Monday, September 24, 2018

I kinda feel like they are just making shit up.

I am not a fan of tariffs. I will say it a million times.  However, the things we've let China get away with are stunning. There was a point that if you wanted to get a product made in Silicon Valley - you were forced to go to Chinaand have it made there. Where they promptly stole your IP. And our economy was so desperate -we just let them. That is messed up!

However, when I did the news stroll this morning, the media was all on fire about how we were going to die. And how we'd never be able to by washing machines again because the prices were escalating so high.

Now - I JUST bought a new washing machine, and prices are actually lower than they've been in a long time. Most of what was driving up the prices was that front loading crap. And when you go through this process you learn how messed up our country is. Let me explain.

The Asian participants to the washer and dryer market are pretty lousy for reliability. So, you try to buy an American Brand - however what your will find is almost all the choices are from one company and all the name brands just stick their name on the front. They are not repairable for the most part, and are literally considered a disposable item. That is the landscape of our manufacturing.

Then I went on to read about how Trumps tariffs were causing lumber to skyrocket and now you won't be able to remodel because we are all going to die from higher lumber prices.

However, I've been watching the price of lumber lately. Mostly because my commodity guys have been beside themselves for MONTHS. And I've started to think that if things are so great, why is lumber falling like it is. HERE.  I mean,  we are down practically 50% since JUNE! I don't really follow lumber - but now that I have it does look like a juicy bubble.

Now I know the people who write articles never seem to be the same people how actually BUY things, but this is just ridiculous.


  1. The building materials from China thing has always left me wondering.

    We still grow tress, lots & lots of trees. We still have lumber mills, lot's of them. It's cheaper to buy a 2x4 from China? Maybe it's not lumber? Bricks maybe? Remember the Chinese sheet rock from a few years back? Have they gotten all of that fixed yet?

    The last time I looked Canada had a lot of lumber for sale & they are way closer than China is.

    Back in the mid to late 80's I was stationed in Port Angeles, WA. I went to the lumber store across the street from the plywood mill to buy some plywood. Turns out it was cheaper to buy Canadian plywood across the street from the mill.
    They guy told me it was tariffs & transportation(they shipped the wood to Seattle & back again).

    Sounded nuts to me ....

  2. Thats pretty insane.

    Yeah - I guess you make it so prohibitive here with all the signs you need to print say this or that causes cancer, and then you have countries subsidizing their products with the money they charge us in tariffs. And all those backsides need to be greased. It's a clown show.

  3. Oh, Canada ... the Maple Leaf Would-Be Empire to the north that regularly violates trade agreements especially on softwood lumber ...

    But having lived on both sides of the border, I'll say with that particular problem, both the US and Canada are wrong.

    In Canada's defense (CHOKE), the US regularly uses product labeling and product specification standards to throttle trade, and so there have been de facto trade barriers in place anyway.

    Canada's so paranoid about a potential trade gap that they'll assess duties on any gifts you bring into Canada with a valuation over 60 CAD, especially coming out of the US. It's actually that bad.

    So that's why you're not going to see anything get resolved with building materials from The Future Maple Leaf State of the United States of North America -- one side's dumping product while the other side is playing technical games to suppress trade, and the whole thing is a cheater's house of cards.

    As for China, like several other things we're coping with now, blame Richard Nixon.

    Tricky Dick, the man who messed up American health care with his Kaiser deal that reeked of smoke-blown remnants of the "Great Society" under artificial market controls ...

    Tricky Dick, the man who "opened up trade" to China in the same way that a doctor performs a proctological exam ...

    Tricky Dick, the man who was so afraid that everyone wouldn't like him that he did some despicable spying thing that has only been topped in recent years by his ideological opposites ...

    Yeah, that guy.

    So not only does Trump have to fight the Insane Left, he also has to fight his own people who pull the "but but but muh people" card with Tricky Dick and his policy legacy being part of the notional Right instead of the con artistry that truly defined the Tricky Dick Regime.

    And it doesn't help that "die Amerikanisch Lügenpresse" goes into a petulant frenzy when someone uses "die Falschen Worte" and sounds like a racist, isolationist, or no-goodnik to their Urban Hillbilly ears. (If you don't get that, Google some of my German and you'll see what I'm talking about.)

    With that in mind, they may not actually be making particulars up, but they are certainly making up this overblown fear, uncertainty, and doubt game that they're playing.

    This is why many people don't trust The Voice of the Media anymore -- it seems too much like some random Too Skeered To Crap His Pants asshole who may or may not be making shit up.

    A former journalist friend told me the secret to finding out some of The Real News, and I'll share it here: never trust the media in Country X to report accurately on events in Country X, no matter whether the government in power actually respects "freedom of speech" or not.

    Trust Country Y who is an occasional antagonist of Country X to put many of its stories about Country X in the worst light possible, and trust Country Z who is an occasional ally of Country X to present some of those same stories in a way where they are openly judging Country X by the standards of Country X and that they're not living up to their rhetoric.

    Now for values of Country X, Country Y, and Country Z substitute the US, France, and the UK, and see how that sounds ... and then do it again with the US, China, and Russia and see how that plays out as well.

    They may not all be liars, but they all want the stories told their way, which is why you can't trust any of them as a single source.

    It's like that bit with Redfin where they may or may not be trying to manufacture real estate market behavior by putting "trial balloons" in the press, and some of the people using their services may or may not actually be too stupid to understand what's going on.

    I don't consider them a good source of any information except what they want the market to do, for instance ...

    (BTW, Blogger is choking on the size of my mini-rant, so I'll split it up.)

  4. Capital of Texas Refugee Ate the Entire Dinner and Came Back for Gut-Busting SecondsMonday, September 24, 2018 10:38:00 PM

    So about American washers and dryers ...

    I have a relatively new American made washer and dryer, and Great God Almighty do they suck.

    You can't set the wash cycle to hold for an overnight soak -- the washer drains the tub after ten minutes if you leave the lid up.

    So the dipshit way you have to work around this is to buy an inline on/off switch to stick between the washer and the electrical socket so you can let the tub fill before switching the washer off entirely. Even then, you have to be careful to leave the lid down because the automatic tub draining feature acts like it uses a mechanically activated timer instead of an electrical timer.

    That dumbass idea absolutely had to be an American's idea. :-)

    As for the dryer, it's designed so it will squeak for the first few months until the bearings are loosened up, or at least so the manufacturer claims.

    I think it's just so their service people don't have to show up to fix the damned thing for a few months after I buy it.

    A lot of my Chinese stuff actually works because they ripped off older products that still worked like you'd expect them to work.

    My take on the "trade war" is that the US can go too far with this because the US has lost a lot of its everyday common-sense competence. Too much of what's going on is enriching certain companies at the expense of having affordable materials available to build what are essentially American products.

    Until the US builds back some of its competence ... well, OK, let's put the brakes on that particular thought.

    "If and when" actually applies before we put that particular cart of goods behind the horse of commerce. "If and when" America actually gets its competence back, then we can talk about how well this should work out.

    I've just seen too much Everyday American Dumbass Shit to believe this isn't going to be an uphill fight ...

    And for what it's worth, the American press is too fucking incompetent on the whole to have an opinion that actually matters, so I don't actually care anymore whether they really are making shit up or not.

    You already know what's coming ... yeah, deal with it. :-)

  5. Other nations have been destroying our economy for generations with tariffs.
    When the canadians have a 300 percent dairy product tariff, we are locked out.
    Therefore, to make these countries STOP IT, we must tariff them back.
    Just my two cents.