7%. Oy.


NeuroTypical
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13 hours ago, Traveler said:

One possibility is that we will learn to live without things that are so common until now.  But I do not see families trying to live with one car and one phone - let alone a year without sugar or some other food commodes.   We expect fresh fruit and vegies regardless of the season.  

Part of me wonders if we could have people simplifying their lives. But even with the rise of van-dwelling and tiny houses, newly built homes are with very little variance huge, at least in my area. Since I work from home, reducing us to one car is probably quite feasible, but even then my selfish reaction is to cling to my car. 

I think it'd be cool to return to some simple, frugal living measures. But I think our society's views of such things has changed. 

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On 1/17/2022 at 1:31 PM, Backroads said:

I think it'd be cool to return to some simple, frugal living measures. But I think our society's views of such things has changed. 

 I’ve heard people talk about living a simple, frugal life, and if that’s your thing, great. But with the frugal, “keeping it real” style that almost always comes a massive superiority complex and a sneering attitude to those who prefer to live a different lifestyle. 
 

I have seen this hundreds of times. People inherently equate simplicity and frugality with morality and wealth with immorality. The awkward truth is that frugal, simple people can be nasty and that rich people can be incredibly moral. 

Edited by LDSGator
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6 hours ago, LDSGator said:

People inherently equate simplicity and frugality with morality and wealth with immorality. The awkward truth is that frugal, simple people can be nasty and that rich people can be incredibly moral. 

What about those of us who aspire to be frugal, rich, moral, and nasty all at the same time?

🤠

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The other factor here is the labor shortage and the ongoing “Great Resignation”.  My feeling is that just isn’t as much goods and services being produced, but the same number of people chasing those goods.  As people economize, particularly in housing and transport, they paradoxically find they have more available cash to throw at the things they need/want now that they don’t have to worry about mortgage/rent/car payments.

I don’t want to be excessively judgmental; but I think we’re dealing with a lot of people who have resigned themselves to the idea that they’ll never get ahead, and so they’re reconciling themselves to housing and transport limitations that their parents never would have tolerated (but that their grandparents and great grandparents would, and did) and giving up on the employment rat race.  Employers want to respond with higher wages but (I suspect, and especially the small businesses) are already at rock-bottom margins, have little disposable cash and/or are over-leveraged already, and are reeling not only from supply chain shortages but from transport/infrastructure bottlenecks at the Port of LA.  Additionally, I suspect many parents are realizing that public schools are so unreliable (we’re open.  We’re closed!  We’re open, but for six hours instead of right.  We’re closed, but only on Tuesday’s.  We’re staggering classes.  Our teachers are striking again) that, in two-parent families, especially, one parent is choosing to quit work to care for (and maybe even home-school) the kids—further feeding into the labor shortage.

I don’t think the problem with housing is foreigners buying up all the cheap properties—if they’re not living in them, they’re renting them; and they’re only charging what the market will bear.  The problem, I think, is largely a bona fide shortage of housing (exacerbated by eviction moratoria - it’s safer for a landlord to let a property sit vacant and eat the mortgage for half a year than to get some tenant who will pay rent for two months, squat for another year and a half, and then trash the place on their way out requiring the landlord to front another $30K in renovations).  And yes, as city-dwellers continue to transition to distance working and realize that they can live literally anywhere in the country, those of us already in rural or heartland states are going to continue to see property prices going bonkers in our necks of the woods.

The current and prior administration may have pushed us over the brink with some unwise policies (stimulus payments, eviction moratoria, a part-time Transportation Secretary who thinks he’s Mary Poppins, etc).  But I think at this point the problems are largely systemic and, I’m afraid, self-perpetuating for the foreseeable future.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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4 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Additionally, I suspect many parents are realizing that public schools are so unreliable (we’re open.  We’re closed!  We’re open, but for six hours instead of right.  We’re closed, but only on Tuesday’s.  We’re staggering classes.  Our teachers are striking again) that, in two-parent families, especially, one parent is choosing to quit work to care for (and maybe even home-school) the kids—further feeding into the labor shortage.

I thought your whole post was excellent, but this one stood out to me, likely because of my job.

I teach at a public school, just one that happens to be online. Families love it for various reasons, some of which definitely revolve around a potentially sturdier schooling system these days. 

Yesterday I had a difficult conversation with a parent who, after some tears, realized that even by having her kid attend a virtual school from home with lots of room for a personalized schedule, she still may have to quit her job in order to make the schooling happen (Long story short: the family hasn't done anything for the better part of two months and tried to complete it all in a single day which led to a 6-year-old bawling for hours and throwing up multiple times from the stress and still not knowing his ABCs).

