The lies keep on coming

Just when you thought our Dear Leader might run out of ways to misrepresent the facts of any given topic, he comes up with new and unique ways to tell lies. And some of them just seem to be told so he can stay consistent in his lying. But when you hear some of them, you have to wonder what his motivation is for lying when telling the truth would be easier and would appeal to more people. After all , he adores attention and wants the largest audience and Twitter followers of all time (even though half of his might be bots and fake accounts).

It’s a bit like someone I know said of another famous liar: She would rather walk up 12 fights of stairs to tell a lie from the rooftop than tell the truth in front of you on the sidewalk. It seems even worse than the disorder known as being a pathological liar. Maybe there are degrees or levels of dishonesty. Little white lies might be lazy; someone did not take the time to research or ask questions – so they spout some lies to act as if they know what they are saying. Bigger lies can actually cause harm or injury (or death) which is many times more serious and destructive than those little white lies. Are lies important? Does it matter if one person with a high profile and undue influence over millions of people tells lies? Is that worse than you or I telling lies (for whatever sick reason) with frequency.

Since there are plenty of sources to feast on the huge bounty of lies told by our President, I will not repeat or attempt to recount them here. But if you do not accept that he is continually lying and do not believe his critics who claim he is dishonest, what is your problem? Do you lack a critical part of your hearing mechanism? Are you blinded by his orange skin and hair? Were you so afraid of women and/or blacks with some semblance of power that you were willing to vote for a corrupt, racist, abusive child of a man?

Once you were asked if you would choose to have health insurance or a white male in the White House and you chose no health insurance so you could have your while male. When that black President, Barak Hussien Obama, produced a flawed but effective health care system that added many millions into coverage that had none before, you called him a Muslim and wanted to wash that stain from our history and heritage. You support the wholesale removal of health and safety restrictions on polluting industries and are OK with unlimited drilling for oil and gas near the sacred site of Chaco Cultural Center or above the Arctic Circle. You might believe your Dear Leader is above the law and should not have to answer to the other two branches of government, even though there is confirmed evidence that he accepted help in getting elected and is probably literally an illegitimate President.

You seem to buy the BS that he is the best negotiator and a very successful businessman although his list of failed businesses is longer than can fit on a single page. You wanted Trump Casinos, Trump Airlines, Trump University degrees and Trump Steaks to hold onto. Where are they now?

My amateur writing skills do not do justice to the faults and shortcomings of that man. He is so vile and crooked that he cannot distinguish between right and wrong. He cannot see beyond himself such that any question becomes framed as how does this or that affect him? No matter that he is in a position of power and could help millions of people out of poverty, malnutrition, failing educational systems and a drug crisis that is killing thousands. What has he done about regulating gun sales? You must have a license to cut hair, drive a car or sell a house. But you do not need any such thing to own a gun in America. That is something he could fix tomorrow. Does he even know how little he would have to do in order to become a good guy to millions of Americans? They would forgive him his shortcomings if he would just fix one thing they want him to fix. Democrats would even vote for honest and helpful Executive Branch policy efforts that were humane and good for the common man. But that would not support his need to have enemies and keep tilting at windmills.

You did not come to this Santa Fe residential real estate blog to read my rantings about Trump did you? No apology. You can stop any time you want to. Nobody is going to tell you what to do or think here. My usual recommendation is to gather all the facts and allow the facts to help you arrive at a direction or a decision. Those facts allow you to feel strong in your convictions and stand tall against the winds of bullshit blowing around.

Definition of emergency

Use the word invasion and you might make it stick. According to someone who might have been elected with illegal methods, means and influence, there is an emergency on our southern border because HE wants there to be an emergency and is trying to create one there.

Yet Border security employees, US Senators and many residents who live quite near the border say there is not an emergency that a wall, or steel structure, or human barrier would resolve. The true emergency is that our “Dear Leader” (the greatest deal maker of all time) is doing his utmost to uphold his deeply held beliefs that anyone that might be brown should be kept out of our country and he wants to preserve it for whites and only whites. Brown (and black and other colors) scare whitey. How about Muslim, Islam, Hindu and Buddhist religions? They are scary too.

Having to help those in need is not in his DNA. The would=be immigrants coming to our southern border are, for the most part, in great danger and suffering from physical, economic and cultural persecution in their home country. Getting into the Greatest Nation on Earth at least gives them a small chance to live a safe and healthy life. And that Leader wants to close our borders and deny them access, even though our laws state that people can apply for asylum and be allowed to enter and take their chances that they may be allowed to stay. If you don’t agree with him, he leads cheers to say that you want Open Borders. Did I mention that lies are his currency?

