It’s Not So Much the Gas That Costs

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As expensive as gas is getting, it’s the cost of government that’s making driving unaffordable. These costs dwarf what we spend on gas – even at $5 per gallon, as seems likely to be the going rate by the time I finish typing this sentence. 

But most people don’t see these costs and so aren’t as furious about them. That’s just how the government likes it – in the manner of what is styled ”withholding,” government’s term for seizing your money before you even possess it, however briefly. The idea being to psychologically condition you to not missing what you never possessed. Thus, people have been conditioned to regard the amount they’re actually paid as what they earned – as opposed to thinking overmuch about how much of it was stolen.

It’s similar with regard to the costs government imposes on drivers. 

First, there is the car itself – which government (via its endless reams of “regulations”) has made exorbitantly more expensive than it could be. The hidden miracle is that cars cost as “little” as they do, relative to what they should – because of all those government “regulations.” I place the term in air-fingers quote marks to emphasize the fact they aren’t really that, either. Regulation once meant something along the lines of good order, not chaotic. This is how the term was used – and meant – in the language of the Second Amendment, as a for-instance. It did not mean government should be decreeing what kinds of guns Americans could own; rather, it referred to the militia being in good order.

“Regulations” – as they pertain to cars – are a kind of binary alternate to market forces. Rather than cars being designed and built according to the needs and wants of those who buy them – as expressed by their buying preferences – government decrees what you’re allowed to buy as well as what you must buy and may not buy. 

You may not, for instance, buy a new car without air bags, a back-up camera and several hundred pounds, at least, of added curb weight (the extra steel needed to “comply” with the “regulations” pertaining to crash-impact standards decreed by the government). The “safety” equipment – which you may not want (and not want to pay for) adds at least a few thousand dollars to what would otherwise be the price of the vehicle while the weight increases the cost of gas – by causing the car to use more of it.

Most people have no idea just how fuel-inefficient new cars are – relative to how efficient they could easily be. A current “economy” car such as a Honda Civic or Hyundai Accent is capable of going about 40 miles on a gallon of gasoline on the highway. This is about par with what the economy cars of the late 1970s and early 1980s were capable of – and most of them did not have efficiency advantages such as electronic fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, transmissions with multiple overdrives to reduce engine speed on the highway – and so on. 

But they also didn’t have something else.  

Those several hundred extra pounds of government-mandated weight. If modern “economy” cars could be built as light as the actually economical economy cars of 40 years ago – and with all the efficiency advantages of modern technology – they’d be averaging 50 (if not 60) miles per gallon.

This would greatly lessen the pain of paying $4 for a gallon.

Even so, the economy cars of today cost about as much as the economy cars of 40 years ago – adjusted for what is styled “inflation,” the blase term used to get people to think that the government/central banking system’s deliberate devaluation of the buying power of money is something like an act of God that is both mysterious and something that cannot be prevented. No joke. Look it up. 

Or, allow me. 

In 1980, you could buy a new Chevy Chevette for about $4,400 (see here). Today, that same car would cost you almost $16,000 – in devalued currency (better hurry, before it devalues some more). Today, $16k will buy you a modern equivalent of the ’80 Chevette such as the 2022 Hyundai Accent – which stickers for $16,645. Unlike the 1980 Chevette – which did not have AC or power windows or a stereo – the ’22 Accent has all those things. The amazing thing is that it costs about the same as the ’80 Chevette even though it has all those things.

How much less would it cost if it weren’t required to have all of those other things?  

The car manufacturers have worked nothing less than a meerakuhl in terms of reducing costs in other areas (e.g., leveraged economies of scale, automated assembly processes) to make up for the government-added costs. They have used lower-cost materials (such as painted plastic bodywork rather than steel and especially chrome-plated steel) to offset the costs imposed by government.

This had made it possible to offer more car (like the ’22 Accent) for about the same money as 40 years ago. But it would be possible to offer it for thousands less, if the government were to allow it.

Imagine being able to buy that ’22 Accent for $12k or even $10k – and yes, the latter number is realistic; similar cars are available in – of all places – places like China. Just not here. If you paid $10k for a car rather than $16k, you’d have spent $6k less on the car – and even at $5 per gallon, that $6k buys a lot of gas.