The golden age of two-income families may be dwindling to a close. Even with all the promises of systems you can adjust to fit your life, things aren't so simple. I don't know if I necessarily blame families for foregoing the things/goals their parents had in order to take a few steps back. I have some in-laws who have decided to get a smaller, older home so the wife can be a stay-at-home mom and her parents, who are extremely traditional, are horrified she's not getting a job and buying a more impressive home. Even with smaller older homes costing a fortune (I apparently can sell you mine for 400K) this behavior will affect the economy. I like to think, in time, our economy will adjust, but it certainly is far more systemic than many want to admit. 

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1 hour ago, Backroads said:

I thought your whole post was excellent, but this one stood out to me, likely because of my job.

I teach at a public school, just one that happens to be online. Families love it for various reasons, some of which definitely revolve around a potentially sturdier schooling system these days. 

Yesterday I had a difficult conversation with a parent who, after some tears, realized that even by having her kid attend a virtual school from home with lots of room for a personalized schedule, she still may have to quit her job in order to make the schooling happen (Long story short: the family hasn't done anything for the better part of two months and tried to complete it all in a single day which led to a 6-year-old bawling for hours and throwing up multiple times from the stress and still not knowing his ABCs).

The golden age of two-income families may be dwindling to a close. Even with all the promises of systems you can adjust to fit your life, things aren't so simple. I don't know if I necessarily blame families for foregoing the things/goals their parents had in order to take a few steps back. I have some in-laws who have decided to get a smaller, older home so the wife can be a stay-at-home mom and her parents, who are extremely traditional, are horrified she's not getting a job and buying a more impressive home. Even with smaller older homes costing a fortune (I apparently can sell you mine for 400K) this behavior will affect the economy. I like to think, in time, our economy will adjust, but it certainly is far more systemic than many want to admit. 

Kids thrive off of stability and structure. Arguably the best choice we have ever made for our family is having my wife stay home. She has plenty of time to teach them the basics of ABC's and counting before enrolling them in the online upstart program. Every one of our kids has been able to read basic 3-4 letter words before Kindergarten. It also makes helping the older kids with homework much easier. Switching to online was not a problem for us as she was home and fully able to teach them.

The second best decision may be staying away from unnecessary debt. Our home is not lavish and quite small compared to our other ward members, but our life is so much simpler than theirs. We are out of debt and have no need for more money. Less anxiety, less comparisons, less stress, less arguments, etc... We also have plenty of time to do activities as a family as we aren't trying to juggle 2 different work schedules. 

I don't know anyone who likes inflation, but it affects us less as our time and money aren't tied up in other things. The lack of gratitude and constant need for "more" in the lives of everyday americans has actually led to them having less.

Edited by scottyg
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21 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Kids thrive off of stability and structure. Arguably the best choice we have ever made for our family is having my wife stay home. She has plenty of time to teach them the basics of ABC's and counting before enrolling them in the online upstart program. Every one of our kids has been able to read basic 3-4 letter words before Kindergarten. She also Switching to online was not a problem for us as she was fully able to teach them.

By and large, I think my online school works best for those families that do have a parent who is at home full-time. 90% of the "can't get the schooling done" comes from families where teh parents are trying to juggle job responsibilities and hoping they can just catch up in the evenings or weekends with their kids' school. 

However, I think in order to make schooling more inclusive, some areas of homeschooling insist everyone can do it no matter what the rest of their live is like. I've even seen it come down to "you just need one or two hours a week". I have friends that homeschool their kids, and they'll be the first to say that it can't be done in anywhere near one or two hours a week and takes real commitment. 

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29 minutes ago, Backroads said:

By and large, I think my online school works best for those families that do have a parent who is at home full-time. 90% of the "can't get the schooling done" comes from families where teh parents are trying to juggle job responsibilities and hoping they can just catch up in the evenings or weekends with their kids' school. 

However, I think in order to make schooling more inclusive, some areas of homeschooling insist everyone can do it no matter what the rest of their live is like. I've even seen it come down to "you just need one or two hours a week". I have friends that homeschool their kids, and they'll be the first to say that it can't be done in anywhere near one or two hours a week and takes real commitment. 

True. Permanent/long-term homeschooling is no small task. It is much different than a temporary 1-2 week switch to online learning due to high covid numbers.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/12/2022 at 12:35 PM, NeuroTypical said:

The new inflation numbers are out, we’re now running a little more than 7%.  Is anyone besides me feeling it?

I'm not feeling it as much as many others.  And I feel for those, like you who are suffering.

  • I happened to refinance when interest rates were at rock bottom (2.375%). 
  • Aldi (grocery store) is not raising its prices very much.
  • Texas oil allows gas prices to remain much lower than the national average.  it just went above $3 last week.

