Gas is Getting “Cheap” Again

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In my area (SW Virginia) regular unleaded can now be purchased for less than $3 a gallon. Most people are smiling – the smile of the simple-minded. Or the dazed. Or perhaps, the forgetful. Does no one remember that a mere handful of years ago, gas sold for less than $2 a gallon?gas picture lead

And now, they’re happy about paying less than $3… .

Remarkable.

Meanwhile, the average price paid for a new car (as of this past April) now exceeds $30,000 (news story here).

In 1990, it was just over $16,000.

So, we’re paying twice as much for gas – and for the cars we put the gas into.

Hence my not smiling.

Inflation accounts for a lot of this, of course. $16k in 1990’s money works out to an inflation-adjusted $28,630 in 2013 money. And $1.10 in 1990 dollars is equivalent to just under $2 today, in terms of real purchasing power. But, income inflation has not kept pace with dollar inflation.

Especially not since 2008.  broke picture

Most of us have been treading water for the past five years  . . . with one hand.

Before 2008, I didn’t personally know anyone with serious money (or job) troubles. Now, literally everyone I know has money – or job – troubles.

This is anecdotal, of course. But for me it’s a barometer of the true state of the economy – as opposed to the Happy Talk warbling out of the radio, which I regard as not unlike the “good news, comrades!” about the increased chocolate ration coming over the loudspeaker in Orwell’s 1984.

I don’t believe a word of it.

Yet, people are buying cars. The industry reports its best year in years.

Perhaps buying is not the right word, though.

That word (like “freedom”) is much-abused. If one is making payments on something, then one is making payments on something. One hasn’t actually bought it. Because the seller still has legal claim to it. One has agreed to make payments toward its eventual (theoretical?) purchase – and during the interval, the seller merely allows you to retain possession and use (under conditions). Fail to make a payment, and the seller may take back his vehicle.

Perhaps I am being pedantic.flim flam 1

But the point remains: The touted uptick of new car sales is almost certainly another spec-bubble created by financial flim-flams. It has to be – given that new cars cost more than ever – and given that most people have less real financial wherewithal than they used to have.

I will give you two specific examples:

My wife and I know a couple. The man is a part-time manual worker; the wife a part-time minimum wage worker. I doubt their combined annual income is more than $30,000 – if that. We know they are are mortgaged to the Adam’s apple and live paycheck to paycheck..

Both of them drive new cars.

The man came home a few months back in a 2500 series Chevy with a 6.2 liter V-8 and a sticker price close to $40k. The woman has a new AWD crossover SUV that cost close to that $30k average sales price mentioned earlier. I doubt their house (which they don’t own) is worth much more than the combined value of these two vehicles – and it boggles me that any lender agreed to write them a note. The man has told me himself he was surprised they did. He also said he wasn’t concerned about not making the payments. “They can take it back,” he shrugged.

Then there’s Dom’s story. Dom – the Web High Master of EPautos – got a letter from Toyota inviting him to swap his three-year-old Yaris for a brand-new one at no additional cost. Just turn in the old Yaris, drive home in the new one – and pay the same payment. I realize I didn’t make it beyond trigonometry in high school (and that, barely) but the math eludes me.

How is Toyota making money on this deal? How did Chevy make money on my neighbor?

Speaking of Chevy. Jenga

Did you know you can drive a new Volt electric car for just $200 a month for the next two years?

The Volt’s MSRP is $39,145.

My nose may be blocked up with congestion right now (I walked into a sneeze-cloud at Wal-Mart last week) but the smell of fish is stronger than a dead grouper stuffed behind the drywall.

Remember Jenga? The game? You try to stack up little wooden blocks as high as possible and win by not being the guy who puts the block on top that topples the whole thing down.

How high can this Jenga tower go?

I guess we’re going to find out, soon enough.

Throw it in the Woods?

PS:This site is almost entirely reader supported now. No Google. (They blacklisted us – so we dumped them. See here for the full story about that.)

So, we need your support to make a go of it and keep EPautos rolling. If you like what you see, please consider supporting this site. The link to our “donate” button is here.

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206 COMMENTS

  1. “Starve the runt, spoil the fat brat.” At least thats how it feels like in America today.

    Ive worked 2 highly specialized aerospace fabrication and assembly jobs while most of my friends havent even graduated college yet (trust me, this is not easy. Aerospace requires a level of detail and precision that would make German machinists blush). Unfortunately both companies had incompotent executives (I have no idea where the hell they find these adult aged children to handle multi-million dollar companies) that sold out to China and laid everyone off. Despite living in Seattle which makes a good chunk of its money off the aerospace industry, I have switched back and forth between being unemployed and underemployed for the last 6 months.

    I just started a new $11/hr fulltime job last week. While im very grateful to be employed again, I still feel the noose getting tighter around my neck. My first paycheck will only be used to pay off all of my late payments to the extorsi… erm insurance company and to update the cattle tags on my truck. Add on the fact that I have to drive 40+ miles everyday to commute to and from work. The noose just keeps getting smaller and smaller and its starting to feel more like a guillotine. I feel like the only prospects for my future is moving into my brothers attic so I can afford to eat ramen noodles and do absolutely nothing all day long, everyday…. I also feel like I go to work just so I can afford to go to work. Im just praying we’ll see a real government shutdown so I wont be arrested for building on my property without a “license”

  2. This may be a little off topic, buy, being from Canada, I read a lot about the US economic woes. Now the federal government has told many federal employees to not come to work.

    Will the American ebayers PLEEEEEAAASE get rid of the “won’t ship outside the US” attitude? Usually, I ask politely, when I see an item I really like at a good price if the seller would please ship to Canada. Some of the comments I get are, well, less than accommodating. Most recently, I tried to buy “The Bible Story”, 10 volume set from an American seller. I paid right away. She asked for money for shipping. I paid again. Then she refused to sell the item AFTER I paid on the spurious charge that I must be doing a scam because I was so willing to pay the extra money. I googled her name. She went to bible school and studied evengelism. And she wouldn’t take my money, ship to Canada so CHILDREN could have the bible story. Unbelievable! (She never gave me a chance to send her a copy of a utility bill or something to show I was legit.) Hello? Trillions of dollars in debt, double digit unemployment, US federal employees not getting paid and sticking it to US veterans in myriad ways. For heaven’s sake, take my Canadian money into your economy and ship outside the United States! I have excellent feedback on ebay, bought a vehicle from the US and many other items. But I am very tempted to not buy from Americans anymore. (I managed to buy the bible series finally from a CANADIAN ebayer. I was refunded by paypal and my money didn’t go into the US economy.)

    My apologies if I have offended anyone, but it is SOOOO very frustrating and in my humble opinion, this will never change until someone gives Americans a little nudge and some advice that might be good for their economy. (Eric I appreciate all your libertarian and informative articles.)

    • Jason, this could happen anywhere to anyone. You found an incompetent business person who happened to be south of your border. Some people are leery of anyone not trying to get THE best deal. And they’re sometimes afraid you may be making more money than they are from it. All kinds of crazy thoughts go through people’s heads. I’d try to shove it out of my mind.

    • I’ve sent a few items to Canada that I’ve sold on ebay. Actually just mailed one of our epautos.com t-shirts up there last week too. I’ve been selling on ebay for a decade or so. Now, with the buyer protection I’d imagine a lot more people are scared of sending stuff there. I’d imagine they might be scared of having cases opened against them and losing their ass on the shipping and the cost of the item. Dealing with borders is a major PITA for the everyday Joe like us when selling stuff. I’d suggest getting a buddy here to receive the items and then mail them to you in Canada.

      • dom, I like the way you think. I once ordered a chain saw(before I knew
        Stihl’s were the only way to go)from Sear, a local store. I went back the day it was to arrive, picked it up COD, no problem. Took it home and ran the required break in period just as it got dark, sat it down and called it a day. Next day I go to crank it up and when Ipull the cord, it locks down. I even heard the rod cap hit the case so I take it back. Unbeknown to me but to most everybody else, this woman who ran the place was notorious for screwing over people who just wanted to return one item and get another because there were two ways to handle warranty and she would have the original repaired, even though it took several weeks to do so. I needed the saw right then so I opted to get my money back which they gave me in cash since I insisted as I’d paid cash for it. She would not let me order another so I turned to my friend standing there and said “You need a saw don’t you?” to which he said “I certainly do”. He proceeded to order that same saw that would be in the next day. We both went back and he pulled the exact changed they’d given me the day before and gave it to them. You could tell the old gal was doing a burn but we were following “her” rules. So I had my saw a couple days later than expected but that beat hell out of “indeterminate” weeks. My buddy and I were always hoping that exact scenario would open itself again so we could get another laugh and piss her off again. Of course she ran off lots of customers doing this but her numbers for returns were great. We still laugh about that from time to time and it’s been 35 years ago. The last I knew this woman was a teacher for Sears in the way of management. Her numbers are still Great.

    • Jason, I used to ship my ebay items worldwide, until ebay’s bureaucracy horned in on the action. Ebay charges sellers a final value fee on shipping along with the final value fee on the sale itself. My reaction was to go to BIN sales only, and to include free shipping. Since shipping internationally costs quite a bit more and is uninsurable, I had to drop worldwide shipping on my items.

      In my case it isn’t that I don’t want your business, it’s just that ebay made it unprofitable for me to ship to you. Also, I recently stopped using USPS and began to use Fedex, under my own account outside the ebay shipping manager system. I’ll see if this makes it profitable to ship to Canada again. My highest ticket items have always sold to ebayers in Europe and Asia, so it was a sacrifice for me to stop worldwide shipping.

    • @Jason – It just may be she is not setup with shipping and customs. When I sent a used laptop to a friend in Ontario I had to fill out forms, pay customs, and promise I wasn’t sending bombs or such banned material. It cost me almost $100.00 and a bunch of paper hassle.

  3. Ed said After Lincoln’s war (the first ‘republican revolution’), property taxes became what they are now, a huge lien on your property held by your local government, with confiscation as an option of the collection process.

    Yet another piece of foul historical excrement, courtesy of Amerika’s original dictator, to rub in the noses of those who still swallow the official “court” history and who still idealize this monster who set the nation on its path toward self destruction.

  4. re this: “Just turn in the old Yaris, drive home in the new one – and pay the same payment. I realize I didn’t make it beyond trigonometry in high school (and that, barely) but the math eludes me.”

    I’m assuming they increased the number of years before the new car is paid off, relative to the old car. Say the old car has one year to go before you OWN it. Say you trade it in on the new car, and you now have to make payments for five more years before you OWN it. And, if you’re particularly bad at negotiating and the old payments were way high, the car dealers could make a bundle off this deal.

    Or, Toyota may be selling Yaris cars at or below cost to pump up their CAFE numbers and avoid penalties, in effect subsidizing the fuel efficient cars so they can make a killing on their high end cars with powerful V6s, such as the Avalon I drive.

    • Jim Henshaw wrote, “Or, Toyota may be selling Yaris cars at or below cost…”

      Or, the BOJ may be pumping money out like a faucet spews out water.

      Ever think about the trickle down effect of that?

  5. You may already realize this, but car companies count a car as being sold when they ship it to the dealer. NOT when it is sold to a consumer…

    The Kia plant I used to work at produces 3 models of their cars. They are making 360,000 cars this year. There’s no way that all of those are getting sold to consumers in this economy…

    • The car makers are correct in counting sales that way. They sell cars to dealers (IIRC, most car dealerships are owned by private individuals, not car manufacturers), and then the dealers resell the cars at a markup. If I bake bread and sell it to a grocery store, it is not my problem if the grocery store sells it or not, because I no longer own the bread.

      And Kias are inexpensive (but well built) cars, basically the low end badge for Hyundai (which sells great quality cars for dirt cheap), so it is entirely possible that all those cars are being sold. In a world of 7 billion people, there is a lot of demand for cars even in a down economy.

  6. I just found this website and I am finding it very interesting. My parents are from India, though I am an American, and one area where I am culturally different than most of the Americans I know – I’ve always had a minimum of 6 months living expenses in the bank. I also like investing in gold, which my husband laughs at me about. Though, if the SHTF, realistically, gold may also be worthless, depending on how bad it gets.