You’d have even more than $6k to spend on gas – rather than government – if you weren’t forced to serially buy things like insurance you may not feel the need for, or those pretty little stickers government “sells” you each year (or every other) to affix to your license plates and windshield.

I’v written before about how much I’ve saved by not spending money on some of these things – and recommend you consider doing the same. Fair play, after all. The government makes cars more expensive than they ought to be and then compounds this by making them more expensive to drive than they need to be.

Perhaps the time is at hand to give ourselves a discount.

. . .

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  1. Interesting that you cite the Chevy Chevette, Eric, which was also badge-engineered as the Pontiac T-1000. I’ve seen numerous articles lambasting this econobox, which was originally developed for the Latin American market (being made at first by GM Do Brasil) as a replacement for the floundering Chevy Vega. For bad or good, it was GM’s first attempt at a “World Car”. One might term it the “Trabant Amerikanische”, because the design and build criteria were similar – keep it SIMPLE and CHEAP, and so what if some of it was yesteryear’s tech. It was intended to compete with mainly the Datsun B210 and the Toyota Corolla, as the Honda Civic had yet to make it’s impact until about the time the Chevette debuted for the ’76 model year.

    Like most of the lower-end models (and this little buzz box was definitely “low man on the totem pole”) coming out of Detroit (actually “assembled”, to be charitable, at GM’s Wilmington, DE and Atlanta GA plants), the engine and running gear, in contrast to the Vega it was supplanting, were fairly reliable, but the rest of the ride must have been intended as tribute to “Bill Haley and His Comets”, i.e. “Shake, Rattle, and Roll”. It’s main virtue? It was CHEAP. Cheaply made, oh my, my, oh hell yes….but also significantly cheaper to BUY. Several factors, some of which domestic car makers and their foreign competition had no direct control over, like US inflation (sound familiar?) gave “Generous Mother” a cost advantage over the Japanese. That was just with the sticker prices. Once the well-desired foreign rides hit the streets, in their heydey of the early 80s, these “gas savers” were often marked up OVER “sticker” by 25 to 30%, and with banks or credit unions reluctant to fully finance those inflated figures, not only was a $4,500 ride going out for $5,500 to $6,000, one had to come up with that markup, plus the hefty down, to swing the financing, and this also in an era of double-digit “prime” rates!

    In contrast, your “friendly” local Chevrolet dealer was willing to “deal” in order to meet the sales quotas, and this also saw the beginning of the “Zero down” and “zero percent” financing schemes. Folks could easily figure the “math”, and, unless you truly were of the mentality to push your ride for 15 years and 250K miles, the Chevette was cheaper to own, period. Given that GM sold a bunch of these maligned “plain jane” econoboxes, I’d say it was a roaring success.

  2. The old “What if cars advanced as quickly as computers” joke is misleading. For about 40 years they did advance quickly. In 1920 the average car was a Ford Model T (produced from 1908 to 1927, so even then very long in the tooth but cheap), available in black. But by 1960 the average car was fully enclosed, weather sealed, could approach speeds of 80 MPH, had a smooth running V8 that included various automated engine management systems, including a slush-matic two or three speed transmission, automatic spark advance, vacuum controlled carburetor, and electric starter.

    After the 1960s cars continued to be more refined, but the gains weren’t used for the “get you from one place to the other” primary task of an automobile. Many of the tasks we use our PCs (and phones/tablets/whatever) for are the same as those first 8-bit machines from the 1980s, just with shiny skins. You can still produce documents with Wordstar that have every bit as much content as MS Word, but Wordstar won’t have the online dictionary, page layout tools and grammar suggestions that we all think are essential tools for a word processor (but still optional for a blog commentary section 🙄).

    That 1960s era driver would feel pretty much at home in one of today’s vehicles, because the basics of cars were figured out by then. Now it’s all incremental gains, and many of them are snapped up for mandated accessories, most of which have nothing to do with getting your from point A to B.

