Memorial for Manic ‘Merica

If you sneak out of work early today, you won’t be the only one.  Millions will head out for what’s functionally the real start of summer, regardless of what the “official” calendars might claim about June 21st.

The price of gas is over $4-bucks now in a lot of places, and in New York over $5 a gallon.

Seems like everything is going up, too.  Take home prices…  Here’s a story about how “Home values have risen at the fastest rate in 12-years.”  One has to be careful with such stories, however.  For one, I don’t think the value has gone up.  People are often fuzzy on the difference between price and value.

(Continues below)


A price is what will be paid for a home.  Whereas the value is more a judgement call as to worth. Let’s just set that point aside.

Along with prices going up, the Fed has been trying to force interest rates back up.  As a result, mortgage rates have been going up at the fastest rate in 50-years, says this report.

If you own a home, everyone’s got their hand out.  Yesterday, our homeowner’s insurance policy came in the mail.  This year the company wants $1,806 where last year, the home insurance was $1,636.  That’s a 10.4% increase.

That led to a “come to Jesus” discussion with the insurance outfit.  What I heard was the usual BS:  “If you’re home were destroyed, Mr. Ure, the cost of lumber to rebuild it has gone up, you know, and so our rates have to reflect that…”

I cut the woman off in mid-excuse.

“See here?  Says the structure cost of our mobile home was $97,000 last year and you have it as $105,000 this year.  I get 8.2% more coverage and you get 10.4% more money.  Sounds pretty one-sided to me…”

We ended agreeing that she’s check with underwriting and see if they’d keep last year’s valuation and I’d pay last year’s price.

For those who don’t know, mobile and modular homes are really screwed-over by insurance companies.  A stick-built home will generally pay a third to half the rate of a mobile or modular…even if the modular has been substantially rebuilt, as ours has been – including much of the wiring.

Which gets me to a point about mobile/modulars being underwired with #14 instead of the higher ampacity #12 is just beyond me.  OK, sure it saves a few cents, but in the long-haul, false economy for the owner because the higher fire rates of mobile homes bites in the long-run with higher insurance rates.

Mobile/modular builders crapped in their own bed years back when they started trying to shave savings on wiring with the disastrous aluminum wiring experiment.  The NY Times did a story on this back in 2008 (here) but people will do anything for a buck.

Including kill people.  Which is later denied but a chorus of lawyers, but our friendly advice is if you see aluminum wiring, run from the deal as fast as you can.  Our home is all-copper and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Talk to firemen, if you don’t believe it.  We reckon this wiring deal to be the reason mobiles not only don’t hold their value, but also end up paying double the prevailing stick rates on insurance.

Now, where were we?

Oh, yes…

Durable Goods Tank

We’ve been mentioning for a good while that at some point, we will see the end of the “Trump Bump” in the economy.  Could it be starting now with the decline reported in Advance Durable Goods?

“New Orders
New orders for manufactured durable goods in
April decreased $4.2 billion or 1.7 percent to $248.5 billion,”

Actually, the picture makes more sense:

The market looks to open down 50-60 after the news.

Fed Inflation Planning

The latest Fed H.6 Money Stocks Measures tell us the Fed is still trying to push rates up.  One way to do this is to slow the printing of new money at the M1 (cash and equivalents) level.

In the period through the end of March, the annualized rate of increase for the three months was 1.8 percent.

Turns out in the sliding window through May 14, it’s back up to 2.9 percent, so their foot is coming off the brakes a bit.  Still, odds are pretty good there will be another rate hike at the June meeting.

The 10-year Treasury note is up to about 3% now and the Fed seems to have their eye on something closer to 4%.

Not that they’re greedy (but show me a banker who isn’t!) but their problem is that while this will shove the Public Debt higher than the $21-trillion mark, the reality is Pension Funds are on the verge of melting down because they were all planning on a 7-percent rate world until the Second Coming.