    I remember back in graduate school in 1994 I lived on $600 a month for a term (what my teaching assistantship paid) until my research assistantship came through (at which point I lived on $1000 a month). Anyway, I managed and I was happy – I biked or walked to campus and to the store, I didn’t have a TV and instead I read, sketched or hung out with friends. I ate lots of rice and beans and whatever vegetables were on sale that week.

    I think the media and society tell us we need stuff when we really don’t. That doesn’t mean I think it’s bad to accumulate wealth or that I think Americans should live like third world people. I’m a big believer in free markets, limited government, etc. But, I’m also a Christian and I think that having more and bigger stuff or spending hours staring like a zombie at your big screen TV are not the keys to a meaningful life.

    My parents came to this country because at one point America was truly great – because the people were good. Didn’t Alexis de Tocqueville say that America is great because it is good, and when it ceases to be good it will cease to be great? I think just 20 or 30 years ago, most Americans at least tried to be good. Now, the MSM, etc., the common culture – I don’t think the striving to be good is there anymore. One more reason to turn off the TV.

    • “But, I’m also a Christian and I think that having more and bigger stuff or spending hours staring like a zombie at your big screen TV are not the keys to a meaningful life.”

      Shefali, I’m with you on this. On your comment about living like 3rd worlders, I think that going after the scam promoted about having all the “stuff” is a sure way to drag the US economy into 3rd world status. The “stuff” I see as worth having (though not to the point of buying it on credit) is the means of producing what I want to sell/trade. Tools and equpiment that can help with my productivity are the only belongings I’m still accumulating.

    • Shefali, I’m half way to my seventh decade and started using techniques my wetback friends use about ten years ago. I draw the line at a dozen people in the same house though, just pitch a tent at that point. I do still have the option of, and rarely don’t use it, of using a new tree instead of wasting water. I’ve been trying to teach people since the sixties about not wasting water, not very successfully either since everybody seems to be in love with hearing toilets flush.

    • Shefali,
      I was in grad school at that time as well, TA & RA, paid similarly, ~10K/yr as I recall.
      My car, which I still own, was over 20 years old then but I drove it about once a week. Lived simply and cheaply. My time was almost entirely my own. I miss it now and then.

      Advertising convinces many people they need something. Many more people are convinced by the people around them. Then only weirdos and social outcasts don’t go along. Nobody wants to be that, so most everyone then goes along. This then leaves those people who are strong enough to take the social consequences of it.

      And you haven’t watched TV until you had to have two TVs, one which was failing and color and another was good and B&W and by watching the two at the same time one’s mind could interpolate the correct color picture 😉

      • Brent, And then…..it only becomes clear in hindsight. Back when the earth was cooling and tv was changing Yellow Submarine was shown on network tv. We invited a friend to come watch and had some great new mescaline. We all agreed afterward it was really neat, the colors were far out but the sound was lacking(as always). Hours later we remembered we had a B&W tv. and so it goes

    • @Shefali – said “My parents came to this country because at one point America was truly great – because the people were good. ”

      I really think that like mine they came for the “opportunity” that their old countries did not offer. That was the promise of capitalism back then. My grandmother came to Ellis island, NYC in 1912 at the age of 16 from Austria-Hungary (now Czechoslovakia) because the family could not afford to feed her. Some distant relative in NY helped pay the steerage on a ship to get her here. She worked her ass off and died “middle class” with a paid off home. In June of 2013 a total of 47,760,285 participants received SNAP food benefits, and I really wonder if my grandchildren won’t be the ones immigrating out to a new place.

  7. Inflation is running rampant in this country. I work full time at a job that pays 68,000 a year. On top of that I have a side business that nets me an additional 12,000 – 15,000. I have no mortgage choosing to rent instead. My lifestyle is marked by frugality (outside of high quality food) and yet you still can feel the ” wolves” at the door.
    In 2010 I bought a slightly used (< 10,000 miles ) Toyota Tacoma 4×4. I took out a loan a to do it. Paid 20,000 to the dealership – not a penny more. This truck will be driven until the wheels fall off. Forget new trucks/cars/houses/toys etc… its all part of an old paradigm that is fast leaving the shores of this once great country. Its pretty sad to see.

    • Ditto, Mike.

      We’re in the same bracket – no mortgage, no car payment – and things still feel tight.

      Yesterday, I went down the road to our local Marathon gas station, where I fuel up and buy feed. I put about 6 gallons in the truck, then filled up my four 5 gallon jugs I keep for the power equipment. That plus two 100 lb. bags of feed and I’m lighter by almost $130.

      • @Eric – Get it now and store it for later. They are coming with Co2 taxes on all energy, home inspections for “efficiency”, and the VAT. Obamacare is just the beginning.

      • eric, we’re nearly ready to go to the feed store and eat it ourselves. When all the land, guns and cash have been stolen by the govt. you get a new perspective of “pore”. If I could only sell those racing carts, bike, pickups and tools again, we’d be good to the 1st of the year….maybe. I forgot to include multiple lyayers who throw you to the wolves for only $30,000 a pop…..so what bad deal could we have not worked out without them?

    • Ha! Inflation. Here’s a data point for you: Six years and 60,000 miles ago, I paid for spark plugs and wires on my 98 Club Wagon = $565 (try as I might, I cannot replace them damn plugs.. they must have triple-jointed-seven-fingered monkeys genetically engineered at the dealership for that purpose— but I digress…

      Same exact repair done last month $1100. CPI my foot…..

      • Ditto that, Tom.

        Quality synthetic oil is now almost $10 a quart. I can remember when it was about half that price – and I can remember that because it was only a few years (not decades) ago.

        • eric, since I need some lubes I checked Amsoil price for 0W-20 motor oil, their premium which I use to great success. It is $8.15/qt. maybe 20-30 cents higher than Mobil 1 locally which is not nearly the product Amsoil is. Since our vehicles are always driven at least 50 miles I can kick out that one year time limit and go by mileage, 30,000 miles. Since our current engine is using oil due to over-heating during a 115° and idling down county roads looking for property, I don’t try to get the full mileage. I got the temp really high one day due to not having any wind and a really dirty radiator that had accumulated gross amount of dirt in just two days, my bad. I know better. In my part of the country you’d best clean radiators and the like often to remove huge amounts of dirt.

  8. GM Canada chief frets over credit-driven car sales
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/gm-canada-chief-concerned-about-credit-driven-car-bubble/article14736583/

    “Part of the reason, he noted, includes eight-year, interest-free loans being offered by some auto companies”

    8 year loan. I guess that after 3 years it is for sure the car is worth less than the loan balance. So if this auto credit bubble started in say 2010 or 2011, the cars will start coming back 2014 or 2015. So if you can postpone a purchase until like 2016 2017 the prices of low mileage used should collapse. Cash for clunkers started in 2009 so the effect on the used car market from removing all those late model cars in 09 will have worked its way through the system by 2014 2015 as those cars did not have that many more years to run anyway. That’s my off the top of my head analysis anyway.

    I am also wondering about collision insurance. If you buy with nothing down you need to fully insure the thing, and you need to maintain full insurance even as the car is worth less than the loan balance. On an 8 year loan you would need 5 or 6 years of insuring higher than the value of the car.

    • Good points, George.

      Six year loans are now pretty common; I’m not surprised to hear some have been pushed out to eight.

      It’s a debacle in the making.

      An aside: I know someone who is in her mid 40s and in debt up to her eyeballs. She stopped paying her mortgage last year. HAMP – the federal program designed to subsidize such people – carved her out a 40 year loan, so as to make her payments “affordable.”

      She will be about 84 when she pays off her house.

  9. The same amount of gold that would buy a car in 1920 will buy a car today.
    10 ounces of gold was worth approximately $250.00 in 1920. The average car cost $250.00 in 1920.
    That same 10 ounces of gold today is worth about $20,00.00.
    That same 10 ounces of gold will buy a car today.
    It’s not that gold is “worth” more today. It’s that the DOLLAR is worth much less . . .
    Basic economics at work . . .
    Ever wonder why these so-called “financial experts” and “money managers” decry investing in gold??
    Gold (or any precious metal) cannot be manipulated . . .

    • That’s right! It’s really that simple. All these assholes can try to spin numbers, terms, and accounting principles all they want..

  10. Humor me, please.

    In 1964, you could purchase gas for around thirty cents a gallon. That’s three dimes. Of course, those dimes were 90% silver. Today, those same (pre-1965) dimes are worth $1.54 apiece when measured by their silver content alone. That means that 1964’s 30 cent gas would cost you $4.62/gallon now if paid in the same currency. In other words, gas is not more expensive, but CHEAPER today than it was fifty years ago when measured in a stable currency.

    It’s not a matter of oil (or any other) companies robbing us. They have to deal with the same economic system we do. They simply know how to play the game better than we do. The problem is that we do not understand how inflation really works, and as a result we tolerate it. We could fix it very, very quickly by not borrowing money and by living beneath our means. Would it be painful? Absolutely. Would it crush the cartel that has been stealing from us since forever? You’d better believe it would.

    • In truth that $.30 for a 1964 gallon would be about $2.27 current. To balance a ford falcon of the day got about 2/3 the gas mileage that a current car such as my saturn ion manages. So fuel cost is a wash for roughly equivalent ‘status’ vehicles. On the other hand I rent my first very spartan apartment (utility included) for $85/month in 1969. The corresponding $560 current would fund a much nicer place.

      The real change of the past 40 years is how much harder it has become for the struggled to finish high school class of folks to make ends meet and raise a family. The Open Borders, The Globalisation of the economy, the corporate rent seeking like nothing since the 1890’s, the decline of unions, the mass median engined decline of real culture- all things doctrinaire libertarians seem to applaud have combined to ruin life for the bottom 30% and sure as heck haven’t been an improvement for the rest of us.

  11. CloverIt’s more of a case of the Special Little Snowflake Syndrome writ large. Certain people here just happened to have lived in the magical period after WW2 when the U.S. (and a few other Western countries) had the lion’s share of the world’s wealth at the time. It could be argued for such folks Communism was beneficial for them – it kept other countries poor and global competition low so they could command high wages for menial work (it’s not as companies were going to ship job to Mao’s China). “Inflation” isn’t why wages are lower and prices are higher rather the world has opened up considerably so that low-skilled work can sent to the countries with the lowest wages while the new rich from the East also want and can start to afford the Western lifestyle so they compete for resources and drive up the prices.

    • Players in control claim to be capitalists, communists, whatever is fashionable, but all they are is political pimps keeping everyone turning tricks for them so they can make bank and stay fly.

      Maybe Gil used to be one of Queen Lizzy’s Special Little Snowflakes?

      1. special little snowflake
      A below average kid who is coddled and rewarded for mediocrity, usually by an overprotective mother, a ‘sensitive’ dad, or the public education system. The term stems from the concept that, like a snowflake, all children are special and unique and thus they should be treasured just the way they are so as to build their self-esteem.
      [source=urban dictionary]
      [example]
      “Emily’s special little snowflake is in for a rude awakening when he gets out into the real world.”
      —-snowflake—-
      http://toletownphoto.com/gallery/d/23236-2/019_G.jpg

  12. Suppose the basic cars of oh say 40 years ago were available at today’s inflation adjusted prices. How many people would touch them? 1971 ford maverick for $13K anyone? Makes a Hyundai look sweet.

    Anyone for going back to the day when a typical corporate CEO only earned about 40 times the wage of the average worker? It is true though that the 1% does need a bit of a financial haircut. Look closely most of their position is based on rent seeking behaviours.

    The 1% aside America would be a vastly better place were the ordinary American to simply decline to be a debt slave (really it is a choice) and resolve to reconnect into communities which could cut the banksters and insurance mafia down to size.

    • Mike,

      A 1970 Maverick’s MSRP was just under $2,000 – which is just over $12k in today’s money.

      “Sweet” is in the eye of the beholder. I’d much rather have a mid-sized (by modern standards) RWD car with a six-cylinder engine (V-8 available optionally) that was simple to maintain with basic hand tools vs. a subcompact FWD car with a four cylinder engine and myriad complex electronic system beyond the ken (and tools) of almost anyone not a professional mechanic.

      “It is true though that the 1% does need a bit of a financial haircut.”

      More Cloverism.

      If it’s ok to steal anyone’s money then no one’s money is secure.

      Keep your “fair share” collectivism.

      Your green leaves are showing.

