(Double) Weekly Roundup: Yellin’ For Yellen Edition

Hello again, readers. Haven’t seen you for fifteen days. What can I say? Sometimes I’m awfully busy. To reward you for your patience, let’s find the hot-water tap in this joint and twist it until some scalding crimethink pours out. You know, the kind that makes you pull your hands out from under the faucet and rub them on your arms in panic.

Let us, for just ten long seconds, examine the idea that the Presidential election was, in fact, stolen, and that Joe Biden will join “Rutherfraud” B. Hayes in the list of Presidents whose ascension is tainted in retrospect. Now, to even consider this notion is to flirt with danger — and it cannot possibly be true, can it? The recent election, according to a hastily formed coalition of the (presumably) willing, was the most secure in history! Exactly how this could be so is difficult to understand; wasn’t it just like the last Presidential election, only with millions of additional and entirely unverified mail-in ballots? And why were all those people so eager to form a coalition and reassure us before a single audit or examination had even begun? Did they receive their marching orders from the same Star Chamber that, ahem, saved the election in the first place? It’s best not to look too closely at that, lest you be forcibly unpersoned for even having a public thought about it.

Anyway, let’s wave our hands at all of this and say, for a moment, that the election was in fact stolen. Why? Cui bono? If you take a dispassionate look at what President Trump actually did, rather than what Rachel Maddow said he was gonna do, he wasn’t exactly Benito Mussolini or anything like that. He didn’t actually do much to stop illegal immigration or restrain corporate profiteering. His programs to return manufacturing jobs to America, admirable though they were, didn’t do much besides slow the rate at which factories are leaving the country. There’s no evidence that the Uniparty agenda of lower labor costs and higher asset prices suffered any significant damage during his Presidency. Oh, and America is about to go perma-Democrat anyway, thanks to a thorough and irreversible series of demographic changes. Why bother to steal the election at all? Why take the risk?

As of July 2021, it appears we at least have the answer to that question.

The United States has entered what can only be described as a hellish inflationary spiral of Weimar-esque proportions. The official numbers are frightening — five percent since Biden’s election, 0.9 percent in the past thirty days! — but they are also obviously false. Only a fool would think we’ve had just five percent inflation in the past six months. Fuel is up thirty-five percent. New and used car prices are through the roof. Commodities have gone insane, with most prices doubling in twelve months. Housing has skyrocketed, with a lot of $350k homes in my neck of the rural Ohio woods becoming $450k homes almost overnight.

Those of us old enough to remember the Jimmy Carter years, where a 12.9% auto loan over 36 months was considered so insanely generous that General Motors took out prime-time TV ads to tell us about it, didn’t see anything to compare with what’s happening right now. We’ve had the equivalent of a whole Carter presidency since January. I would conservatively guess that the dollar has lost thirty-five percent of its real-world purchasing power in the past 180 days.

And there is no end in sight to this. Trillions of dollars will be printed and given away in the next year. That’s “trillions” with a “T”. The big banks and investment firms are handing out massive year-over-year raises to their people. Virtually every company with which I do any consistent or substantial business, from Sheptone pickups to Guerilla Gravity, is announcing higher prices. My rep at Sweetwater Music tells me that he is hearing about 40% or more increases across the board.

Would this have happened in a Trump presidency? It seems unlikely, to be honest. Much of this is a knock-on effect of the Biden Administration’s decision to put the brakes on American oil production (and Canadian oil imports). When you raise the price of petroleum, you raise the price of everything, with fertilizer-dependent food at the top of the list. Nor would Trump have advanced trillion-dollar additional spending packages. The price of labor is also sinking, thanks to a reopened southern border and a renewal of outsourcing/importing/vulture-capitalism incentives for American corporations.

Cui bono?

Curtis Yarvin, in a long but comprehensible post on the subject, explains that the one-two punch of monetary inflation and lower labor costs amounts to a massive, multi-trillion-dollar giveaway to the richest among us. The asset-holding class is protected against inflation, while the go-to-work class suffers permanent and crippling effects. You know it’s terrible now and getting worse in the future because Vox, CNN, et al are falling over themselves trying to reassure you about it, often with staggeringly stupid videos explicitly targeted at idiots.

