Archive for Common Cents

Stuck in 1690

Someone perhaps wasn’t thinking when this application was written:

The matter was resolved quickly enough:

And thank God this didn’t happen to an American woman running for office, because we’d never hear the end of it.

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The usual wailing

This sort of stuff has been coming out all year, with the implication that somehow it’s All Trump’s Fault:

The average tax refund is $2,640 for the week ending Feb. 15, according to the IRS. That’s down by more than 16 percent compared to the year-ago period.

For the first time, taxpayers are submitting their returns under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect last year.

The filing season only kicked off on Jan. 28, but some early filers are finding that they’re either owing the IRS or they’ll be receiving a smaller refund.

Boo fricking hoo. If you knew how to play this game, you’d have tweaked your withholding for 2018 to wind up even with the IRS and had all that extra cash during the year. Most people, it seems, would rather get it in a lump sum in the spring.

Then again, I didn’t tweak my withholding for 2018, and I got back six times as much as I did last year. This reflects two factors: (1) I actually made a few bucks less, and (2) I am not easily scared.

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Tons of money, stat

So why is it that we spend more on health care than pretty much everyone else on the planet? One theory:

Perhaps because we think we like to think we are sick and we like spending money on doctors and lab work and drugs. Perhaps because we are willing to spend the money and the medical establishment is willing to take it. In any case, I suspect it’s just our mindset: charge on until we are stopped, and then bust down the barricade and charge on some more… Crazy people run up bigger medical bills, and we Americans might be the craziest of all.

I dunno, but I suspect most of our health care dollars are spent on old people, and a lot of that is spent on people who are not even mentally with us anymore. It is easy to foist unnecessary treatments on people who are barely aware of what’s going on. But hey, Medicare will pay for it, so it gets done.

Certainly the medical establishment doesn’t go out of its way to keep from taking our money.

And then I look at the doctor’s office, which includes three actual medical personnel and four people who push paper, and I am no longer surprised.

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High-ish hopes

A Quora query: How can I make a billion dollar selling job lots, job lots of cars (used cars, new cars, luxury cars), new cars and luxury cars through an LLC?

All the cool kids are setting up as Limited Liability Companies these days, so that’s certainly understandable. (An LLC is not quite a corporation; the rules governing LLCs and the creation thereof are not quite as stiff as those governing corporations.) And really, no one cares about millionaires anymore: you want that tenth digit to proclaim your status.

Still, I’d believe Taylor Swift calling me up for a date before I’d believe this kid’s made it to a billion.

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Some pal you are

This arrived in the mail yesterday:

As a result of a new regulation issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C. coming into effect on April 1, 2019, we are making some changes that will affect consumers who want to hold and use balance with PayPal.

When in doubt, blame Washington. Works for me.

If you want to hold and use balance, you will need a balance account which will be linked to your current PayPal account. PayPal will offer two balance accounts: PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus. Information about both types of balance accounts can be found in the PayPal Cash and PayPal Cash Plus Terms and Conditions.

If you are an existing personal PayPal account holder and we have already verified your identity, we will establish and automatically link a PayPal Cash Plus account to your current PayPal account. Information about your PayPal Cash Plus account, including your balance amount, will be easily available using your existing PayPal login.

Whatever the hell that means.

For all other consumer PayPal account holders, if you want to hold and use balance, in addition to verifying your identity with PayPal, you will need [to] set up a balance account which will be linked to your current PayPal account.

I have in fact three putative balance accounts wired into PayPal. Does this mean I’m good to go, or do I have to lose two of them?

All this goes into effect on the 29th of March. Perhaps by then this will be de-jargonized.

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Chirpy chirpy cheap cheap

Dystopic flinches at the cost of his upcoming vacation/delayed honeymoon, but only a little:

I think in the end, this vacation will cost me on the order of $8,000. On the other hand, I can afford it. I have the cash, it can be done.

It got me thinking, though. On social media, I constantly see friends and acquaintances flying off to exotic vacations, buying new cars, and eating at fancy restaurants. And I know they make far less money than I do. And, paradoxically, they often complain about living paycheck-to-paycheck, apparently not seeing the obvious connection between their lifestyles and lack of savings. Some of them even purport to be Socialists.