      • eric, one xmas, early 80’s my nephews GF had a 10 yr old Mav wouldn’t start to go home. Other nephew, mech inclined, started working on it with everybody in the family staring at me, shit. So I just in too and after about an hour, removing starter and doing what we could without spare parts and my ever-present stock of wire in my pickup, we practically rebuilt the electrical/starter systems and even made it run sorta properly. She left, got home and called, whew!! My only experience with a Mav…thankfully. I’d take an old Chevelle, easy to get to parts, interchangeable parts up to C-60 Chevy trucks and almost anything else with GM origins. Full frame, tough, reliable and good cooling system. At least I’ll get there…and back. Stick a v-6 TBI engine and get good fuel mileage.

        • Hi Eight!

          I helped a friend hop-up his Maverick. It was an original V-8 car (not a Grabber, though). 302/2BBl and three-speed automatic.

          We put a cam in it, swapped on a 4BBL intake and carb, installed dual exhaust (running off the factory manifolds; forget headers – no room!) added a shift kit to the transmission and ended up with a low-bucks Boss 302 in drag. We never ran it through a timed 1/4 mile, but it felt like a solid 13 second car – plenty quick to be lots of fun to knock around in. It would “get rubber” on the 1-2 and the 2-3 shift, WOT.

          I think we maybe put $2,500 in it (this was late ’90s) and the car itself only cost my friend about that much, too.

          • eric, an old classmate had one I discovered one day by coming up behind him(hadn’t seen each other in 10 years or more and it was only in passing we recognized each other). It was a Grabber and would go like stink, not enough to rival my Eddy Browder powered EL CO but impressive. The only time I was in one was tracking down wiring and cranking it. I never rode in one. Not that I wouldn’t, just never came up. Funny thing about that guy, years later I came on a wreck, a bad one on I-20 with people scattered everywhere and I recognized this same guy, standing in the middle of the roadway, waving his arms and hands to stop traffic and I recognized him from a ways off. I told my wife to give a double finger in the windshield and she’s thinking I’m crazy. I said, Just do it, git it the big, double guns and act like you mean it so we pass by him slowly and he looked like he’d been slugged, just took the fight out of him, strangers treating him that way and him being a good samaritan and all and then he recognized me, got this great big grin, turned his back to the traffic and stood there shooting us the double finger till we were out of sight. I laughed for an hour with the wife saying “What the hell just happened?” and it took me a good while to explain it to her. then she says “That was Dennis?” and I said Yes. Then she starts in “That dumbass”, standing there with his back to the traffic..ya ya ya ya”. Women, they just don’t understand some things.

        • Mavericks are standard Ford in all the important areas. As standard as anything GM made.

          Basically the ford compact was made from 1959 to 1983 as I recall. Falcon, Mustang, Maverick, Granada and their mercury and lincoln twins. A lot of time and a lot of cars that share a lot of compatibility.

      • Maverick is a good sized car externally. The volume isn’t used too well in the coupe so it’s pretty much like a mustang. But the four door maverick was rearranged and has the interior space and a little longer wheel base. It’s just ugly.

      • Eric- Do you have the least comprehension of what Rent Seeking is? If so what libertarian rationale do you have for tolerating such collusion between the State and various 1% ripoff artists?

        BTW, what was your point in appearing to attempt to correct me by pointing out that a 1970 ford maverick would be $12K in current dollars? You do realise that I specified the year 1971.

        • Mike,

          What has rent seeking got to do with whether it’s right to steal someone’s money simply because they’re “rich”? (You wrote that “the 1 percent need a haircut.” Which means you believe in stealing money from people who have “x” quantity of it… because they don’t “need” it … as you see it).

          You’re setting up straw men. I never defended rent seeking; i.e., people who steal to get their money – which is what you are implying I advocate, as a way to de-legitimize Libertarian objection to theft-via-taxation.

          Pretty weak – and pretty obvious, too.

          You’re gonna have to try harder!

          In re the Maverick:

          The point I was making is that in 1970 (or 1971; no real difference there) the same money that today will just barely buy you a subcompact shitbox with a three or four-cylinder engine bought you a mid-sized RWD car with a six-cylinder engine.

          You may reply that the modern car has air bags, ABS and so on. Lovely. I’d rather have a larger car, with a simpler drivetrain much more amenable to DIY repair and upkeep that could easily (and inexpensively) be modified for much more power.

          Brent also added an important point: Take away the distortions imposed by government and cartel capitalism and today we’d have mid-sized/RWD cars with sixxes (and maybe even eights) with AC and so on for the same or less money than one would have paid for a base ’70-’71 Maverick without those features.

        • PS: You never responded to my dissection of your support for mandatory insurance. Specifically, to my argument that you’ve got no right to threaten me with violence (which is what mandatory insurance comes down to) before I’ve caused you a tangible injury.

          You may feel it’s “risky” for me to drive without insurance. But your feelings do not justify aggression toward me – for the same reason that my feelings about various things you choose to do (or not do) don’t entitle me to point guns at you (or have proxies do so on my behalf).

          Life is full of risks, Mike. Things go wrong – and bad things happen. But institutionalizing wrongness – and imposing universal badness – is neither preferable nor justified.

          Consider murder. Do you really believe most people would commit this act absent a law forbidding it?

          Yet you seem to believe most people would drive recklessly, hurt others – and leave them holding the bag – absent laws forbidding such.

          It’s silly.

          And it’s a shame you buy into that claptrap.

          • eric, I never cease to be amazed by people who support institutionalized murder for any reason and esp. to simply uphold arbitrary rules, every one of which exists for making others rich at everyone else’s expense. By THEIR own values I can think of 5 people who deserve to be killed by me. They don’t know how lucky they are I don’t have the same values they do. Oh wait, the LAW keeps me from doing that…..sure it does.

          • ” By THEIR own values I can think of 5 people who deserve to be killed by me. They don’t know how lucky they are I don’t have the same values they do.”

            Yeah, there’s that. Also, though, we can’t kill every asshole who deserves it. The cost of ammo alone would bankrupt the average man.

          • Ed, Bevin,
            WTF, man? Why waste ammo when a knife never needs reloading? 😀

            The Joker: [to Det. Stephens] Do you wanna know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can’t savor all the… little… emotions. In… you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?

          • Dear Ed,

            You may have a point.

            The Walking Dead has a character named Michonne, who is armed with a katana. She never runs out of ammo. All she needs is a honing stone.

          • Garysco,
            I’m upset you would compare Michonne to Michelle O.
            It is insulting not only to Michonne, who is human – but also to the zombies in the series, who show more life and personality than the Bath-house Boy’s Bitch.

            To say nothing of, oh, cockroaches, amoebas, planarians, dung beetles, hagfish – all of who have better personality and appearance than the HNIC’s Signifigant Whatever.

            😉

          • @Jean – I guess the message from the scriptwriter and casting director of hiring a dark skinned Moochelle hero killing white folks was lost on me. Except for the two dark skinned Uncle Tom’s in chains.

          • Garysco,
            I have noticed a certain dearth of black characters on the show. Not sure about the comics, neve read them – but I don’t think it was ORIGINALLY meant in a racial sense (though, one could spin it as “racist” the other way, too: Damn Zulu Warrior chick, showing whites Publically what them nig’s is at their core…; Or, even a sexist thing: Michonne and the blonde (forget her name), able to kick @$$ better than SEVERAL of the male characters.)

            I’ve also never udnerstood the Uncle Tom references. I didn’t read the original book re: Uncle Tom – but I inherited a “Classics Illustrated” version, and I always had the idea that Uncle Tom died rather than turn in fugitive slaves.

            Just to check, I took a moment and hit up Wikipedia (not the greatest, but good for a quick check.)
            From the Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom's_Cabin

            “… the “Uncle Tom”, or dutiful, long-suffering servant faithful to his white master or mistress.”

            Now, we read down a bit and see:

            Tom sold to Simon Legree
            Before St. Clare can follow through on his pledge, however, he dies after being stabbed outside of a tavern. His wife reneges on her late husband’s vow and sells Tom at auction to a vicious plantation owner named Simon Legree. Legree (a transplanted northerner) takes Tom to rural Louisiana, where Tom meets Legree’s other slaves, including Emmeline (whom Legree purchased at the same time).

            Legree begins to hate Tom when Tom refuses Legree’s order to whip his fellow slave. Legree beats Tom viciously and resolves to crush his new slave’s faith in God.
            Despite Legree’s cruelty, however, Tom refuses to stop reading his Bible and comforting the other slaves as best he can. While at the plantation, Tom meets Cassy, another of Legree’s slaves. Cassy was previously separated from her son and daughter when they were sold; unable to endure the pain of seeing another child sold, she killed her third child.

            At this point Tom Loker returns to the story. Loker has changed as the result of being healed by the Quakers. George, Eliza, and Harry have also obtained their freedom after crossing into Canada. In Louisiana, Uncle Tom almost succumbs to hopelessness as his faith in God is tested by the hardships of the plantation. However, he has two visions, one of Jesus and one of Eva, which renew his resolve to remain a faithful Christian, even unto death. He encourages Cassy to escape, which she does, taking Emmeline with her. When Tom refuses to tell Legree where Cassy and Emmeline have gone, Legree orders his overseers to kill Tom. As Tom is dying, he forgives the overseers who savagely beat him. Humbled by the character of the man they have killed, both men become Christians. Very shortly before Tom’s death, George Shelby (Arthur Shelby’s son) arrives to buy Tom’s freedom but finds he is too late.

            Yeah – Long-Suffering, as Christains are supposed to be, WRT the trials and tribulations of this world.
            Not a white thing, not a black thing – a Christian thing.

            And he dies rather than give up the escaped slaves.
            Real black, huh? I guess the epithet of “Uncle Tom” works – especially when one takes into account the niggers who say it – and what they are – and looks at the disipline of the “man” who died to birth the epithet.
            (Acknowledging it’s fiction, of course.)

            Maybe there’s something to the Michonne character.
            But there IS something to the trash under the epithet nigger, who really DO deserve the epithet of “Uncle Tom” – because those niggaz ARE smart enough to save their own black skin rather than die to protect someone else.

            I guess there really IS something to this who “Human BioDiversity” stuff after all – and it’s not exactly a recent decline in the African-descended amongst us.
            Very interesting.

            Maybe we should make that book REQUIRED READING. Teach the animals how to live like men.

          • @Jean – It has been a long time since I read the book. The original un-modied book, which is most likely on the politically banned list like “Little Black Sambo” and Amos & Andy.

            Uncle Tom in the hood is the worst form of “house nigger” someone could be called. The kids who go to school and get above a D are riddiculed by their peers as an Uncle Tom working for the white man.

            P.S.: Never forget Hollywood movies, cartoons and TV is carefully designed as your daily cultural training. Nothing is ever left to chance there.

          • Dear Gary,

            I’m not all that familiar with Michelle Obomber. Never paid much attention to her.

            But TWD is pretty libertarian. Explicitly so. I’d be surprised if one of the “good guys” from TWD was modeled on Michelle Obomber.

          • @Bevin – If it came from a major studio it all goes through the “censors” or in my words the Newspeak controllers. Their mission is to move the culture in the right direction through subtle and/or subconscious themes and agendas.

            When you watch entertainment and mentally break from the story or plot and ask what are the underlying “feels familiar” themes. Believe it or not the whole zombie thing, like the current Disney themed movies for kids, and cop shows are mental conditioning for future deprivation, crime, austerity and virus fears. No accidents. It is done in a very clever entertaining way, but it is there if you look for it.

          • Dear Gary,

            I agree completely that the self-appointed “elites” of the NWO want to do the very things you describe.

            Tor has familiarized me with some of that. Monarch Programming for example.

            But at this point in time, I don’t think they actually have total control over the entertainment media to the extent your comment suggests. Again, not for lack of trying.

            Perhaps they will eventually. But as of now, stuff is still slipping through the cracks.

            I think the watershed will be Internet censorship. When that happens, I will be more inclined to conclude that the mind control is total.

          • @Bevin – All media management subscribes and are members of the CFR and related groups. It is a top down approach. Look at a list of the movies released in the last 5 – 10 years, and the TV shows that are popular, and tell me there are not common social themes injected as society moves in a direction. Else we would have a much more diverse chice of entertainment topics. You are not giving them enough credit for the magic trick.