To understand why this is so, consider this very simple non-fish-related example: I own a home and you don’t. (Or maybe it’s the other way around). Every year we have substantial inflation, my mortgage payment essentially shrinks, because at some point I get a cost-of-living increase but my mortgage payment stays the same. You, on the other hand, get a rent increase, one that probably exceeds your cost-of-living increase from your job. Your landlord takes that higher rent and uses it to pay his mortgage, which has not increased. Therefore, the homeowner profits, the landlord profits, and the renter takes it in the (choose your orifice here).

After twenty years of inflation, my mortgage is laughably trivial, but your rent is insane. I go to sell my house, and it has appreciated at the rate of inflation, so I get a lot of money. You, the renter, share in none of that.

Now, for “house” substitute: investments, assets, real estate, air-cooled Porsche, firearm, gold, silver, Rolex.

For “rent payment” substitute: food, fuel, car payment, airplane ticket, medical bill, university tuition.

Inflation transfers financial power from people who consume things to people who own things. During the past six months, we have seen a massive amount of this transfer. It is trillions of dollars? Maybe. It’s certainly billions and billions. Therefore, it is obvious that the wealthiest people and institutions in America have seen a radical change in their fortunes since Inauguration Day — and for the better. You and I? We’re not doing so well.

Now, we all know (and we must all publicly affirm, as often and loudly as possible) that the election was, in fact, the safest and most secure election in American history. But you can also see how the incentives to steal the election, for an entire class of American super-citizens, verged on the incalculably attractive. Would you steal an election for a trillion dollars? Of course you would. Thankfully, our Investor Class would never do such a thing, because unlike you and I they would never sell their integrity for a mere trillion dollars.

One final thing. You no doubt are having some kind of ignorant and primitive thought like, “Jack, didn’t a wealth transfer like the one you’re describing above also happen during the COVID-19 pandemic? In fact, didn’t COVID-19 increase the net worth of the world’s billionaires by $1.2 trillion?” Well, yes, you silly reader, that did in fact happen, but it’s not very appropriate of you to notice it in public. Why, someone who isn’t perfectly in tune with the prevailing narrative might wonder if we will be forced, as a country, to engage in one of these trillion-dollar wealth transfers every year: COVID-19 in 2020, the Biden inflation in 2021, and who knows what for 2022?

It’s best not to think about that sort of thing at all, but rather to consume some appropriate media and let your thoughts be guided by that. Might I suggest a Springsteen and Obama podcast? Maybe a new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie on DisneyPlus? Citizen, the right thoughts are all around you. Just pick up on them and repeat, please. The election was safe. Trillion-dollar wealth transfers are normal. The greatest problem facing this country is either climate change or white supremacy, depending on whether you are looking at a twelve-year timeline or a twelve-month timeline. The right people are in charge. It’s all going to work out.

For someone.

* * *

I wrote a totally-fictional story about a Neon hatchback. And I had a few observations about Sob Rock.

Oh, and my Silver Sky Lunar Ice never arrived, because the store sent it FedEx Ground despite my explicit requests to them in the past to, ah, never do that. So now I don’t have a guitar. Instead, I have a problem. Oh well.

63 Replies to “(Double) Weekly Roundup: Yellin’ For Yellen Edition”

  1. Tom Joad

    You know inflation is crazy when GM, Honda and soon to be Toyota stop allowing third party lease buyouts.

    Guess they got tired or that equity going into the hands of consumers and inventory going to CarMax, Carvana etc…

    Reply
    • Gene

      While I certainly have noticed an increase in the price of stuff I don’t really buy that much stuff to have it affect my life. Restaurant meals, cheap cigars, and used books keep me happy. Last fall locked in a 2% mortgage on a condo we bought cheap from my Mother in laws estate, a fortunate and unfortunate purchase that leaves me feeling happy and depressed all at the same time. Sold our house at what I thought was a crazy price which was then remodeled and sold at an insane price. The only real bummer I’ve gotten from the current financial environment is I can’t bring myself to buy the Miata I was planning on at the current prices.

      What is blowing my mind though is learning my cost of living adjustment this year will be 10 fold what it was last year. Good thing I’ve got a lot of old books still to read.

      Reply
  2. Jeff Winkelhake

    Spot on! Maybe I can use it to convince the Boss that I should buy my dream guitar ASAP. Hope you find your guitar! Great post on Hagerty re; Porsche coolness gone. They’re just bloated Luxo-barges now. Not that I’d turn down a free one…

    Reply
  3. Ryan

    When I bought the Vette, I was looking at a 968 or 993. My dad told me that “911s were $30k then and they will in 5 years when you want a different car. Save your money.” I no longer take financial advice from him.

