My Experience With a Bed and the Economy

I am trying to get rid of a bed.  I was informed that some charities do not accept beds because apparently bed bugs can be a problem.  I contacted Salvation Army, and they do take beds, at least in my area. I scheduled a pickup, but the problem is that it wouldn’t be for another week and a half.

I don’t have a pickup truck.  My wife has an SUV, but it isn’t that easy to tie up a queen-sized box spring and mattress to the top and drive it.  I kept my appointment with Salvation Army, knowing that I can cancel it up until the day before.  But I wanted to get rid of the bed, so I posted an ad on Craigslist.

I put one picture on there and said it was in good condition.  I stated in the ad that I preferred if someone could pick it up on Thursday because I would be available most of the day.  I posted it on Wednesday morning.

I am selling the bed for $25.  My wife asked why I didn’t just give it away for free.  The reason is because I went to the free section on Craigslist and most of the stuff is junk.  This bed isn’t junk for someone who needs a bed.  I think putting a price on it actually gave me a better chance of getting rid of it, and it also eliminates too many strange inquiries.

I have received a lot of inquiries about the bed.  It is amazing how many people need a bed who don’t want to buy a new one.  I think a couple of the inquiries may have been scammers, but most of them I believe were legitimate.  The problem is that most people were not clear in their correspondence.  Some were incoherent sentences, or at least on the verge of incoherence.  Some inquiries were too vague.

I replied to a few of the inquiries and they either didn’t respond or took a long time to respond.  You can communicate through a hidden email system that Craigslist has, but at some point information has to be exchanged.  The problem is that I had trouble getting committals.

But there were two responses to the ad that really caught my attention.  One was an email from someone who claims to have lost everything in the hurricane.  She eventually responded again, but it took a day.  She asked if I could hold it until Friday because that is the day that she gets paid.

I had another inquiry from someone who actually left her phone number in the message.  I called her and talked to her.  She sounded nice enough.  She said she had to talk to her boyfriend, and I think she was realizing that her car (not truck or SUV) might not be able to handle the trip.  But before all of that, she said the same thing as the other woman.  She asked if I could wait until Friday or the weekend because she gets paid on Friday.

I believe these two women were being sincere.  I can’t be certain, but I don’t believe they were lying about their situation.  I wasn’t selling the bed for $300.  It is $25, and they both asked if I could wait until their payday.  Did they really not have the ability to scrounge together $25?

I actually would have given it away to the hurricane lady if she had gotten back to me sooner and if I thought her story were true.  I ended up arranging something with a guy that inquired who actually has a truck.  Hopefully, the small transaction will go smoothly because I want to get rid of the bed.

It is just amazing though how poor so many people are.  It is amazing just how close to the margin that so many people are living.  Any stresses that I have about money were put into perspective by this.

I told a friend about what happened, and he said that he saw a young lady put 3 dollars worth of gas into her car the other day.  This is an indication that she has almost no money.  Why would someone stop for gas to put less than 2 gallons in the car?

Middle class America is being ignored.  This is why Donald Trump won the election last year, despite the almost-universal negative press.  It is also why Bernie Sanders did so much better than people thought he would do.

To be sure, I don’t agree with almost anything that Sanders has to say economically, and I don’t agree with very much Trump has to say. But they both tapped into something.  They at least recognized that there is a struggling middle class.

Of course, the biggest problem is the government, particularly the federal government.  The federal government is spending $4 trillion per year.  It is consuming these resources, meaning that these resources are being misallocated.  State and local governments consume another couple of trillion dollars per year.  The total spending per American family ends up matching close to the median family income.  Is your family getting $50,000 or so worth of government?

Meanwhile, the regulations imposed on us are strangling as well.  I believe that medical care and medical insurance are the tipping point that has put so many people on the margin of near poverty.  Some people are paying insurance premiums that are equivalent to their rent or mortgage payment.  This is simply unsustainable.

The worst thing is that it is enrollment time for many people across the country right now.  For most, premiums are continuing to go up.  There is going to be a breaking point.

The breaking point is going to be a severe recession.  I like the term correction too.  It is a correction of an overbearing government.  The problem is that the Federal Reserve can shield the federal government from the correction, at least up to a point.  In 2008/ 2009, many state and local governments were forced to tighten up or even cut back.  Unfortunately, because of the Fed’s massive digital printing spree, the federal government ramped up its spending by running greater deficits.

We need a severe correction, even though it will be painful.  But the thing is, things are painful now, especially when people can’t by a bed for 25 dollars.

While a severe correction will likely bring higher unemployment, it will also reduce prices.  The Keynesians in DC worry about deflation, but price deflation is exactly what we need.  Right now, life is simply too expensive.

I don’t know when the correction will happen, but I know it is baked into the cake.  I usually analyze things through statistics like the Fed’s balance sheet and government spending.  But I don’t think there is any better evidence of economic problems than witnessing people who can’t afford 25 dollars for a bed because they are waiting for their next paycheck.

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