Our guess: speculators are betting on the Fed’s announcement next week. In light of bad employment numbers, the Fed is unlikely to begin seriously tapering off from its credit pumping adventure.
They’re probably right. The Fed has already gone too far. The economy – such as it is – depends on its zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE).
Besides, Ben Bernanke is leaving in January. He is desperate to hold things together so he can get away with his reputation – such as it is – intact. He has already added $2.2trn to Fed holdings. What’s a few hundred billion more?
This brings to mind a whole category of human activity that has never been properly studied. Called ‘mize-wells’, it probably accounts for at least 10% to 15% of GDP.
We were thinking of it as ‘Bobbies Potties’ rolled out of the back yard yesterday. Bobbies portable restrooms are a marvel of modern sanitary engineering. They have multiple stalls, all clean, well-lighted…
“Heck, these are better than our toilets at home!” Jules exclaimed after trying them out.
Another guest at our daughter’s wedding was also impressed, but in a different way:
“These fancy poop stalls must have cost more than my whole wedding. But that was a while ago.”
Yes, dear reader, times have changed. Weddings are bigger and much more expensive than they used to be. And one of the biggest contributors to that change has largely been ignored: mize-wells.
Here, for example, is how we ended up with the most expensive cans in the history of South County weddings:
“Let’s just get a couple of Johnny-on-the-spots”, suggested the father of the bride.
“People gotta go somewhere… ”
“Yech,” replied his wife. “They are always so disgusting. If we’re going to put on a wedding, we want it to be lovely, we want something nice. I mean, this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.”
And then came at least a 20% boost to the local economy: “we mize-well do it right.”
It was not the first time we had encountered the mize-well factor. When we travel, mize-wells inevitably are added to the ticket.
“Since we’re going to be in Paris, we mize-well take a little trip to Zurich”, was the summer’s plan.
Cities, countries and whole continents have been added to an itinerary on the mize-well doctrine. Restaurants, hotels, resorts – all depend heavily on mize-well spending.
Bill Bonner on markets, economics & the madness of crowds
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But nowhere do mize-wells contribute as much to economic growth as in the housing industry. A couple goes to buy the house they need. They see one that is bigger, nicer and in a better community.
“Since we don’t want to move again, we mize-well get the house we really want”, one reasons.
Coming back to America after 18 years in Europe, we found our house in need of a little spiffing up. The original plan was sensible and straightforward. We needed a bigger kitchen. So, bump out the wall a little, that was all there was to it.
And then came the mize-wells.
“Since we have the plumbers on the job, we mize-well put in that extra bathroom on the ground floor for your mother”, said Elizabeth.
We couldn’t say no to that. Our mother will be 94 next week. She can’t get up the stairs easily.
But after we gave ground to the first mize-well, it wasn’t long before we were in full retreat, and eventually in a complete sauve qui peut rout. For not only were the plumbers on the job, but the carpenters too. And the dry-wall boys. And the insulators, electricians, and cabinet-makers.
Once we had agreed to put in a pocket door (mize-well, we always thought it would be a good idea to have one) the sheetrock was down in part of the room. Soooo, we mize-well take all the sheetrock out and insulate more fully. And then, we mize-well move around some walls, since the framing was exposed, and mize-well replace the staircase with something a little fancier.
When it was over, last week, the mize-wells from the wedding and the home remodelling together had easily helped some local artisans with their own mize-wells, which, in turn, left the barkeeps and fishing gear salesmen of the South County with some mize-well money in their pockets too.
So does the great wheel turn, churning money, and transferring wealth.
And we keep spending more than we intend on more than we need, ending up with less than we would like.
But mize-wells go far beyond family budgets. The mize-well factor plays a role in all aspects of human life.
A man robs a liquor store. He figures he mize-well rob a bank too.
A woman on a strict diet lets herself go and eats an éclair. Having busted her regime, she mize-well have another one.
The Obama team figures the US has already gotten itself into a heap of trouble in the Middle East. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. Heck, it mize-well bomb Syria too!
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