Of course, as rates (and prices) go up, that will bring the dollar down, but for now the dollar is going up because of our US military, mainly.

As an insider once-upon-a-time told me: “First you have a Navy…”

Speaking of Wars and Money

There are three “problem areas” to be keeping your eye on tomorrow and Sunday.  (I mention these dates because the US market is closed for three and that’s the best financial timing for starting a war…)

One is what Russia is up to.  People in Norway are getting concerned about higher levels of Russian naval activities.

War Candidate #2 would be a flash Israeli strike on Iran where it’s believed by a many in intelligence circles there are centrifuges running more than just fuel-grade enrichment.  Israel would likely use holiday timing to advantage.

And behind curtain #3, we have the end of the peace process in Korea.  At least for now.

Also, pay particular attention to this Reuters Exclusive: China Inc tightens reins on debt, raises specter of slowdown/.”

That would be one of those deals where “China sneezes and the world catches cold….

Must Be Present to Win Dept.

A couple of key health stories are out.  And since living is one of the first things we check for in the morning, it’s sad to find that “No amount of alcohol, sausage or bacon is safe according to cancer experts>’

I promise to look into this after breakfast. I won’t ask about ham…  Hot dog for lunch?

Antidepressants are now being linked to dementia.

A list of risky meds is online here...highest risks in the right-hand column.

Time to go light up a lawnmower…see you here Monday and remember, I will be doing work on the website this weekend….so bear with us…

28 thoughts on “Memorial for Manic ‘Merica”

  1. It’s been awhile since I’ve lived in a mobile home, but one thing that I do remember was insurance companies having a complete fit over the very idea of a ‘wood-turning stove’ in a trailer . . . and that mobile homes were considered by many fire departments as ‘death traps’. As part of training for ’emergency operator’, we heard tape of poor woman trapped in same (and dying in fire), calling for help on her cell phone – the wiring made a horrible sound as it melted at the end.

    Don’t try to gather belongings in a fire – they can be replaced – your life can’t!!

    • Am loss is a loss. Things can never be replaced except at the cost of time in your life. In a bad theft, fire, or other casualty, you have truly lost something forever.

      That said, if you’re in a mobile/modular/other lightweight construction, assess and get out quickly if there’s a fire you can’t contain. Always fight a small fire rather than relying on help. If you live in a firetrap, you can always have ABC fire extinguishers in every room. At the least, you can use them to clear a path out of the place. If you own the place and it’s permanent(as in can’t be moved economically, then install sheetrock if possible on the walls and support the perimeter. Sheetrocking the ceiling is ideal but the structure may not support it. Failing that, some kind of metal ceiling would be better than the stupid fiberboard. Anything that can prevent/retard/stop fire is generally a good idea. This is where creativity can be better than building codes.

      I have done and will buy a place with aluminum wiring. I’d just get the cost to rewire deducted from the price and DIY. The wire is safe – it’s the connections that are the problem. There are many ways to fix that, including pulling new wires.

      • Take pictures.. every room.. left right front back up and down do this yearly. Put hard copies and digital in a safety deposit box.
        Watch for clauses on roof replacement and water or storm damages. The trend lately is to reword those areas to limit how much they have to pay out. Because how it’s worded makes the difference on whether or not they will pay a dime dissability policies are basically worthless for any serious issues and in my opinion spending fifty dollars a month for nothing. Yes even the one the bank sells.

    • MDS those were the old mobile homes.. siding and roofing all steel. Very little fire retardant materials. They also used light gauged aluminum wiring. These were made before strict regulations and building codes.
      Today’s modular homes are actually built under the same codes as any stick built home.

      • But any realtor will tell you they only go down in value no up – like a site built home.

      • I wonder if that’s because the vast majority stay on a temporary foundation. The ones I’ve seen that were permanently mounted on basements seem to have retained their value.
        I took a tour through this one when it was displayed at the mobile home lot. A very nice mobile home Sheetrock crazy how they put the second story up.