Bernie Sanders tweeted that “80% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck” as if this was somehow unavoidable; that they were forced to live this way. It’s a blatant denial of Free Will. You were fated to be a spendthrift. It’s not your fault. You shouldn’t have to fix it.

One word trips them up every time: deserve. “Well, we deserve this,” they say, even before they hide the bank statement from themselves. Merchants are happy to play along with the politics of envy, because they get paid up front. And who’s going to tell these unbudgetable souls that no, you really don’t deserve this? (Hint: Not Bernie Sanders.)

I’ve lived from paycheck to paycheck before. In fact, there were times when I was living paycheck to four days before paycheck. But if there’s too much month left at the end of the money, whom can I blame? A random member of the One Percent? Walmart? Pope Gregory XIII?

No, no, and no, in that order.

(Title source.)


Collateral damaged

Amazingly, this did not work:

After being refused a loan at a bank in Kazan, Russia, a young woman tried to convince the bank manager to approve the loan by stripping in front of him.

Yulia Kuzmina, who is reportedly in her mid-20s, went to a bank in Kazan, the capital city of The Republic of Tatarstan in western Russia, to secure a loan for a new car. She filled out all the necessary forms, but her application was denied after the bank’s analysis determined that she was an unreliable borrower. After pleading with the loan manager, Kuzmina decided it was time for desperate measures and started taking her clothes off in front of him.

The banker was evidently not impressed:

“Very low interest,” says the Fark blurb writer.

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She has a roof over her head

Which is better odds than you get with him:

A new report by the online loan marketplace LendingTree has found that single women own far more homes than their male counterparts. The study revealed that in the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, single women are almost twice as likely to be homeowners as single men. Single women in New Orleans, for example, own 27 percent of all homes compared to only 15 percent for single men. Multiple cities boasted disparities of over 10 percent. Interestingly, there were no cities in which single men outpaced single women.

And if you know lots of single guys, you’re already nodding your head.

The decision to marry and have children has a profound impact on earnings. Though the average man makes more than the average woman, the disparity is reversed when looking at unmarried women versus unmarried men. Based on data compiled from 2,000 urban communities, one study found that the median salary for young, unmarried, childless women is about 8 percent higher than men with the same characteristics. Other cities experienced pay gaps in the double digits, sometimes reaching as high as 20 percent. Further research has shown that unmarried college-educated women between the ages of 40 and 64 earn an average of 17.5 percent more than their male peers.

And probably a better credit risk, I suspect, having spent rather a lot of time at the wrong end of FICO.

(Via Stephen Green.)

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Don’t ever get sick

To misappropriate a line from J. B. S. Haldane, it’s not only more expensive than we imagine, it’s more expensive than we can imagine.

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Face off

Most Kenyan coins bear the image of Jomo Kenyatta, or his successor Daniel arap Moi. But this practice is ending:

Section 231(4) of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya stated “Notes and coins issued by the Central Bank of Kenya may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya but may not bear the portrait of any individual.” New banknotes and coins are scheduled to be released by 2018 to meet up with this new law.

Still no sign of the banknotes, but the coins are now in circulation:

20 and 10-shilling coins minted in Kenya in 2018

The 20-shilling coin bears the likeness of an elephant; the 10-shilling, of a lion. All new-series coins have the Kenyan coat of arms on the reverse.

The current President of Kenya is the first not to have his image on any of the country’s currency, and he’s fine with that:

President Uhuru Kenyatta — the son of Kenya’s first leader Jomo Kenyatta — said the new coins were a “big change” and showed “our nation has come a long way.”

First day of circulation for the new coins was Tuesday.

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An ATM without so much rat in it

Perhaps the critter thought he needed fiber:

Eating money will not make you rich, but rather turn your insides into tub of paper confetti. A rat in Assam state, India, learned this hard truth earlier this week when it squeezed its way inside an ATM machine, consumed and destroyed $17,662 worth of Rupees, and promptly died.

The ATM in question was on the fritz for a few days when technicians were called to inspect it, Reuters reports. What they found looked like the contents of a paper shredder, with the rat already dead and buried within the mountain of minced up money.

The bank was properly appalled:

State Bank of India branch manager Chandan Sharma told reporters:

“The ATM was out of order for a few days and when our technicians opened the kiosk we were shocked to find shredded notes and a dead rat … We have started an investigation into this rare incident and will take measures to prevent a recurrence.”

