Month: January 2017

Kim-Jong Trump

The following is my reply to the letter sent by Senator Al Franken to  his constituency. 

Dear Senator Al,
I wish I could agree with you that “This is not our country.” Unfortunately, it is, or at least a part of it. We know far better now than we did a few months ago that our electorate is divided in profound ways.

During the recently completed campaign, Trump praised the North Korean leaders for the swift and ruthless way they eliminate their enemies. You, and I, and those who are kindred spirits with us, are those Enemies.

Now I understand why we have been feeling so despairing.  We are members of an endangered species.

I believe as I am sure you do that most people in this country choose tolerance, acceptance and diversity. However, there are those whose interests are much narrower, closed and insular. Many would be quite happy in the country without Muslims, African-Americans and Jews. Those people of limited vision do not merely tolerate the Trump takeover; they applaud it.

We find ourselves on a treacherous path, with little in the way of checks or balances to control this runaway plutocratic, xenophobic, isolationist bent.

More than ever, we need legislative expertise, sharp elbows, and unblinking courage and determination to hold the authoritarian presidency at bay.  I am sure that we can count on you.


Evan Sarzin

for The Revolted Colonies


Immigration Update

A United States judge has stayed Trump’s immigration order. He demanded the judge recuse herself because as an American she is biased against him.

Opening Move

Following his inauguration, President Trump signed two executive orders. One of them canceled an upcoming premium cut on borrower’s insurance for FHA mortgages. The premium cut, of 25 basis points, would have lowered borrower’s costs at a time when mortgage rates are rising. For the borrower, the premium cut would have held down overall monthly costs on new loans. For the FHA, however, the cut would’ve reduced the amount of the insurance fund held by the government to cover borrower defaults.

The fund must be at least 2% of the government’s mortgage obligations. The insurance fund right now stands at 2.32%, slightly more than the minimum. By canceling the premium cut that was to take effect next Friday, the administration has made a conservative move to increase reserves against defaults.

For the new homeowner, rising rates will push up the entry cost of home ownership. The homeowner will have less buying power with a higher mortgage rate and no reduction in the insurance premium.

This is not a sexy issue, not the kind of thing that ever would’ve been discussed during the campaign, even if the campaign had been normal. It reflects conservative thinking about government-backed obligations. It may reflect administration thinking about the strength of the housing market and the underlying strength of employment. By canceling the cut on the mortgage insurance premium, Trump has provided the government with a greater cushion against defaults by borrowers. You would expect this move to have a slight dampening impact on new home purchases. On the other hand, if you believe that new home sales were artificially stimulated by keeping costs down, this move would prevent a bubble in housing starts.

Because the insurance rate can be cut later, this move does not figured to be a very big deal. It reflects conservative thinking about government obligations relative to the minimum requirement And the rate environment. If employment figures remain strong and real wages hold or increase, a cut in the insurance premium rate could be warranted in the future. As a lender or a guarantor, there is no reason for the federal government to cut its cushion to the minimum.

A buyer would be wise to put borrow less — buy a less expensive home or put up a higher down payment. That would lower the carrying cost, making the loan less risky from a lender’s point of view.



Last night, we pulled the hooters and funny hats out of the storage box, put them on and sang Auld Lang Syne. Hugs were doled out generously. Glasses and voices were lifted. New Year’s Rockin’ Eve had a communication breakdown – but the show never stopped.

Romances were born and dissolved – straight, gay and other. Parents and child were planning weddings, confirmations, bar/bat mitzvahs, and other rites of passage. The churches, synagogues, and mosques remained open for business.

Some folks got a little wild, maybe ended up in an emergency room, but had health care to cover the cost of recklessness. Somewhere else, a woman or perhaps a couple were making the heart-aching decision of whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. Hearts, hips and, heads even were being replaced. Genes were being manipulated and, it’s just possible, that we grew slightly closer to ending the scourges of cancer or diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

People were putting their heads together, thinking about turning an idea into a product, the product into a business. Other heads were reinventing the parceling of consumer loans into financial instruments to be sold and resold, hedged and insured; the defaults hedged and swapped and insured, and a pile of money will appear in one place while it disappears from another.

Students were heading back to school and, along with parents, worrying about college applications, the cost of tuition and books, and calculus and essays and personal achievements.

With us, too, were the sick, the homeless, the destitute, the disconsolate, for whom every day remains a challenge and for whom the numbers on the calendar hold no meaning. Each day is a battle for sanity and personal safety and integration. And they too have families to protect and provide for.

We rejoiced in birth, grieved in death and blessed our daily bread. We doled out intolerance and universal love to our fellow human beings, hoping that the party will go on.

Tuesday morning will come, and the world will suit up and show up, ready if not eager to press on into the artificial divide of 2017. We will be the same earnest, goofy, enterprising, struggling, wretched and euphoric people we have always been.

© 2017 The Revolted Colonies


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