There is a small problem with that Leader in that he needs to maximize confusion and distraction from the pressure he is feeling from his corrupt and illegal administration’s mistakes. This emergency makes lots of people forget that he is possibly going to be impeached or go to jail or be forced to resign (he will claim victory and say he was too good for us) for all those deplorable things he has been getting away with. Follow the money and then count how many people from his staff and his orbit are either already guilty (they have admitted as much) or under serious scrutiny for what they have been doing for years. Some have even committed Treason. Manafort, Flynn, Gates, some very close to the Leader would be shot in another era.

We are somewhat reassured that the courts will be brought in to help decide if he can declare this emergency for the narrow reason that he could not get what he wanted from the legislative branch of our government. But what a waste of time and money having to protect the rule of law and our constitution because HE wants something and was unable to get it on HIS terms and timeline. Throw a tantrum, it may help.

What is your version?

Stop making sense (when did you…?)

Interest rates are inching upwards, slowly but surely. Rate monitors say long-term residential mortgage rates have gone up about ONE percent over the last 12 months and another ONE percent is forecast for the next 12 months. What does that mean? It means that more and more people will be priced out of buying the home they might want. The home they could have bought last year will not be available to them next year. So waiting was not a good idea after all? Each person is different, so what you did with your money while you waited for the right time to buy a home is your business. Maybe you made a small fortune in the stock market? Congrats to you! Maybe you invested in your own business to further secure its long-term success; necessary before you splurged on that new home?

There are plenty of good reasons for almost any action you take when it comes to real estate. And it is incorrect to posit that all people are subject to the same rules and market conditions equally. But if you are on track to purchase (with a mortgage) a home about a year from now, you might be looking at fewer choices and a smaller or “lesser” home than you thought you would be buying. Should you jump now and get what you can get before that new one percent takes hold? Maybe. Call me to explore what is out there.

Rates are still at historically low levels. If you are quoted 4.75% to 5.25% right now, that is much better than most of the last 40 years. It’s just the last 8-10 years, when rates hit bottom to assist in getting our economy back up and running, that you could get a lower rate. Those days of crazy low rates are gone now. I recall back in 1979 being told the going rate for a home improvement loan was over 18%. Yes, I know, your credit card rate is likely higher and I hope to heck you pay it off monthly! But home improvement loans can run for 10 or 15 years.

Meanwhile, the Santa Fe residential real estate market is healthy going into the winter. Many assume homes don’t sell in the winter, but they do sell. In relative terms, winter will see 120 to 140 home sales a month while summer will see 200 to 240 unit sales. There is no wrong time to list your home. And allow me to be a broken record: inventory is low and dangerously low in the mid and lower price ranges. Even the million plus range has less inventory compared to demand than has been the case in many many years. That makes it a sellers market overall, with occasional geographic exceptions and anomalies.

What else is going on?

IMHO, logic and reason can sometimes modify gravity, hold back the floods, temper the wildfires and heal the sick, but they cannot explain some of the current events in this great country. Allow me to wonder when exactly America used to be great and how we lost our way. And leave it to you to speculate when we should go back to (in years, maybe the mid ’50’s – a time of innocence for baby boomers?).

Do you want to return to any particular year or decade? Was that time long before the Civil Rights laws and the efforts by some to give people of color a chance at living in America without having to live with widespread racism and persecution?  Was there a time of economic prosperity that lifted everyone equally, when almost nobody went hungry or without shelter? Is the time you want to return to when your family and friends had everything and the hell with everyone else? Were you slave owners or something? Is your happiness dependent upon others suffering? Go ahead, take a look at what you say you want. I’ll wait.

Personally I would rather move forward and make progress on many issues rather than go back to another time with different conditions for living in America.

Our country is in the hands of people who do not have my or your best interests at heart. They solely have their own interests in focus and the rest of us can go eat worms. With just a touch of curiosity you can learn of the deep damage being done today to humanitarian efforts and systems that are the only safety net for so many that do not have food and shelter. Our national parks are being ignored and underfunded, selling drilling rights where sacred ground and wilderness should prevail. Health insurance is quickly becoming something for the few, not even the majority, not to mention the need everyone has for some level of health care. Corporations are raping and pillaging our environment in the name of stockholder returns and preventing true progress in alternative fuels and care for the earth we must live on.