  2. Pence blew up the NORK summit by blatant threatening of Kim using reference to Libya.

  3. One should periodically check with other insurance providers what their rates are! Better yet, check associations with group rates. If you don’t belong to one, consider the cost of joining vs savings afforded through a group rate. Still, don’t get complacent, do periodic checks with different groups, companies, or agents. I switched groups last year because of the BS I was fed. Was told because in the last 10 years I did not have any claims, was a good customer, they would not raise rates. However, a slight change in policy. Instead of my $100 deductible, it was changed to $500!!! But my rates were the same! WHAT!! OK, lets say I wanted my $100 deductible back, it would cost me! So where is this benefit of being a good customer? I switched groups and saved $3K on my home/auto insurance. Note the weasel words, your payments are “premiums” not payments, expenses, charges, or rip-off’s.

    If it sounds as if I don’t like insurance companies, well I don’t. They promise everything to get you in and when there is a claim, they “chisel” you down as much as they can. I blame all those gov consumer agencies that are not doing what they are supposed to do, protect the consumer.

    For example, the XYL(wife) had a small fender bender. Collision shop estimate $5K. Insurance would only pay $1.8K. Vehicle was 1 year old, cost $40K. Why the difference? Shop was using “NEW” parts, adjuster’s estimate based repairs on used parts! Would this not be a reduction in value of XYL’s vehicle? Fortunately, the collision shop knew what XYL rights were in this matter and her vehicle was repaired with all NEW parts. (I know the fella that owns the shop).

    Lets go back to XYL’s car. Collision payment being $400/year. Ten years down the road, that collision payment won’t change much, but the value of vehicle will be down considerably. So why collision payments(premiums) aren’t related to the true cost of the vehicle. I can see $400/yr for a vehicle worth $40K, but not $400 for a 10 yr old car probably worth $6K. Are we not getting screwed?

    When it comes to buying insurance watch your step, and be vigilant! Otherwise you will end up being a company “chattel.”

  4. Okie, Pence did nothing. He shot back after Korea started rolling out nuke threats, However, all this noise, from both sides, is just that — noise.

    The Young’Un never intended a meeting. Do a quick search on Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and you will find a history with both, where they would arrange a meeting with the U.S., then punt it or back out after weaseling something out of us. It amuses them to toy with us, and by doing so, they (Jong Il especially) have been able to periodically con the U.S. out of stuff — like a nuclear bomb program.

    Trump is the first President in history to make diplomatic contact and (so far) not get snookered by the NK Dictator. His cancellation of the meeting is a tactically brilliant move, as may be confirmed by the speed at which the NK Administration got back with us. Now, they came back with an “any time, any place” sort of offer. Were I Mr. Trump, I would let them stew for a while, then append a NK-US meeting to another Presidential diplomatic calendar item…

  5. Okie, Pence did nothing. He fired back after Korea started rolling out nuke threats, However, all this noise, from both sides, is just that — noise.

    • George, your spam filter is driving me to distraction!!! If you would, please delete these two superfluous posts at your leisure and leave the principal one…

  6. Noblesville, Indiana. It was a LMC sh!thole, with a population of about 7000. Firestone had a factory there, and most of the adults worked, makin’ truck tires. I hooked up with a toothless 30-something dude who sold used British sportscar parts out of his garage (one of the ways I worked through college was fixing Austins, Triumphs, and MGs.) ‘Hadn’t been there in years. I drove through it last year and didn’t recognize the place. Firestone is gone. The population is now above 60k, mostly UMC, and it now sports the biggest mall in Indiana (for those who like to get mauled…)

    Based on the growth and the public niceties, I’m guessing it is the new, trendy place for the nouveau riche Indianapolisites to live. I notice the courthouse (gorgeous building, BTW) is still undergoing the renovation that was going on 40 years ago.