          • Dear Gary,

            I agree totally about the NWO “elites” motives. I do believe they are attempting to do what you say.

            I am also willing to withhold final judgment on the “total mind control” thesis you have advanced. I’ve never been so obstinate as to refuse to examine new evidence. That’s why I’m no longer a minarchist.

            But… don’t forget, the coin has two sides. The blade is double-edged, and cuts both ways.

            In my native China, the Maoists had TOTAL CONTROL over the minds of an entire generation. But guess what, some of the most thoroughly brainwashed Red Guards realized that the propaganda they had grown up with was clearly self-contradictory. A intense backlash occurred, and they became the most militant anti-communists one could ever hope to encounter.

            It’s sort of like the old cliche about Catholic school girls reacting against “The Nuns.” They become “wild and crazy gals.”

            Also, note how many of us here at EPA have watched TWD. We have hardly been conned into passivity.

            One might say that totalitarianism is a form of utopianism. For the totalitarian, it is an ideal. But it is also an impossible one.

          • @Bevin – “I agree completely that the self-appointed “elites” of the NWO want to do the very things you describe.

            Tor has familiarized me with some of that. Monarch Programming for example. ”

            I agree. Some cows leave the pasture, and do independent thinking and questioning. But most will accept what they see. Gives Clovers a whole new meaning.

          • Dear 8SM,

            Amen to that.

            Exposure to different cultures helps one see things from different angles. It opens one’s eyes to the parochialism that underlies so much of our basic conditioning.

            Example: Because my father was constantly being transferred all over the place, I attended a whole slew of different schools between 1-12 grade.

            At each of the schools I was told how it was “Number one in the state.” I was told to sing the school song, wear the school colors, cheer for the school team.

            After hearing the same spiel for the umpteenth time it dawned on me that it was all self-congratulatory bullshit.

            Needless to say, it carried over to my understanding of “patriotism.”

            A facetious commentary on this phenom:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ijkYkJfg0s

          • Dear Gary,

            Watt is right.

            TV can be an addiction. Been there, done that.

            These days I only watch a few selected TV series in recorded form. I think I mentioned them before.

            No more zoning out in front of the boob tube. My cable box has been broken for months. Haven’t even bothered to call the repairman.

          • @Bevin – You bet. I still love my old movies, Star wars, Indiana Jones, The Simpsons etc. etc.

            I threw out the satellite dish because the programming was just getting so predictable and stupid (and the dumb-ass commercials for Viagra and every other ask your doctor for our medication, because you are sicker than you think). The last several movies I have watched like the Batman rehashes, the cop-saves-the-world shoot’em up car chases and whatever are boring and usually stupid replays of the first 30 minutes over and over. The worst NWO themes are the Disney indoctrination animations for the little ones.

            Like Dirty Harry said: “Just don’t bore me.”

          • @8 – Too late man. It is serving as a cool bird bath and just waiting for a “Dom” brand Tor lantern in the future Japanese garden space.

          • Gary, you must be sicker than you think. That’s a classic. Now they’re mindreaders and know how sick you think you are. But don’t throw out that dish. Take the LNB off, mount a flat plate where it was, cover the dish in foil and that’s a cookin fool.

    • The natural progression of products is better and cheaper.
      Today’s low cost cars should be better and cheaper. The fact they have basically remained the same cost wise at best tells us something is afoot.

      As to would by a 2014 Maverick? Me. If it retained RWD. Of course a 2014 Maverick would be fully modernized too, but if things had been left alone, it may have been able to retain RWD. The problem however with a modern maverick, even if a lack of government interferences would permit one, would be the same one it had in the 1970s, being intentionally crippled not to cannibalize mustang sales.

      Modern cars simply aren’t what they could have been. things like I6 engines and RWD were lost to drive costs lower and maintain the ability to make affordable cars. Take a look at the Falcon line up of Ford of Australia for what could have been.

      Oh and since we are talking mavericks, I’d like a Ford of Brazil Maverick GT with a 4spd and 302V8 please 😉

      • Dear Brent,

        “The natural progression of products is better and cheaper.
        Today’s low cost cars should be better and cheaper. The fact they have basically remained the same cost wise at best tells us something is afoot. ”

        Exactly. The price of automobiles ought to have fallen the way prices of PCs and other electronics products have fallen.

        The fact that they haven’t can probably be attributed to two factors.

        1. Debasement of the fiat currency. Without this, the natural market effect is deflation. Our money becomes more and more valuable.

        2. Increased costs imposed by government mandates. CAFE. Airbags. Ad infinitum.

          • No shit. Think about what 1990 vehicles would cost. No airbags, same engine/transmissions, suspension except for minor changes excepting high end cars. $10,000 would get you a really “bugs worked out” Park Avenue since all those parts would have been produced for so long. I hated to see what happened to VW in Brazil since you know things were very profitable although it’s not the screwing we take every year for some new “mandate”. A friend got run off the interstate into a big tree, head on, in his ’94 Lexus(60-70, maybe more). He’s walking, talking and taking new patients.

          • Dear dom,

            Either way, both are the fault of “The Government,” which as I never tire of underscoring, is nothing more than

            … a bunch of strangers who unilaterally started shouting orders (“laws”) and demanding money (“taxes”) from anyone who happened to be living inside a line they drew on a map.

    • “Look closely most of their position is based on rent seeking behaviours.”

      That’s true indeed. Corporations are the creature of government regulation and legislation. The idea that a business has equal or even superior legal status to an individual is absurd, but thanks to legislation and administrative “law”, that what we’re faced with today.

      Like you, I wouldn’t want a ’70s Maverick. I prefer modern FWD cars for my daily drivers. The true advances in automotive design may have been partly in response to government regulation, but they are advances, nonetheless. That isn’t to say that I see government regulation of anything as benign. It’s all evil, in my view, everything that government does.

  13. As alluded to by ekrampitzjr, one reason a lot of cars are selling now is because people have been postponing new car purchases since the crash in 2008.

    It is funny that all our vehicles are paid off, because I’m not the frugal type. But it seems that for more than 6 years, most cars have stopped getting “better.” Haven’t gotten much faster, safer, comfortable or fun to drive. And generally, only incremental improvements in mpg.

    Instead, new cars are offering are more electronic accessories. Interactive cruise control, self braking and parallel parking, internet hotspots, and bigger screens to access Facebook while you’re driving. With the exception of Blind Spot enhancement for side view mirrors, I wouldn’t want or use any of that stuff. And I certainly wouldn’t pay for a new car just to get it.

    • Mike, I think you nailed it. There’s a good reason I don’t want a pickup newer than ’93, no airbags, no computer(diesel), gets fuel mileage almost as good as new ones(or better), very little in the way of electronics that would sideline one, R-12 a/c, much more interior room than anything made since, even more comfortable than new similar pickups. What ever might go wrong I can handle and that’s worth a huge amount of money not to mention time and hassles of having one towed(see, it was this micro-switch that cut the fuel off cause the computer couldn’t read it for some reason, they do that you know). I pull a heavily loaded trailer down the road and get the same 9mpg a new one gets. No magic bullet, big, heavy, big profile=big fuel consumption. Once the new atomic reactor truck has proven itself I’ll reconsider….from the grave.

      • now, you have got it.

        the older stuff may be the better stuff.

        i collect the older stuff. and most of it now, i must purchase “used”.

        i have a thing for bruno sacco era benzes. so, i have nifty little garage. the 1986 560sel was the only one that i acquired new.

        the others i acquired when i became scared of the electronified benzes in 2000. that is when i started looking for used.

        i pay cash.

        my faves have been the last year[2006]215 series coupes. the last of the sacco designs.

        no better looking vehicles have ever been designed in my view.

        i am always looking for another low-mileage, one-owner 2006 cl55amg. very hard to find. a very fun car to drive. i call it a cutting horse of a car.

        finally, the channel stuffing has inflated new car sales. if one can find the new car registrations, i think that the reality of car sales will become revealed.

  14. Eric, I think the answer to your question is two words: Federal Reserve.

    They are pumping newly printed dollars into the banking system at a rate north of 85 billion (and more likely 100+ billion) a month, and the new Fed Reserve chairwoman is going to go far beyond that. Most of those dollars have gone into home loan purchases and derivatives for wall street. That game is running out of gas because the rising interest rates are killing the home loan market. Now the money is sloshing over to car loans and credit card rates. Are the 0% transfer for 12-18 month credit card offers back in the in the mail? You bet. They are going out to the remaining good payers. Cars are the new sub-prime loans, and they know the government will backstop the repossession gap. The banking / derivative system dies overnight if new loans / debt creation stops or slows. It would be like a heard of milk cows who stop giving milk times 10 or 100.

    It doesn’t matter to the farmer if he milks them over here or over there, as long as they get milked at least daily.

  15. Disclaimer: as some of you know, I work for at a very low level for a Japanese automaker.

    Here’s my take on the sudden uptick in car sales. Reports in August said the average age of a car on US roads is a whopping 11.4 years. I think that people with older cars are buying something new out of necessity to replace an old vehicle that needs major work or that has simply become troubleprone and unreliable. All cars will reach that point one day given enough years and miles. And these people are buying new because they suspect this might be the last chance they’ll ever have to buy new: cars constantly increase in price, and who knows what tomorrow holds. So they plan to hold on to the vehicle indefinitely.

    Very soon—strictly my opinion—I expect things to get much worse. Then the market for new vehicles, especially expensive new ones, will tank. The exceptions will be mainly frugal economy cars at the low end of the price range. $50K pickups and SUVs? $75K luxury cars? All but the cheapest sports cars? 400–hp sedans? They’re not going to be a significant part of the new car mix in 10 years. Of course, new regulations will play a role—especially these new fuel economy standards worldwide—but the main factor will be the economy, uncertainty about jobs, and the need to stretch fuel.

    I’d like to think my employer will be in a good position, since most of its new vehicles sell for under $25,000. Even its most loaded small (by comparison to some others) SUV stretches to hit $40K. But in a horrible economy all bets are off.

    That’s why the push to buy new now: tomorrow it might not be possible. For those who always trade in and take the financial hit every few years, I don’t know what to say. They’re going to be in a bad position real soon with that behavior. So are certain car magazines that always feature the latest exoticar and big-horsepower performance car on their covers. They’ll be rendered irrelevant fast, and then out of business.

    Keep testing rational, reasonable cars, Eric: they are what people actually buy. At least you’re not reporting on how great the latest Rolls-Royce or Bugatti is. Those firms just might not be around in 10 years either, I fear.

    • Good stuff, EK – I think you’re right.

      The combination of extremely low interest rates/almost-too-goo-to-be-true deals on new cars – and the aging of the existing vehicle fleet – is probably responsible for the sales uptick of new cars.

      For me, one of the biggest disincentives to purchasing a new vehicle is the obnoxious personal property tax on motor vehicles (VA). This is an annual hit that’s based on the retail value of the car. Even a relatively inexpensive car – say $25,000 – will cost you several hundred a year in personal property taxes, for several years – until depreciation eases the bite somewhat. To give you an idea, I still pay about $75 a year to the ^&$!%! state for the privilege of owning a 1998 Nissan pick-up.

      • I think “ownership” in the literal sense is a misnomer. We’re usually renting these items – our homes, cars, etc., because the minute we fail to pay the required rent (read: taxes), the government either takes the item from us (our homes), or forbids us to use them (our cars) on the roads we were forced to pay for via taxation.

        I just despise the way this system is set up…

        • Me too, Mike.

          The tax on property is perhaps the most totalitarian of all taxes. It makes it legally impossible for anyone to ever be free of the need to generate money – in order to hand it over to them.

          In the past, one could buy a piece of land – and retire within, to be left in peace. No more.

          They won’t leave you alone. Ever.

          • Let greedy municipalities without viable tax bases start ratcheting up property taxes (real or personal) on their already economically devastated populations and we’ll see the biggest mass awakening of sheeple in our nation’s history.