  3. Off-topic; I don’t know if you’ve covered this.

    My recent AAA Motorist had an article with the title “Safety systems struggle during rainy conditions.” This concerned Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology. “ADAS typically is evaluated in ideal operating conditions. AAA, however, believes testing standards must incorporate real-world conditions.” So AAA did tests that simulated dirty windshields and rainy conditions, and the effects thereof on ADAS. The results were not good. For automatic emergency braking, tests conducted at 35 mph resulted in a collision with a stopped car 33% of the time. And the test vehicle veered outside the lane markers 69% of the time.

    AAA recommends that drivers need to understand the ADAS limitations. But, this is marketed as a safety system. So people believe this technology will “save” them, and perhaps will be less vigilant when driving.

    There is also the human tendency to trust and believe technology, even if it is obvious that it is wrong. An example of this is GPS. There have been cases of people obediently following the GPS directions, when it should have been obvious something was wrong. There were being directed into more desolate and remote areas. The road they were driving on turned into a dirt path. Eventually they got stranded in the mountains, unable to call for help because there was no cell signal. So they froze to death. The park rangers have a name for this: Death by GPS.

    • Hi SLH,

      Indeed I have! I’ve done a number of videos showing – using new cars – to explain to people that these “safety” features rely on cameras and that when these are occluded by ice/snow/mud (or even heavy fog) the “advanced” technology doesn’t work. Typically, a warning will flash in the main gauge cluster to advise the driver of the fact.

      Personally, I regard all of this as – at best – gimmickry and at worst, idiot-conditioning. The person behind the wheel ought to be the one driving, not some camera (or laser/radar) based “technology.”

      • If one is forced to drive a car with all the saaaaaffety “features” included, could one simply cover over (duct tape, anyone?) the cameras, and thus, “turn off” all that crap? Or would this just screw up your vehicle even more than it already is?

        • Hi Shadow,

          You can tape over the cameras – and the car will still be driveable; however the warning lights will flash/illuminate in the dash and – of course – the saaaaaaaaaaaaaafety features won’t work!

          • Aw, what a bummer on those saaaafety features not being able to work. I could deal with the warning lights. And who would have thought there would be another good use for duct tape? Also, you can buy duct tape in a colour to match the saaaafety sensors on your car, as well. Who would have thought you could screw Big Brother a little, and be fashionably coordinated, as well! (Sorry, I could not resist).

  4. “they’d be averaging 50 (if not 60) miles per gallon.”
    And if they were diesel? 75? 100?
    Way back in the late 80s when I was writing off my truck on my taxes, the IRS offered a flat rate of $0.50 per mile in lieu of recording actual expenses. Which means it cost more than that. I don’t recall precisely, but I’m fairly sure gas wasn’t much more than a dollar a gallon. So given a truck which got about 17 mpg, the $0.50 would take me 8.5 miles. As compared to the IRS cost of one mile. Even at 5 or 6 dollars a gallon, gas is still less than half the cost of operating a vehicle, its just a bit more in your face than the rest.

    • You couldn’t take DEPRECIATION for any given year that truck was used for commercial purposes, if you claimed the miles. That’s the biggest “cost” of all of owning any ride. Of course, it stems from treating your truck as an asset that loses value (in most cases), never mind that it has INTRINSIC value..ergo, with it, not only do you transport yourself, you carry tools of the trade and/or CARGO. An inherent advantage in an OLD truck is that, in general, it doesn’t depreciate any more, or at least, such depreciation is insignificant, but it still should perform the same utilitarian functions. If paid for, as it should be, you then trade a relatively minor “opportunity cost” (i.e, what you could do with the money gained from sale of the old truck), versus AVOIDANCE savings…that is, not only hefty truck payments and higher insurance costs for a more expensive vehicle and necessary insurance to protect the finance company’s interest in the new truck, not YOURS, but also the likely greater lost “opportunity” costs of the down payment for the new ride. At today’s outrageously-inflated costs to acquire a new truck, IF you can get one, even a beat-up old truck saves $750 to $1,000 in just truck payments ALONE.

      • According to Ford, base MSRP for a 2022 F150 4×2 in XL trim is $34,000.
        Local Ford dealer inventory *starts* @ $42,000 & runs to $49,000 for XL models, upwards of that for fancier XLT, etc.

        I paid $7000 cash for my 1989 F150 XL. Single cab, long bed, 4.9L straight six, EFI, 4 speed (3 + granny, Borg-Warner T18), A/C. Restoration currently in progress, on which I expect to spend $10,000-$12,000, including $5500 already spent for paint & body work & high quality spray on bed liner.