The recent mid-term elections seemed to prove, among other things, that now more than ever we must put women in leadership and control. They are going to be in charge sooner or later. I hope it is soon enough to allow them to correct the course we are on, because it needs serious correction. Leaving the fate of our future in the hands of old white males seems suicidal. As a group they seem bent on the destruction of morality and the abandonment of progress, although I am sure there are some fine people on both sides! Both sides of what?

What is your worry when you go to bed at night? What keeps you awake? I observe the downward trends in civility and honesty among those that live and work together, yet might not always agree on things. I worry about drunk drivers and careless texting while driving, putting me at risk of being terminated by an event I cannot control. I am sorry so many fail to take care of themselves as they age and sad for those that were unable (or unwilling) to save money for their old age years. Who will pay for their care?

As people age they need more help in simply living and the oldest need the most help in the current system of societal care for elderly. If we are too old to work and are not employable, what are we contributing to our world? Are we caring for grandchildren and providing love and nurture to those less fortunate; to those in great need? Or are we watching TV all day and grumbling about the dog shit left in our front yard and the lack of money for infrastructure leaving potholes to grow larger? What is bothering you?

Thanks for staying in front of your screen and I hope to have helped trigger some thinking and some reflection on what sometimes is forgotten. Now go buy a house!

RECOUNT!!

I guess anyone might demand a recount if they really want to. But its clear only those on the short end of vote counts ever want a recount. You COULD demand a recount for home sales in Santa Fe year to date or you could just bite your lip and accept my numbers. They are not perfectly accurate, never were intended to be, but they are a consistent measurement of where residential real estate sales are going and where we have been. We are in such an improved market over the wretched one of the last 10 years that it would be easy to relax and assume all is well forever. Not so fast on the casual attitude!

This year’s now completed 10 months of sales is running at 7.8% more unit sales above last years first 10 months. We will likely end the year in similar shape; great improvement and manageable growth. But what are we going to do about the lack of inventory? To have an absorption rate below 3 months in the under $500K price range is crazy because it does not favor the buyer in any way. So the pressure to keep raising prices up from the bottom just makes everything less affordable for the first time home buyers and those with little or no down payment. And if the people that live and work here cannot afford to live here, do we have to build more highways so they can commute from El Rito or Golden?  Or Belen?

We are thankful for the snowfall today and hope El Nino kicks in some much needed snowpack to extend our claim on this high desert. Without water to drink and wash our dinner plates, how can we keep growing and prospering? Some would say we are already growing faster than we should. IF we had more homes under say $350K we would increase our growth rate exponentially. I am personally not sure what is right or wrong about growth. You be the judge. But not having affordable housing in the greater Santa Fe area cannot be right for realistic human needs.

Thanks for voting and I hope you got whom you wanted. Make it a habit to vote anytime there is an election. And maybe get some people elected that will take action on the rapid destruction of our planet and our habitat. New Mexico could be a leader in alternative energy and if we make it a priority, it will serve us well with new jobs and all that follows. While you are at it, take the Roadrunner sometimes, just to save some petrol and some ozone. Or take the bus or ride your bike instead of starting your car. Please.

Happy and warm holiday wishes to all.

Not my President

Yes, the title of this post is correct. It is exactly what I meant to type in the headline space. If you are highly sensitive and thin-skinned and lean right (politically speaking) you may want to quit reading. I am passionate about what is going on and I cannot avoid using this blog to speak up.

But wait; I am a Realtor and I am not supposed to openly state my political beliefs for fear of losing business, right? Some say it is blasphemy or professional suicide to speak or write one’s political views, in case a prospective customer might see or hear me and decide they can’t work with me. That’s too damn bad for me, I suppose. Hmmm… Guess I am a US citizen before I am a Realtor. And for a real estate blog about Santa Fe NM residential property and market trends, I might be preaching to the choir; I don’t know. Santa Fe is as left leaning as any city I am aware of. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.

If you have alt-right, anti-POC, anti LGBT, anti-Semite, climate change denying, socially regressive, pro-Trump views and beliefs, do not contact me for real estate business if you prefer to work with someone who is more like you. I might speak about my beliefs while in your company. I might ask you about your beliefs. I am both sorry not sorry. That’s just the way it is. There are plenty of other Realtors out there that will keep their mouth shut when it comes to current events.

