Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bare facts and naked truths of a whoredog economy

King Louis XIV, showing just enough thigh and swordDear President Obama: Should we sell our house?

by Craig J. Cantoni

Your Excellency:

This is your humble servant. I'm writing from my home in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, where it's 113 degrees outside and 82 degrees inside. I'm sitting here half-naked with the ceiling fan whirring so fast that papers are flying off my desk.

It gives me solace, though, to know that you and Michelle probably have the thermostat set at a comfortable 72 degrees in that big white house in Washington. I hope it's just as comfortable in the big home you own in Chicago, whether it's empty or being rented by someone.

If King Louis XIV of France deserved to live in Versailles while preaching to his lords about the living conditions of the serfs, then you deserve to live in luxury while preaching to plebeians like me about global warming. After all, Louie believed in the Divine Right of Kings, just as you believe in the Divine Right of Presidents. And like you, Louie was able to centralize power and raise taxes because his subjects were fed up with the wars of his predecessors. Were they ever surprised, however, when he would later engulf France in war. Still, Louie was able to stay on the throne and build monuments to his narcissism, thanks to having the undying loyalty of the propagandists at CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, the New York Times, K-12 schools, and universities.

Oh, sorry, I got him confused with you.

I'm turning to you for advice, your majesty, because you learned everything about everything at Harvard Law, including everything there is to know about real estate and climate change. Accordingly, I'd be honored if you'd give me your opinion on whether my wife and I should sell our house and move to a townhouse half the size, which, because of the peculiarities of the local market, is priced the same as our house. We'll be empty-nesters next month and, because of your unwavering belief that humans are causing the Earth to warm, we'll be facing rising costs for heating and air-conditioning.

The Obama BrainAs an aside, people I know who are the most learned in science and the scientific method have the most doubts about the unproven hypothesis about global warming and CO2. Obviously, their opinions are worthless, because they didn't attend Harvard Law, which is renowned for its expertise in meteorology and climatology.

Currently, the electricity for our all-electric home comes from one of the largest nuclear power plants in the country. Last year, our total utility bill was $3,368.70 for a 3,860 sq. ft. home. To save electricity, I sometimes shower outside during the summer under a homemade shower that is hooked up to 50 feet of garden hose, which is heated by the sun. I think I'm violating a rule of the homeowner's association, so please don't tell them.

It's a mystery to me why customers of Arizona Public Service should face rising energy costs from your climate legislation when our electricity isn't generated by burning fossil fuels. Could you explain that?

My guess is that it has something to do with the fact that many of your adoring constituents are Northeastern bluebloods and Brahmins who live in big, old, drafty, and energy-inefficient frame houses, many of which are heated with oil. Surely, they're going to expect you to bail them out with hidden energy subsidies at the expense of red-state people like me.

Normally, I'd make such an important decision as selling a house without coming to you, but real estate values have historically been whipsawed by the arbitrary and contradictory decisions of politicians. (Arbitrary political decisions have caused similar distortions in the markets for medical care, education, and energy.)

For example, when we bought our current home in 1992, we had to buy a larger and more expensive house than we needed in order to avoid the IRS's capital gains rule in effect at the time. Now your central planners, who drive around Washington in government-issued Chevy Suburbans, want to get people out of suburban homes and into high-density housing along mass transit lines.

Another example: Because you and your Democrat party have always been opposed to education vouchers, home buyers with the means have selected neighborhoods based on the quality of the local public school. This has led to an exodus from central cities and has caused neighborhoods to be segregated by race and socioeconomic status. With vouchers, parents could live anywhere and send their kids to good schools, wherever they might be located.

Still another example: Because of the government's easy money policies, its backing of the Congressional playpens of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, its longstanding loony belief that housing is a good investment, its tax deduction for mortgage interest, its tax dodges for investor-owned real estate -- because of all these reasons, the housing market expanded into a bubble and then burst, with the fragments landing in the toilet. Thankfully, we have a federally-approved toilet that doesn't use much water per flush, although we have to flush several times per visit and keep a plunger handy.

I hate to break this to you, your highness, but even a plunger won't unclog the blockage in the housing market caused by your economic policies, which have made things worse and protracted the inevitable correction. Now, uncertainty over what you might do next has caused other markets to become clogged.

Home prices have plummeted about 40 percent on average in Phoenix. Three of the seven homes for sale in our neighborhood were bought by investors during the bubble, in the hope of flipping them for a profit. To illustrate, an investor bought one of the houses two years ago for $850,000, made cosmetic changes to it to fool buyers who are easily fooled by cosmetics, and put it back on the market for $1.2 million. He since has reduced the asking price several times to the current price of $799,000, which is probably $150,000 too high. Idiots like him, responding to government incentives, tax deductions, and easy money, have hurt everyone else.