        Shop I am using for mech resto tells me they are seeing many old vehicles being restored these days, including those which have been out of service for awhile.

  5. Scranton Joe, Champion of the Working Class:

    “Do you have a message for the American people on gas prices?” a reporter asked Biden as he arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, for an event about veterans health.

    “They’re going to go up,” Biden said.

    A reporter followed up, “What can you do about it?”

    “Can’t do much right now… Russia is responsible.”

    Fucking dick.

    • I’ll wager that the Phony POTUS Xiden hasn’t gotten out and pumped his own gas in thirty years. We deserve what we get by allowing this out-of-touch phony to make any more decisions than what to top his morning bowl of oatmeal with.

  6. Re: withholding taxes – the greatest scam ever pulled off by fedgov. So many of my co-workers were thrilled to pieces when they got their big “refund” checks every tax season. Couldn’t get it through their heads that they were just getting their OWN money back, not to mention giving Uncle an interest free loan. Nope, they all felt like it was a gift from their benevolent government. If everyone had to write out a fat check to Uncle for the full amount on April 15th I think the torches and pitch forks would have come out a long time ago.

    • Concur completely, Mike. Withholding is an insidious, diabolical and all-too effective psychological tactic. Abolish withholding, and I guarantee attitudes toward taxation would change.

      • Agree. If everyone had to write a check on April 15th after saving the correct amount throughout the year? Yeah, we would have a very focused public on how the gov spent money.
        I think that effect would spill over to a public who pays attention to what the gov is doing ALL year.

    • I think it’d be beneficial if everybody did at least a few years’ worth of self-employment. Getting 1099s from your customers, paying estimated taxes every quarter, paying twice as much in Social “Security” and Medicare taxes as the W-2 masses…it’d be an eye-opener.

      As an alternative, getting rid of tax withholding would have many of the same effects.

      • That’s no lie. I briefly did so, and I had to bail out of it to keep from tying an IRS agent to a tree and setting him on fire. To work in construction, an often painful and brutal job, collect your fee, and then hand over a third of it to a parasitical imitation of a human being? I realized the same thing was going on when employed by others, but that direct contact had a singular effect.

    • Your right.
      My daughters first part time over the counter job, she gets her first check with all the crap taken out “what the hell is going on, they ripped my off” she was really pissed. No honey, those are taxes. “why so much?” hahahahh… I think she was 15-16?
      This went on for a little while, she’d come back and say “what is FICA, etc….” hahahahah….
      If I remember, she went back to babysitting.

      • I recall the same sort of hilarity back in ’73 or so when my older sis took her first job as a checkout cashier at the local “Pantry Pride” supermarket. She was in “sticker shock” at her first paycheck and how much was taken out. I asked my Dad (still kicking at 88!) what was the matter with her, and he quipped, “she’s giving birth to a REPUBLICAN.”

    • Amen, Mike. A-fucking-men.
      Besides that, IRS sets up the “withholding” tables to deliberately over-withhold by default, even though the law states the *intention* is “pay as you go.”
      Most people are too naive to realize it is entirely legal to adjust the amount withheld so you come out approximately even @ end of tax year.

      As you have said….

      Those of us who are self-employed get to see behind (the first layer, at least) of the curtain.

    • If everyone realized they were essentially working Jan-March (25-35% tax) without making ANY money, they’d be at war.

    • My father was saying back in 1968 that tax withholding was the worst disaster ever inflicted on the American people. Say no more.

      • Morning, to5!

        Withholding is bad, but I submit that the tax on property is by far the worst disaster ever inflicted on the American people. Taxes on income are very bad, indeed. But if you can own – truly own – your home, then it is possible to avoid the income tax by not earning income. Which is possible when you are not obliged to earn it to pay the endless/extortionate taxes on the property you never truly own when such taxes exist.

        • Good morning, Eric,
          As I see it, the so-called “income tax” is actually a tax on productivity, which is obviously a terrible thing. As you’ve noted, it is possible to be productive on your own land without having the fruits of your labor get “taxed,” unless the government comes snooping around for its “cut” of production. My understanding is the latter is *exactly* what happened to Ukrainian farmers (kulaks) in the 1930s. And the Stalin government’s demanded “cut” was “all of it.”