The rat was small enough to evade the ATM’s security camera and burrow inside, ultimately ripping through $17,662 of its $42,685 supply. When the rodent’s body was retrieved, it was already a stiff and withered corpse.

The love of money will get you every time.

(Via Tracy Chou.)

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Ghosn with the wind

In 1999, Carlos Ghosn created the Nissan/Renault Alliance, to which Mitsubishi was added last year. Three utterly disparate automakers. But Ghosn, apparently, spent a great deal of time looking out for Number One:

Nissan Motors chairman Carlos Ghosn has been arrested and will be dismissed for alleged under-reporting of his income and misuse of company funds, the company said Monday.

The Japanese automaker’s CEO Hiroto Saikawa confirmed that Ghosn was arrested after being questioned by prosecutors following his arrival in Japan earlier in the day.

It was a stunning development that will pose a daunting test for the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world’s biggest automakers.

The biggest, at least during the first half of 2018, beating out both Volkswagen Group and Toyota.

The Yokohama-based company said the alleged violations involving millions of dollars by Ghosn, 64, and another executive were discovered during a months’ long investigation that was instigated by a whistleblower.

Did Ghosn think himself to be underpaid?

Ghosn’s Renault pay package amounted to a shareholder-approved 7.4 million euro last fiscal year ($8.46 million), with Nissan and Mitsubishi chipping in $6.52 million and $2.01 million, respectively.

I’m pretty sure I could get by on $17 million a year.

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Man of inconstant borrow

Why is the auto financing sometimes not fair? asks Mr. I Wouldn’t Give My Name Either:

I always see people with poor or not credit at all not a stable job and taking subsidies from the government getting those brand new cars while I have a stable job with good credit not getting even approved for a car loan which I really need to move on this car dependent city.

One of these, or both, will apply:

  • His credit isn’t as good as he says it is;
  • Their credit isn’t as bad as he says it is.

What I want to know: Are their FICO scores stenciled on the deck lid?

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A shiver of sharks

I can remember when the phone book hit the porch with a resounding THUNK. Then again, it was two thousand pages, not including coupons. Today it’s down around 550, and the sound is feeble indeed.

The back cover this year has been taken by a local loan operator with, it says, eight locations in OKC. Um, no, not really. While the eight locations have seven different names, three of them have the same address (different “suite number”), and two more are more or less next door to each other with a third just around the corner.

Across the bottom of the page is a single URL for all, which matches exactly none of those names.

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This is me being dumb

I planned this out very carefully. About four, having determined that I needed to pick up a bundle of prescriptions, I browsed over to my MasterCard provider, who would happily tell me my balance and how much I have left. This particular card has the lowest credit limit of any I have, so I tend to use it more for things like, well, trips to the drug store.

They didn’t recognize me for some reason, and requested further ID. Now I’m cool with two-factor authorization, so yeah, go ahead and text me a code. It was about twenty seconds later when I remembered I was still at the office, a virtual black hole as far as cell service goes.


At five, roughly six minutes away from home (and the store, three blocks from home) they sent me a code, with a note attached to the effect that they weren’t going to call me this time. I have to assume there is such a thing as undeliverable SMS, and return messages then ensue.

Oh, and I put the drugs on American Express. Why complicate matters?

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Your very own tax haven

Your driveway runs through it:

One of the common arguments against the mortgage-interest deduction is that most of it goes to higher-income folks; most of those thus arguing believe that there must be some magical means in the arcane rites of mathematics that could somehow make it Not So. I figure someone who makes ten times what I do probably pays twelve or thirteen times what I do to the taxman, and someone who makes a tenth of what I do probably pays nothing at all. Besides, the deduction isn’t worth as much as it used to be, at least partially because of Donald Trump’s tax package.

And that said, the deduction is no longer worth anything to me personally: halfway through my mortgage, I pay less interest than I used to, and I’m now at the point where I needn’t even bother with Schedule A. The only reason for me to support it, therefore, is to annoy its detractors.

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Beyond mere inflation

This might even be beyond hyperinflation:

Venezuelan consumer prices rose 488,865 percent in the 12 months ending in September, a member of the opposition-run congress reported on Monday, as the OPEC nation’s hyperinflation continues to accelerate amid a broader economic collapse.

Daily inflation is now 4 percent, according to opposition legislator Angel Alvarado, with monthly inflation rising to 233 percent in September from 223 percent in August.