          • Lib, that’s what’s going on in Ft. Worth right now with their new $M109.9 project to try to re-create Dallas downtown there(altered Trinity River, golf courses, etc.). Of course the only ones to benefit are the politically connected who already bought up all the land and are just waiting for their payback when they get to sell it for unbelievable profits, never mind the RR just cut wages(due to increased taxes), L-M cut nearly 300(most of those are good jobs) jobs and the big Ok. nat gas producer Chesapeake Energy cut 800 jobs, Bell Helicopter cut 200 jobs+ and now everybody making single or maybe low double digit hourly jobs are left to pay the new $109.9M debt. So how low can those folks go who shoulder this debt? Right down to the gummit for food stamps and housing help and nobody is making good wages. This has happened all over this country and much worse than this in most places. at least we still have the patch and that props up the auto-makers to the nth degree.

          • “In the past, one could buy a piece of land – and retire within, to be left in peace. No more. ”

            True, but that was way back in the past. In Vriginia, that would have been in the 1850s. After Lincoln’s war (the first ‘republican revolution’), property taxes became what they are now, a huge lien on your property held by your local government, with confiscation as an option of the collection process.

          • eric, Ed, manipulation of property taxes for certain people effects a situation where you can no longer afford to keep your property. It goes on everywhere and anyone can fall into this category, out in the boonies if enough people decide there’s money to be made in one way or another where your land happens to be. They’re equal opportunity….they’ll take anybody’s land they can.

          • Dear Eric,

            The very notion of “property tax” always struck me as mind-bogglingly Kafkaesque.

            If something is your property, what gives someone else the right to demand endless payments on it from you? What the hell kind of “property” is that?

            Do you have to pay property tax on the clothes you are wearing? Will “The Government” rip the shirt off your back for “non-payment of shirt property taxes?”

            No? Not yet anyway.

            But that is exactly what “The Government” will do to you for “non-payment of real estate property taxes.” And We the Sheeple think of that as “perfectly normal.”

            Amazing what people define as “freedom.”

          • The term you guys seek is, anecdotal title.

            Try looking that term up. Whoa boy, is it ever buried.

            I read about it on The Daily Bell.

            A person Really owns their land under anecdotal title (if I’ve spelled it correctly) how-fucking-ever; it’s reserved for kings and other kiss-ass Mo Fo’s.

            • Hi Rothbardian,

              It’s allodial title – the quaint idea that, once you’ve paid for it, real property (land/house) is yours, free of encumbrance.

              The scumbag federalists (led by Hamilton) were the first to impose taxes on real property, long before the war to establish federal supremacy.

              People bitch about the income tax as an affront to liberty – and it is. But I regard the tax on property as far more pernicious. Leave the income tax but forbid taxes on real property and a man could eventually earn enough money to buy a place – and then retire to be at liberty on his land. No more legal necessity to generate income to pay and pay and pay – as is the case now. Perhaps even more important than this is the principle involved – that of ownership. True ownership.

              Such is denied us now.

              None of us really owns a thing beyond the few small items we can carry – and the clothes on our backs.

        • rent-a-center…i was actually in their mgt trainee program once. times were tough. after having to go to someone’s house to repo, return to the rental floor, a damn near paid off big screen, i started calculating the imputed interest rates. showed the results around saying “if this isn’t usurious, nothing is”. “not my – or your- problem” to “who cares?” were the resigned responses. so i resigned, too. from it. not to it.

          resigning from rent-a-center land is next.

          • ozy, I found a guy who knew the same guy I did whose family was in the rent to own biz. Natch, they hardly ever rented to people they knew would make ALL the payments but even if they did, profits were sky high. This guy I worked with worked for them a while and said his last day was when they went to the middle of nowhere to an old house that was barely standing, walking in and there’s 5(cold) kids around the tv that’s probably 2-3 years old they finally missed one payment on. This was deep in the cold of winter, a dreary ass west Tx. day nobody wanted to be out on except those making big bucks. He said they unplugged the tv, set the antenna on top and walked it out with all those little faces just staring. That was his last day. He nearly cried telling me about it. I can’t do that crap and he couldn’t either. Must be something about Pisces since our birthdays were a day apart.. BTW, this guy was going to sell on consignment two chiffarobes, very expensive pieces of furniture for me. He left town after a few months and I never saw or heard anything from those multi-thousands of dollars piece of furniture….hhhmmm.

          • 8…yeah. a nasty “business”. oppressive. but rac didn’t invent the concept. they just copied it. after it had already become pervasive. from “the head” down. like fish supposedly rots. its as michael above says. a lot of renting, very little free & clear. that was much of the impetus that had people clearing out of europe to come here, once. clearing out’s a tried & true. a tune about it:

        • Mike,

          one of my neighbors is an elderly retired couple living off of social security. But in order to pay the local gestapo’s property taxes he has play music in front of the local grocery stores so he can TRY to scrape up enough money to pay the tax. If it werent for this insane theft by the state the couple would easily be able to live on their own without having to work.

      • Register it in another State. I saved ca. $5.000 in Sales and Registration Taxes by Not registering a new car I purchased in Las Vegas. In fact, during the 30 years I lived in Nevada, I only paid taxes on two vehicles – which I didn’t mind because Nevada had no Speed Limit then.

        • Don’t know how it works in other states, but in Wyoming you must register a vehicle within four months of establishing residency or staying in the state for six months or more. Wyoming vehicle registration is considered pretty high, so lots of people try this. Doesn’t usually work out too well, and you have to pay the tax SOMEWHERE.

          Stinks, but there it is. And in the larger cities, out of state plates will get you more attention than you want from the police, pretty much no matter where you are. Don’t see that it is worth the hassle, and I’ll bet you can’t get away with that in California these days.

          • You have to be careful and cover yourself. In Nevada, at least before I left, you had to register your vehicle 30 days after establishing residency. From the late 80’s until I left the US in 2003, I had no official residency. I had two out-of-State driving licenses with false information as well as an out-of-Country license. My house was in a Trust and my cars were registered and insured under a Corporation in Delaware. I had one credit card and an investment account which was also used as my bank. Both of these were listed at an address in a State with no income tax.
            Actually, I used a Cheyenne WY address for one of my cars which was Dual-Registerd with another State.

          • sounds about right. and good. jason bourne-y.

            mind gilding the galt some, expanding the egress? my interests went that-a-way, too.

          • when i moved from az to co & the point came that i had to pay up (plate sticker expiry), the dmv clerk asked if i was now resident of co. not me i said. the vehicle in question is situated here, in co, for time being, but i’m just visiting, & i like to have something to drive when i’m in these parts. she looked at me like i was retarded. evidently a damn vehicle registration defines my place & space allotment. what’s that make me? rhetorical question.☻

        • Quite a few Texans have NM addresses and DL’s so they have one plate, no inspection and seem to be able to drive any speed they want, not quite sure how that works or maybe it doesn’t, just appears that way. I would think NM is more expensive but maybe not. I’ll ask and get back to everyone.

          • Not as cheap as it used to be but better than AZ, NV, CA, etc. I was going to dual-register one of my cars there when in was $35/Yr but opted for Idaho because I could do it through the mail.

          • This reminds me of another article where we got to talking about RV registration in Dakota – Eric Peters, did you ever find out more about that?

      • Ha! I have a 1995 Subaru, whose assessed value in 2012 was $1040 and whose tax was $40. This is significant, because according to the Property Tax bill, once your car gets assessed at less than $1000 value, there is no tax. So, I was waiting with baited breath for 2013, when that last $40 would tick off for the assessed value. However, the kicker is that in *2013* it was again assessed at $1040!!!! I would have much more appreciated a letter from the County Commissioner saying, “Boy, if you wanna keep your car in my county, you gotta pay me $40. Otherwise, stick it!”

        —- same thing goes for real estate taxes by the way, yeah the assessed value goes down, but the fudge factor goes up such that the tax bill is the same! I would have appreciated the same letter from my Commissioner concerning my house.

        Now the odious thing in VA is that the car tax is “discounted” by 50% if your cars value falls between $1000 – $25,000. Just wait till the state budgets get tight and that discount, so benevolently bestowed up us by our lords will disappear!

        • “Now the odious thing in VA is that the car tax is “discounted” by 50% if your cars value falls between $1000 – $25,000.”

          Hell yeah, tom. Remember when that dickhead governor claimed he was “eliminating” the local property tax on vehicles? That’s when they came up with the discount. I have a nice old ’92 DeVille that has been assessed at the same rate for 3 years in a row, despite the fact that its book value has gone to nothing.

          I still prefer Virginia to my home state, but I know full well after living here for 15+ years why the old people in SC referred to Va as the scalawag state. During the military occupation of SC, Va was free of provost marshalls and had fully converted to radical republicanism, which is why it earned the appellation of the “scalawg state”. The legal structure here still shows their influence.

          Now, SC has converted fully to scalawag governance, with the scalwags billing themselves as “conservatives”. Bullshit.

          • Ed, they’re so “conservative” that SC was on the list of states just released this week with more people on the dole than working. NM was a glaring example butted right up to Tx. too with Ca standing in contrast to every other state in the west although I wonder how Ore. missed the boat….but probably not in a couple years unless growing pot is considered employment there and then maybe I’ll be moving. Yeah, I caught that halfway to seventh decade myself after I’d posted it, dumbass me.

          • This just in:

            A friend of mine’s son has a project GTO. He wanted to tag it in order to be able to legally drive it from where it is now to a large workshop building near us (in order to be able to work on it). So he goes to the DMV and the hireling of the state behind the counter tries to hit him with a property tax bill based on their estimation of the value of a restored ’67 GTO.

            IIRC, they wanted to tax him based on $30,000-plus.

            The bastards dinna know about my Trans-Am. And I plan never to tell them.

          • 8, My family in SC goes back to the early 18th century on the white side and backto the tragic era on the indin side. Right after the War, my GG Granpa who was with Thomas’ Legion settled in SC. The Irish/Germans on my mom’s side had their land taken by carpetbaggers and some of the menfolks shipped to Dry Tortugas. One of my GG Granpas who had ridden with the 10th VA Cavalry was hounded by Grant’s troopers for a year or so, but was never caught. He had killed a pet political appointee of the occupiers with a slingshot.

            After the dust settled, once the military occupation was over, the carpetbaggers and scalawgs had most of the land. Nowadays, the ruling families are nearly all descended from carpetbaggers. Mark Twain , in “Life on the Mississippi” joked that some easy task was “no more work than counting the Democrat vote in a South Carolina election.” Little did he know that the usurpers of “Reconstruction” would still be the rulers there 145 years later. I’ll bet there ain’t a hundred blue dogs left in my home county.


            Fuckin’ republicans. Everything they go near turns into shit and fertilizes their damn kudzu plantations. Eternal fishead feedings for all of them.

            The interspersed vids are of Blue Dogs, a killer South Carolina band. Guess I still love some things about my home state.

          • Ed, “Fuckin’ republicans. Everything they go near turns into shit and fertilizes their damn kudzu plantations. Eternal fishead feedings for all of them.” And now it doesn’t really make a shit. Who wants a war? Dems, Reps, Me, me me. And who wants to send their kids? me. me? You fucking idiots. Kerry, the no more war nominee, the largest military arms stockholder in DC. Republicans now key on all the support industries, good move but you’re all scum. Rand Paul, yeah, it’s old…and rusty….but kiss it anyway.

          • “During the military occupation of SC, Va was free of provost marshalls and had fully converted to radical republicanism, which is why it earned the appellation of the “scalawg state”.”

            Yeah,.. because “they’ killed off everyone like us. The freedomistas.

            What an evil time period that was. … And still is now.

            In the background, some guys in Gitmo who were judged to be set free, still rot.

            It all makes me embarrassed to admit I’m an American.

          • “During the military occupation of SC, Va was free of provost marshalls and had fully converted to radical republicanism, which is why it earned the appellation of the “scalawg state”.”

            Yeah,.. because “they’ killed off everyone like us. The freedomistas.

            What an evil time period that was. … And still is now.

            In the background, some guys in Gitmo who were judged to be set free, still rot.

            It all makes me embarrassed to admit I’m an American.

    • I think you are right-on – at least that is why we recently bought a new fuel efficient small car. We certainly did not need it – as we already have 2 vehicles and 2 motorcycles which are all paid for and all at least 5 years old and in great condition.

      We bought because there is no point in putting the money in the bank.

      Also – I think it is a given that at some point gas is going to go sky high – easily $6 or more per gallon – at which point a 35+mpg car is going to come in handy for my wife’s daily slog.

      Me, I can pedal to work if need be and the other 2 parked vehicles provide 40 plus gallons of extra fuel for when rationing causes supply problems.