    On the other hand, I no longer want one for the reasons you outlined in your article. The over-saturation of garbage like Magnus Walker, RWB, Radwood, and Safari builds completely killed it for me. That’s the last car demographic that I would want to be (mis)identified as a part of.

    It took me awhile to realize this, but what makes a car “cool” is the story it has. Hank’s 911 is cool because he did cool things in it. Magnus’ shit isn’t cool because he built it specifically to be.

    Im nowhere near the person I was when I bought my car originally, but any replacement is bound to be a garage queen for the most part. At least with this one I have the memories.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      “The over-saturation of garbage like Magnus Walker, RWB, Radwood, and Safari builds completely killed it for me. That’s the last car demographic that I would want to be (mis)identified as a part of.”

      This is the truest thing I have read in a long time.

      “It took me awhile to realize this, but what makes a car “cool” is the story it has. Hank’s 911 is cool because he did cool things in it. Magnus’ shit isn’t cool because he built it specifically to be.”

      One problem we have now — maybe it’s not really a problem, I don’t know — is that so many young men have been 80/20’ed out of the sexual market they’re now just looking for the approval of other lonely dudes. Thus Radwood et al.

      Reply
      • Panzer

        In fairness to Magnus though, that may be true that he’s building an aesthetic that he may not be entitled to have, but regardless (in my opinion) those 930’s of his are great cars in their own right. I’ve seen those videos of his and thought to myself, fuck I would enjoy downshifting that through a tunnel in LA early in the morning when there’s no traffic.. (if such mornings do indeed exist)
        You’re also right about the influencer douchebags who drive GT3’s, but I still love ‘em and plan on buying one with my inheritance 🤙

        Reply
        • -Nate

          @ Panzer ;

          There’s plenty of time with zero traffic in those tunnels, when did you think they do all the filming .

          Sunday mornings are quietest .

          -Nate

          Reply
      • Ryan

        You’re probably right on the last point. These “countercultures” (using that term loosely) within the car world are an extension of consooooooomerism not unlike comic book movies and other “nerd” shit.

        What we have is a group of people lacking any real identity or sense of self, and Radwood et al. allows people to effectively buy a personality. Radwood is effectively the ComicCon of the car world; it’s a mix of cosplay and ironic cool.

        Reply
    • Will

      I looked up what Radwood was, I wish I hadn’t known. People have zero individualism anymore, it’s sad.

      Reply
      • Ryan

        Just like the patina on Magnus Walker’s boots, none of the Radwood thing is genuine.

        IIRC, the whole concept of an 80s/90s-era car show originated with a church in Ohio who was hosting events with a “reverse” age limit to attract younger people. The idea was co-opted by a group of car bloggers and memed into existence.

        Reply
        • Widgetsltd

          I’ve been to two Radwood shows: Radwood 2 (their second show) and Radwood OC 2019. I would say that there is genuine enthusiasm. Sure, not everybody was a fiftyish dude (like me) who knew these cars when they were new. Still, the twenty and thirty-somethings (male and female) appeared to enjoy the 80’s and 90’s analog era cars. What’s wrong with younger people enjoying older cars? Who is being harmed by the 80’s-90’s outfits? I need to occasionally wear my original neon Challenge polo shirt somewhere!

          Reply
      • Compaq Deskpro

        It looks like a car show to me. What is the problem with that? If you are taking care of an old car, then I don’t care what you dress like, that’s all the pedigree I need. This smells like gate keeping.

        Reply
  4. Will

    I don’t think the country will go full Democratic party; they’re losing the Hispanic vote rather quickly. Trump played exceptionally well with them and those that aren’t Mexican despise what the DNC is becoming. Mexicans only care about the open border, otherwise, they’re rather conservative and can’t stand the liberal stuff.