In his defense, no one in the government or media warned the public that a bubble was forming, although the data were readily available and indisputable. For example, Yale professor Robert Shiller published data showing that home prices had skyrocketed 99 percent above the historic mean. Unfortunately, he is an economist and not a Harvard lawyer, so his insights and predictions were ignored.

Well, those are the facts. Please tell me what my wife and I should do, based on whatever diktats you and your apparatchiks are hatching. Should we:

a. Stay put and start going naked in the house in the summer? (For some reason, my wife is less keen about this idea than I am.)

b. Sell our house for peanuts, get rid of most of our possessions, and move into a tiny townhouse? (Not to be nosy, but will you and Michelle be doing the same?)

Craig J. Cantonic. Wait until Americans come to their senses and vote you out of office?

Thank you for your answer.

With all due deference,

Your hot and obedient servant,

Craig J. Cantoni

An author and columnist, the sweltering Mr. Cantoni can be reached poolside at


Anonymous said...

As usual - your comments are superb. I've copied them and I'm going to send them to my co. tax asser ,collector here in texas who states that my home has increased in value $ 10,000.00 this year and they are raising my property taxes approately ! Never mind that texas is in the top 7% in home reposessions and the fact that property values have droped in the last 2 years! Same old story, The rich are still stealing from the poor! I know noone will believe this but, Our elected state officials don't care - "The hell you say".

Gary D. said...

Very good, Craig. I enjoy despising him about as much as you, I'm sure.
Thanks for a great read ...

Gary D.
Gilbert, AZ

Alinka said...

Dear Michelle,

I just read a fantastic piece of truthful literature by my friend Craig Cantoni. I think you should read it. You might learn a thing or two, especially about royalty. First, never tell anyone, especially not in front of a microphone that you have "never been proud of this mean country," because people have good memories. That statement will jump up to bite you in your fat black ass one day.

Secondly, don't paw the queen. She is not into a "give me a high five; right on; hey bro;" type of introduction. She prefers a curtsy. Otherwise you prolong the myth of the ugly American overseas; and some of us have a lot of class. Something you are seriously lacking!

It is only a matter of time before the southern population in this GREAT country starts to call your husband an "Uncle Tom." I think the African-Americans in Florida who picketed him on his recent trip down south, as uneducated as they were, were smart enough to realize they had been duped. Didn't you read the signs they held and the insults they hurled at him?

Michelle, I write to you in the spirit of friendship, to inform you that you still have three and a half years left for "change."
You can do it. All you have to do is ask Oprah for advice. Then tell the Blacks who voted for the president, notice I say president, not you, why your husband with the laughing face and nice white teeth, has not kept his promise to them. Take a page out of Hillary's book about baking cookies. You were not voted into office, so you have no power. The maids you fired will find a Gloria Allred to write their gossip and make more money selling their snitching on the Oprah Show than you will with your book. And don't try to impress me with your visit to the Kremlin. Been there, done that. Or to the Vatican, ditto. France -- and the other socialist whom Obama is trying to emulate. How's your French, babe? Mine's fair.

As one woman to another, I will let you in on a little secret. Start making an outline to write your memoirs now, because you are going to need the money when Barack gets kicked out of office in the near future. You see, I have a lot of unhappy friends who love to communicate via email, and we are getting organized. Your husband does have a fine future in Hollywood because the liberals who supported him will be offering him roles -- usually type cast; so don't get offended when they only offer him parts for drug peddlers or crooked politicos, because that's life! They tend to be a little myopic.

And Michelle, pluuuuuuuease, when the camera is on you stop making monkey faces. As a first lady this is a source of embarrassment to us. In fact, your husband's entire administration is a sore spot for us conservatives.

You know -- I wasn't born in this beautiful country -- I chose to become an American because I believed in the ideals, but I think I will run for president. Why not? Your husband lied and said he was born in Hawaii, making a mockery of the constitution.

But fortunately, my ambition is less than my love for the USA; and nobody will dare insult it in my presence. Not even you, or I'll shove the flag up your -- er, at the cost of being redundant, where the Arizona sun don't shine!

Respectfully submitted,

Princess Alice

Craig, that was hilarious, especially the part of you sitting naked. Did you publish it somewhere? Send it to Cave Creek. Keep up the pressure on Obama, maybe you can do it on the net. He hates bad publicity, so let's give him a shovelful.


Mark Yannone said...

@ Alinka

Yes, Alinka, Craig's "Dear President Obama: Should we sell our house?" was published here and here.


Mark Yannone