Not sure how you get four hundred thousand percent out of that, but it’s not like the government has a clue what to do about it:

In an effort to stabilize prices, President Nicolas Maduro in August cut five zeros off the ailing bolivar currency, boosted the minimum wage by 3,000 percent, and pegged salaries to an elusive state-backed cryptocurrency.

A mere ten years ago, the first three zeros were lopped off the bolívar, something Caracas hadn’t seen fit to do since 1879.

“The only thing planned economies never run out of,” says Stephen Green, “is zeros.”

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Lending again

Another small business I have opted to assist financially:

They’re seeking ten grand, as follows:

•$2500.00 — For the purchase of the new equipment for our Point of Sales inventory system, a new laptop for launching an online sales component and to increase our social media presence

•$3000.00 — To sustain our current employees’ salary. This will help our business maintain the current position for our employee. This position allows us to provide a job for a local community member and maintain our excellent customer service

•$3000.00 — To Increase inventory by adding additional product brands. Being able to increase our inventory will help us to fulfill requests from our loyal customers and will assist our store in being competitive with neighboring competition.

•$1500.00 — Marketing promotion expenses and flyer printing. Mailers and professional business flyers will include promotions, discounts and our new product offerings. This will keep our business relevant, increase awareness of our presence in our local community, and give our customers reassurance as to why time and time again, they choose our store for their immediate beauty needs.

Does “South Central” include north Long Beach? No matter.

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Glass sunroof

Apparently being female isn’t enough to silence complaints about fat-cat CEOs:

One of Britain’s best-paid female bosses has been slammed by critics over a £29million bonus.

Avril Palmer-Baunack runs British Car Auctions, which owns We Buy Any Car, the car-buying website known for its catchy jingles.

The vast sum, 59 times her normal salary, is the result of an incentive plan drawn up four years ago to grow the firm.

Oh, and her normal salary went up a bit as well:

On top of the £29 million bonus, which is linked to an increase in the share price, she also got an eight per cent increase to her basic salary to £525,000. The company defended it by saying it needed to pay a “competitive” rate.

But in a report to investors, influential advisory firm Glass Lewis called the £29 million payout to Palmer-Baunack “exceptionally disproportionate.” It said the increase in the value of BCA may have been boosted by broader swings in stock market prices “rather than company or management performance.”

Kim du Toit laughs at that, as he should:

Well, guess what? “Broader swings” in the stock market are a result of shareholder confidence in the market’s activities and results — and if the company and its boss benefit from that, it’s called “good luck.” I should point out once again that if the market is tanking and it takes a company down with it — through no fault of the company boss, mind you — the boss may well get fired anyway because at the end (and please note this, because it’s important), executive management is responsible for one thing, and one thing only: growth in the value of the shareholders’ investment. How it gets there is irrelevant (except in the Land Of Wealth Envy). When they say, “The buck stops here,” that’s precisely what it means: the ultimate responsibility for shareholder value lies with the executive manager, and with this comes either termination or reward, as agreed by the shareholders.

Glass Lewis may be “influential,” but they have no actual power; she’ll be getting her bonus, all $37 million of it. And I’d say she should be rewarded handsomely for phasing out advertisements like this:

That one alone is worth several million.

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Schools cost money

Even some Oklahoma politicians are coming to realize that.

Joe Sherlock tossed out this little statistic this past week:

Tuition at St. Joseph’s Prep, my old high school, is now $23,900 per year, not including fees (books, retreats, sports, transportation, etc.).

Which sounds like a lot, though public schools in Philadelphia, in 2015 anyway, were spending $12,570 per student, and it’s almost certainly gone up since then.

So I dialed back to my own old high school, which, if your family qualifies as parishioners in the Diocese of Charleston, is charging a mere $9,600 a year. (If not, it’s $14,100.) This is about twenty times what it was when I was there, fifty years ago, but the only things that haven’t gone up at that rate are the things the government uses to calculate the inflation rate.

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Malcolm beclowns electric

Syndicated columnist Malcolm Berko on the idea of investing in Tesla Motors:

TSLA is not the kind of common stock in which one invests money. It is not an investment that belongs in pension plan accounts, nor is it a stock for orphans, widows, widowers, the illegitimate children of widowers or conservative investors. In fact, TSLA is not an investment at all; rather, it’s a screwball speculation like penny stocks, oil and gas partnerships, and maps of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. Tesla is well-known for missing deadline after deadline and constantly falling short on production numbers. Some watchers believe that Elon spends more time in his world than he does in the real world.

