A wonderfully useful tool. How walkable/busable is your address? https://app.traveltimeplatform.com/
Do municipal taxes bring in enough money to maintain our urban and suburban infrastructure? In the densest urban areas, probably yes. Otherwise, generally no.
It might shock most people to learn that in many American cities, the poorest neighborhoods subsidize the wealthiest.
Struck by Brett Scott’s great line in “The war on cash“:
It’s not a “cashless society” – but a “bankful society,”
I went to follow @Suitpossum, only to find I already do.
The one good thing about this is that it presents a space where alternatives to Google can compete.
The most discouraging aspect is how Google now doesn’t even bother to return results about vast swaths of the internet. —Bit Rot and Search Engines | Bierfaristo Blog
Breaking news in the latest issue of the real estate trade journal Duh! “Apartment landlords call for lower tax assessments!”
I found this whole article especially hilarious because Jackie and I lived very happily in Country Fair Apartments for more than 20 years before these clowns bought it, renamed it Grammercy, and managed to ruin it in less than a year:
Grammercy said its annual net operating income has dropped from more than $1 million in 2014 to a loss of more than $300,00 in 2018. It said its vacancy rate was 41 percent in 2018.
In what is not at all a coincidence, 2014 is the year we moved out—the last year that the old leases were in effect. I wrote a whole post about the preposterous non-lease that they wanted us to sign: Why we moved.
For those incompetents to be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year is richly deserved, although I am sorry if it ends up hitting Champaign and Urbana’s tax base.
I have always been an optimizer. I spend way, way too much time, energy, and attention optimizing things. Which is, you know, fine, even though my net benefit is small or zero, largely because I don’t focus my optimization efforts in places where I get the biggest payoff. (I’d say that I don’t optimize my optimization efforts, but I don’t want to tempt my brain into trying to do that. It would not end well.)
One place where my optimization efforts did end well has been in optimizing things for life under late-stage capitalism.
I was helped by a couple of lucky coincidences and a bit of lucky timing.
Purely because I enjoyed doing software, I became a software engineer at the dawn of the personal computer era, which gave me a chance to earn a good salary straight out of college, a salary that grew faster than my expenses for most of the next 25 years.
Whether because of my upbringing or my genes (my grandfather was a banker), I liked thinking about and playing with money, which meant that I was doing my best to save and invest during a period when ordinary people could easily earn outsized investment returns.
It worked out very well for me. I’m as well positioned as anyone who isn’t in the 1% to do okay in late-stage capitalism. (Frankly, better positioned than a lot of the 1%, who find it easy to imagine that they deserve the lifestyles of the 0.1%, and if they live like they imagine they should will quickly ruin their lives.)
This whole post was prompted by a great article that looks mainly at the efforts women make to optimize themselves under the overlapping constraints of health, fitness, appearance, and financial success in the modern economy. Highly recommended—insightful and daunting, but also funny:
It’s very easy, under conditions of artificial but continually escalating obligation, to find yourself organizing your life around practices you find ridiculous and possibly indefensible…. But today, in an economy defined by precarity, more of what was merely stupid and adaptive has turned stupid and compulsory.Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman by Jia Tolentino
One focus of that article is on “fitness.” I put fitness in quotes because of the way, especially for women, so much of fitness is actually about appearance. Perhaps because I’m not a woman—also perhaps because I’m already married, and because I’m older—my own perspective on fitness has gotten very literal: I want my body to be fit for purpose—fit for a set of purposes which I have chosen. I want to be able to do certain things because I have found the capability to be useful. (I also want to be able to do certain things that I can’t do, because I imagine that the capability would be useful, and much of the exercise I do now is intended to achieve those capabilities.)
In a sense, optimizing for fitness is really neither here nor there as far as optimizing for late-stage capitalism, which is mostly about money. And yet, really it is. My fitness suffered during the period I was working a regular job. Getting fit and staying fit takes time. To a modest extent, you can substitute money for time—you can pay up for the fancy gym where the equipment you want to use is more available, or take a job that doesn’t pay as much but allows you to squeeze in a midday run. But now we’re right where we started: optimizing for life in late-stage capitalism.
I should say that I’m delighted with how well my life has turned out. If I’d had any idea how little I could spend and still have everything I really want, or how early I’d have saved up enough money to support that modest lifestyle, perhaps I could have avoided a lot of anxiety and unhappiness along the way. But who among us has such luck? And more to the point, maybe some of that anxiety and unhappiness were crucial to my making the choices I did that got me to where I am.
I worry just a bit about my irresistible impulse to optimize, but like everything else about me, it got me to where I am. And, as I say, I’m delighted to be here.
If you refinanced your mortgage 8 or 10 years ago there’s probably no reason to do it again. (Maybe your mortgage is almost paid off!) But mortgage rates are setting new generational lows and if you have any substantial balance left it might be worth refinancing.
I can kinda understand the 0.1% (with secure bunkers on high ground) talking down climate change. But what’s up with ordinary people living near a coast? How are they not demanding urgent action?
Interesting to me that the Great Recession doesn’t even show up as a blip on this graph.
With no card number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card, Apple Card is more secure than any other physical credit card.
While @jackieLbrewer was working at the bakery there was a cash register glitch. For several days they took credit card payments on paper, writing the number down by hand, and then entering them manually at the end of the day.
Those customers would have been totally secure from being able to buy bread.