If you fear we are dangerously close to becoming a socialist country, which might mean affordable health care for all, don’t contact me. If you believe “Drill baby drill” is the best philosophy when it comes to energy sources, do not contact me.

Until there are checks and balances on the 45th President, preventing him from taking away basic health care from those that most need it, not allowing him to put abusers and hateful people into lifetime appointments in the judicial system, forcing him to obey the laws of this land (taxes, emoluments, honest dealings with people), I will not agree to just give him some time to sort things out. Already, in less than 2 years, he has destroyed many hard-fought victories for many disadvantaged and suffering people and institutions. He has laid waste to honesty and integrity in his communication and his behavior. He has incited violence (terrorism) here at home and destroyed alliances with almost all of our allies (unless he profits from doing business with them). He represents, so he says, his base, but that might be a mere 35 to 40% of people who actually voted in 2016. That might approach 20% of all Americans. So yes, more people should vote.

Let us all be certain to vote November 6th (I voted early and was pleased to see good crowds out on a rainy day). Because until we vote in enough legislative people to put a check on the lawless, corrupt, unethical, immoral and hateful activities he supports, we will have to be very careful in what were traditionally safe places: schools, places of worship, places of public gatherings…

Every now and then someone comes along that gets such a large head start on fooling the majority of people, that a great deal of damage is done before enough come to realize what is going on. We have passed the point where we are impressed with his ability to garner votes. Once the Russian meddling in our elections became well-known and understood, his legitimate standing as President became in doubt. He is not my President.

What are others saying? I have borrowed from a New Yorker article recently published online:

On Wednesday, David Gergen, the veteran Republican political commentator, who has worked for four different Presidents, said on CNN, “Donald Trump unleashed the dogs of hatred in this country from the day he declared he was running for President. And they’ve been snarling and barking at each other ever since. It’s just inevitable there are going to be acts of violence that grow out of that.”

The veteran Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who worked on the Presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain, has become an ardent critic of Trump. On Wednesday, in a series of tweets commenting on the pipe-bomb attacks, he described Trump as “the greatest demagogue in American history,” someone who “has celebrated violence over and over again.” Schmidt went on, writing that “no journalist or commentator should be intimidated from making this point. The stoking of hatred and sundering of the American people was always going to lead to terrible consequences. Chief amongst them would be the initiation of partisan or sectarian violence within our country.”

The above quotes are just from this week, a tragic and historically horrible week in our history. Is it getting better? I say no, as long as that President continues to blame everyone else for his human shortcomings and his determination to abandon democracy for the sort of dictatorship practiced by Putin that he so covets. He simply cannot stand criticism, believing it to be unfair to him. In a way it is as if he thinks he lives “above the law”.

Here is to honest and heart-felt discourse without blame and without prejudice. Here is to finding ways to make ourselves and our society better. Here is to helping preserve this beautiful world for our great-grandchildren. I hope each and every person can find ways to improve someone else’s welfare and sanity in addition to just worrying about their own piece of the pie.

The day of the week of the month of the year

The charts and spreadsheets available to you on this blog site are now updated to include sales and inventory as of the end of August 2017. Eight months into the 2017 books and we are running a nice and tidy 12.3% above last years numbers in unit sales for Santa Fe city and county. That is music to many ears. To finally have consistent growth and improvement in our market is a welcome milestone. Remember all real estate is local and each home and neighborhood have distinct characteristics.

Nobody said it would be easy and it has not been easy to climb out of the deep hole that the economic crisis put all of us into. But we have succeeded and are not planning to fall back in anytime soon. There was a place and time (maybe around 2009 and 2010) when I firmly believed that residential real estate could lead us out of the real estate downturn, the tremendous loss of personal financial wealth and “loss of savings in the form of home equity” that we experienced.

It would have taken a mea culpa from the big banks (the ones too big to fail) accepting the millions of bad loans they had on their books as truly bad loans. It would have taken them swallowing a huge pill of write-offs, effectively lowering the principal balance of millions of home loans by tens of thousands of dollars. And all for what? To be done with the depression years sooner? They got bailed out (at least the ones that did not close up shop) so what did they care? The personal health and well-being of the CEOs and stockholders of those big banks would have had to admit to stupidity and white-collar crime, but it would have gotten things upright in a much faster timeframe.

