Is it just me?

But, like, isn’t the price of everything going up a LOT more than usual and doing so without much, if any, fanfare? I mean, if I am right, isn’t that a harbinger of pain and discomfort in the near future?

I am not talking about gasoline which, of course, is a fixed, rigged and piggybacked product by government (making it the perfect ‘controlled-extortion’ profit item). I am not talking about food, either. Food is definitely going up but we kind of expected that (I do not know why we did but we did). I am talking about things that have no business being more expensive…..like used boats! What the hell?

I am currently looking for a 15′ Boston Whaler-style replacement boat for Sal’s little 11-footer and, of course, I go to Craigslist. Other boats will do but the BW15 is ideal for her. I look in the ‘under 18’ foot category and, typically, those runabout-type boats were usually under $10,000 unless made of welded aluminum (then they get stupid expensive). Last year there were lots of used fiberglass garden ornaments-on-trailers for very little money. $1,000, maybe $2,000 for a good hull, and the balance to as high as $10K, depending on the engine. Today, a boat like that is priced at double the cost of last year.

Used cars are up, too, tho not by so much. Still, I would estimate that sellers are asking a 25% premium at the very least (I do not need one but I like to stay hip to the cool SUV/truck market).

Even cheap-crap tools from Home Depot (always on sale) are, in fact, NOT on sale much it seems and are more often regular priced. And some better brands (Makita) seem to be higher, too. And let us not even dwell-for-a-minute on building supplies. Lumber, of course, is in the headlines but screws, nails, etc. are all up, too.

In my world OTG – where OTG meets the real world market now and then – everything is more expensive by a noticeable margin and over a relatively short period of time. Why? Why is that happening?

Now, I am not complaining…..not really……older people on fixed incomes are in a perpetual state of sticker-shock after the age of 65 or so. That is just the way of the capitalist world. One just has to suck it up, go without or ‘make-do’. Still, this recent price surge/gouging/extortion seems larger than I have ever noticed before and, if I am right, it will only get worse.

“Right about what?”

Well, the so-called marketplace is not generally as unpredictable as economists say publicly. They kinda lump everything under the heading of inflation and let it go at that – as if inflation was some kind of natural force that no one really understands. That is simply NOT true. This blog is not the place to get into it but, generally speaking much of the financial world is based on a 5% inflation or so-called growth rate. It has to be….huge pension schemes, savings accounts, interest rates on loans and other financial industries are reliant on a ‘growth’ or ‘inflation’ mechanism for them to work.

Even more ‘undetected’ is the natural inclination of the plumber wanting to keep pace with the electrician or the dentist wanting to stay ahead of the doctor. ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’ is more than just status seeking, it is literally the device everyone uses to keep up with everyone else. And anyone with a little extra leverage uses that to ‘get ahead’ thus forcing the plumbers and the dentists to do the same when they can raise their prices.

Basically, we are all trying to get ahead or at least stay-the-same as our neighbours and those bastards keep raising their prices!

This past year, real estate has gone off the charts. The average home price in Canada is circa $750,000. That includes Saskatoon, Moncton and Winnipeg. Real estate has really jumped in value and I think that ‘inflated’ industry is acting like an accelerant to the larger economy.

If the goal of the economy is an exercise is trying to achieve equilibrium in a society that has the freedom to set it’s own prices, equilibrium will never be achieved, stability is replaced with volatility and inflation is, once again, inevitable. That statement is NOT news. But when something BIG gets completely out-of-whack compared to ‘other things’ then that anomaly acts as an accelerant and a disruptor. A couple of years ago cauliflower went off the charts and some people panicked. But cauliflower futures are not BIG. Things settled down on the cauliflower front. Big is gasoline, big is real estate, big is the total food basket. But biggest of all is real estate. In other words, real estate prices have set the economy on fire.

“Isn’t the economy-on-fire a good thing?”