So, not a strong buy, then?

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Expect the quest to break your heart

The goddamn baht, man:

For reference, 2500 baht is about $75 US.

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Biggest Apple

Yesterday, Apple Inc. stock, traded on the Nasdaq, closed at $207.39. This turns out to be a milestone and then some:

Apple has become the world’s first public company to be worth $1 trillion (£767bn).

The iPhone maker’s market value reached the figure in New York on Thursday and its shares closed at a new record high of $207.39.

The stock has been rising since Tuesday when it reported better than expected results for the three months to June.

There’s a lot to be said for a small market share, if your customers are fiercely loyal. (I’m considering an iPhone for myself, if only because it will be relatively immune to Google.)

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Quote of the week

From The Manual by The KLF (1989), some thoughts on money:

Money is a very strange concept. There will be points in the forthcoming months when you might not have the change in your pockets to get the bus into town at the same time as you are talking to people on the telephone in terms of tens of thousands of pounds. Some of the following might seem contradictory but in matters of money they often are. We spoke earlier of how being on the dole gives you a clearer vision of how society works. What it doesn’t do is give you a clear idea of how money works.

After you spend any time on the dole you either resign yourself to the economic level your life is at and cope — or things start to slide. The rent gets into the arrears. The electricity goes unpaid. The gas board threatens to cut you off. When this starts happening a paranoia begins creeping in telling you modern society is geared to working against the individual and YOU in particular. The late eighties reaction to this is invariably to realise that the only way out is for you to become suddenly very rich and none of this will matter any more. You will start to fantasise about becoming very wealthy and how very shortly it will happen to you. You only have to make the smart move, find the right key, make the right contact, be discovered for what you are. Your fantasy will be fuelled by everything.

Nobody wins the pools. There is no such thing as a fast buck. Nobody gets rich quick. El Dorado will never be found. Wealth is a slow build, an attitude to life. I’m afraid the old adage that if you look after the pennies the pounds will look after themselves is always true. That said, you must be willing to risk everything — that’s everything you haven’t got as well as you have got — or nothing will happen.

Nothing much has changed in three decades, has it?

Then again, as we were told, time is eternal:

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You just aren’t broke enough

The subtext of this CNBC article seems to be “Why aren’t you taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to go into debt up to your ears?”

U.S. homeowners today are getting richer by the minute, but they are less likely to cash in on their newfound wealth than during previous housing booms. As home values rise, home equity lines of credit, often used to tap home equity, are flatlining, and the overall amount of money people are taking out of their homes is shrinking.

The collective amount of so-called tappable equity, which is the appraised value of a home minus the 20 percent most lenders require borrowers to keep as a safety net, grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous quarter, according to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics company. That is the largest single-quarter growth since the company began tracking it in 2005. It is up 16.5 percent compared with a year ago.

Homeowners now have a collective $5.8 trillion in tappable equity, the highest volume ever recorded and 16 percent above the last home price peak in 2006. The average homeowner with a mortgage gained $14,700 in tappable equity over the past year and has $113,900 available to draw. This is the amount over and above 20 percent of the value of the average home.

Yeah? Tap this, pal. The only debt I have is what I still owe on the house, and that amount has begun to visibly decrease. Yeah, I suppose I could get my hands on five figures’ worth of cash if I wanted to go to that much trouble, but why would I want to?

Pater Grant thinks even less of this scheme than I do:

[I]t’s bricks and mortar, frames and siding, foundations and roof. There are only two ways to convert that into cash: sell it (in which case one has to find somewhere else to live, probably at greater expense) or borrow against it. The latter is what the banks and economists would love us to do; borrow against our assets, go ever deeper into debt, to fund greater expenditure and grow the economy some more. The fact that the USA is already neck-deep in debt, collectively and individually, is ignored. That’s merely an inconvenience. The important thing, as far as they’re concerned, is to goose us into greater debt to fund greater spending — so that they can make more money out of us.

Emphasis in the original. The current operation of the economy — A buys something from B, but C skims off any profits to be had — is not something I’m willing to borrow money to support.

