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I'm Not Afraid Of Inflation, Because My Savings Are All In Jars Of Quarters Under My Bed.

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.02.10

In my usually timely fashion, I've been thinking about this Kevin Drum post about how he, like Michael Kinsley, is still afraid of inflation in the long term even if there doesn't seem to be any immediate reason to worry about it. Drum attributes this fear partially to sensible concern over the size of the national debt, but largely to bad memories of the last time we had significant inflation, back in the '70s.

One reaction would be to make fun of Kinsley and Drum for being irrational, but I can't really because I'm irrational in exactly the opposite direction: I'm not even a little afraid of inflation, largely because I don't believe that any financial assets I've built up will be there when I need them.

As I understand it, very roughly, inflation is good for debtors (debts that stay nominally the same shrink in real terms), and bad for creditors (same deal). This suggests to me that, to the extent that it's compatible with keeping the economy running at all (that is, not hyper-inflation, just something under 15% or so), a certain amount of inflation is a good thing from the point of view of reducing inequality.

The problem is, though, retirees, or people with savings that they're expecting to live on in retirement, are going to see the values of their assets shrink to uselessness as well. This is where my own personal neuroses come in. I've got no debt other than a mortgage (with only five years left! Woohoo!), and a fair amount (not as much as I should, but some) saved for retirement. So I should think of inflation as against my personal interest.

But like everyone else at about my income level, my savings aren't in a bank account, they're invested in a mix of bonds and equities that I understand in no great detail. Which means, in my case, that I'm fairly sure on an emotional level that something will happen to make it all evaporate before I get any use out of the money -- another big stock market crash, defaults on corporate bonds. I don't know what's going to happen, but 'they' (the mysterious figures who control the financial markets) are in control of it all, and if it's not in 'their' interest for me to hold onto my investments, they'll take them away. As I keep saying, this isn't a rational belief, but it's one I hold pretty firmly -- as I put money away for the future (which I do like a responsible citizen is supposed to), it feels exactly like pitching it down a well.

So inflation doesn't scare me at all; all it's going to do is make my investments go away, and I never believed they were going to be there anyway. Maybe this is because I don't remember how bad the 1970s were: I was a kid with no financial worries at the time. Anyway, I can't criticize Drum and Kinsley for being irrational, because I'm just as nutty, only in the other direction.


 

horizontal rule

 

Texas is your future

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.01.10

OMFG, watch this clip of Rick Perry defending the idea that guns be placed alongside fire extinguishers (behind glass, of course) in every classroom, in the public schools. To his credit, he says that gun safety should be taught alongside fire safety and good hygiene.


 

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Allow me to be the first to be judgmental.

Posted by Stanley
on 03.31.10

So, I was grabbing lunch at [Local Downtown Collection of Delicious Food Establishments], as the patron in front of me fielded an inquiry from [Employee of Delicious Food Establishment X], said inquiry being something akin to, "So, how are you? How have you been? You said you were dating [Proprietor of Delicious Food (and Beverage!) Establishment Y], right? How's that going? How's that working out for you?"

How utterly infelicitous! Is there any motive that can be ascribed to this line of inquiry that's not entirely imprudent? I submit that…well, yeah, there probably is.

Regardless: whoa, neighbor, poor choice of words.


 

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Some of my best friends are pagans!

Posted by Stanley
on 03.30.10

I'm probably in big trouble with my mom. She texted me (and my mom all of a sudden is way into texting; it's weird) the question of what I'd like for Easter Sunday dinner.

Catching the text late in the day—late enough that she'd definitely be asleep (ca. 9:30pm), I opted to respond via text that I was likely going to be unable to attend, owing to a late-breaking band obligation.

All this after an initial indication, months ago, that I'd be there on Easter Sunday. But an urgent band thing came up, and I really think it's best for me to be at the band thing, notwithstanding my desire to sit around the table with the family and have a nice meal together.

I'm so busted. And I really regret texting the news.


 

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Age ain't nothing but a number

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 03.29.10

"Police: Father shoots daughter's boyfriend after catching them in the act". See if you can guess the unexpected twist in this lurid local news bit before clicking over.

(Don't let me oversell this. It's not that unusual. But Jammies and I saw this on the TV set yesterday, and they led with the headline above before and after the commercial. So when we heard the detail in question, we got to furrow our brows in mock confusion about why the detail was buried. I'm just trying to recreate that for you, here in the post.)


 

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Buttery. Pancackes. I eated them.

Posted by Standpipe Bridgeplate
on 03.29.10

You know where they make a good pancake? Cambridge, UK.


 

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Brio. Panache. I believe in them.

Posted by Ben
on 03.28.10

Reader, be warned: this post is entirely involuted. Or rather, it contributes to Unfogged's involution (for the post itself reaches out to elsewhere but doesn't escape the pull of its blog). Thus, it continues beneath that enclosure for one's sheep-like attention, the fold.

Remember when we were making fun of Eli Lake's appearance and B said "People who can't smoke shouldn't. I mean, seriously: who the fuck holds their cigarette between their third and fourth fingers?"? Of course you do, you little slime, you probably remember nothing else—but you probably don't know the answer. I do. It is a fictional Hungarian photographer who wears suits made out of pool-table felt and saves Sally Jay Gorce's day. She says: "He waved his cigarette airily and I noticed he held it between the third and fourth fingers instead of the usual second and third. It looked wonderful."

So, there you have it. The mystery of Eli Lake, resolved.


 

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