        • @8 –
          re “work” – just trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for as long as possible.

          regarding your other comments…well let’s just say ‘no comment” (insert evil grin here!)

    • I worked for H**** Finance and when the Oct 2008 stock market crash, we were booking less than 90% of what we were booking before. The only thing moving were the low budget vehicles like the Corolla or the Fit. We don’t make hardly any money on these types of vehicles.

      I’m noticing quite a few of my friends ditching their used Mercedes, BMW or other luxury vehicles for used Toyotas, Hondas, Dodges etc, because the cost of maintenance is too much and a lot of luxury vehicles require premium gas only.

      • I considered purchasing a fine German automobile. Then I bought another Mustang. Why? I can keep a Mustang on the road forever for not all that much money. The German cars cost too much to keep up even doing the work one’s self which apparently at least BMW is not permitting…. things like needing the dealer to update the computer for changing a headlamp. WTF?

        Back when I made this choice I found BMW owners were getting Mustangs for the cost reasons. Some sold their BMW’s others kept them with the intent of the Mustang taking most of the wear and tear.

        • “Why can’t I keep a Mustang on the road forever.”

          That’s what I thought your comment said.

          Funny, that.

          You know why.

          Rust and bastards. ..Or is it just, bastards? I.e. pervayors of road salt.

        • Dang, BrentP, why wouldn’t you buy a clunker POS instead of a Mustang?

          Pour the extra bucks into PM’s or something?

          I guess it’s for the same reason I don’t own a donkey?

          Still…
          I remember this economics teacher once who said he drove only beater cars because…

          Anyway, I better quit commenting, I get what the other fella the other night was talking about, about filling up the ‘What’s Happening’ board.

          I’m probably scaring people away from here in droves.

          I tend to scare pussies and shit -for-brains.

          I’d prefer they learn. …The easy way. But they scare easily.

          • “Anyway, I better quit commenting, I get what the other fella the other night was talking about, about filling up the ‘What’s Happening’ board.”

            That’d be me, Roth. 😉 I had stumbled in here at about 1 am and was the only one reading, I guess. It was after all the jacks were in their boxes, and the clowns had all gone to bed. I could hear happiness staggering on down the street. Footprints dressed in red.

            And the wind sighed , “Shut the fuck up, Ed. I’m tryin to sleep up in heah.”

          • That wasn’t a ‘ha’ as in a bad ‘ha’. BTW.
            I hope you know that.

            ..That goes for the rest of you other fuckers who I gave a hard time to.

            Libertarian peace be unto you all.

            Even to you, clover, you thing under a rock.

          • “..That goes for the rest of you other fuckers who I gave a hard time to. ”

            Aw shit. Now, that was funny. Peace be with you, Roth. You’re a jolly mofugga. 😉

  16. I had a long, detailed response – it’s not worth it.

    Short version, most people are “taught” to spend it all, and even borrow against the future, for “fun” today.

    Lunatics and infants are running the asylum, yes.

    • ya but…the defensive learnin’ was driven home, good & hard, in the 70’s, that last batch of impressive inflation…. don’t see a volker solution, this time comin’…..

    • … most people are “taught” to spend it all, and even borrow against the future, for “fun” today.

      They are “taught” in government socialist/fascist schools. Single most effective action to stop the lunatics would be to separate school and state. However, there is no country, I’m aware of, that doesn’t have forced “education” – the children belong to the state.

      • … most people are “taught” to spend it all, and even borrow against the future, for “fun” today.

        And people who save are taught, via a tax code that is deliberately designed to make them suffer very dearly for doing so, that it’s a very bad idea. I learned that lesson nearly three decades ago, as a foolish single young man, that keeping lots of money in the bank and letting it accrue what little interest it could, did nothing but attract the tax man, who helped himself to a really big chunk of it. This is why I bought my first piece of overpriced real estate in Maryland, helping to fuel just one of Mr. Alan Greenspan’s FED-engineered bubbles.

        • lib, I was accused of making money illegally(smear tactics)when all that was required to refute it was to check my bank records. That still hasn’t kept me from taking my fathers advice with a twist. He kept a fair amount of cash on hand. I kept an unfair amount in the bank of the pasture. Just look out over this land and try to figure out how to find cash in plastic Igloo water jugs buried a few feet deep. Only the shadow knows.

  17. It’s a mad, mad, mad world… And yes, Michael, the lunatics took over the asylum long ago… and they were allowed… encouraged to continue running it all along. They simply promised a free lunch, something for nothing…

    In 1964, when I was newly married, gas cost 17 cents a gallon, and chuck steak cost the same per pound. My new husband was a mechanic in a service station and brought home $60. a week. Our rent was $110. a month for a two bedroom house on the outskirts of the city. We never had a new car.

    I could go on. The difference goes far beyond inflation. The entire weight of taxes, regulations, ever more entitlements, the breakdown of the family and so much more all contributes to the problems we have today. Thrift and savings were brutally punished and discouraged. Debt was easy and almost mandatory if you wanted to stay in business.

    The problems didn’t come overnight, and the solutions will not be simple, by any means. They will be painful and even deadly. The breakdown of the economy isn’t even optional anymore. It is inevitable. Those who have saved and provided for themselves in spite of the push to borrow and waste… will have the best chance to survive. But even they will suffer badly before this is over.

    And, in the end, will people have learned and resolved to live responsibly again? Who knows… and many of us will not live long enough to find out.

    • Mama, no argument from me but I do have an uneasy feeling those who saved in the form of findable currency may wake one day to find it gone via govt. In the early 80’s a friend’s inlaws were Mexicans who owned a general store and saved everything they could, esp. American dollars. One day the owner goes into town to the bank and finds they no longer have the account with American dollars as did everyone else. I see the possibility of that happening to savings accounts in this country. We all recall I’m sure when gold was suddenly illegal to own and you had to give it up for what the federal govt. said it was worth. Even to this day people who have gold that wasn’t turned in back then are having it confiscated when they try to do something with it. I have no illusions of a what the govt. might do.

      • Of course, that’s elementary. I have far more toilet paper, etc. saved than “dollars.” And I couldn’t care less if this gang of thieves decided it was “illegal” to save toilet paper, or anything else.

        No different than my guns. They can “come up and get them” if that’s the game. I don’t expect to survive this anyway. I’m not going to go looking for them, but I bought the ammunition to use… they can choose to be the targets if they want that – or they can choose to leave me alone.

        I’ve got plenty of company in that.

      • Yep, I think you’re right. Whether through outright confiscation or through hyper-inflation, savings, assuming that it’s FEDnote greenbacks that you’re saving, will do you no good at all. Precious metals MIGHT be something worth saving, although these will probably be subject to confiscation too once TPTB cast aside the last vestiges of the Rule of Law. Methinks that ultimately some form of barter will be the only way to survive. No other means of exchange can be guaranteed.

  18. Believe it or not but a car dealership makes MORE money selling USED cars then selling new. This info I got first hand from a friend who was in that business. The average he said was close to $5,000 in profit for a used car sold vs $1,500 new. Add in “incentives” or kickbacks from the manufacturer that turns that $1,500 into double or triple that amount (still lower then used). The kickbacks are a VERY closely guarded secret and only the owner knows what that is. With that said and the average income dropping like a rock the used car industry is hence BOOMING.

    I also have friends and neighbors that use their houses as a giant ATM. When I purchased my recent car they laughed when I bought fuel efficient vs a truck.

    Yes Eric you are correct BUT its both gubberment and the sheep that are wrong.

    In a last note Eric……I find it insulting when you use the word “inflation”. Be correct and use the proper term “devaluing of the currency”. There is no such thing as inflation, only the destruction of what we are forced to use as currency.

    • “I find it insulting when you use the word “inflation”. Be correct and use the proper term “devaluing of the currency”. There is no such thing as inflation, only the destruction of what we are forced to use as currency.”

      Right you are, Joe – noted for future reference!

      • How about this for a simple basic explanation which intelligent people can expand for themselves?

        For the following six statements the term ‘money’ means an indirect means of
        exchange issued by a sovereign government.

        Increases in the money supply devalue that previously issued.

        Slavery is the theft of part of a working lifetime.

        To devalue money already paid is theft, and, like taxation, an instrument of slavery.

        The policy of so doing is fraud.

        The Industrial Revolution raised living standards by reducing prices.

        A fixed money supply would increase in real value.

    • The car dealers really make their money on the service, but doesn’t surprise me about making more on the used car than new ones.

      We just purchased a new small car and the sales person basically gets $100 per sale – no commission and no salary for the privilege of hanging out at the dealership hoping somebody buys something. Topping it off was a great deal for me and the wife when we got over $4K in discounts off a car listing at just less than $18K – yes it’s crazy but good for the consumer – assuming you are not desperate and can swing the payment.

      Local used car dealers here in Flori-Duh will even take you to the local dealer auctions to let you buy what you want – they charge a $500 fee for the privilege – but Caveat Emptor – you better know what you are getting….

    • You’re right. I worked for a Toyota dealership doing the paperwork for putting new vehicles on the lot. For used cars, most dealerships at the time were upping the cost by $2000. My dealership upped the cost by $5000 on used vehicles. That’s where the big money is, for the dealership as well as the car salesman.

      If you have to buy a used car, do your homework. Check out sites like Kelly Blue Book and find out how much you should be paying. If you have to buy from the dealership, complain about every nick and dent, it’s a lot cheaper for them to fix it because they have a guy for that, then for you to fix it and tell them to look it over again for anything that may need to be fixed within the next 6 months. Otherwise, you need to budget for maintenance right out of the gate.

      • Chris, which Blue Book? There’s 3 different versions I’ve seen, and huge differences in prices. and to make another point, their prices are samples and not really representative of what has been paid since I know people who work for wholesalers and those vehicles for the most part go for next to nothing. Last year everybody had in so many orders for used cars(retailers)that the wholesalers were months behind on orders. A friend in the biz bought fairly new Merc just because it was dirt cheap. I had buy 3-4 year old 3/4T 4WD pickups coming and going for $3,000, d’oh, except for GM’s which go for twice that much or more. I’m still looking.

  19. Eric –

    I know what you are talking about. I was always raised to be frugal and careful with money. I despise debt and I really hate paying for cars, even though you need them to get around.

    Having said that, my wife and I bought a home 11 years ago and have worked diligently at paying if off. If things hold, we should have it paid off in another 10 years (2023). We own three vehicles – none of them purchased new – all three are paid for (paid the last one off in August – 32 months ahead of schedule). My daily driver is a nearly 19 year old Caravan with over 250,000 miles. Our other two “newer” cars are both 2007 Hondas – an Accord and an Odyssey. We plan on driving all three until the wheels fall off. We both work at least two jobs to stay above water..

    I don’t say any of this to brag, but to point out the contrast I see where I work. I have one guy with whom I work with who insists “you’ll always have a car payment”. In response, I said, “I don’t…what’s your excuse?”. Goes without saying that he is one of these guys who is constantly buying new cars and then trading them in when he sees something “better”. I work with three other people who, likewise, are always buying new cars. I can’t figure it out. My wife and I bust our buns to make ends meet, and we do OK (we are in no way well off), but there are a lot of folks who seem not to give a crap and just spend, spend, spend.

    Meantime, the wife and I both feel as though the noose of inflation is quickly tightening around our necks as our dollars buy less and less.

    I will also add that the lender I work for loves lending to folks with less-than-stellar credit. You should see the kinds of cars people with lousy credit buy – $30,000 new cars at 16%, 17%, 18%, 19%….these people end up paying another $20,000 in interest on top of the car they’re buying…and they rarely put anything down. If they do, it’s in the form of ‘negative’ equity on a trade in…a newer car they just bought two or three years ago.

    The more I look around me, the more I think that the lunatics are the ones running the asylum.

    • Indeed, Mike… indeed.

      We’re similar. We own two older pick-ups ( the ’98 and an ’02) both paid for at time of purchase in cash – but neither costing more than $8,000 at the time we bought. The house is paid-for. Our big extravagance is food; we buy grass-fed beef, fresh/non-GMO stuff… nothing processed.

      Yet we’re feeling squeezed, too.

      I was talking with Dom a week or so ago about a recent trip to Wal-Mart for household staples (there’s very little in the way of food at Wal-Mart that I’d put down my gullet). One full cart – and close to $300.