No it did not happen. They took the bailout terms and never admitted guilt. They foreclosed on millions of Americans who were lied to when they bought homes they could not afford. The big banks profited when the loans were made and got insurance on most of the loans that failed to payoff in full. Those consumers that were innocent and actually qualified for the home loans they took out still suffered because of all the other junk and debris around them. Homes were sold for $400K that were worth $325K. When the home buyer moved in, the appraiser said it was worth $400K. But after the 3rd year of fixed payments, when the monthly debt service doubled or tripled, then the owner had a home worth more like $300K or $325K so if they owed $350K, what were they supposed to do?

I know of many that lived through the storm and did not abandon their homes and declare bankruptcy and/or sign a deed in lieu of foreclosure. They kept paying every month and yes, sooner or later the balance came down enough that they no longer owed more than the home was worth. It took ten years or possibly longer. And the entire time they had no increase in net worth and spent every cent they made keeping the payments up and not taking vacations.

What is your recollection? Here is mine. I am a little bitter about the dishonesty at the top of the money pyramid, and also a bit proud that I did not cave in and deed my home to the bank when it was worth less than I owed against it. Now that its finally worth what I paid for it in 2001, I am selling it. Maybe the money I spent on a new roof, new stucco and other necessary things is offset by the deduction of mortgage interest? I sincerely doubt it, but will do the math if it will help me accept 16 years of ownership and upkeep just to have nothing to show for it now.

The lesson that a home is not an ATM is not that difficult to learn. I never treated my home like an ATM. I used equity to pay for roof and stucco and other things the property required. The tough love that homes do not always go up in value is something I still see people struggle with. They expect their home to be worth more in the years after they purchased it. But in Santa Fe residential real estate, is that a reasonable expectation? Ask your friendly Realtor to help you arrive at a market value. No rules apply evenly to all property.

Remembering the tragic events of Sept 11, 2001 brings humility and respect to front of mind. We only are handed this one life and we should live it to the fullest every day. With hurricanes bringing pain and suffering to so many millions, being thankful for what we have is an everyday event. And if we can help others we are better people for taking action. We all have so much to share.

Where are you going?

Predictions are risky and can be very embarrassing if you are wildly incorrect. But they are free to all comers. Anyone can predict the sky will fall or who will win the next election. There is not really a penalty for being wrong, is there? I will tell you where we are going if you promise not to remind me when later it is determined that I was wrong in my predictions. We have a deal?

Santa Fe real estate will continue to be a fairly good bargain when compared with many resort and historically significant cities in the Southwestern US. While Santa Fe residential real estate might be considered expensive compared to other NM cities, it is not at all like other NM cities, so direct comparison is not always helpful.

We will continue to have a shortage of newly built quality homes for sale while the dance of fiscally healthy home builders and construction lenders keeps spec home building artificially low. There may be barely enough inventory under $500K to keep abreast of demand, but so few new homes are being built in the upper price ranges that the choices for a buyer are limited to someone else’s idea of luxurious living. Or a ‘new to Santa Fe’ buyer could choose to build what they want, as many do after looking at the choices.

Water will still be a precious commodity for all of us anywhere near Santa Fe. This is true of the entire Colorado Plateau and east to Texas. We will experience ongoing drought conditions and water conservation will be more important than ever, as newcomers try to find their place in the City Different. Alternative energy sources will increase in usage and homes will increasingly be powered by sunlight. Geothermal and wind generated energy should also prosper. While our public electric utility tries to limit the acceptance of solar energy to replace their coal burning contracts, the public will demand it both for cost and the demonstrable effect on our climate.

This area will continue to struggle to convince its young people to stick around as the bling and glitter of big cities will still be a strong lure. Until we have free city-wide high-speed internet and more affordable housing for young adults, we will have a net loss of census numbers in our population of residents between 20 and 40. The effect of  the aging of our population will make the gap between the haves and the have-nots even wider. Born here all my life citizens will see more and more money flow into the community for the sole use of the wealthy second home buyers and residents that dip their toes in the water but do not become immersed in Santa Fe. They will bring it but not really spend it here. We will always have good choices for fine dining and luxury lodging for visitors yet Santa Feans with jobs will have to pay for parking and fail to get decent health care from most employers. Being the land of manana means it will not likely turn into a major conflict here, but the divide will be felt acutely by those getting by with less.

