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Harry’s predictions 2012

No one can predict anything. Only fools make predictions. But thinking about them is useful.

The BIG issue is interest rates. For eons, my friends have told me, “Interest rates are going up imminently. All your bonds and dividend payers will soon be valueless.”

Look at the top-performing asset class of 2011. Amazing.

The Fed sets interest rates.  It keeps them low to stimulate growth in the economy. It raises them to combat inflation. It doesn’t see inflation now. It sees the need for growth. You and I might disagree, but we’re not setting interest rates.

That said, the present 4% level for mortgages looks remarkably appealing. Some specifics:

+ The world economies won’t grow much in 2012. The big battle of 2011 was Austerity versus Keynesian pump-priming (government spending). Austerity won. You can’t fire millions of government workers worldwide and expect the worl’d economies not to feel the losss of their wages.

+The European problem won’t go away. They will muddle along. But they won’t bring down the world’s financial system — like we were worried about several times in 2011.

+ Online buying — called E-tailing — will hit a tipping point this year. Chains with no redeeming value, like Best Buy and Sears, will be hit hard. Why would I buy anything ever from Best Buy when Amazon has it cheaper and in stock? If you can sell shoes online (i.e. Zappos), you can sell anything.

+ Multipurpose devices will eclipse single purpose devices — smartphones will do away with standalone GPS units. This could spell problems for companies like Garmin.

+ All of us will realize that industries that the world’s governments encourage are disaster investments — e.g. natural gas, ethanol, solar,  biotech, automobiles  and of course banks.

+ At some stage gold will resume its upward trajectory of the last 15 years — every year with a gain.  That point may be now. The hedge funds have stopped selling it to fund their 2011 redemptions. But Indians (from India) need to start buying again. Their economy hasn’t been doing well. This is a “watch and wait.”

+ Internet gambling will become more of a reality as states get increasingly desperate for new monies. I don’t know which stocks to buy. I do know that online gambling is too open to hacking and fraud. I won’t play online poker if I know someone can hack in and see my cards.

+ More of us will discover three things about our health. First, the value of exercise and lower weight. Second, the debilitating affects of stress on our health. Many of us will develop ways to avoid it — especially in our investment portfolios.  Third, the importance of avoiding both salt and sugar.

+ I don’t believe the Republicans will take the White House — at least unless one of them comes out with a real plan. We’re all sick of the negativism, intransigence and programs that only benefit the top 1%. Washington is a mess, e.g. Congress passed the Consumer Protection Act, but won’t confirm the agency’s boss. That’s just plain stupid.

+ Hopefully 2012 will be the year we finally stop listening to stock analysts and rating agencies. This paragraph from my weekend reading hit me:

Until the week before the collapse of MF Global, your peer agencies were giving that firm an investment-grade credit rating. As usual, the big ratings agencies did not sound the alarms until long after the fire was raging out of control. In S.& P.’s case, it kept an investment-grade rating on MF Global until it filed for bankruptcy protection.

+ 2012 may turn out to be The Year of The Local Investment. More and more of us realize stock markets are stacked against us. The computer, the Internet and high speed computer trading has made it too difficult. But in places where there is limited information, things are more interesting. For example, a friend is buying local crapped-out warehouses for $10 a square and renting space in it for $5 a square foot. The big challenge in buying cheap real estate is having the imagination to repurpose the building into some other use and the finding a tenant. It’s happening. Businesses that weren’t successful at $50 a square foot suddenly become viable at $5 a square foot. A friend offered a bank one-third less than its asking price plus $1,111 to make the bid look thought-through. The bank accepted. Are banks finally getting the junk off their balance sheets. Check your local banks.

+ There is Federal Government money around. You can find it for your favorite project. A friend’s community got a $2.1 million grant for a transportation rail hub, that will benefit a bunch of local businesses, including his.

Secrets of the Operating Room. Fragile egos, obese patients and talking organs: A surgeon’s view of what happens under the scalpel.

A fascinating excerpt of a book called “Confessions of a Surgeon” by Paul A. Ruggieri, M.D.. Click here.

WiFI has its charms but.… Direct wired connection is typically two to three times faster than WiFi. Hook in, if you can.

Car’s temperature gauge tells a story. My Subaru’s temperature soared  into the red zone over the weekend. It needed coolant. Good idea to regularly check your car’s liquids — coolant, oil, power steering, window washing. Not intelligent of me that I hadn’t checked them before the problem.

If your temperature soars into red, turn off f your engine. Wait for it to cool. Limp to the nearest convenience store and buy container of coolant.

A Letter from Kim Jong-un
January 2, 2012

To the People of Iowa

PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report) –
Dear Voters of Iowa:

In December I became Supreme Leader of North Korea.  Pretty amazing development for a twentysomething who at the time was still living at home and spending all day playing Angry Birds.  But there I was, receiving the cheers of millions of North Koreans, who usually don’t get that excited unless they’ve caught sight of a pork sandwich.