      I was floored.

      • Apparently you aren’t alone. This entire town I’m temporarily residing in is obviously distressed economically. I’ve never seen so many business for sale or going out of business here. This place is a jewel too. By the ocean and almost every house has ocean views, those that don’t you can walk to the ocean in 3 minutes. The people are courteous, more intelligent than average, mostly polite and good business people. Yes there is a correlation to being nice and being intelligent and this place has more than most. The cops seem non beligerent here as well, though they are speed trappers. Cops driving mustangs should give that away. But at least they seem to be peace officers when they aren’t making their monthly quotas. They have never caused me much trouble, and have given me a friendly nod and wave when just walking around freely.

        The whole town is beautifully a last Eden, and yet you can see that its merchants are feeling squeezed because their customers are literally broke. I’m speculating that the higher cost of living is driving the customers to use their last dollars toward survival and this town depends more on affluent visitors that are now in scarce supply.

        I must admit that I never in my life would have expected this. 20 years ago I thought the only direction things were going was upward and onward and bigger credit expansion. Man did I feel the world was leaving me behind even though I was constantly investing in myself and staying within my means.

        Now I’ve always been wary of debt. The good book says neither lender no borrower be. And so I skipped out of all the affluent houses built on a deck of cards and debt as they kept appreciating upwards. My ex-college friends were swelling in pride of their house and its net equity worth but just 6 year ago. I worked hard and kept improving my skills and I saved what I could and my wife just did the same. But I did not buy a house in debt nor did I buy a car in debt. To then see that in fact my money was being transferred to all those who bet on more debt forever, was but bitter insult to my educated sensibilities through the 90s and early decade of 2000. But something funny happened in 2008, for some reason I became vindicated. All my fears of debt were validated. I’ve learned a lot of lessons since 1990’s and most of them expensive, but taking on debt wasn’t one of them. But some things we just know can’t be real even when everyone tell us otherwise and our eyes deceive us too.

        I speculate that most the debtors will be forgiven of those past debts. This simply is because you don’t bet against the majority long term, not in a “democracy”. As a contrarian and a believer in natural laws, I understand now that one must always be living realistic even when everyone is not. It may not pay off for a man in his 20’s and 30’s, but being righteous long run always pays off. And never doubt how men justify theft as they are always deserving and you are not. That is how you might know you are actually righteous, because if you have ever doubted that you are not deserving then you most likely are.

        HR

        • HR, hindsight is certainly better than looking to the future. I guess my “oh shit” moment occurred in the early 80’s when I realized I was working for less than half the money I made in the early 70’s. I memorized the prices in the used gun books and went to gun shows nearly every week-end. I often made more money in a couple days than I brought home in my paycheck. It was great to be young and be able to work my side jobs too since the state hadn’t made it illegal to do electrical or water well work without a license back then. My dad just couldn’t understand not having a single 9-5 job I made plenty of money with. He lived in that “other” world and evidently didn’t see the entire thing had changed. He’d sometimes say “You just run around like a chicken with your head cut off”. Gee, thanks for the endorsement. I drag two trailers, a ditcher, a welder, rolls of wire, loads of pipe and the myriad parts and pieces just for looks, same for my filthy clothes and my stopping by after dark. He also didn’t understand my hiring myself and the El Camino out to make 120mph runs to Houston, picking up parts I’d deliver to places like Kansas at the same speed because I could get it there faster than air freight. My wife worried and I just wanted to kill every clover on the road. Get out of the fuckin way you goddamn idiot, whaddya think those flashing brights mean? I can’t tell you how many times I’d slam on the brakes right before the old Escort would nearly jump off the dash, go by the offending microwaver, and nail it just to see them turn around and try to catch me….good luck with that. Only a couple people could stand to ride with me back then, others would end up puking in the barditch. Hey, I didn’t say it was fun, just a way to make money. And everybody wondered why every engine I ever had used oil, even with a catch pan on the crank and 8 quarts of oil, it stayed highly stirred up. I was the only person I knew to have alcohol/water injection on a carbureted engine but every little bit helps.

          • “…since the state hadn’t made it illegal to do electrical or water well work without a license back then.”

            probably just shorthand notation you’re using. for any who might take shorthand literally, tho, i’d remind that “the state” is just as inanimate as “the gun”. it’s a weapon, criminally wielded by political wo/man against economic wo/man.

            i was in a service biz for a time. no licensure requirements.

            but there were a couple of “representative” trade organizations, competing with each other, to “professionalize” the business. “for the childr, er, consumers.”

            that altruism got traction in state capitals. pac’s & lobbying $. by the time i got out, the legal sausage-making machinery had licensing requirements in two major states, & counting.

            barriers to entry. by n.i.m.b.y.’s who can’t or don’t want to have to compete. mercantilists & cartelboys who want their own officially/legally sanctioned herds of “customers” (who are in on it too, taking comfort in those official badges).

            that’s the process. from various (but all the same) insides out.

          • ozy, while you are correct, there is another side of that coin and that’s a greedy state bureaucracy. In 2002 Republicans won a majority in the Tx. legislature, completely re-wrote the entire penal code, making things illegal that had never been and of course, increasing the illegality and punishment for everything. They went down the list of everything that existed and put a “license” with ensuing “insurance”(you see where this is going)mandates on everything but grasshoppers and ticks(maybe them too)so everybody who hadn’t needed a license now needed one so not only the state but insurance, their best buddies here(and everywhere)got mucho richer. Of course the cost of doing business increased a great deal so this had to be passed on to the customer making people like me even more valuable but at the same time, closely scrutinized. I had much worse other problems to address so I just quit. LIke I said, I’d leave this country but don’t think I could carry along that much baggage, having to see all the same people wherever I might go or just their counterparts.

          • 8, when I was in Longview in the mid 80s, it had already gotten to the point that there was no more flying under the radar. I did find a few small time masonry contractors who still paid cash and would just call you whatever you said your name was. I caught a few jobs w/ others here and there, but I soon had to leave Texas in order to stay off the paper records.

            Larry McMurtry tried to lend a little historical accuracy to his novels about the Republic of Texas, when it was still independent of the US. He described the “heroic pioneer statesmen” as a gaggle of sleazy assed drunks with their hands out for bribes. He described how one House delegate got his ass run over by a freight wagon in the main thoroughfare of Austin, because he was passed out drunk and had wallowed so in the mud that the teamster didn’t see him. He also had one of his characters refer to “them ramshackley senators” at one point. That was a great side part of the novel, to me.

            I think the shit we have now was about as bad as far back as you want to go in history. It’s just on a tighter schedule these days. 😉

          • 8….yes, the “pay it forward” quid pro quo is, or has become, one gigantic feedback loop.

            but all those hands, washing each other, with the bar & soft soap pols & bureaucrats in between, have something, often everything, to do with these state “revenue” ramping schemes.

            from (well before) jekyll island, to obamacare, & countless smaller campaigns in between, the legislation gets written ‘of the vested, by the vested, & for the vested’. beware men, wearing vests, bearing gifts. ☻

            the soapers give it the slippery-smooth, & collect some lubrication for themselves. & even if this or that scheme happens to originate with the soap, it doesn’t wash until collaboration & collusion with their pals over at statefarm & allstate (“like a good neighbor…you’re in good hands”…oy).

            not sure how you mean “baggage”. most of my possessions are in storage now. i don’t like it. but “stuff” will not be an anchor i hug to the bottom; none of it would do me any good down there anyway.

            same goes for “same people”. your meaning. met all different kinds, different motives, while out & about. including ones like me, just looking to hedge. i’d rather be elsewhere & wrong on the timing or contents, than a right branch-davidian. if returning is viable, then that option can be exercised at discretion. but…life is short & shtf in feedlot quantities.

          • ozy, baggage, as in govt. heroes who won’t go away. As I told Ed, while that sort of thing for most is hyperbole, for me it’s SOP.

          • shouldament “life is short & if the s is gonna’ htf in feedlot quantities, as looks to be, then i don’t have the time…”

          • ozy, reminds me of my older cousins lament when we discussed prepping and he said he had everything he needed for the long haul, a tribe size bottle of Dewars and a .357, my laments exactly.

          • 8…much as many yearn to turn back the clock, moving to a different clock zone, going to, seemingly, relatively, backward places is the only way there is to “go backward in time”.

            frontier still exists. i think it always will. but like the land itself, it moves.

            lots of bipeds, for all their lovely poems, are sure they’ll never see one as lovely as a tree, & like trees, they taproot, wherever the winds happened to blow the seed.

            gotta’ go wherever “it” is, whatever “it” is. (that’s how i landed in chicago, for a time. there’s gotta’ be an it to go someplace like that. ☻) if “it” ain’t here, & you stay anyway, then there are other its in front. listening to what is done, more than what is said, tells the tale…verbal communication is the smallest part.

          • despite all said, i do like those sentiments, too.

            my pap had a colt python, 6″, blued. was my fave of all his pistols. was dry firing it at the tv when i was 5 (pap used to haul out his collection in the evenings, ostensibly for cleaning & lubing, but mostly just to fondle the damn things…).

            no appreciation whatsoever of scotch at age 5, but that did come along later.

            • That Colt Python is a nice piece. Wheelguns don’t get the respect they ought to. For the money, they are hard to beat.

              You can buy an absolutely first-class .357 or .44 for less than $500. A really excellent semi-auto, on the other hand, will typically cost closer to $1,000.

              Sure, you’re limited to 5-6 shots (typically) with the wheelgun. But I can’t imagine many real-life scenarios where you’d need more than that… assuming you know how to shoot. And a very real upside (with wheelguns) is you don’t have to worry about leaving brass with fingerprints in places and situations where that might be undesirable.

          • ozy, Python may be the best pointing gun every made. If my hearing was right on, I feel like I could hit anything blindfolded with one. No telling what one is worth now.

          • Eric, my bedroom piece is a Colt Peacekeeper .357, same frame and barrel as the python. I load it with .38 +P jacketed HP rounds. Lower recoil gives me a faster second shot if one is ever needed. 😉

            My other wheelgun is a Ruger Speed Six .357. Wheelguns are cool. I have .45 ACPs scattered around the house, shop and cars. No need to shoot twice with either cartridge, unless there’s more than one target.

          • eric, I’ll never make the claim I can have lead flying around and not get some shake going, leave that to Hollywood. I want to point out right now if you are armed and the other person isn’t, just killing someone because you can is not acceptable in my book. So I’ll take the 20, 30, or 100 rd mag gun over a wheel gun(I have lots of those extended mags for pistols although not 100rd). You make a very good point about not leaving brass with a wheel gun though and a couple times I wouldn’t have used an auto for any price. I have never used Ames or Royal Purple although some friends have used RP and swear by it. In tests you can’t fudge though, Amsoil literally smokes the other brands and they are the only company that can claim to make the best motor oil made. Several years ago watching a race, Mobil 1 had an ad saying they were the best oil money could buy. I sat there and wondered when that had changed. It hadn’t and I got an email immediately from Amsoil saying they’d made them pull the ad and had been fined a few hundred thousand dollars by the FTC. Of course Mobil knew(or maybe not, advertisers, sheesh) this would happen but probably made enough money to be well into the black over the whole affair. I only have practical experience and haven’t used every brand BUT you can go to Amsoil’s website and find every comparison test for every product they make. They have a 4 ball bearing test that no other company will even let their own results be published. There probably is no “best” manufacturer for every lubricant but overall, Amsoil’s entire line of motor oils and their nano-tech oil filters are the tops of the field. I’m a believer but you shouldn’t take my word for it. The results are there for the whole world to see. BTW, I have used Valvoline pure synthetic transmission fluid too and can’t compare it one way or the other to Amsoil, it’s well above the standard as far as I’m concerned. I have used synthetic Rotella T and thought it good but it didn’t fare as well holding pressure with a really hot, hard worked engine. I used a Valvoline graphite motor oil for years before I found anyone with pure synthetic so I’d guess they’re right up there. My bad for not learning about A—– decades earlier. Forever and a day I carried much extra motor oil simply because of always having other engines with me that might need it and that rainy day thing. Well, the rainy day came along with my diesel’s oil cooler line splitting in the middle of nowhere so I had to stop every ten miles or so and refill. It was then I realized I was lucky to have several quarts of that A stuff with me since a very low oil condition is where something like a synthetic really shines. Now All of my spare oil is that same brand. If a cooler line breaks do I care if my oil I’m throwing away is a few cents less than what I could be using? Stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

          • Ed, I had a Trooper that was a nice gun, just big. I got my dad a Super Six Stainless, just a great gun, very slick. I don’t remember what brand the sights were, had the red self-lighting sight with a square hole rear sight. I’ll try to find a fairly new compendium of several years of gunshot wounds and their results by a guy who just did it on his own. I noticed after going through the entire list that, for reasons of maybe just not that many rounds used or whatever reason, .357’s were right at the top of the list. Tx. troopers were really pissed when they were changed from Troopers to autos, claimed they didn’t have that “lightning bolt” they’d always had so now they have Sig .357’s, not near the round of a regular .357, much like a .38 Super, my favorite carry gun(Combat Commander I worked a long time on turning into a real shooter since it was crap from the factory). My favs have been Sig’s, of various denominations as well as a BDA(Sig), HK .Compact .45, Hi-Powers and highly modified Colt autos as well as Colt wheel guns(gotta love those old Pythons). Actually, I can’t remember them all. I once started reloading .45’s and the first round was way off for some reason(somebody messing with my die ring I’d guess)so the bullet was way down inside the case, leaving the edge of the case to contact the slide. Hhhm, says I, what gun to try(not an auto Colt for sure). I picked up the BDA, stuck it in the mag, jacked the round and gulp, it swallowed it, and then fired it toot sweet. That gun was actually a Sig 225 made for Browning.

