Ode to the Auto Feo, Part I – The Birth of a “Need”

8/23/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Apart from earthquakes on the US East coast and Colorado all appears calm relative to the past two weeks.  Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak in Jackson Hole today which may or may not change that.  As we have stated recently, with the FED’s most recent announcement of its intention to hold its funds rate below 0.25% until at least 2013, they essentially told the world that they were stepping back to let the chips fall where they may.

With the fate of the US dollar apparently sealed, we have a personal anecdote to share.  Like central banking, this is for entertainment purposes only.

A little over a year ago, our second car, which we affectionately call the “Auto Feo” (Spanish for “ugly car”) died.  It was a vehicle which had been struck by another vehicle on the passenger side, denting the wheel well.  The damage was cosmetic and only noticeable when one opened the passenger door, causing a horrendous sound of metal crushing metal.  While driving, the car would “bark” (as in, it sounded like a dog was after us) if the front wheel on the passenger side hit a sizeable bump, causing the tire to rub against the crimped wheel well.

The car served its purpose until the automatic transmission went out.  Even then, we were able to salvage a year of commuter service out of it before the transmission had a catastrophic failure, after which we finally took it to the junk yard.

Without much time to mourn, we set our sights on finding a replacement for the Auto Feo.

Based on a previous good experience, we wanted an Isuzu Trooper or Rodeo, any model year that could be had for $1,300 or less.  After passing on what in retrospect was the best option at the time (a 1995 Trooper) we were eager, perhaps too eager, to not let the next opportunity pass us by.

The Auto Feo - One vehicle, many lessons

We were ready to be taken for a ride, literally, figuratively, and with a pun intended in the worst possible way.

After doing our due diligence by surfing Craigslist, we found a 1993 Isuzu Rodeo with 143,000 miles on it which the owner was selling for the incredibly low price of $1,350.  We were intrigued.  In retrospect, we were sold before even driving the vehicle.  A dangerous frame of mind when one considers Craigslist’s non-existent vetting of sellers.  (Editor’s note:  We are not criticizing Craigslist, which offers a tremendous service, but rather our own lack of diligence.)

We were foolish, impatient, and determined.  It is a dangerous frame of mind to be in when making any purchase and a deadly combination of states of being when trolling the internet for a used vehicle.

As the warning lights in our mind began to go off, we pressed on.  We called the number and arranged to “see” (read “purchase” as it should have obvious that our mind was made up) the vehicle that very evening.

It was a warm early summer evening, pleasant in every way.  The wind was at our back, traffic was smooth as we wound our way across Portland to Gladstone.  What could possibly go wrong?

As we approached the rendezvous with our mystery seller, we were relaxed, optimistic, and the epitome of P.T. Barnum’s sucker…

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for August 23, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.00
Oil Price per Barrel:  $85.77

Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.30  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.14%


Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,830 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.1%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.5%!!!   UP 0.7% IN ONE MONTH, 8.4% ANNUALLY AT THIS PACE!!!
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  11,177  TO THE MOON!!!

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,033,000,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,478,200,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!