It is for the young, educated, cutting-edge worker in demand who got into the housing market over a few years ago….not so much for the fixed income pensioner or the young person entering the BIG markets today. It is for the financial industry, banks, government and monopolies (gasoline and the like) but not so much for the workers in the service industries and hospitality industries (they have less leverage). Balloons do not help all boats float higher. Many sink.

But the real reason a fired up economy is NOT good is that it is not sustainable. And big-leap price-jumps in the ‘basics’ is especially bad because the basics are what we all need. If the prices of luxury goods goes up, we can choose NOT to buy them but bread, milk, burgers, gasoline, cars, houses and, for me, tools and building materials need to remain relatively stable. And they are not.

And now for the ‘other shoe’ to drop: The ‘west’ has stimulated the economy for some time to keep us all going. We started that ‘technique’ in 2008/09 when the sub-prime market tripped up the financial houses and they were deemed too big to fail. We pumped in the money for them. And we never clawed that stimulus back. All that money is mostly still out there. Then we double-downed with additional stimulus for weathering Covid and that money is out there and starting to show up now.

And get this – Biden is proposing to ‘juice’ up the economy even further with a big infrastructure expenditure (long overdue) and that money has yet to get pumped into the ‘balloon’ we call an economy.

Balloons stretch. Good balloons can stretch a long way. I am, however, inclined to believe all balloons eventually pop. Jus’ sayin……

23 thoughts on “Is it just me?

  1. Unfortunately.
    I think that we better prepare for higher everything.
    Food, fuel, wages, interest rates, restaurants, clothes.
    The pent up demand of BILLIONS of people stuck in the Covid lockdown is going to burst.
    A shortage of skilled workers everywhere will create a bump in wages and then prices…for everything.
    Canucks have banked more money in the last year than they have in 20 years.
    Lets see how higher interest rates affect the Canadian Bubble known as real estate.

    This Summer will be the harbinger.
    People finally allowed out , house sales tank, US rates rise…dragging Canuck rates with them…..
    I’m thinking recession by this time next year…… a long , drawn out recession.
    1984 all over again with the Orwellian Covid “passports”.

    Like

    • Well, I think higher interest rates will be met with massive stagflation. I think the peasants will revolt or, at the very least, default all over the place and the banks do NOT want to own a bunch of houses in Lethbridge. The rates will go up but only incrementally. If a mortgage rate is 2.5% for a good borrower today, then it might climb to 3.0% over the next year and 3.25 over the year after that. Any more than that, and they will have a deluge of foreclosures. Your prophecy of recession – long and drawn out – is what I see, too, but it may just be stagflation…..
      The problem with that is that no sector is ‘controlled’. If a dentist wants to crank it up, he or she can do that. If a plumber won’t get out of bed for less than $80 an hour (in his pocket) then plumbing costs will rise. And piecemeal increases creates more inequality and so the social fabric is rent further asunder. I see stagflation or recession as further erosion of the ‘world as we know it’. That brings us all closer to Teotwawki (The end of the world as we know it). Mind you, I am somewhat pessimistically inclined……

      Like

      • By the way….thanks for the comment. My blogs are getting less and less read, less and less commented on. I know it is not me. Can’t be. Still, the facts are the facts and the fact is, I am a tiny blog/frog in a big pond. Existentialism 101: If a tiny frog croaks in a big pond and no one is there to comment, does the frog actually exist? Answer: No.

        Like

      • But the tiny blog/frog in the big pond is getting comments! I know you only have a limited number of followers, but we are hard core! It would be nicer for you if your influence was worldwide, but I am afraid you will need another “platform” for that (we should ask young people what platforms are succesfull…Instagram,…There are platforms where you can even have us pay to follow you :-). I know one thing…you influenced me (and still do)

        Like

      • Oh, I know, I know. Little frog-blogging is not the right platform for big time ‘influencing’ but, except for urging people to flee the city, I have, nor want any real influence. I just want to vent, rant, grouse and opine on what is happening. It’s therapeutic. Helps me accept things and adjust to change. Helps me think. But, of course, therapy and thinking requires input and that means comments so it is a vicious circle……..

