors and move-up buyers it is hard to imagine a better time to buy.
opportunity for home ownership is better = prices are down
Improvements in the local economy including insurance company and auto-related hiring, declining unemployment and increased construction spending coupled with recovering IRAs and investment portfolios will contribute to a rise in confidence which will lead to rising home prices and sales volume. Anyone who has considered buying and qualifies for a mortgage should seriously consider participating in the American Dream now and begin to enjoy the many benefits of home ownership. Additionally, the national and local governments should do everything possible to support home ownership because it really does matter.
we are in the mess with home prices, in large part because of a national obsession, both parties, for increased home ownership - getting people who cannot handle home ownership into homes.
the market is suffering the hangover from a bubble of Brobdingnagian proportions 
nationally, almost a quarter of all homeowners are "under water" (owe more than their homes are worth)
further comment : 
US Housing Crisis Officially As Bad As Great Depression - CNBC
It's official: The housing crisis that began in 2006 and has recently entered a double dip is now worse than the Great Depression.

Prices have fallen some 33 percent since the market began its collapse, greater than the 31 percent fall that began in the late 1920s and culminated in the early 1930s, according to Case-Shiller data.


"Yet other factors are constraining the market.
After the fallout from the subprime debacle, in which millions lost their homes when they defaulted on loans they could not afford, banks changed underwriting standards.
More than four in every five mortgages now require a down payment of 20 percent, and credit history standards have tightened. At the same time, foreclosures continue at a brisk pace, pushing more supply onto the market and pressuring prices downward."

Debbie Barnett is the president and owner of Tomie Raines, Inc. The company was founded in 1977 and Barnett has owned the company since 2002. She began her real estate career and was an award-winning agent with two other local firms before joining Tomie Raines, Inc. in 1995. Barnett also owns TRI Title Agency and Tomie Raines Home Warranty Company.