          But, if you “stay under the radar,” by staying small, it is just not worth their trouble, as far as I can tell. Of course, you will never be as efficient as large scale producers, but that is the price you pay for independence.

          Getting back to “productivity” versus “income,” consider this:
          1. If you buy and sell automobiles, any profit you make on the various transactions is taxed as “ordinary income.”
          2. If you buy and sell stock in automobile manufacturers (and hold the stock long enough), any profit you make is taxed at a lower rate, as “capital gains.” Why is that?
          3. Not as bad as it once was, but “ordinary income” is taxed at progressively steeper rates as your “reported income” increases. In other words, it is like a tractor pull. The harder you work, the more you produce, the larger the bite demanded by the government thugs.

          A reasonable person might conclude the system is set up to (attempt to) prevent the average citizen from succeeding financially, because “the poor have too much money, and the rich don’t have enough.”

      • I recall a WWII-era “patriotic” Disney cartoon called “The Spirit of ’43”, in which a “Thrifty Scotsman” form of Scrooge McDuck encourages his dumb-assed spendthrift nephew, Donald, to save some of his pay for the QUARTERLY filing of his income taxes…”to bear the ‘Axis’ “. Emphasis is given on how Donald’s taxes produces all those planes, ships, and tanks to beat those Nazi rat bastards.

  7. ‘get people to think that the government/central banking system’s deliberate devaluation of the buying power of money is something like an act of God’ — eric

    Every ‘explanation’ in the corpgov media of recent commodity price spikes focuses on temporary supply and demand factors. NEVER is systematic devaluation of the currency mentioned.

    Like numerous other subjects that are taboo under our prevailing secular gov-worship regime, the depredations of our corpgov central bank are beyond the pale of polite discussion, unless labeled as ‘disinformation’ or ‘conspiracy theory.’

    Long term, when the government’s burden of debt and unfunded promises becomes unsustainable, it needs to inflate them away.

    This year may be the transition where double-digit inflation, driven by central bank monetization of trillion-dollar deficits forever, becomes chronic and accelerating.

    Every dying empire founded on the quicksand of fiat currency ends up going down in an inflationary supernova, just as the Roman empire did.

    Say, buddy, can you spare me a million denarii for a cup of coffee?

      • The Federal Reserve funds the welfare-warfare state, and tries (incompetently) to manage the business cycle on behalf of industry and the Uniparty.

        If the US were still on the gold standard, the debacle in Vietnam would have bankrupted it in the 1960s via the balance of payments. Continuing to occupy Europe 77 years after WW II ended would never have happened.

        An elastic fiat currency permits beanstalks to grow absurdly and unsustainably to the sky. Then they all come crashing down catastrophically.

        Let it bleed …

  8. Shoot, a 1911 Maxwell got 36 mpg! I used to have a big Matchbox version of the car, and that’s what the info on the box said. That’s right; a car from over a century ago got the same mileage as modern vehicles do. Makes you wonder WTF happened between 1911 and now, huh?

  9. RE: regs. 10+ years ago the gov started inserting itself into health insurance, more than ever, and rates went nuts. I said screw this nonsense and for our little company who used to pay for health insurance got out of the health biz. We gave all our employees raises and said ‘it’s on you now, sorry. we are not in the health biz. we can’t play this game anymore’
    No more hidden numbers, and now these people have skin in the game.
    We did bring in a trusted broker to still give everyone group rates, if they wanted in, but we no longer managed it or paid for it (indirectly we did, but I personally wanted them to have skin in the game).

    • I’ve done the same thing, only had one employee and paid him and treated him very generously. But he wanted me to pay for his medical insurance- I can’t afford it myself and wouldnt. As a young single guy he could easily have gotten his own- one of the reasons he won’t work for me anymore.

