August 18, 2022 – A Beginner’s View : Inflation, the Economy, Climate, Clean Energy, Health etc, How Are They Related in Our Current Everyday Lives? – An On-Going Inquiry, Part 2

U.S. housing starts near 1-1/2-year low; factory output rebounds via Reuters & Fidelity -
U.S. housing starts near 1-1/2-year low; factory output rebounds via Reuters & Fidelity –

Besides delivering two paintings for Creative Arts Society‘s juried show at Inspired Minds Art Center in Buda ( just south of Austin ), Sheila and I also picked up my meds for my ( projected ) 5 hr surgery in early September – yes, my good dr’s are prepping ahead! 😊

Creative Arts Society sponsored members show at Inspired Minds Art Center, Buda Texas : Aug 19 - Oct 01, 2022
Creative Arts Society sponsored members show at Inspired Minds Art Center, Buda Texas : Aug 19 – Oct 01, 2022

That’s life, unpredictable, full of both pleasant and difficult surprises – plus easy and not so easy choices.

That’s what the articles I’ve been reading also seem to reflect.

Not surprising, since things like health care, the economy, our climate, and new disruptive technologies we’re inventing mirror – and reflect – well, us!

In yesterday’s post, Part 1 in this little self-inquiry of mine, I mentioned needing to start somewhere, and I chose, “U.S. housing starts near 1-1/2-year low; factory output rebounds.”

Out of necessity, to myself mostly, I’m simply picking one or two outtakes from this report among the literally many many such reports out daily to inform us of what’s going on.

Here goes —

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. homebuilding fell to the lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in July, weighed down by higher mortgage rates and prices for construction materials, suggesting the housing market could contract further in the third quarter.

U.S. housing starts near 1-1/2-year low; factory output rebounds via Reuters & Fidelity -

“weighed down by higher mortgage rates and prices for construction materials” —

So, two questions ended up stuck in my mind, not because the information was misleading.

One – “weighted down by higher mortgage rates”
I’m assuming the “mortgage weight” was on the consumer, ie, purchaser(s) of the homes homebuilders want to build to sell for a profit. That sounds pretty clear and straightforward.

Except my experience among many-many folks I know, including one daughter and one son-in-law, “way” before mortgage rates had begun to climb ( to rates less than 1/2 Sheila and I paid in the late 80s for our 1st home ), they had already been priced out – both income wise and willingness to spend “that much”….

Headlines screamed about the multiple offers tens of thousands of dollars above asking price, but left out the thousands of families with middle class incomes who simply no longer could or even wanted to afford the luxury of a standardized high cost place to live.

And that’s not mentioned in the report.

Forgotten practically.

In the line of cause and effect, at least, in regard to the actual purchasers of those homes.

And yet, if provided with adequate wages to buy a home, those wages then often became / become the “causes / reason” for inflation. Cause & effect surely is more circular 😊

Two – “prices for construction materials”
Again, higher prices, but why? Someone wants more money for their product? The materials cost more to produce? The materials are in short supply?

If in short supply, why? More difficult to produce a higher grade of material? That seems more an issue of durability vs inflation. Or the material is more difficult to find to begin with? Scarcity for sure. But is fighting inflation the answer for that? Or more the need to find more accessible materials; as a humane thing to do, bearing that we all need shelter to survive?

Or, is climate / planet damage also part of the equation in the production of that material? And is inflation the cause and disease needing cure, or simply the symptom of the need, for planetary survival, to find either other materials ( new technology? ) or – less planet destroying means of production : at least in terms of human existence if nothing else….


And yet folks run amok among our financial markets chasing each day’s passing effects on the price of shares and other financial instruments ( myself included ), when sustainability – which the Federal Reserve, within their area of power, via interest rates, tries to maintain – should be a nationwide concern. Maybe, even an everyday educational concern. The concern being, how we all connect, and how all else connects with all we connect.

Bernie Sanders, from my wife’s home state of Vermont, has a newsletter I like and in it recently, he applauded the reopening of train service back and forth between Burlington, Vermont and NYC for the 1st time in nearly 70 years!

Train Service Vermont to NYC, info via Sen Bernie Sanders, D - Vt August 2022
Train Service Vermont to NYC, info via Sen Bernie Sanders, D – Vt August 2022

Bernie listed three reasons why this “This project is about more than just a #train” –

Btw, these snippets below have lots more to go with what I quote here —

First, he says, “..simply, it gives Vermonters access to more transportation options. For instance, if you’d like to visit New York City and would rather not pay hundreds of dollars for gas and parking, you can take the train…”

Second, he says, “ is no secret that as a nation we have ignored our infrastructure for far too long a time – allowing railways, roads, bridges, and water systems to fall into disrepair…”

And third, he ends with, “..perhaps most importantly: In Vermont, we understand that climate change is an existential threat to our planet. We know that if we don’t get our act together as a nation, then the planet we’re going to be leaving our kids and grandchildren will become increasingly uninhabitable…”

In other words, like the question of cause and effect between buyers and builders, costs and affordability for housing, intra-tangled within those matrixes, is the simple fact we must also rescue ours and our children’s home – the Earth. Sustainably….

Bernie knows this, adding – “Passenger trains are not going to solve all the problems. We need to transform our energy systems away from fossil fuel into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. But improving the quality and efficiency of mass transit – including expanding it to more rural parts of our country – is a crucial step in cutting carbon emissions.”


I think the inclusive manner of Bernie’s thinking, along with the recent torrid number of medical and climate and economic bills Congress has passed and had signed, are a great beginning — and a terrific reminder how complex the wages-prices-inflation question really is – humbling as that is, especially for me, once thinking I knew so much ☺️

Nearly as humbling as trying to out reason a sharp 9 year old, lol! And Sheila and I’ve had a finger or two in dealing with five along the years 💕

Stay well everyone! Stay determined!! ❤️




I support passage of The Voting Rights Act 🙏❤️😊

Voting, in our democracy, is the purest form of expression.

Dissenting, affirming, protesting – 
– all flow through the form of the ballot, not, the bullet…

Stay well everyone – for oneself, and for those who need us most..the children….



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Artist self portrait - photo of Felipe Adan Lerma on converted railway track bike ferry for the Island Line Trail connecting mainland Vermont to South Hero on Lake Champlain.

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