    Reply
    • Panzer

      That’s true about the Mexicans, but they’ll keep voting blue as long as the Dems keep promising them the keys to the kingdom – i.e, citizenship despite being illegals 🤙

      Reply
  5. Greg Hamilton

    Aside from the election analysis, your take on inflation is I believe 100% accurate and reinforces everything I’ve read in the book “Penniless Billionaires” by Max Shapiro. Inflation is a massive wealth transfer from the working poor and middle class to the asset holders who have access to low interest rates (political insiders, high level executives, billionaires, oligarchs) who increase their debt to acquire productive assets. Although the book was written in 1980 it is surprisingly accurate today which is why the book is fetching $130 and up on ebay.
    I would say “The Penniless Billionaires” is to finance what Smokey Yunick’s book “Best Damn Garage in Town: My life and Adventures” is to cars. Smokey’s book is only $115 used.
    I think you actually recommended Smokey’s book in one of your articles. It’s definitely worth a read.

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      Yunicks reputation was such that when Zora Duntov had Maury Rose drop a small block Chevy V8 in the C1 Corvette, they had Yunick tune the car before Duntov attempted any record runs.

      Reply
    • NoID

      Careful looking up “Penniless Billionaire”…you might stumble into a series of “romance” novels instead of Shapiro’s work.

      Of course I’m sure either book will teach you valuable lessons.

      Reply
  6. Widgetsltd

    The problem with Porsche now is what it has always been: when you see one, it’s usually being driven by someone on the “wealthy douchebag” continuum. Heck, my 2000 Boxster S 6-speed was a $50K car when new…twenty-two years ago. Still, I enjoy driving my car with its peeling clear coat and tatty seats. I can’t possibly impress anyone. It’s not a 911: the model most coveted by the under-65 Porsche crowd.

    Reply
  7. stingray65

    I’ve watched a few clips from the Arizona vote audit hearings, and the one question that nobody has asked yet is the one the will prove all the “book-keeping errors” and other “mistakes” were part of an organized fraud effort, which is what % of the “mistakes” favor Biden (and Democrats – my guess 100%) and what % favor Trump (my guess 0%)? Just like hundreds of consecutive coin flips can’t come up tails without a crooked coin or tosser, hundreds of honest vote tabulating “mistakes” can’t all go in the same direction unless fraud is involved.

    The one issue that your inflation analysis doesn’t consider is the effect that high inflation will have on government spending. Big deficits aren’t very painful when the government can borrow money at 0% interest, but who is going to buy government bonds paying 0% when inflation is 10%, and if government bonds start paying 10% the interest on the current and rapidly expanding debt will consume the entire budget, which won’t leave any money to pay off various constituencies of the Democrat party. Who will vote Democrat if they aren’t getting “free” stuff, and who will cover for Democrat fraud if they aren’t getting paid off?

    Reply
    • CJinSD

      It’s called modern monetary policy. They’ll just print more money to make up the difference! Deflation is the only thing to fear comrades!

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Yes, just look how money printing worked for Weimar Germany, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela – everyone became a billionaire.

        Reply
        • CJinSD

          Our country’s(could say countries’) children are being brainwashed to believe in the socialism that killed over a hundred million people over the last century. Do you think the evil globalists care about inflation?

          ‘The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.’ – John Maynard Keynes

          Every liberal dick-stain you’ve ever heard expound on Keynesian economics knew they were trying to destroy capitalism. Capitalism is just the name given to freedom by people trying to end it.

          Reply
    • hank chinaski

      It will happen until it can’t anymore, when China decides it’s in their interest that the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency. That point will probably correspond with one of our carrier groups visiting Davy Jones’ locker. I’ve read that Russia and China are already de-dollaring their holdings and hoarding gold (which itself hasn’t really increased in price much this year).

      More ‘right thoughts’ to rationalize: the not-vaccine is totally safe and effective, even if you may get covid after it. Here, have another ‘booster’. Give it to your young children, citizen, even if they almost never get seriously ill from the virus.
      There will be more than enough electricity for all the electric vehicles they will be exclusively building, even though you won’t be able to buy one (or gasoline or parts for your 20+ year old ICE vehicle). Enjoy never going anywhere anymore, you stupid prole.
      What’s going on in South Africa is totally fine. 1 million rounds of missing ammunition? A rounding error.

      Reply
    • Disinterested-Observer

      For the NBA fans out there: Future first ballot Hall of Famer Chris Paul is 0-13 in playoff games when Tim Donaghy’s pal Scott Foster is the ref. I’m sure that is just random chance. As a side note, I took a now rare look at TTAC and almost choked on the “disclaimer” in the Bentley article.

      Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        If that seemed like a non-sequiter the point was you can have basically have an open conspiracy as long as you just deny it like Shaggy and there is nothing anyone can do about it, apparently.

        Reply
  8. stingray65

    In the academic literature “cool” is defined as socially derived characteristic based on the “thing’s” socially acceptable deviation from society conventions. Thus a person or car isn’t cool unless significant portions of the public think its deviation from societal norm is cool (and not gross or disgusting), but once the cool element becomes the norm it is no longer cool. Porsche’s used to be cool because they were small, lacked working air-conditioning and power seats, and were very expensive when the norm for someone with money would be to buy a huge Cadillac with all the luxury features for the same price or less. Often the cool deviations from the norm involve things that are somewhat uncomfortable (like the back seat of a 356 or 911) or impractical (like a white interior or getting your 911 serviced in Minot, ND), but now Porsches are available as luxury SUVs that can be leased for the same monthly payment as a more pedestrian brand, which means they have become common in most upscale neighborhoods and hence no longer cool.

    It is also important to note that cool and status are not the same thing, even if they are often related to each other. Status is defined by perceived rarity and difficulty in acquiring that denotes to the target audience that the owner has substantial resources and capabilities. Thus a GT3 will be cool to some car enthusiasts who recognize its technical sophistication and performance envelope that make it expensive and impractical as a daily driver, while the 21 year old hot blond who is the target audience of the GT3 owner knows nothing about such things but recognizes the status because of the high price of the brand and hopefully the corresponding status and wealth of the 40 year old balding owner.

    Reply
    • Ryan

      I think you hit the nail on the head here, including the fallacy of buying a car to attract women.

      The guy who buys a GT3 to impress women would be much better off buying a nice Mastercraft and a Raptor or F-250 Platinum to pull it with. YMMV, but this holds true anywhere where there’s water nearby.

      Reply
  9. NYCFinanceGuy

    A few random thoughts on the death of cool:

    1) We Baruth readers are clueless about cool – we don’t know any more about cool than our dads did in 1990.
    2) Are white people allowed to be cool any more? A big part of cool was white people following Black trends. These days that will bring accusations of PRIVILEGE! and CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!
    3) Cool requires money, which 20-somethings today don’t have.
    4) Cool still exists, but cars generally aren’t cool. I think Kia is trying to be the exception here – did you see what they’ve done with their logo?
    5) Maybe cool was just a fad that lasted a few decades – basically a boomer and Gen X phenomena – My WWII veteran grandpa never gave a fuck about cool.
    6) Cool had more universal definitions when everyone consumed the same media.
    7) The nerds are what’s cool these days. Look at Elon’s cult following.
    8) Maybe some cars are cool but we just aren’t recognizing it yet – maybe it takes a little nostalgia to realize what was cool at any given time.

    Reply
    • CJinSD

      Being cool was more significant when there wasn’t an app for getting a girl to come over and attempt to photograph herself fellating you. Technology and feminism have made cool as important as integrity.

      Reply
  10. hank chinaski

    You’re inclined to ‘let’ Sam write more fiction. Ha ha, good one.
    Great piece. He had me going until ‘Cobra’.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I’ve been there plenty of times; it’s where Ignatius Piazza did firearms training for a decade.

      Reply
  11. goose

    I also heard the pizza’s good in Bakersfield

    Who cares if inflation gets so high I can never afford to buy a house? As long as I can play video games, live vicariously through scripted, unrealistic shit movies, jerk off to virtual porn, and serve the rest of my life paying for subscription based everything, I will indeed be happy!!

    Reply
  12. -Nate

    Yes, Bakersfield has great food, good music (not only Country but that’s why I go) and some killer twisty back roads that will kill you if they can .

    However, living there is very different from visiting .

    It’s often 100 + * F in January for God’s sake .

    -Nate

    Reply
  13. Hex168

    I agree with the “who benefits” analysis. I do not agree (yet) with our entering a realm of permanent inflation. I think we are looking at transient price changes driven by supply chain interruptions and restored demand. It will settle down within a year. Unless the transient lasts long enough to reset inflation expectations, in which case all bets are off, and no one knows how long it would take for that reset to happen.

    I do not believe in leak-free giant conspiracies, even though I believe the motivation for such exists exactly as you have described.