      • Hi Ernie,

        When I was a young, single guy the idea of wasting money on health insurance struck me as beyond stupid. Yes, I know. I might’ve been in a horrible accident or some such extremely unlikely thing. But I don’t base my actions on the extremely unlikely – because I’m not a fear-addled pussy. I reckoned it would be smarter to run the slight risk of something happening for the sake of the huge benefit that would be guaranteed to happen – i.e., the several hundred bucks each month/thousands per year I would not waste on “coverage” a young, healthy guy will almost certainly not need. Instead, I saved that money and used it to help finance the purchase of my first house.

        Insurance is generally a loser. It is why it is so profitable for the insurance industry.

        • Same here. Only after being married with multiple dependents did the odds of medical insurance make sense, and then only when I was an employee and it was part of the deal I was stuck with. As a single guy? Fuggedaboudit! The most I ever needed was a few doses of antibiotic for infections- but I suppose I could have crashed my plane or bike or car and needed a bunch of expensive services.

          Now of course I’m getting closer to the age where old injuries hurt, but still cannot bring myself to pay into the scam that is modern quack medicine.

        • And even then there’s the form of medical insurance designed precisely for those unwilling to take the risk of financial catastrophe, one with high deductibles and co-pays, but in trade for low premiums. The market can respond to the financial needs and goals of whoever if ALLOWED.

          It should have been obvious that “Obamacare” was designed to dragoon in the non-payers and take away their FREEDOM to make that decision for themselves. Also, by covering folks that were bad insurance risks, the costs had to be spread to us all, via Government fiat. Which meant that good behavior, by leading a lower-risk, productive lifestyle and being regularly employed was PUNISHED anyway.

          The entire “single-payer” or other political flim-flammery re: health “insurance” was sold when there was enough indoctrination, usually in the “pube-lick” schools, that one shouldn’t have to pay for medical services or Rx, i.e., it should be “free”. We got this nonsense as far back as a half century ago, when “Meathead” (Rob Reiner) would debate with “Archie” (Bunker) that in socialist “paradise” like Cuba, or even Poland (you notice the “Polack” references only lasted for the first few years of that famous show) that health care was “free”. Yeah, life was shit, but the shitty “doctor” at the government-run clinic was “free”…at least until you slipped him or her a few rubles or some black-market American Levis 501 jeans.

      • I have to this day, after many many years of asking, never gotten an explanation of the logic of connecting employers to employee health insurance. It is the most nefarious and destructive thing in health care. How many of the poorly tested dangerous drugs swallowed and injected into us would have never been if “somebody else” were not paying for it? What do you think the COVID vax rate would be if the state weren’t paying for it? 10%? Maybe?

        • Employer “provided” healthcare/medical insurance started in mass during World War II. Before that it was rarely offered as a perk of employment.

          The government in its infinite wisdom during that “crisis” decided to freeze wages (both public AND private). That meant an employer couldn’t offer more money to obtain more workers (or give raises to current ones either). So the work-a-round was to offer medical insurance.

          So it was another non-market “solution” to a problem caused by the government.

            • The reason it was allowed to proceed like this is because it goes back to the company town system the wealthy want and the way the medical system is set up to create high prices.

              This compels people into corporate employment and to remain in corporate employment. If people could pay cash for service at reasonable prices then lots of people would walk away from their jobs.

              Also I think that the idea of high medical prices is essentially to use the system to extract the remaining value of a lifetime of labor out of people in their later years.

              It’s a system of slavery through finance. In the end the labor is all for nothing because the value ends up going up the pyramid one way or another.

              • >Also I think that the idea of high medical prices is essentially to use the system to extract the remaining value of a lifetime of labor out of people in their later years.

                A fellow of my acquaintance told me the doctor/hospital charges for his father’s death by hospital was $3,000,000.
                Appears to me the Medical Industrial Complex has “asset extraction” down to a science, as one might say. Insert the money catheter, and let her rip.

                • I agree with this, Turtle – about the costs imposed by the medical apparat to bankrupt people over end-of-life care. Savings/assets that took a lifetime to accrue – even in the face of heavy taxation – dissipated to pay for another few months of “life” in a bed. This is another curse of technology. The ability to extend biological life beyond the expiration date of natural life. I hope to live a long life, like most people. But I have no desire to live an extra six months – or even five years – at the end of my life, if it means living in a bed, addled by dementia, crapping my pants and leaving nothing to my niece…

                  • >if it means living in a bed
                    I will *not* go there, Eric.
                    “You take me to the woods. I don’t want my boy to see.”
                    “Every warrior hopes for a ‘good’ death.”
                    (quotes from Legends of the Fall)

    • Well said, and well done, Chris.
      Helps to understand things if you call them by their right names.
      Insurance is shared risk for an unlikely, but potentially catastrophic, event.
      AFAIK, it is the only game of chance where you bet against yourself, and hope to lose the bet.

