Monday, September 27th, 2021


Your Lot in Life

How bad will inflation get? Are the price hikes we're seeing a transitory blip or part of a broader trend? What can we expect from stocks and bonds in the near future? To answer these questions, some analysts are turning to an old school data tracker called the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index. During the pandemic, demand for cars remained high because people liked the idea of not sharing their personal space with others. The chip shortages dramatically slowed the assembly lines. Previously-owned vehicle prices soared, and suddenly, all eyes were on America's used car lots as a key economic indictator. So, yeah, the future of the American economy sort of depends on used car salesmen. NYT (Gift article for ND readers, zero money down, if you can act now! This deal won't last!): Wall Street Scans the Lots as Used Cars Prod Inflation.

+ Related: Refund?! Refund!?

+ Used cars are a key economic indicator in the US. In the UK, the key indicator is fuel availability, thanks to a fuel shortage that has led to long lines at gas stations. Only, there was no fuel shortage at all. Until people started to think there was. But it's all right now. In fact it's a gas. Shortage. Sort of. Fuel supply: Why are there long queues for petrol in UK?

+ While we're on the topic of the economy, don't miss this interesting look at the meat market from The Atlantic's David Frum: Where's the Cheap Beef? "Grocery prices are rising. Meat prices are rising more than most other grocery prices. Beef prices are rising more than most other meat prices. But on the ranch, these are not prosperous times. Even as ground chuck costs more than $5 a pound at Walmart, ranchers complain that they are receiving less for their animals than it costs to feed them." (I'm a vegetarian, so I have no beef with any of these players. But take note of how tricky this issue is given our current state of meat monopolization.)

+ Raise the roof? From the debt ceiling to the budget, it's a key week in DC. Your wallet is on the line.


Route Rout

Used cars can provide economic indicators. If you want to understand the labor market, you'll have to look to buses. Or more specifically, bus drivers. Why America has a school bus driver shortage.


Bullet Points

Americans responded to the threat of a deadly pandemic in the most American way possible. We started killing each other. (Better we do it ourselves than give Covid the satisfaction.) FBI Data Show Unprecedented Spike In Murders Nationwide In 2020.

+ "It was May 25, 2020, and America had just entered its worst stretch of gun violence in at least two decades. By year's end, bullets would kill more than 43,000 people, including hundreds of kids. Children have paid an especially brutal price in the nation's capital, where 95 of them were shot — nine fatally — last year. But even in cities and states with the toughest firearm laws, America has long struggled to hold gun owners accountable when they leave a weapon somewhere a child can find it, a reality that would prove true for the man whose negligence left My'onna bleeding last summer." WaPo (Gift Article for ND readers): Two kids, a loaded gun and the man who left a 4-year-old to die.


R and D Day

13 years after R. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges, his many victims can finally watch this monser get locked up, hopefully for life. Better late than never. This case was so obvious, and so long coming, that I wrote this blurb before even looking at the verdict. May his sentence last at least as long as his criminal behavior did. Here's the latest from CNN. Kelly was most famous for the song, I Believe I can Fly. Not this time.


Results Merky

"Germany's centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have claimed victory in the federal election, telling the party of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel it should no longer be in power. SPD leader Olaf Scholz said he had a clear mandate to form a government, while his conservative rival Armin Laschet remains determined to fight on." (In other words, the streak of close elections continues.) BBC: Centre-left claim narrow win over Merkel's party.


Port au Prince of Darkness

"More than a city, Port-au-Prince it is an archipelago of gang-controlled islands in a sea of despair. Some neighborhoods are abandoned. Others are barricaded behind fires, destroyed cars and piles of garbage, occupied by heavily armed men. On Saturday, a local newspaper reported 10 kidnappings in the previous 24 hours including a journalist, a singer's mother and a couple driving with their toddler, who was left behind in the car." Haitians returning to a homeland that's far from welcoming.


Lock and Keep Away

"Increasingly, across the country, sovereign citizens have clashed with authorities, tied up resources and frazzled lives in their insistence that laws such as the requirements to pay taxes, obey speed limits and even obtain, say, a license for a pet dog do not apply to them." She Bought Her Dream Home. Then a 'Sovereign Citizen' Changed the Locks. (The key goal in modern America has become keeping the lunatics from screwing up your life.)


Coalition of the Willing

"Immunizing that population could be critical to attaining herd immunity and protecting those disproportionately affected by the pandemic. But public health officials have, so far, struggled to reach young adults, Blacks, Hispanics and uninsured people, groups who are unvaccinated but willing at higher rates." Forget the Ivermectin crowd and the rabid radio hosts. About 10% of Americans are unvaccinated but are willing to get on board. WaPo: Many unvaccinated people are not opposed to getting a shot. The challenge is trying to get it to them.


The Tuck Rules

"No one deserves the record more than Tucker. Not only is he the most accurate kicker in NFL history, converting 90.6 percent of his field goal attempts ... Also, he sings opera." Justin Tucker broke an NFL record with a 66 yard field goal (that also won the game).


Bottom of the News

"What we can tell you is his portfolio is up nearly 20% since he started trading in June, according to his Twitter account. And as of Sept. 12, Mr. Goxx was performing better than Bitcoin, the Nasdaq 100, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and the S&P 500." Meet the Crypto-Trading Hamster.

+ Vice Tried Cup Noodle Sodas So You Don't Have To. (I'm waiting for Cup Noodle Hard Seltzer.)