Thursday, February 19, 2009

February 9, 2009 - I bought new tires with the NT$3,600 vouchers the government gave every Taiwanese citizen, or pending-citizen in my case. The tires actually only cost a little over NT$2,000 (about US$60), but I also bought a new cycling jersey for about NT$2,600. Damn, they're expensive! No wonder I've been using the same 2 cycling jerseys for, like, the last 8 years! Ones I bought at a discount at Sports Basement in San Francisco.

In all I spent about NT$1,000 in my own cash, which is part of what the voucher stimulus is supposed to do. The idea is that to get the full value out of the voucher, consumers need to buy things that are more than the face value, and cover the balance with cash. The vouchers came in denominations of 6 NT$500 vouchers and 3 NT$200 vouchers, so the full amount doesn't need to be used at once, like I did. So if each of the vouchers were used separately, it's possible that the amount of consumer cash injected into the economy might add up to about NT$1,000.

I hope I used the vouchers how the government wanted me to, in the best way that would help the economy. Environmental groups were urging people not to view the vouchers as a windfall, but to use the vouchers only for things they were going to buy anyway, but that doesn't help the economy by stimulating spending. If they were going to buy things anyway, their cash was going into the economy anyway. For the cash-strapped, that makes sense, but for people getting by, it undermines the voucher stimulus.

For me, I bought things I really wanted, but was on the fence about. The jersey was a total luxury item, and I did need new tires, but I could waffle on them and put off buying them for as long as possible. The vouchers put me over, and had me throw in the jersey for good measure.

The new Kenda tires (I'd never heard of Kenda) definitely are making a difference. I'm going more vertical on downhill turns, and much more confident my tires won't slip out from under me. I'm pretty sure these are natural rubber tires, whereas the stock tires Giant put on were probably synthetic rubber. Makes all the difference in the world for gripping. Now I just have to see how long they last.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Expresso Love (Dire Straits)
2. We Do Not Belong Together ("Sunday in the Park with George" - Sondheim)
3. Candy Everybody Wants (10,000 Maniacs)
4. Rip This Joint (The Rolling Stones)
5. Make Tomorrow (Peter Gabriel - "OVO")
6. The Way a Leash Feels (764-HERO)
7. Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, Prelude #20 in Am (J.S. Bach)
8. Soul Daiji (Bubble Gum Brothers)
9. Long Way From Home (The Vaughan Brothers)
10. Cool Water (Talking Heads)

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