    Wouldn’t the best route for a conspiracy be to work on resetting inflation expectations, perhaps though articles like this one? (j/k)

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I don’t think there was a “leak-free” conspiracy; it operated in plain sight under the guise of “saving the election”. Most of the people involved believed they were trying to prevent Hitler from taking over America. If you thought that Hitler was about to take over America, you’d do anything to stop it, right?

      Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      It’s a brand-new Coach Door Continental posing with my MKT. Just a random image from the week.

      Reply
      • Ken

        Thanks! Got another “ask Jack”. Since you were so helpful with the Continental purchase. The 400hp Lincoln is my wife’s ride, and it’s gotten me hooked on wanting a high-hp luxury ride for myself. This would be a spare toy and I’m relatively handy. I don’t need dead reliable, but it can’t be a money pit either. Ideally a grand tourer. A coupe, or convertible, that can seat four, so I can bring my son and daughter as well.

        Around $15k-ish. I’ve got my eye on:
        1. E550 coupes (pre-turbo V8)
        2. Cadillac CTS coupe
        3. Older CLs
        4. BMW 135i
        5. Jaguar XKs

        Any thoughts? You’ve steered me well in the past! (And away from a Buick Regal Wagon)

        Reply
        • Jack Baruth Post author

          In reverse order:

          Jag XK: Love these cars and they are a joy. But the old ones don’t drive like new cars and the newer ones are expensive to run.
          BMW 135i: You’ll pay far too much for a decent one and they are finicky
          Older CL: Not unless you’re rich. Too many $15k systems in there.
          CTS Coupe: Lovely car but doesn’t feel luxurious.
          E550 Coupe: Ah, that’s the one. One of the more Benz-ish Benzes made since the year 2000.

          Reply
  14. Matthew Horgan

    What’s the knock on Radwood?

    I went to a show in Seattle a few years back and I saw some tremendously interesting cars and passionate owners.
    I’m real tired of the classic American car show with old dudes planted under a tent, “Wipeout” and “Pretty Woman” through a blown out Mackie PA, and a row of the finest Tri-5’s $$ can buy.

    Sure, the kitsch is tiresome, but where else can I see those cars?

    Reply
    • Ryan

      I grew up attending a lot of “boomer” car shows with my dad/uncle as a kid during the 90s. As a result, I gained a strong appreciation for the cars and culture of the era. Over time, I’ve noticed that these shows became almost a parody of themselves over time to the point that they’re almost unbearable now.

      The same will happen to millennial car shows like Radwood. First, you had the early adopters who were truly passionate about cars of that era. Now that this trend begins to gain steam, you have the early majority pushing elbowing their way in. Eventually, the truly passionate people will be pushed out by those trying to buy an identity and sense of belonging.

      Reply
      • Tom Klockau

        *somewhere in 2045* “Dagnabit you damn kids, stay away from my Nismo! Dagnabit!” *waves cane* 🙂

        Reply
        • Ryan

          We’ll get to that point eventually. In 30 years, “Radwood” car shows will be as cliche’ as the car shows we have today. The only noticeable difference will be the replacement of “time out dolls” with waifu pillows.

          Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      The people are… well, as a Hagerty employee I can’t say what I think of them, but they are outright communists who openly support the redistribution of wealth by force.

      And their “appreciation” of these cars is largely ironic and look-at-me.

      That’s all I have to say about it.

      Reply
  15. NoID

    Speaking of FedEx, yesterday afternoon they dropped off my wife’s recently warranty-repaired laptop at my door, where it was apparently signed for by me. Which was odd, because nobody was home, and I was in fact 130 miles away on the other side of the state. And there it sat, out by the front door in plain view of the street in a city not known for its lack of crime, until I arrived home this morning to retrieve it. Thanks for committing the sins of lying and gambling, FedEx!

    On the other hand, I met the founder of FedEx (Roger Frock) by chance in Whole Foods Market some 15ish years ago while helping his wife find a specific kind of tea, and found them both to be fine people. I can’t remember how we stumbled onto his being the founder, but I hate name/status dropping so I’m fairly sure it just came up in conversation. He had since moved on into consulting work, because that’s what retirees with pensions and able minds do. I subsequently read his book on the founding of FedEx, it was a pretty interesting read.

    Spoiler alert: Lobbying was involved.

    Reply
  16. Daniel Sharpe

    While I don’t entirely disagree, I have nits to pick.

