Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Lazy Day

Today was our last day to just sit around not doing much of anything. Tomorrow, we arrange for a moving van and a trailer for the Durango, then throw what's left in the apartment into bins. We need to go to Arcosanti to visit with people there and maybe recruit a couple pairs of hands to help load the heavy stuff into the truck. Or maybe just grab someone from here in town, depending on what days are the cheapest for us to get a truck. In any case, the move is on and will likely be accelerating over the next few days. I'm done with Arizona; we know we are leaving and I just want to get back to Michigan so we can finish the work we left half-done there, then start trying to figure out what comes next.

For the entire history of the US, home ownership has been seen as a worthy thing; that renters are somehow not really citizens. We hear all the time that renting is just throwing away your money, while home ownership is some sort of investment. Our federal government has done a great deal since WWII to encourage home ownership; efforts that greatly accelerated over the last couple decades to the point that banks were giving half-million-dollar loans to people making less than $20,000 a year. It seems people are starting to wise up. A house is only an investment if you rent it out rather than live in it, or the government is creating real estate bubbles (which always end catastrophically, as everyone is now finding out). My favorite statistic in the article: "...42% of those who once purchased a home, but don't own one now, believe that they'll never own one again." After two houses that both nearly destroyed us financially and nearly cost us our marriage, I don't see us owning real estate of any kind for a very long time. Renting is so much more flexible (that whole "get fast, get small" thing I've been preaching for over a decade) and far less stressful, I can't imagine a circumstance that would have us owning a home.

While catching up on everything, I came across a couple good essays by Jerry Pournelle on the health care "reform" proposals floating around Congress and all the drama that surrounds them. As usual, he covers the issues more coherently than I probably could manage, but there are a couple points that I think need to be emphasized. First, there is no single Health Care Reform Bill; there are several proposals, all changing on a daily basis, and none that are actual bills before Congress. So any talk about what is or is not part of health care reform is mostly nonsense at this point. Second, even if there were a single bill being considered by Congress, that means very little, as we already saw with all the cloak-and-dagger BS with the stimulus package. And even if by some miracle, Congress manages to pass a concise, well-crafted piece of legislation, the bureaucrats will still make a hash of it. Third, I still don't see how a group that is incapable of running a simple, straight-forward rebate scam.. er... plan like Cash for Clunkers is going to somehow manage what is arguably the most-complex 15% of the US economy. I guess I just lack faith. Obama is The One; the Oracle's prophecy tells us.

I found catching up on Factor E Farm weblog to be interesting: consultations with the local Sheriff, false (and very public) accusations of sabotage, kicking people off the project, talk of outside mediators, people on the site becoming seriously ill from drinking water that runs off the roof and shitting in plastic buckets. As one commenter said, looks more like Arcosanti every day.

And it is now after 1am, and we have a full day tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

You said "After two houses that both nearly destroyed us financially ...". While I don't know any details of your experiences wiht real estate, I believe that in general people's RE problems arise from mortgage debt - as in too much of it. Wishing you a low hassle move.

Ric said...

Thanks for the well wishes. We pretty much have a semi-firm date and a truck. Our vehicle is too heavy to trailer, so we will be caravaning two vehicles. That will slow us down somewhat.

Both times we owned homes, we weren't terribly far in debt, but just the constant upkeep (house #1) and building (house #2) kept us broke and tired all the time. And in both cases, being saddled with a slow-moving asset when we needed to make fast changes nearly destroyed us. I have no desire to ever be in that situation again.