And... well... I've been very blessed with work this past year.

I mainly see it in two places: Insurance and home repair/remodeling.

There are some home repairs that I could have afforded 5 years ago (when I had no money).  But now, it's out of reach for me (even with my increased income).  Auto insurance has doubled.  And home insurance went up about 50% over the past two years.

Yeah.  Lots of fun.

Edited by Carborendum
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Whoa!  Car batteries.

My car broke down and we found out it was the battery.  A tiny battery for a 12 yo Nissan Versa was $185.  Just two years ago I would have gotten it for around $50. 

The repair shop said they have been seeing prices for EVERYTHING skyrocketing over the past year.  They're much busier than usual because new cars are less available and a lot of people are getting hit hard enough that buying a new car simply isn't an option.

At this point, they're actually getting afraid that people will be out of cars soon.  Parts are getting pricey enough to be prohibitive.  And without new parts available...

Whew!

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On 3/1/2022 at 8:44 AM, Carborendum said:

I'm not feeling it as much as many others.  And I feel for those, like you who are suffering.

  • I happened to refinance when interest rates were at rock bottom (2.375%). 
  • Aldi (grocery store) is not raising its prices very much.
  • Texas oil allows gas prices to remain much lower than the national average.  it just went above $3 last week.

And... well... I've been very blessed with work this past year.

I mainly see it in two places: Insurance and home repair/remodeling.

There are some home repairs that I could have afforded 5 years ago (when I had no money).  But now, it's out of reach for me (even with my increased income).  Auto insurance has doubled.  And home insurance went up about 50% over the past two years.

Yeah.  Lots of fun.

I don't know if I'm particularly feeling it. I work from home, so I rarely fill up my gas tank anyway and if we're being perfectly honest we could probably suffer to get rid of my car if we wanted. For some reason we're managing our budget. We can feed the family, and I just found out that a recent monthly bill gets covered by a grant now if I remember to fill out the paperwork (basically, my kid has a pharmacist at the children's hospital who has a strange obsession with finding and documenting every dang insurance/grant/prescription loophole out there)., so that's kind of nice. 

We'd like to move one of these days, or expand on the house, but I'm also grateful we have a house. We also had refinanced at the time of rock bottom, and even at a shorter loan time we're paying very little each month. 

I'm not happy about the inflation, but we're living. 

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  • 1 month later...
21 hours ago, Godless said:

First, let me say, I'm not a big fan of Abbott.  Yes, I'll vote for him. But I'm not all that excited about him.  He always does things for political theater rather than actual results.  Sometimes that actually means doing the will of the people, which is fine by me.  I'll take that.

But with this one activity, I see a positive unintended consequence.  I say unintended because I'm not sure if I can give him enough credit for seeing this far ahead.

By doing these additional inspections -- combined with his dealing with the Mexican government to keep border crossings away from Texas -- he makes it less desirable for coyotes to transport through the Texas border.

Will it have a big effect?  I'm not sure.  But it is bound to do something along those lines.

And I don't understand the alarmism depicted in your link.  It is bound to take no more than 5 min per truck.  How is that going to "empty shelves"?

Edited by Carborendum
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5 hours ago, Carborendum said:

First, let me say, I'm not a big fan of Abbott.  Yes, I'll vote for him. But I'm not all that excited about him.  He always does things for political theater rather than actual results.  Sometimes that actually means doing the will of the people, which is fine by me.  I'll take that.

But with this one activity, I see a positive unintended consequence.  I say unintended because I'm not sure if I can give him enough credit for seeing this far ahead.

By doing these additional inspections -- combined with his dealing with the Mexican government to keep border crossings away from Texas -- he makes it less desirable for coyotes to transport through the Texas border.

It sounds like Abbott has already decreased inspections in exchange for a commitment to increased border security from Mexican officials. So hopefully this situation blows over and turns out to be nothing.

5 hours ago, Carborendum said:

And I don't understand the alarmism depicted in your link.  It is bound to take no more than 5 min per truck.  How is that going to "empty shelves"?

In theory, sure, these inspections should be quick. And it's possible that they are. But how many inspectors were made available for these secondary inspections? If it's less than the number of customs inspectors at the border, than the process will take considerably longer. And based on the fact that every local news outlet was reporting delays of several hours, I'd say that these new checkpoints were probably severely undermanned. I also seriously doubt that the Republican Ag Commissioner would have put himself in the crosshairs over a trivial supply concern. 

We'll see what ultimately happens to shelf stock and prices. Whether due to an understanding with Mexico or political pressure, it seems like Abbott may have changed course quickly enough to avoid a disaster. However, it's worth considering that one of our biggest imports from Mexico is produce. It doesn't take much of a delay to spoil millions of dollars worth of product. Again, we should know more in the coming weeks if/how Abbott's stunt will affect food markets.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/12/2022 at 11:35 AM, NeuroTypical said:

The new inflation numbers are out, we’re now running a little more than 7%.  Is anyone besides me feeling it?

