Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Move To Canada?

... when you can move to Costa Rica? Dig this house on 2 acres with ocean views for $350K.

Did I mention the ocean views?
Freak out about the American election if you must, but there are still plenty of attractive places to live in the world.

Meanwhile, IBM is laying off Americans and hiring Costa Ricans.
Last Wednesday, in IBM offices around the United States, managers called in a large but as yet unknown number of employees and told them they’d just been RA’d—that’s IBM shorthand for lost their jobs as part of a “Resource Action.” ...

Many of those commentors are not buying the “workforce rebalancing” spin, or at least, think only a small number of the layoffs are motivated by the need to adjust the company’s skill sets. Instead, they believe the majority of the layoffs are a matter of “workforce relocating,” specifically, out of the U.S. to India, Brazil, Costa Rica, and other countries with cheaper labor costs.
Reality Check

Here are a few quotes from Costa Rica Expat Forum, from a Canadian perspective.

  • With the Canadian dollar being what it is, unfortunately, it WILL affect you. Many food items are more expensive than "home' I was in Playas del Coco last weekend, and found that many Canadians are trying to sell their properties there, and return to Canada. Cars cost twice as much.
  • Yes, the $450 premium would cover all of you, but know that the healthcare system has very little money, and I recently read that they are presently setting up appointments with some specialists for many also purchase private insurance or pay cash for treatment. Unfortunately, investing as an Inversionista, the premiums may be even higher, as they are based on a percentage of the 'investment'....and you won't know what that will be until the end of the application process....Some towns have great markets but not all towns offer them, and they may only be open 1 or maybe 2 days a week...Canadians are finding it much more expensive with the low dollar. We have a friend who moved here at the same time as we did, over 16 years ago and she is moving back and going into a retirement home, next week as her funds don't go very far now.
Another bit from a PBS site.
So, they (an American expat couple) spent nearly $100,000 to move from the states and build their dream house in the Lake Arenal region. Once the thrill of the move had faded, the culture and bureaucracy of this developing country quickly took over.

Thieves stole their electricity, tapping into Dungan’s electrical service. When the Dungans finally discovered what had happened, they couldn’t get help from either the power company or the police.

When the ATM they used regularly to retrieve money from the states to pay their bills stole their money, the bank did nothing.
Well, OK then. The American Gulf Coast is looking better and better all the time! With any luck, Hillary will be elected president and the South will secede again. :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Rite Of Passage For Parents

Yesterday, one of our sons received a good job offer from an excellent company. He had graduated in December with a technical degree chosen to give him a solid career, but the employment environment in Southern California right now is pretty poor and for 4 months, he knocked on every door and applied for every opportunity to no avail.

We were overjoyed at the news, but that's not what struck me the most. I was surprised at the pride I felt. I have always been proud of him, but this was very different. It was the culmination of over 2 decades of dedicating my life to being a good father. All of the years spent coaching Little League, helping with his science fair projects, reading to him in bed and just being there to play with him came at me, not in melancholy or fond nostalgia, but as steps towards this one goal.

What I felt more than anything was that we had succeeded as parents. He's a good lad, he goes to church, he's got a fine degree and now he's started on his career.

Now would it kill him to find a nice, Catholic girl, get married and give us some grandchildren already?


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Better Way To Deal With The Criminalization Of Speech

So all kinds of words, phrases and concepts are offensive to the point of banning them these days. I won't list the worst here, but I'll note that some allegedly serious people are even suggesting that climate deniers be muzzled by the law.

That's fine, but why stop there?

Looking at the lyrics from the Hip Hop Billboard Top 40, it took me all of 2 songs to find one full of offensive words. I'm sure that with a tiny amount of effort, you'll find words there that offend you or someone you know. Let's ban those. After all, if anyone is offended, the words must be banned and offense is in the ear of the person hearing them.

Is the expression of ideas such as arguing about global warming climate change a criminal offense because it's anti-science? Maybe so. That's fine, but why stop there?

Men and women are biologically quite different. With just the slightest amount of effort, we ought to be able to dig up all kinds of feminist twaddle that is anti-science. Let's ban that, too.

Transgendered people are normal? If that's the case, then we need to start banning the label "mentally ill" from all manner of behaviors. After all, if amputating some body parts, deforming others and loading up on drugs is normal, then almost anything is.

If this is how the game is to be played, then by all means, let's start playing it. He who edits the dictionary controls the conversation.

Monday, April 25, 2016

About That Peaceful Majority

This video made a point that shocked me for it's insight.

The genius starts at 1:50. "The peaceful majority were irrelevant."

Wow. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Very Little Bit On Negative Interest Rates

Busy with other things today, so this will be terse.

I've been reading up on what negative interest rates in Europe and Japan are doing to distort their economies and markets. Here's a tiny summary of one problem.

When a country goes into negative rates, it starts to eliminate ultra-safe investments that will provide a return. The farther you go negative, the more of these investments disappear. This is important for insurers and banks who rely on bonds to provide both a return and a source of capital for accounting and regulatory purposes.

Instead of bonds, then, the insurers and banks, who must find a return in order to maintain a margin between their investments and obligations, begin to invest in riskier and riskier assets. An economic downturn which would otherwise not touch their most secure holdings, bonds, can now cause them real problems.

There's much more, since negative interest rates turn part of the investment world upside down, but that's a start.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Unfortunately, Iran Was Out Of Magic Beans

This almost needs no commentary.
The US is buying 32 tonnes of heavy water, which is used in some nuclear reactors, from Iran.

The US State Department said the $8.6m (£6m) purchase was designed to help Iran meet its obligations under the nuclear deal signed last year.
Honest to God, what are these people thinking? Did we need heavy water? This is like buying your kid's squirt gun to keep him from squirting the dog. Or it would be if Iran was to be treated like a child.

How delusionally patronizing can you be? The mullahs must think they've hit the biggest jackpot ever in Obama.