Your wait person at the next restaurant you dine at will still have a higher university degree and will continue to ask you if you are still working on that while you have your fork in your hand and a mouthful of food. There will be a public outcry about wait staff refilling water glasses without asking. Why don’t we just start paying 10 cents a glass, or maybe a quarter. No free refills.

Santa Fe will become a regional center for the admiration and worship of the Siberian Elm tree, a truly invasive weed/tree that sucks more water out of the earth than all the pinion and juniper combined. The shade these weeds provide will once again come up short when compared to the cost of loss of water in the ground and root damage to plumbing and pavement. The last person to agree to cut down such a tree on their property will also be the first person to call for the lowering of property taxes and better schools for youngsters. Confusion will reign as education about the value and importance of types of trees becomes mandatory for property owners. Flat roofs will continue to leak.

Our state will put a Democrat into the Governor’s office next time around. We are in a cycle and the current Gov, a Republican, is wrapping up her 2nd term so its time to change again. No matter who gets in, that person will get a second four-year term unless it is discovered that they hired immediate family members for important positions, who failed to disclose meetings with Texans in their paperwork.

The Aamodt (water rights) lawsuit will be settled someday, much to the distaste of everyone involved. Nobody will be happy about the terms and conditions of said settlement, yet life will go on and water restrictions will remain.

On a wider perspective, the EU seems to be in a pickle as its various member nations go through troublesome and confusing times. Many want isolation while others realize there is power and safety in alliances. It seems a macho/bully sort of demand for going it alone – making Bosnia great again – while denigrating every other country and ally. The soft/sensitive side of national leaders admit we cannot do it as islands; we need our connections and our friends to make everything great again. And what is the definition of great again exactly? A time when the old white guys had unlimited power and commanded everyone else’s life, or a time when we were all innocent and desperate standing in soup lines in the 1930s? What decade do you wish we could return to? In the 1950s I was young and naive. Life was good and I had a bicycle and rode it everywhere in a 10 mile radius of home. I knew where the candy counter was too.

In the 50 states, turmoil is the rule right now. Elected officials are getting hell from their constituents when they talk about voting for a health care bill that takes away care from many. The concept of national health care seems impossible yet it is carried out successfully in many countries with fewer resources. Bipartisan and fair for all; then figure it out. If controls on Pharma and the medical world are necessary, that is the price to pay to cover everyone. Or if you believe that those that cannot afford health care should do without, please track a suffering person without care and add up how the emergency room and numerous public services actually spend money caring for that person. Preventative work is almost always better than treating the sickness once it takes hold. And there is more…

The average American may or may not agree if we should stay in the Paris Accord (climate change fears) and carry the burden of moving swiftly and completely into a sustainable style of living. Yet we have strong evidence that a refocus on alternate energy and reusable materials can be economically viable. If Big Oil has power, we will utterly fail to take action until the best we can do is stay alive with filters and masks and be afraid to step out in public lest the lepers and zombies get close to us. Each person needs to ethically figure it out for themselves. If some are waiting for a voice to guide them, that voice is not yet on the scene. It will probably be someone who is only 9 years old today. When did you realize you are using more than your fair share? And why is that OK with the rest of us?

Caring for those in need is not mandatory in our current world. Yet choosing not to care for people who desperately need assistance is basically telling them to get lost; go off and die somewhere far away. I don’t think we are in a postapocalyptic world in which we need to be heavily armed against invaders who want to raid our food storage and steal our clean water. Are you hoarding gold? Will that feed your children? What fuels the paranoia dominating those that have plenty over those going without? What are they afraid of? The revolution that some fear will be much messier if it is made up of starving people fighting for food instead of those with full bellies that just want better education and free mass transit. Pick your battles, I suppose. Are some afraid that if everyone had plenty to eat and access to health care then the world would be out of balance?

In the future, blogs will be blogs and real estate will be real estate. You might own real property, build a shelter and stock it with two years worth of food and water. But then what cable channel will you watch when the two coasts are obliterated and the less populated states have the survivors? Wyoming and Montana have lots of empty spaces where bombs will not fall and disease and armed insurgents will never capture territory. And yet…    Who is going to do your yard work? Will you need to dry clean anything? Is Blue Apron still around? What do I do with my golf membership?

Predictions are risky and since no large wager of money is on the line, I can handle being wrong if it turns out that way. But I prefer to be right. Maybe you do also. It’s probably human nature to desire and hope that things turn out the way you want them to. What some people seem to want just scares the hell out of me. Should I get over it or speak up?