          • “so now they have Sig .357′s”

            I’ve read it’s a shitload better than 40.
            No slam fags, or whatever they’re called. Due to the straight case. Taper, is a bad word in ammo land.

            And as my dealer said, in the last crunch, they (the ammo) were available, when others weren’t. That’s a BIG plus.

            I just had a thought, I referred to my arms seller as a ‘dealer’… I think maybe, he’s getting Very close to being considered in the same vein as a drug dealer according to the gooberment and other boot lickers.

            That’s soo wrong.

            …My farmer is next? ..Or way ahead of him? Depends upon on who you ask?

        • “being righteous long run always pays off. And never doubt how men justify theft as they are always deserving and you are not.”

          That’s how I see it as well, HR.

          • Ed, an update(or a sort) on sleazy assed pols and their ilk. Straight from RussiaToday since the 1st amendment is gone, a bit of recent and now-occuring events that won’t be history soon enough for those in the entrenched DCites. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/10/patrick-henningsen/diesel-powered-flash-mob/

            Since this seems to be so much silly falderal to some, I’d ask Tor to give us an update or two since he seems to have HIS head on right. I realize we can’t ask everybody here to denigrate themselves by being concerned about liberty….or lack thereof.

          • ” I realize we can’t ask everybody here to denigrate themselves by being concerned about liberty….or lack thereof.”

            Sho’ nuff 8. My boy Tor can find illustrations for everything. He’s the buster on that stuff, no doubt.

          • We live pretty much wherever we want. I know I’m sidestepping your question and I’d love to give you the details, but I like to be anonymous. When my wife and I started our business 7 years ago and I gave up contracting in San Jose we decided to skin back our expenses.

            We bought an RV and spent a good 5 years holed up in that as the business went bigger and brighter and bigger. The fun thing was that we were able to live anywhere we wanted in the meantime, and we have probably lived in 10 unique places in that time frame. This gave us insight on the best places to live.

            I used to have a notion that anonyminity in the crowd was the answer and to never go to one place more than once, but some places just grab hold of your heart more than others and this place that we spent the summer is our favorite (the one on the ocean in southern Oregon). Well my wife and I are spending less time RVing and mostly renting houses and that puts a damper on the spur of changing locations.

            Plus hauling on the ever larger amount of capital equipment and parts for our expanding business is getting quite tiring and costly. I’d recommend anyone who is starting a business out on the internet to do the RV route we did though. Its cheap and you can chase the sun or cool summers. Its in the last 7 years since doing the business and giving up everything for freedom that coincidently we also found our wealth and business. Funny how doing what one loves and intended, leads one to the right places.

            Life isn’t passing us by anymore as we see our treasure within grasp. But to get there I must tell others give up everything. Give up the house. Give up the fulltime job. Burn the bridges and walk away. Sometimes you’ll even have to give up old family and friends. Liberty as James Altucher rightly wrote on LRC today is worth it and it leads to phenomenal freedom and sucess. And you’ll get to live wherever you so choose to live.

            Ed thanks for the sharing my sentiments on the theft by deserving…8 great points on the licensing and regulation killing businessmen and entrepeneuers everywhere. The good things about internet business is to keep it mostly silent, keep all the knowledge of how you do what to yourselves, and don’t divulge to “friends”, “family”, or neighbors how good you’re doing. Best to tell that on here anonomously as anyone else will get jealous and make you get a license and there goes the freedom. I’ll catch you all later as we’re on our way our of Eden south to Nevada. Time to go do some gambling!

            Regards,
            HR

    • Mike – keep the faith and walk your own path. Screw the “keeping up with the Jones” mentality.
      When you come right down to it, you never truly know what someone else’s situation is behind close doors. I have often wondered how some people seemed to always have all kinds of new stuff (cars, TV’s EGG Grills at $2500 a pop, etc.) until suddenly the moving van shows up and the neighbor’s story is “I got a better opportunity…” – then the foreclosure sign goes up in the front yard and everything becomes clear.

      Screw that – make an extra payment each month on the house, limit the nights out on the town, save for a rainy day – that is the way it has been for

      • …not sure what happened there but my computer had a hiccup and posted before I did…

        …eons. The mindless crap of the consumer society the last 30 years is dying and good riddance!

      • You can make an extra payment simply by subtracting the amount of your interest payment from your total loan payment, and adding that amount. So instead of paying $500 more, you may only need to pay $100 more to make a second payment. That takes one payment off the end of the loan on the cheap.

    • Michael: Although what you say is true, and I tend to agree with it, consider this: For a guy who always has a car payment, always drives a new car, and always trades it in every few years, his transportation costs are pretty much fixed. By “transportation” I mean the capital outlay for procurement and also maintenance of the car.

      Everyone on this blog likely identifies with having the procurement costs go to zero, knowing that they will be replaced by the maintenance costs. However, some people do not want the variability of the maintenance costs in their monthly budget, so they buy new cars every few years, or lease.

      The “everybody’s got a car payment” guy hits home a point that after the car is paid, damn near no one is disciplined enough to continue putting away the $$ for the maintenance that will come or for saving in order to pay cash for the replacement car. (I know I don’t do this…. so I do tend to react when a big $$ maintenance bill hits, rather than pro-act and have a little kitty saved….) YMMV

      • “The “everybody’s got a car payment” guy hits home a point ”

        True, tom. I can see the point though I’ve never bought a new car in my life. I have always bought used cars and probably will continue to do so, mainly because I hate using credit. I’ve found that being tied to something by a loan makes the thing I borrowed to buy come to own me, rather than the other way around.

        I don’t really mind the variability of the “car payment” on a car I own outright. If it varies too much to the high side, I can change horses, so to speak.

        • Ed, me too. I had a pickup(4X4)I bought as a demonstrator, closest I ever came to new and that was because in the day when I bought it, you couldn’t find a 4WD pickup that was even close to being in good shape. My next “new” car is going to be a ’96 Buick Roadmaster station wagon if I can find one. I’d be glad to have a car like you have if I could find one in anywhere near decent shape, a tall order these days.

          • 8, there’s a beauty of a ’96 Buick RM wagon sitting right on 460 at Sutherland. It’s a white woodie w/ leather seats. I’d scope it for you if you think it could be shipped at a rate that wouldn’t make it a bad deal for you.

          • I’ve bought exactly one new vehicle in my life: My ’03 ZRX1200 Kaw.

            It was something like $7,500 and (at the time) I was flush enough to cut a check.

            Cue Archie Bunker: Those were the days…

  20. I’m not smiling either. In addition to generally higher price levels, companies and individuals are figuring new ways to gouge customers with non refundable fees, deposits, etc. Look at your electric bill. Full of service charges that weren’t there 20 years ago. Same thing with cable/internet bill.

    Go to a garage, and you get charged for “supplies.” Those were the costs of doing business many years ago.

    Car insurance is another ripoff. Now, insurance copanies are writing 6 month policiies instead of a full year so that they can jack your rates.

    If you go out of town on a trip, half of your hotel bill is tax and you always get a $50 charge to your credit card for “incidentals” What the hell is that?
    The list goes on and on and on.

    • Swamp, I won’t use a credit card with people I like since they get charged for my using one. I may have been the last guy to get a CC. I remember the tipping point of not having one at a Xmas gathering and we had hell finding a room(and not too good of one at that)w/o using a a CC. I was really pissed but everywhere I went, the same thing, It’s just policy sir”. I should have just polled the neighbors to find out if anyone would rent a room. Hell, a room is a room and I’ve stayed in boarding houses a few nights in a row and the only complaint I had was with their hours. Next time I know I’ll be needing a room I think I’ll advertise in the local paper where I need to go. Wanted, one room w/bath for 3 days, two people, one pit bull and cash on the barrelhead, call — — —-

      • I still haven’t got a credit card to this day, precisely because I have a conscientious objection to their fee structure. (I have a mathematical background, and I realised early on that they use a game theoretic rip off approach to throw the fees on all customers and not just on those who use credit cards – google “Tragedy of the Commons” to see how it works.)

        Ironically, in recent years Australia has legalised not using the rip off, but so far the credit card companies have propagandised that as being a rip off of credit card customers rather than as stopping the rip off of cash customers.

        • I laud you for that, PM.

          I admit to using them, having been gulled by their “convenience” – and “nudged” by the inconvenience that attends not having them.

          • Editor’s Note:

            Clover, you’ve been told you must remit 50 cents via the “donate” button at the top of the page before future eructations of yours will be displayed. Your post has therefore been “thrown in the woods” until such time as payment is remitted.

            No free lunches, Clover.

          • Editor’s Note:

            Clover cannot read. He must remit payment before any further wastage of space on EPautos will be permitted.

            It wipes the lotion on its skin – or else it gets the hose again!

            • Hey, Clover:

              We’ll also offer you the option of paying a flat monthly rate – say, $30 – in return for which we’ll allow you to post as often as you wish.

      • I hear what you are saying 8. But just recently I asked a merchant whether he preferred debit or credit card, and he told me the fee structure was the same for both these days. Whereas a few years ago this wasn’t true as using your card as a debit resulted in savings for the merchant, its VISA/banker egalitaranism. Of course cash is still king for both customer and merchant, though for me I have to use my card to get cash as I have a credit union that I don’t even live nearby.

        • HR, I use debit cards for the same reason, I live way out in the boonies and anything I earn online is more easily accessible with a debit card. I use my debit card as a credit card on gas pumps, though. My usual gas purchase is less than $50 and some fuel retailers will put a $100 hold on funds for debit card purchases.

        • Hot Rod, we’re in the same boat. Our CU is 300 miles away so there are times I have no choice but to debit or credit. Since I hate WM, I go there and get cash back so I don’t have to use the card for people I like. The liquor store appreciates it. Chillerz, where I buy gas, doesn’t care since they rarely see cash and the people who work there change from day to day. My local guy charges me $21 even for a fifth of Wild Turkey, good guy, good deal. Hhhmmm, a norther just blew in, better check on my stock of goods for hot toddies, check my stock of local raw honey….wish I had some comb.

        • Editor’s Note:

          Clover must remit the required 50 cent fee before his splatterings will be given a public airing.

          Clover believes he is entitled to splatter at will, using a medium provided by others at their expense.

          This is to be expected from Clover, of course, since he is a creature who believes he is entitled to take the property of others without permission or compensation.

          We have been trying to educate him otherwise.

    • I don’t know swamprat- I never get a hotel charge for ‘incidentals’ but then Inever use the stuff in the minifridge or dial up a naughty movie either.

    • Editor’s Note:

      Clover, you’ve been told you must remit 50 cents via the “donate” button at the top of the page before future eructations of yours will be displayed. Your post has therefore been “thrown in the woods” until such time as payment is remitted.

      No free lunches, Clover.

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