        Like

  2. My 4wd is now worth more than I paid for it. New cars are scarce. Most everything, including tools, requires a computer chip. Demand outstrips supply. Chip production needs water.
    In Australia, successive governments have propped up house prices – first home owners grants, building grants, tax concessions. It adds to GDP. People are wealthier. Win, win for governments. Building supplies are short. We import a lot. Trades people are scarce. Workers are scarce but they are not getting paid any more when they get jobs. Not yet anyway. Plus, too many Joneses, more inequality, more unrest. More competition for Sal’s replacement boat.

    Like

  3. You are right, prices are crazy, and in most cases without any shortage! we use a lot of aluminium in our products, and price of alu has rissen with at least 80% and is still rising! There is NO shortage, it is speculation. So the rich people are just getting richer (again). I agree with you and noncon, give it another year and the bubble will burst, just like in 2008. Or…all that money is going to be spent in the coming months when restrictions are lifted, and then maybe “roaring twenties” again??? in the meantime, we are just paying too much for everything in my opinion

    Like

    • My opinion, too. Paying too much. And, as you say, no real reason for the price hike ‘cept they can. Gouge, extort, greed and graft……’screw the little guy’….but why? Why did everyone and everything TURN like that this past year, all of a sudden….almost in a synchronized way? My best guess is that, when real estate (homes) become worth millions, that flicks a faulty perspective switch and people living in ratholes worth way, way, way too much all of a sudden think they are rich. Things are too out of whack and so they ‘jump’ their wages or the cost of their product in anticipation rather than from being cost driven. How crazy is that?

      Like

    • I do not think there is any doubt the two are linked and not just ‘linked’ but inherently and purposefully designed into the system. And, maybe it should be that way……some people do more than others, some people want more than others, some people have ambition and some people make greater contributions. We are NOT created equal. We do NOT live the same way. Throw in cultures, physics, birth-situation, intelligence and myriad other variables and equality is impossible. Capitalism has many flaws but reflecting the human condition is not one of them. And mankind is greedy or insecure (much the same thing) and so Capitalism is a real and accurate manifestation of that…even the corruption and crime that also comes with it.
      The key, tho, to having a somewhat healthy society/economy/community at all is to keep the gap between us NOT so large that any percentage of the population is totally excluded or hurt beyond repair. Man is greedy and ambitious but also a social and group-reliant creature. We seem to need each other. But those two things 9greed and community) work against each other – on the one hand, we want to ‘beat’ the other guy but we also still want to have him continue to play in the game and share a beer afterwards.
      But then, well, we have the sociopaths and psychopaths that seem to especially excel in Capitalism….

      Like

      • At the LCB Specialty store is a bottle of single malt scotch priced at several hundred dollars. I want that bottle, I deserve that bottle but it is beyond my means. I have Champagne tastes and a beer budget. God bless all those that have the discretionary means to make preferred purchases. I am not in such a situation but in my heart I feel I deserve more but alas that is not to be.

        Like

      • I have been in the same situation, but ask yourself…is that bottle REALLY worth several hundred dollars? Or is it again rich people willing to pay crazy prices “just to have a bottle that no one else has”. Chinese have been buying for decades french wines, champagnes, whisky, driving up prices beyond reason. So we, “oridanry guys” can no longer afford the bottle we are entitled to (because we also work hard). Last year because of COVID, there is/was a huge surplus of Champagne and french wine and prices have tumbled. So it’s always supply/demand. BUT….current high prices are not always based on REAL shortage…just artificial shortage being created to drive up prices and make more money for the already filthy rich people. When prices are low, producers create shortages by shutting down production lines/plants, thus creating artficial shortage to drive up prices…and again, we pay the bill

        Like

  4. My guys finished that job on Stuart Island on Wednesday.
    The folks were happy with the result.
    They arrived back with some photos of the property.
    Unbelievable what the rich can afford.
    They might have another one in a few weeks.
    I probably wont be able to scoot up on that one either.
    Our silly season is beginning.
    Cold today.