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The price of loneliness

The pure, unadulterated blankness of my dance card, as my therapist is fond of pointing out, surely costs me something. But trying to do something about it has a price tag of its own:

Over a 10 year span, there have been increases in the cost for singles to mingle, with the rise of inflation for in-person dates (i.e. movie tickets, meals, etc) and the popularity of paid relationship models, like or eHarmony. The average cost of dating has gone up about 52 percent — and that’s before you pay to swipe.

Truth be told, when I saw that phrase “paid relationship models,” I thought of, um, something else.

eHarmony and Match cost approximately $39.95 per month for a 6-month contract, not including coupons. In 2008, it cost approximately $50 to take someone on a date, and in 2018 it’s about $101 — which is a 52 percent increase, not even taking into account monthly membership fees or higher costs of living.

The average dater spends $239 a year just to be on dating sites, many using promotions and coupons to subscribe. That means if you’re going out on 4 dates a month, you’re looking at over $5,000 a year to search for love. Then, once you’ve found the person you want to promise forever to (or not), you’re looking at a total price tag of $72,000 from “hello” to “I Do.”

I am forced to conclude that the hermit, pain in the heart notwithstanding, comes out better on this deal.

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The most recent change to the Dow Jones Industrial Average is next week’s replacement of General Electric, the one stock that had been part of the DJIA since its inception in 1896, by Walgreens Boots Alliance, a worldwide pharmacy operation that runs the drug store down the street. If this sounds a little bit less than, well, industrial, there’s probably a reason for that:

[GE’s] ouster is an indication of the continuing decline in importance of heavy manufacturing in the U. S. economy. The only manufacturing companies left in the Dow 30 will be Caterpillar, United Technologies, and, arguably, Boeing.

Meanwhile, the Average rolls on with the likes of Pfizer, Walmart, Coca-Cola and Verizon.

I don’t believe that the United States can maintain a vibrant economy on the basis of finance and pharmaceuticals, both heavily subsidized sectors, but that’s the direction in which we’re heading and the departure of GE from the Dow is another milestone along that road.

Yep. We’ll be the world leader in hedge funds and lattes, but not much else.

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Perhaps grudging satisfaction

Nobody, I suspect, really likes property taxes. But some folks have a greater tolerance for them than you might think.

There are about 330,000 parcels of land in Oklahoma County. The Assessor’s office puts out fresh valuations every spring; once they’re out, there’s a 30-day appeal period, and under the law, any property owner may file an appeal. Few do:

The Oklahoma County Assessor’s Office said Monday that it had a record low number of appeals of property values set by the office this year — fewer than 150, or a rate of 0.0007 percent of nearly 200,000 property owners with a change in value.

Average county appeal rates range from 6 percent to 12 percent, “and it appears Oklahoma County has the lowest rate of appeals in the more than 3,000 counties in the U.S.,” said Larry Stein, chief deputy assessor.

It doesn’t hurt that there are strong cap laws in place, to keep valuations from jumping upward at the expense of longtime owners, and that the county in recent years has kept actual tax rates from rising more than a few mills; my tax bill has been within a grocery bag of $900 for several years, and is not likely to change much this year.

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$911 a yard, or something like that

Tam pries open the bill for an ambulance trip, and perhaps wishes she hadn’t:

Literally a hundred times more than I’ve ever paid for an Uber going twice the distance. Hell, I could have Uber’d back and forth between Indianapolis and Lafayette every day for a couple of weeks for that money.

Next time, no matter how much I’m writhing on the floor and screaming in pain at 0300, just tap me behind the ear with a hammer and throw me in the car.

Undoubtedly this was discussed in a boardroom somewhere:

“How much would this trip cost via Uber or Lyft?”

The new kid begins, “Well, it varies with how busy they are. Something called surge pricing.”

“We can’t do that. Bad optics. Find the average and multiply it by 200.”

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Because booze

I have to assume that this passage from the Instacart Help Center was put there for legal reasons:

Terms for Free Delivery

Offer valid on one order made through Instacart of $35 or more per retailer. Offer expires on the date indicated in the user’s account settings or displayed in the offer promotion. Orders containing alcohol that qualify for a free delivery promotion will be charged a $0.01 Alcohol Service Fee per delivery.

Because God forbid anyone should get anything liquor-related for nothing.

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