    ‘Throwing this out there, because of the school shooting y’all will hear about before George clears this comment, and I’m doing it to timestamp the following sentence:

    The teacher who was injured, earned his wound by taking out the perp.

    I want to see what kind of airplay this fact gets, from the MSCJM (mainstream circlejerk media), or if it’s even mentioned…

    • I live in Noblesville and it’s well known locally. Local media has been reporting it. Who knows what happens nationally.I just wish there was an adult conversation going on about these events. I don’t know whether to blame social media, SSRI’s or participation trophies, but there is clearly a new variable today that didn’t exist when we were kids.

      • Jason Seaman released from hospital following Noblesville school shooting

        Jason Seaman, the teacher being hailed as a hero in the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School, has been released from the hospital.

        Congresswoman Susan Brooks said in a video posted to YouTube this afternoon that Seaman had been released from the hospital and she had met him at the middle school earlier in the day. She also released a photo of herself shaking hands with Seaman at what looks to be West Middle School.

        Seaman underwent surgery Friday after being shot three times, according to family members.

        Dude took three slugs, one in the gut, YESTERDAY, and was out of the hospital and back at school today. Seaman is a MAN!

        He rushed the shooter and “tackled” him. I suspect the “second child hurt” was the shooter, whom (I also suspect) got his ankle broken in [what was] probably a quite unpleasant and painful manner — and I’m incredibly okay with that…

  7. “Yesterday, our homeowner’s insurance policy came in the mail. This year the company wants $1,806 where last year, the home insurance was $1,636.”

    Wow.that is a bargain if it’s any guess is you should go back through your policy. Section by section and see what they AREN’T covering.
    Our insurance is a third more and I have to make sure that they haven’t cut something vital out of the coverage. Seems every year they try to reduce something vital. At what your paying my guess is there’s some serious issues with your policy that need to be addressed.
    Insurance companies are not well known to be generous.

    • I have a dam sneaky suspicion you’re being screwed way more than ten percent.. it’s vital you keep a serious eye on the insurance industry.. I’ve been screwed by the best.. after getting personal hand prints on my shoulders from being bent over I decided I had better keep an eye out on that.. why just read the crap no one else wants to read when this issue affects me and my security in the event of a catastrophic event.
      My new friend living with us. ( he didn’t have anyplace to go basically homeless) was pretty important once apron a time. Designed and built deep water oil drilling platforms) influenced safety laws and regulations etc. what he didn’t do was keep an eye on his insurance and after a catastrophic event was totally wiped out by the insurance industry. He needed to be brought back to life paper wise because he didn’t keep an eye on the simple was a real serious mess and he’s a very bright man. He’s Definitely fun to debate issues lol lol ..

    • If you own your house outright, consider self-insuring. Put the premium amount aside each year and consider it your “insurance fund”. Invest accordingly and hope you don’t have to use it. The average payout ratio when I dealt with an ins. co. was about 50%, so that can be a good ROI. The other thing is that you don’t have to fight with an adjuster or sue the company.

  8. If interest rates in the us go up, all other things equal, the dollar always would go up in value. That said govt debt will wreak havoc as bond payments rise.

  9. Sweden sent out a prepare for war phamplet that recommends that people have ready made food that doesn’t need water. I found that interesting. Living in a military town it is easy to pick up MREs at garage sales. I just got rid of a few cases of MREs because they were older than I was willing to attempt to eat. This year I have experimented with Thrive Life freeze dried food because they come in small enough cans to try out relatively cheaply. The problem with freeze dried food is that is has almost no fat. It is a great diet food but not so good for growing children brains or stressful living. Perhaps I will go back to canned chicken/tuna/stew.