    I’ve owned a home now for 8 years and my “mortgage”, or more correctly, payment, has gone up every year, and up until this point, roughly at the rate of inflation.

    1. My homeowners insurance has gone up every year. I’ve shopped around, and they’ve all said the same thing. The first 5 years was primarily due to the the value of the home going up and in the last few years primarily due to the cost of building materials.
    2. Taxes. My property tax has gone up, and we have really low taxes. But as home values have skyrocketed in my area, so have my taxes. Home prices here have gone up because of a double wammy: High building costs and a huge influx of workers from DC as a large federal organization decided to move thousands to my city.

    The other nit to pick is simply this: the landlord and homeowner is paying 25 to 50 percent more to get things fixed thane he or she did just a few years ago. Plumbers, electricians, and HVAC repairs have doubled in some instances. So yeah, while rent goes up and monthly homeowner “payments” seem to be flat, landlord and homeowner maintenance has close to doubled.

    I know you Jack like to tout homeownership, but it doesn’t work out like many say it does. I know many people, with inflation counted and all the maintenance costs included and comparing that to renting with inflation, they’d have been better off renting. I know a few people who’ve broken even or made money off of their homes, but they rolled the dice just right.

    Reply
    • Scott

      You don’t really make money off a home. It’s forced savings and a guarantee a landlord isn’t going to kick you out for new renters. Also, if you have the same mortgage as you did 8 years ago, you should seriously consider refinancing. Half a percent of interest on a couple hundred grand adds up fast. Rates were pretty high in 2013. Re-fi’s usually take 2-3 years to break even on the costs

      Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      All of what you say is fair — and I would add that if you live anywhere with property taxes, you don’t really “own” a home even when it’s paid off. My property taxes and insurance add up to almost a thousand dollars a month.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Of course landlords also have to pay property taxes, property insurance, maintenance and repairs, and interest on any debt they have on the property, but thanks to “generous” government officials their renters are not expected to pay rent during pandemics, and during non-pandemics are very difficult to evict just because they don’t pay and/or trash the place, while rent control laws can make it impossible for landlords to increase rents to cover the higher costs of taxes, insurance, repairs, interest, and non-payment by deadbeat renters.

        Reply
      • Widgetsltd

        Wait, what? Nearly a thousand a month in property tax & insurance in suburban Columbus, Ohio? I just looked at my mortgage bill and saw $627/month escrow for tax and insurance in SoCal. Say what you will about California, but Proposition 13 works to keep a lid on property taxes.

        Reply
        • hank chinaski

          The NY tri-state area would like to ask CA and OH to step outside.

          Teen driver premiums, ouch. Throw in parochial tuition to avoid communist indoctrination and let’s just say there’s zero chance to afford to fly a huge dick into orbit.

          Reply
          • Daniel J

            I live in a southern state with very low property taxes thank God. About 700 a year. Insurance. Has gone from 700 a year 7 years ago to 1500 though.

            We do have income taxes though.

  17. Daniel J

    On a completely different topic, I noticed the Lincoln Continental I *think*.

    The used car market has gone nuts, and I could do well to trade in my Mazda 6. The fundamental problem is I think I need a bigger car. Outside of luxury, I’m not sure if anything exists brand new.

    Reply
  18. Harry

    FYI, something has gone wrong with the mobile version of the site on my Android. Looks like the old one if I choose desktop mode. It loaded and “amp” version. Different look, no comments, lots of icons for social media.

    Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      We support AMP pages, which are basically truncated versions of the pages where Google hosts much of the content. If we didn’t do that, we would have zero search engine presence. You can always start fresh by typing the URL.

      Reply
  19. trollson

    Rents have a ceiling, which is directly tied to wages.

    Unless and until wages rise, rents will always be capped based on what people can afford.

    The housing (single family home) market is priced much higher due to speculation, both foreign and domestic.

    Reply
    • trollson

      Wage growth is right around 3.5% right now, or half the inflation number. So eventually the rents will top out, even with all the government assistance. And eventually new mortgages will become unaffordable. So only speculators/corporate investors will remain in the housing market. But their investments won’t pay a return if they rent them out, so quite possibly they’ll be the bagholders. Which of course means that we will all be left holding that bag of shit again.

      At least that is the scenario where wages don’t catch up.

      Reply

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