      When third party payment of medical expenses becomes routine, it is no longer insurance. It is a racket, motivated either by a) tax considerations (WWII price controls, Henry J. Kaiser), b) infantile paternalism (Daddy, please pay my bills), or c) a desire to conceal the actual cost from the consumer. It appears to me that case “c” is where we are now, for the most part.

      And why is that? Pure greed, my friends. The amount of money involved will take your breath away. As well, it is essential to the Doctor-Gods’ public image that they not be *seen* to be grasping MFers, but benevolent, “caring providers” of your well-being.

      Care: A term of art used in the medical industry to convey the (frequently mistaken) impression the “provider” gives a rat’s as about the well being of their raw material (a.k.a. “patients”)

  10. From where I sit most problems I see are a result of government. As that old curse goes “Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” still rings true. Call me old fashioned but I was taught that government was meant to guarantee our rights ingrained in The Constitution and not our master by turning our rights into privileges that they can take away from us?

    Well the B-210’s did have a reputations for rusting, but otherwise I don’t remember anything bad otherwise. In no way will any vehicle be affordable if one expects the equivalent of a B-210 to be as safe as a ZIL (Soviet armored limo), but does it need to be? In the past I’m driven lots of old cars and I survived. But now I wonder about those 20+ year old airbags.

    • Hi Landru,

      Every Gen X (and older) person drove an “unsafe” car as a teen – because that’s all there were, in those days. Relative to modern “safe” cars. Many of our parents drove full-size/rear drive/body-on-frame sedans and wagons… “unsafe” by modern standards because no air bags and so on. But structurally comparable to a modern full-size truck and so probably very inherently safe to be inside of.

      • Yes, you’re bringing back memories! When I began driving in 1993 it was my parents’ 1984 Ford Econoline conversion van, which I loved and miss, btw

        • My ’74 Peugeot seemed pitifully underpowered as well. BUT, it DID have a purely mechanical diesel engine, and was a solid piece of steel.

      • It was nice to see the Chevette get a shout-out in your article. My first car was an ’80 Chevette: four doors, cloth seats, a manual transmission, and it was blue, but otherwise not much different from the linked junkyard find. My parents bought it new, then I started driving in ’89 and had it until it got cut off by a Lincoln Town Car in ’96. It drove away from that accident without a problem (proof that it was safe enough, as far as I’m concerned), but there was damage to the right rear quarter that was deemed uneconomical to fix (probably any damage at all would’ve been deemed the same).

      • My first unsafe car was a 1966 Buick LaSabre. It was around 10 years old when I bought it for 300.00. All my friends and I had used old boats with large V8’s and rear wheel drive. If I remember correctly gas was about 85 cents a gallon then. Lots of chrome, and steel that you couldn’t push in with your hand.

        • Oh man- I had her big sister- a 66 Super Wildcat 4dr hardtop- AKA the 100mph squirrel smasher… I bought her with 30000 miles on the clock out of the garage of an old couple for $100- in 1987. I still have the heavy chromed tissue dispenser with the tri-shield Buick logo on it somewhere. I lent it to a woman in a bind and never got her back. (Another life lesson!)

      • I learned to drive with and loved my ’73 “Cat”! Best car ever! I will NOT get rid of my ’08 Tucson. Minimal electronicks bullshit. Still dream about the Catalina though.

    • The ink wasn’t completely dry on the Constitution before it was blatantly violated, with the sedition act. Which made it a crime to criticize the state.
      Every government is founded on its assumption of authority to kill you if you don’t obey. There are no exceptions. It’s not just a “dangerous servant”, its no servant at all. A “fearful master” and nothing else. No offense, but it appears you were raised on wishful thinking.

      • I’m older and wiser now but still wondering how many became NPC’s. As President Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, is that why people wear facial appliances as they drive in a car by themself?


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