    • Freeze dry your can do such a variety.. Fats..when your dehydrating replace the fat content then.
      The other thing is besides adding the oxygen absorber put in a silica packet. Then like hamburger or what ever once you open the package place it and the packets in a jar use what you want and reseal. It will rehydrate just from the humidity.
      I built one first just to say I did it but you had to babysit it. Harvest rights is great reasonable and one button push to use it.
      Ice cream.. Do a half gallon blend up powder then seal. When you rehydrate put it in a half gallon container. The only issue is to agitate it periodically while it refreezes.. Use a peanut butter jar stirrer to do this. This will help eliminate ice crysyals

    • No one knows how long MREs will keep. The Mormons say the taste starts leaving at 22-25 years, but that the nutritional content of the food remains intact for some years longer.

      I downloaded that Swedish manual and started slogging through it. Although I struggle with all the Norse languages, I seem to be able to read Norwegian and Danish better than Swedish, so it’s been a struggle.

      Interesting points: Sweden is the third nation in that part of the planet to release such a manual in the past three months, and the last time the Swedes distributed such a pamphlet was 1943. ‘Makes me kinda wonder what they know in the Baltic region, that we don’t…

  10. gu,back in the day i worked for Lowes and retired from Lowes.code was 12-2 w/ground in 1970/early 80s….then the boom hit here and all were building w/ 14-2 and i asked inspectors if it was a fire hazard with all the loads put upon it and they looked at me like i was crazy.also alum service entrance cables can/will get hot and cause a fire.just feel your service box,open it and look at the large cable ,might save a life.they use a cheaper wire but charge you more money for home/ insur.was paying 1500.00 for 2/two cars called because i retired and not driving far…they lower it to 400../2 cars.people don,t treat others like we used too.if i waited on you i was there till the job was done and after.i,ve also noticed that the elderly get snuffed at and no respect.

  11. “The price of gas is over $4-bucks now in a lot of places, and in New York over $5 a gallon.
    Seems like everything is going up, too. Take home prices”

    I wonder why no o e ever does a reverse pyramid of the long term affects this has. It’s really quite scary for everyone.

  12. “consider self-insuring. Put the premium amount aside each year and consider it your “insurance fund”.

    That has It’s merits unfortunately most loan companies will not allow you to do that.
    But considering the if you could do that and start it while young. Like I told my grandkids. Every pay check buy a savings bond.. Do this until you can afford to invest responsibly. Minimum fifty dollars a pay period. Then reinvest when it matures. You’d have approximately 7 or eight compounding periods and would safely acquire roughly ten million in savings. Just off of savings bonds. Then of course if you have children..each child becomes your investment..and will cost you about a half mil..depending on education and expenses hobbies and daycare.

  13. “just got rid of a few cases of MREs because they were older than I was willing to attempt to eat.”

    Lol lol years ago after looking at the dates on our mre’s in the service and seeing that some of them were made before we were out of grade school we joked that mre’s would be good forever. And each of us took one home to open after we retired. Well one of my hats was driving semi for the county. (Anyway my now ex wife was one that wasn’t able to handle stressful situations. ) one day I had returned to the garage. The boss had taken off for lunch and I was down below the office. Up to the office was a thirty foot ladder. Well I was down filling the fuel tanks and a customer drove up. Rushing up the ladder I had diesel fuel on the bottom of my shoe slipped and fell almost to the bottom from the top. Luckily my leg got caught in the ladder and even though I got busted up pretty good the other option was hitting that concrete floor.
    Well I get up wait on the customer then head to the hospital. After getting doctored up and get home. The wife couldn’t deal with it. Packed her bags and left. I had to crawl for food.. anyway to make a short story long I would eye that mre that sat on the shelf.. got it down and opened it up not knowing what to expect. It was good. Lol the gum was hard as a rock but the meal was ok.. now I make my own mre’s when you pressure can your vacuum foil pouches make sure you place them in a rack vertically in the pressure canner. I use the signbo vacuum sealer. Of all the vacuum sealers I have the signboard is my favorite. Then hit the end with an iron giving it a good double seal.

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