The ‘Mize-Well Factor’ in the US Economy

The Dow rose yesterday.

Our guess: Speculators are betting on the Fed’s announcement later this month. In light of bad employment numbers, they reckon the Fed is unlikely to begin seriously tapering off from its credit-pumping adventure.

They’re probably right. The Fed has already gone too far. The US economy depends on its ZIRP and QE.

Besides, Ben Bernanke is leaving his post as Fed chairman in January. He is desperate to hold things together so he can get away with his reputation — such as it is — intact. He has already added $2.2 trillion to Fed holdings. What’s a few hundred billion dollars more?

This brings to mind a category of human activity that has never been properly studied. Called ‘mize-wells’, it probably accounts for at least 10–15% of GDP.

We were thinking of it as Bobby’s Pottys rolled out of the backyard yesterday. Bobby’s portable restrooms are a marvel of modern sanitary engineering. They have multiple stalls, all clean, well lit…

Heck, these are better than our toilets at home!’ our son Jules exclaimed after trying them out.

Another guest at our daughter’s wedding was also impressed, but in a different way:

These fancy poop stalls must have cost more than my whole wedding. But that was a while ago.

Yes, dear reader, times have changed. Weddings are bigger and much more expensive than they used to be. And one of the biggest contributors to that change has largely been ignored; mize-wells.

Here, for example, is how we ended up with the most expensive cans in the history of South County weddings.

Let’s just get a couple of Johnny on the Spots,’ suggested the father of the bride.

People gotta go somewhere…

Yech,’ replied his wife. ‘They are always so disgusting. If we’re going to put on a wedding, we want it to be lovely. We want something nice. I mean, this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion…

And then came at least a 20% boost to the local economy…

We mize-well do it right.

It was not the first time we had encountered the ‘mize-well factor’. When we travel, mize-wells inevitably are added to the ticket.

Since we’re going to be in Paris, we mize-well take a little trip to Zurich,’ was the summer plan.

Cities, countries and continents have been added to an itinerary on the mize-well doctrine. Restaurants, hotels, resorts — all depend heavily on mize-well spending.

But nowhere do mize-wells contribute as much to economic growth as in the housing industry. A couple goes to buy the house they need. They see one that is bigger, nicer and in a better community.

‘Since we don’t want to move again…we mize-well get the house we really want,’ one reasons.

Coming back to the US after 18 years in Europe, we found our house in need of a little spiffing up. The original plan was sensible and straightforward. We needed a bigger kitchen. So bump out the wall a little. That was all there was to it.

And then came the mize-wells.

Since we have the plumbers on the job, we mize-well put in that extra bathroom on the ground floor for your mother,’ said Elizabeth.

We couldn’t say no to that. Our mother will be 94 next week. She can’t get up the stairs easily.

But after we gave ground to the first mize-well, it wasn’t long before we were in full retreat…and eventually in a complete sauve qui peut rout. For not only were the plumbers on the job, but the carpenters too. And the drywall boys. And the insulators…electricians…and cabinetmakers.

Once we had agreed to put in a pocket door (mize-well…we always thought it would be a good idea to have one) the Sheetrock was down in part of the room.

Soooo…we mize-well take all the Sheetrock out and insulate more fully. And then we mize-well move around some walls…since the framing was exposed…and mize-well replace the staircase with something a little fancier.

When it was over, last week, the mize-wells from the wedding and the home remodelling, together, had easily helped some local artisans with their own mize-wells…which, in turn, left the barkeeps and fishing gear salesmen of the South County with some mize-well money in their pockets too.

So does the great wheel turn…churning money…and transferring wealth…

And we keep spending more than we intend on more than we need, ending up with less than we would like.

But mize-wells go far beyond family budgets. The mize-well factor plays a role in all aspects of human life.

A man robs a liquor store. He figures he mize-well rob a bank too.

A woman on a strict diet eats an éclair. Having busted her regimen, she mize-well have another one.

The Obama team figures the US has already gotten itself into a heap of trouble in the Middle East. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya…

Heck, it mize-well bomb Syria too!


Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

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Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.

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