    Like

    • but what’s the use to being in the most beautiful wilderness and again be surrounded by wealth…wouldn’t they enjoy it more if the cabin was really basic and simple?

      Like

      • Oh they enjoy the wilderness and their private family golf course, private family pub, private yoga studio, private swimming pool, a 100 metre yacht to shuttle friends by helicopter to the private runway for their private Lear jet…..just in case they have to leave in a hurry.
        What the hell,
        Whats the point of having Billions if you dont spend some of it to avoid the rat race?
        I would probably do the same thing if I could afford it.
        Having lots of money means you get to avoid the incredibly stupid and the terminally lazy.
        Both of whom seem to infest every road, store, tv screen and parliament in Canada.

        Dave and Sal are avoiding the Rat Race… just on a slightly smaller budget.

        πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • No question – my budget is smaller. But it is equally as true that they (the rich)| can’t possibly live better than I do. I live in heaven with an angel who can really, really cook. Seafood is so fresh, it is still flipping in the kitchen. Garden veggies taste ten times better than store-bought. I answer to no one save Sal and even then, it is optional. No accountants, no lawyers, no psychiatrists, no ‘business’ or ‘staff’ to worry about. No clock, no schedule, no wallet, no watch and no bloody cellphone to carry around. I am no longer a player but I still enjoy watching and commenting on the game a bit – BUT from afar!. I have come to love my natural surroundings, the animals, plants, ocean…..it is all good for me. Honestly, I can cook a steak on an open fire, serve it on a plank and cover it in mushrooms without a giant stainless steel kitchen, granite counter tops or hot and cold running waitresses. And it will taste better. I do not require a bar-tender or a sommelier. I can even drive myself places. Even better, I can give back to my community. I can help others. I can do the right thing and not have to go to a meeting first. It simply DOES NOT GET BETTER than this.

        Like

  5. Yes, I understand the mindset and the nature of your Heaven on earth. No one can surpass what you and Sally have achieved. Are you not insulated from the day to day vexations that might annoy most people?

    Like

  6. I think we are insulated from the urban-common vexations, mostly. I think that because I get SSSSOOOO vexed when I go to town and I do not feel that way out here. Still, we are all social animals and we can still be vexed by the news, the locals, prices, taxes, machines breaking and the like. I hate running out of scotch, for instance (but I also hate going into town to get it). A bit of vexation is ‘all in the game’ and you get less or more of it depending on the games you play. I now play in very few games. I write. And, without comments, that gets vexing. I build. But I am not very good and so my own ‘shoddiness’ can get vexing. I basically hate fishing but that vexatious pastime can be a treat if you actually catch a keeper. I LIKE catching fish, I just hate fishing. And so it goes.

    Like

    • FISHING is a small part of the exercise. CATCHING plays an important part, as does LANDING. You must partake of all three if to wish to finish off by EATING, which is surely reward enough for the successful completion of the exercise.

      Like

      • True. But the way you put it, fishing is just 25% of it. Eating is also 25% of it. I like that ratio. But in my experience, eating just takes minutes, fishing takes hours, even days. The true ratio of fishing to catching, landing, cleaning and eating is more like 95: 1+1+1+2. AND that ratio assumes you actually CATCH one of the damn things. I could not catch a salmon if it was just him and me in a bathtub. I’d have a better chance trying to catch a greased pig on a Mexican beach (don’t ask me how I know that).

        Like

    • True, ‘cept for one aspect of it….I have come to know myself. I am no longer conflicted with being conflicted. I will always be conflicted. It is my ‘style’. And I have come to accept that and be comfortable with it. I ain’t ‘laid back’. I’m just not. High rpms come naturally to me. I am not red-lining much anymore but I can get spun up a bit……..and, honestly, part of feeling alive is ‘feeling’ all the feelings. I still feel all the feelings.

      Like

Leave a Reply to wimdegendt Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.