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Are the things we are being prevented from doing that great?

Posted by John T. Reed on

Is it possible that some of the stuff we are not buying these days is stuff we should not have been buying?
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When I was a kid, we ate at a restaurant about twice a year. All other meals were at home or a bag lunch at school. Fast food restaurants did not exist then, but I lived in Wildwood, NJ and our parents would sometimes buy us a hot dog and a Coke on the boardwalk in summer.
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Now, before the shutdown, I probably ate an average 1.5 meals per day in restaurants. My wife was complaining about the total when she did the taxes. I suspect we eat better and smaller healthier proportions at home than at restaurants. And it is cheaper. So we are probably saving more.
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I miss the gym. I have gathered miscellaneous gym equipment that was lying around the house. Buying more gym equipment is quite cheap and can generally replace the gym and its monthly fee.
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Ironically, I make more money now. A book I have been working on for four years or so suddenly got finished. I will start another. Not going to places leave more time for work.
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We surely are spending less money on gas and tires and service and car washes. Liberals wanted that. And on dry cleaning and maid service and haircuts.
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Haircuts are the one thing that we are buying less of that we should not be buying less of.
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Everyone in my family—me, wife, three sons, and daughter-in-law—is making the same or more than before the virus shutdown. I have been working at home since 1978. My sons for several years.
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The economy is still there. It moved to necessities: food, gasoline, medicine, utilities. That is what happens in a Depression. Good practice. So stop waiting for your job to come back and go get an “essential” one.
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Is the current situation also good practice for a hyperinflation? Nah. Only with regard to toilet paper.
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We are also having far fewer flus, colds, car accidents, athletic injuries. We can resume pro and college sports, albeit without the crowd in the stands.
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When we are allowed to go back to before, I expect we will.
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How much of what has been shutdown is really essential? Judging from the perspective of my childhood in the 1950s, it now seems about the same as then, except we usually went to the movies each Saturday. But we either had no TV or it only had three channels when we finally got one. There is more to watch at home now. We also had no Internet. Is in-person recreational shopping better than delivery?
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What has been shut down, arguably, are the affluence and luxuries?
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Yet in the midst of all this revealed affluence, we maybe getting an impoverished hyperinflation lifestyle overnight with all the borrowing of trillions of dollars we are piling on to pretend and extend our former affluence beyond our considerable means.
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That will be the oddest financial catastrophe of all time. The Americans, they were richer than anyone had ever been, but they still destroyed their currency by borrowing twice as much as they earned. This year’s federal spending will be about double our tax revenue.
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We did not need to do this. We did not need to do it to our grandchildren. It is unforgivable, bearing some resemblance to China sealing off Wuhan from their country but letting them continue to travel outside of China. We are not hurting the rest of the world. We are hurting our posterity, innocent little boys and girls. For what? restaurant meals, recreational shopping, travel outside a home nation we have not yet fully traveled. It is a strange fate for a great nation.

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Epitaph: Americans, they refused to live within their considerable means.

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