In related news, there’s a family of traveling minstrels that show up at the grocery store parking lot with their cardboard sign and a violin and a speaker.  They are quite talented, and I enjoy their performance, so I don’t mind giving them a buck.

Today, however, the guy argued with me. He said “A dollar? This is for food! For rent!”  I told him it’s what I had, he just looked at me with scorn and refused to take it.

I guess I can see his point. Fast food joints around here pay 15 bucks an hour, the minimum wage keeps going up, rents keep increasing. Inflation stinks. A dollar is the new small pittance of coins to a street beggar.  Suddenly, raking in about 200 bucks in a couple hours just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

The average price of gas per gallon just passed the federal minimum wage.😠

The average price of eggs is now almost three times what they were in 2020. I am seeing a pattern of deliberate sabotage here.

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On 1/19/2022 at 12:43 PM, LDSGator said:

 I’ve heard people talk about living a simple, frugal life, and if that’s your thing, great. But with the frugal, “keeping it real” style that almost always comes a massive superiority complex and a sneering attitude to those who prefer to live a different lifestyle. 
 

I have seen this hundreds of times. People inherently equate simplicity and frugality with morality and wealth with immorality. The awkward truth is that frugal, simple people can be nasty and that rich people can be incredibly moral. 

I personally find this to be more of how someone came about their wealth and what options (skills and choices) are available to those in poverty.

 

The Traveler

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On 4/14/2022 at 10:15 AM, Godless said:

It is my personal opinion that seldom is any government effort sufficient to deal with a well organized criminal element without the united support of its citizens.   The sad truth is that criminal elements are currently more in control of our USA/Mexican border than is either government.  Sadder still is that few political entities in the USA are willing to enforce or clearly define our border laws (though Trump came as close as anyone in decades).   And few are willing to discuss the effects of allowing control to corrupt elements - which are costly, inflationary and inefficient. 

 

The Traveler

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A few weeks ago, I noticed that all the gas stations in town stopped going up when it was $3.99/gal.  The more expensive stations stopped going up.  The cheaper stations caught up in a couple of days and stopped.  It was weird.  They all refused to go to $4.00/gal.

Then all of a sudden (overnight) prices went up to $4.21/gal to $4.49/gal.

Since then the prices went almost to $5.00/gal and came back down again.

Today I was driving and found all the prices were at $4.49/gal.  Both cheap and expensive stations all stopped at the same price.  That tells me prices are about to make another jump.  Later on, we'll probably see them stopping at $4.99/gal for a few days before it goes up.  But we'll see it happen.  I have a hunch they will only do this at even dollar amount afterward.

Of course, this is Texas.  Other states will probably see even higher prices.

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2 hours ago, Carborendum said:

A few weeks ago, I noticed that all the gas stations in town stopped going up when it was $3.99/gal.  The more expensive stations stopped going up.  The cheaper stations caught up in a couple of days and stopped.  It was weird.  They all refused to go to $4.00/gal.

Then all of a sudden (overnight) prices went up to $4.21/gal to $4.49/gal.

Since then the prices went almost to $5.00/gal and came back down again.

Today I was driving and found all the prices were at $4.49/gal.  Both cheap and expensive stations all stopped at the same price.  That tells me prices are about to make another jump.  Later on, we'll probably see them stopping at $4.99/gal for a few days before it goes up.  But we'll see it happen.  I have a hunch they will only do this at even dollar amount afterward.

Of course, this is Texas.  Other states will probably see even higher prices.

Many years ago when I was required to take an economics class in college - we were taught that supply and demand are the control of prices.  In other words, as long as the demand is greater than the supply the price will continue to increase.  The other point I learned was that if there was an attempt to control prices outside of supply and demands that the only possible result will be shortages - which is a collapse of supply.  The problem with our dependency on gas for just about all other supplies coming to market.  Gas shortages will lead to shortages with all other related products - including goods and services.   As I recall the economic definition for shortages on a large scale is recession leading into depression and poverty. 

I wonder what will happen to the generations that have never seen a even a recession and that a depression is not even possible?  I wonder how bad this trend must obtain before diehards are willing to change political parties.  Perhaps I should have worded it as both political parties.

 

The Traveler

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Last night my wife was in tears because our savings is being burned through by the food and fuel budgets. She asked me why the president doesn't do something about it. I told her, because he and his cult are the ones responsible for this Hyper Inflation. We are pathetic as a country. Stop voting in snakes and vote them out. 

Article Five Now!

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