Tag Archives: Greece

Just a nice view

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AS I’VE MENTIONED here on occasion, we own a townhouse downtown, and we rent it to vacationers, mostly Gringos.

Shuffling through internet files today, I happened upon this photo taken six years ago, a photo I had forgotten. Our place is one of those white buildings. They almost look like they belong in Greece, I think. Nice mountains too.

We bought the townhouse in 2010 with money I inherited after my mother’s death in 2009. We purchased it as an investment with no intention of renting it, but after about two years of its sitting there, furnished and pretty, we decided to share the joy.

Turned out to be a good investment. We would have paid much less now than we paid in 2010. The dollar equivalent then was about $76,000. Now it would be about $20,000 less. Oh well, you buy your condos, and you take your chances.

But it’s worth more now than we paid, and it’s fun to have.

We also have a condo in Mexico City, which is far smaller. It was where my child bride was living when we met lo these many years ago. We just recently got the deed to that place, so we own three, free and clear.

Actually, she owns them. They’re all in her name.

I am homeless.

Clueless Bernie-ites

HILLARY FINALLY said a true thing. She said Bernie Sanders is a one-issue candidate, and she’s correct. He’s all about battling “Wall Street,” she rightly observes.

But then there’s also the “free stuff.” Socialism is all about “free stuff,” which isn’t free at all, of course, but it sounds super.

I just read a column by Stephen Moore, an economic consultant with Freedom Works. The headline is Socialism’s Strange Appeal with a subhead Bernie Sanders and socialism are for those who cannot handle reality.

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Young Bern

I’ll put a link to the column later, but I know those who disagree will be as disinclined to read it as I am disinclined to read Salon, Mother Jones, and Huffpost, so here are a few key points:

  1. The remarkable thing about the rise of Bernie Sanders is that his popularity runs counter to how socialism is actually working around the world. Bankrupt Greece, just one example, is modern socialism on steroids.
  2.  Leftists enjoy pointing to Sweden and Denmark as socialist success stories while Sweden and Denmark are back-pedaling as fast as they can.
  3. Economic freedom is the opposite of socialism.

Nations that are economically free have free trade, small welfare states, low taxes, a light hand of regulation, private ownership of the means of production, and the rule of law.

Countries that are economically free have five times the average income ($55,000) of countries that are the least economically free ($9,000). Not only that, economic freedom is also highly correlated with better education, improved health, and a cleaner environment.*

The poor do better in nations that are economically free and worse in Bernie Sanders land. You can read Moore’s complete column here. It ain’t that long.

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* Most of this is lifted verbatim from Moore’s column.

The paint job

MEXICO IS the perfect land for libertarians. The government pretty much leaves you alone. The photo illustrates this beautifully.

There are no safety nets, no safety harnesses, no safety helmets, no safety nada. These guys are free to plunge to their deaths, and I imagine sometimes they do.

Walking down a cobblestone street yesterday, sugar donut in hand, inhaling the cool air of late May, I happened upon this painting project, and I sighed with pleasure, knowing I would never see this above the Rio Bravo. It would be unthinkable. There are laws, you know.

And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 — the most recent numbers available — 110 million Americans, about a third of the population, live in a home that receives government handouts, and that does not include Social Security and Medicare.

Won’t be long before the most noticeable difference between the United States and bankrupt Greece is that Greeks speak Greek and Americans speak Spanish English.

These things flashed through my mind as I walked by the sky-high house painters on the cobblestone street. I smiled and took another munch of my sugar donut.

Mexico: Land of the free. Home of the brave.

Bits of existence

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MY LOVELY WIFE, as some of you know, bakes and sells pastries most every Saturday afternoon on the main plaza downtown. This has been going on for more than four years. Her stuff is really good.

Street sales are common in Mexico, and tourists are warned away from it, primarily because there is no government quality control, the sort the Gringos love to impose on small merchants above the Rio Bravo. That sort of “quality control” results in few street sales up in that part of the world.

And a generally more boring urban environment.

Their loss. When is the last time you saw something like this on a street in Terre Haute?

By the way, I’ve been buying street food here for 15 years with little problem.

And that includes seafood.

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Let’s mosey on now to another topic. Again, as some of you know, we own what I call a downtown Casita. When my mother died in January of 2009, I inherited a bit of cash, and we used most of it to buy the downtown Casita. It’s “downtown” because it’s just a 10-minute walk from the main plaza downtown, not to be confused with the plaza near the Hacienda.

The downtown plaza is big, beautiful and famous. Our neighborhood plaza is also big and beautiful but not famous at all. We have this neighborhood plaza and its abutting church because the neighborhood used to be a separate town. But no more.

We have been devoured, municipally speaking. Many years ago, when we were a separate town, we had a nickname. The Village of the Damned. That’s a story for some other day.

The purpose of purchasing the downtown Casita over five years ago was less than fixed. It just seemed like a good idea at the time, and real estate is usually a good investment. Not always, of course, as has been demonstrated in recent years in the United States. Sometimes you get hosed.

We furnished the downtown Casita beautifully, as is our custom, and it sat vacant most always for the first three or so years. We passed by every week to tidy up, water the plants, and a maid did a better cleaning once a month. In the beginning, we spent an occasional night there.

A couple of years ago we began renting it to tourists for brief stays. That does not happen often, and it still sits vacant most of the time. Many people remain afraid of Mexico, which is arrant nonsense.

And now we’ve arrived at the reason for mentioning all this. It’s renovation time! Yes, we’ve hired the same crew that constructed the pastry workshop a couple of months ago at the Hacienda, and they will give the Casita a facelift. It was getting a little tatty around some edges.

Most of the work will be painting, but other things will be done too. It will take a couple of weeks, we’ve been told, which means it will take a month. That’s how stuff works here.

Here’s how the Casita looked a few years ago, nice and fresh, and soon it will look that way again. If any of you want a nice vacation home, I’ll rent it to you, perhaps with a special “Moon Discount.” It’s not really a casita. It’s a two-bedroom condo with off-street parking.

Looks a bit like Greece, doesn’t it?

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