• Well, here we are.  2011.  The packages have been torn open, enjoyed, and are now all but forgotten.  All of us are about 10 pounds heavier.  The hangover from New Years Eve has faded, but the shame of your actions remains.  And since we’re about a week into the year, about 50% of all New Year’s reso­lutions have been tossed aside.
    Ahh, new beginnings.  So how are we starting this year out?  Let’s have us a look-see at some of the highlights in bullet-point format…
    – John Boehner just succeeded Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, so now he has a larger platform to ‘not accept compromise’ from.
    – China hiked interest rates in a preliminary attempt to slow down their economy’s break-neck growth pace, which surprised absolutely nobody (probably why this is the first time most of you are hearing about it.)
    – Mortgage interest rates (per the average 30 year fixed) have floated up to the high 4’s – low 5’s range from the historical lows from whence they came and most analysts say that the rates we saw in 2010 are gone until Haley’s Comet comes back around.
    – The economic recovery is not sufficient to alter the Federal Reserve’s plans to shovel out 600 billion more in treasury bond purchases in their debt-riddled scheme to keep rates low and growth moving.
    – Don’t ask, don’t tell was overturned (although it will inevitably end up in the bottomless void of ap­pellate courts).  Regardless of your feelings on the matter, you’ve gotta admit that it would be amus­ingly ironic for some dude in a fishnet A-shirt to gun down a terrorist and refer to the experience as “fabulous”.
    So, things are still pretty screwy out there.  From my observation, the news reports on the economy have gotten even more random.  Half of the pundits out there say that everything is going to hell and you should invest in freeze-dried food, gold and guns and sit on your front porch awaiting the zombie apocalypse.  Others say that everything is going to rally and you are either gonna get ridiculously rich in the process or be smashed by uncontrollable hyper-inflation.
    Know what I think?  Sensationalism makes for good headlines and sells ad space.  Period.
    The fact of the matter is that a lot of economic metrics are balancing out.  Unemployment, while ad­mittedly high, is steady.  Exports are rising.  Stocks have done well and bonds have seen rates move upwards as a result.  All natural by-products of a protracted, gruelingly long recovery that is underway.
    We are going to experience bumps in the road going forward, no doubt.  But the trajectory I am ob­serving gives me great cause for optimism.  Good old fashioned boring optimism.
    Seriously, if I believed that this whole economy is as fragile as a soufflé at a heavy metal concert (take a moment for that metaphor to sink in) then I wouldn’t be in mortgage origination, would I?
    And to close my first release of the year, I would like to announce that my wife and I are going to try to have our first child this year.  Giggity.  So expect me to be barking up your tree for referrals of peo­ple you know buying or refinancing homes.  Because it’s not about me anymore: it’s about the baby.
    Here’s to a rockin’ 2011, y’all!

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