Here is why I am writing to you today: on Tuesday, you will go to your caucuses and choose from among a field of Republican presidential candidates.  And let me tell you, the idea of any of these people getting nuclear weapons scares the shit out of me.

This is just one of many differences between your country and mine.  In North Korea, we lock up the criminally insane.  In America, you let them debate on TV.  Right now you have people running for President I would not trust to take care of my plants.

So who do I recommend you vote for on Tuesday?  In a word, me.

If you think about it, I am the most Republican candidate of all.  In North Korea, we have no taxes.  We have achieved that through a conservative policy of no jobs.  Also, we have no wasteful “big government” programs providing food, shelter, or safe drinking water.  And am I pro-life?  Well, try this on for size: I believe that life begins at conception and ends at starvation.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: I’m too young to be President, since I’m under 35.  Well, who would you rather have running your country, someone who’s under 35, or someone whose IQ is under 35?

I think when you look at all the facts, voters of Iowa, you’ll realize that Kim Jong-un is the Republican who most deserves your vote.  And if you’re still not convinced, remember this: at least I’m not Mitt Romney.

Peace out yo,

Your Supreme Leader

The fallen congregation

An old priest got sick of everyone in his parish confessing adultery.

During one Sunday’s sermon he told them, “If one more  person confesses to adultery, I’ll quit!”

Since everyone liked him, they decided to use a code word: ‘fallen’.

From then on, anyone who had committed adultery said they had ‘fallen’.

This satisfied the old priest and the parishioners, and everything was fine for years, until finally the old priest passed away at the ripe old age of 93.

Shortly after, the new young priest settled in, he paid a call on the mayor. The priest was quite concerned. ‘You have to do something about the sidewalks in this town, Mayor. You can’t believe how many people come into the confessional talking about having fallen!’

The mayor started to laugh, realizing that no one had explained their code word to the new priest.

But before the mayor could explain, the priest shook his finger at the mayor and said – ‘I don’t know why you’re laughing; your wife fell three times last week

Harry Newton who wondered why a tiny little state like Iowa (population three million) is so important in our election process? Figure all those nice, fat, farm subsidies. And who gets more than his fair share…

A favorite New Yorker cartoon showed workers watching the procession of a dead pharaoh into a pyramid.  One worker commented, “And they told us it was for high density, low cost housing.”

This cartoon from this week’s issue updates the story:

What are your predictions for 2012?


  1. Stephen says:

    You ask for predictions but only after writing that only fools make predictions?

  2. Tom says:

    IMHO the Fed is keeping interest rates low in order to keep the US interest debt from blowing up, and to keep the TBTF banks from blowing up, and to try and keep a lid on the Euro/Dollar swap rate to help keep the EU from blowing up.  All at the expense of (i.e., stealing from) the Savers in our country, and preventing any significant capital formation from taking place.  Less capital formation means less economic activity, which means fewer jobs, which mean less tax revenue, which means more need for government borrowing, which means more need to keep interest rates low, which means less capital formation…

  3. Fderfler says:


    1. BOA = too big to fail and bailed out 
    2. Military conflict with Iran starting around August 
    3. Harry's advice about “invest local” proves very sound 
    4. Major cities (e.g. Detroit) have major financial problems and unrest 
    5. Gold floats unrelated to anything rationale 
    6. Europe kicks the can further down the road toward the cliff  

  4. Karch_Buttreau says:

    I would have the Subie checked for a blown head gasket.

    • HarryNewton says:

      Will do. Thank you.

      • pymoo says:

        Check your oil to see if it looks milky from coolant entering into the crankcase. Otherwise, check for leaks. My leaky Passat requires special pink coolant from the VW dealer.

  5. Pat says:

    ” I don’t believe the Republicans will take the White House — at least unless one of them comes out with a real plan. We’re all sick of the negativism, intransigence and programs that only benefit the top 1%. Washington is a mess, e.g. Congress passed the Consumer Protection Act, but won’t confirm the agency’s boss. That’s just plain stupid.” 

    Since Obama has a plan is always positive. Got it. 

    The CPA lacks accountability by congress like something in place for the Department of Defense…  and thats what is holding it up.  Something we should all look for in a government agency.

    • RonaldReagan says:

      Pat……Harry is a liberal therefore he has absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

  6. Mile High says:

    Happy New Year, Harry!

    While it is always good to check their levels regularly, the fluids in your vehicle should not be depleted to that extent unless they are consumables such as windshield washer fluid or gasoline.  More often than not, a significant depletion of a vehicle's fluid is a sign of a possible leak.  The fluids are kept under intense heat and pressure when the engine is running so it is not unusual to have gaskets or hoses that wear out over time and seep fluid, which can be a lot over a long time period.  Scheduled fluid changes are recommended to flush out contaminants and not for the purposes of refilling.  The cheapest way to check for a leak is to open the hood and look for any presence of the depleted fluid as well as looking at your parking spot to look for fluid on the ground.