Job Creation, Multitasking, and Stimulus

I moved from Germany to Colorado a couple of months ago, and have been buying a house and getting settled.  One of the disappointments of my house was that I had to replace the bathroom floor.  It cost me $800, including a new flange for the toilet.  Carpeting in a bathroom is a huge mistake, particularly when one of the residents uses a commode.  I’ve been tearing up the carpeting to be sure that there are no more surprises.  So far, so good.

Did I create a job?  I hired two people to do the work, one for the plumbing and the onther one to put down linoleum, which made me think that jobs are not so much created as demanded, and companies are not willing to keep a stock of people on hand for work that MIGHT need to be done. The “nice to have” tasks are falling by the wayside, and this can be tracked in many occupations.  The one that I see most is the decline of adminstrative personnel. Had I had the time (and another bathroom to use while I made the repair), I could have done the work myself.  I might have saved $400 or so, but I didn’t have the time to do the work immediately, because I had to pick up my car in St. Louis.

Another point about hiring people is that I took referrals, because I didn’t know anybody in town who did such work, and I may well have gotten hosed on prices.  No matter.  What I do know is that the sinking feeling when I sit on the toilet is now gone.  I won’t end up in the crawlspace under my house unless someone puts me there or I go there voluntarily.

When one moves from overseas, their vehicle goes to a “vehicle processing center” (VPC) , and there are about 10 around the country.  I was told that the closest one is St. Louis, but it’s in Dallas. I could have had my car shipped to me for $650, but I was given a week off to get the car, so I went to get it. The St. Louis VPC is in Pontoon Beach, IL, which gave me the pleasure of getting from the St. Louis airport to there, which required a train, a bus, and a taxi ride.

I usually bring something to read wherever I go, and one of the statistics that I came across is that we have on average 150 things that need to be done. I came up with 50 things for my “things to do” list when I first arrived. I know that I missed a lot of things, but these were the tasks of highest priority. I don’t believe that it is possible to multitask. We can be aware of certain things and that gives you an edge in getting things done, but that isn’t the same as doing them.

I consider “economic stimulus” to be the big lie of our time.  I paid cash to get my bathroom floor fixed, and we can argue about what the multiplier effect will be of the money that I spent.  The only money that gets spent that has a positive economic effect is money that comes from savings, not money from debt.  It takes over a dollar of debt to get an increase of a dollar in GDP.  Withdraw the stimulus and GDP collapses by the amount of the stimulus.

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