The End of Car Buying

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It takes a while, sometimes, for a term or phrase in common usage to outlive its usefulness – because it no longer means what it once did. Like “gay,” for instance – which used to mean happy. It now means something else. And of course, “vaccine” – which used to means you weren’t going to catch whatever it was you just got vaccinated for. It now means something else.

So also “car buying” – which is something a dwindling number of people are able to do anymore because who has the money in hand to be able to actually buy a car?

Most people finance a car – or crossover or truck or whatever it is. But that isn’t really buying it, is it? What you’re doing in that case is making payments so that – eventually – you will have bought the car or truck or whatever it is. In the meanwhile, though, you’re only technically the owner. There is a lien on the title beside your name – and it is the lien-holder who is the real owner, until you make that final payment.

At one time – it was not all that long ago – it was possible to make one payment (in full) on the day you bought the vehicle. It may not have been a new vehicle, for most people, but the point is it was not only possible but common for people who needed a vehicle to just buy one, typically from a private seller.

The process began by looking for a prospect vehicle. Sometimes, just by driving around to look for one with a For Sale sign taped to the windshield. You’d do a little researching to figure out a fair price for the vehicle, then go get the cash – out of the bank or out of the cookie jar – and go check out the vehicle. There was no talk of payments – except the one. If you decided you’d like to buy the vehicle, you did just that – assuming the seller agreed to take the cash on offer.

The last time I did this was in the Before Time, around 2008 – when I decided I needed a new used truck to replace my getting-rusty old truck. I wanted to get the same kind of truck, just newer and less rusty.

At this time, there were many such trucks available to choose from and I was able to buy one because it was still possible, at that time, to do just that. I found a replacement for my ’98 Nissan Frontier – a 2002 Frontier – with much lower mileage (and much less rust) advertised for sale online for $7,500.

Imagine that, if you can.

A six-year-old truck with about 50,000 miles on the clock that looked (and ran) like a new truck for what would amount to a down payment on a used truck, in our times.

In the Before Time – back in ’08 – it was just a matter of going to the bank to grab some cash and going to see (and buy) the truck. In the Before Time, a buyer held all of the cards because he was holding all of the cash. There was no mewling or pleading over payments and interest rates; no folderol over what your credit score was. You put cash on the table – literally – and that usually sealed the deal for less than whatever the seller had been asking.

You handed over the cash and the seller handed over not just the keys but the title. The vehicle was now yours because you’d just paid for it. I’ve not made a payment on my truck – which I still have – since I made that first payment all those years ago.

And that was the most I’d ever paid for a vehicle. Including what I paid for my ’76 Trans-Am back in the early ’90s, when a car like that was just a used car and a young guy in his 20s (that was me, back then) could afford to pay cash for a car like that.

Imagine that.

Today, I couldn’t buy my ’76 Trans-Am. As a middle-aged guy. I’d have to finance it. And I probably couldn’t do that, either – because of the interest rates on used car loans, which are much higher higher than the interest rates on new car loans. The catch is the new car loans are much longer – because the cost of a new car is so much higher. The long-term payment plan is necessary because otherwise not many people could afford to finance what they can’t afford to buy anymore.

Consider the evil genius of this, whether it’s intentional or not.

On the one hand, most people can’t afford to buy a used vehicle because either they haven’t got the cash to buy one or they can’t afford the interest on the loan to finance one. So they get pushed (by necessity) into a new car loan they’ll be paying for each month for the next six years or longer, leaving them with not much money to save up to buy anything else, ever again.

Many won’t have to wait until 2030 to own nothing and be happy.

They already don’t.

And aren’t.

. . .

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68 COMMENTS

  1. we should swap out “happy” for “gay” in that evil POS’s image

    “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be gay.”

  2. I am pushing 70 and I have only financed a car one time when I was first married. Learned my lesson. I only pay cash and I always look for something I can fix and sell when I want and break even. An example: I found last year a 2005 pt cruiser with a blown engine due to a quick oil change mistake. I got it with an engine ready to install for $1000.00. It only had 50,000 miles.

  3. Bought two *New* cars in my entire life. Almost immediately had problems with both, which were never fully resolved. Currently, my newest is a 2004 Jeep liberty which I am looking to replace with a 2005 or ’06 diesel model. My favorite is 1985 MBZ diesel coupe with that 3 litre 5 cylinder bullet proof engine. The one with the million mile badges and which powered all those taxicabs and military Gelandewagens throught the rest of the world. My necessary is a ’92 F350 with a 7.3 IDI non-turbo diesel. If I am forced to, I can go back to recycling wvo for fuel. No problems if you do it right.

  4. I bought a brand new truck in 2008 – RAM 1500 (financial crisis) for $14,000. There was a $7,000 manufacturer rebate. sticker was $25,000. i wish i’d bough 5 of the and stored them away

  5. A few tricks to buying new and getting a good trade in price as well as a good price on the new. First thing is take good care of your car, make sure it’s clean inside and out. Must have good tires but if it needs new tires get cheap ones it’s about tread depth. Here’s the part many will not do, trade with miles in the 50’s or low 60’s. When trading know the national inventory dealers have on their lots. If it’s low it is a sellers market wait it out. Trade when the inventory’s are high. New cars are slow but clean used cars/trucks with lower mile cars are what is selling. I don’t like to keep cars for over 4 to 5 years. Many times I use the same dealer because I know that dealer knows the value of customer loyalty. They want to build on that customer base growing it because it’s valuable. I get into new vehicles at excellent cost to me and I always drive a newer vehicle with new bells and whistles. Not everyone can do this but if you can and like cars, it’s the only way to roll.

  6. I own a 1997 Chevy Cavalier that now has 161K and some change miles on it and did not finance it. Over a quarter century and still going. Of course living in southern California with its generally dry climate helps.

  7. He gave his European buddy with the funny moustache the idea of mass producing an affordable car in his own country.

    • This was supposed to be in reply to X, who wrote the first comment. Should have finished my coffee before posting.

  8. In the 80s I had a diesel VW Rabbit I bought used for very little. Don’t remember the exact amount, but one payment, as you say. The previous owner had put an extra tank in it so it would go 1,000 miles on one fill-up (50MPG x 20gal). With diesel at 75 cents a gallon it cost $15 to fill up. Never needed tuneups. I could change the oil myself for less than $10. Didn’t have much power, but that’s the last thing my young self needed. Had a hand-cranked sunroof. A great car for a young man with limited funds.

  9. The end of EV buying….

    Owners Sending EVs to Junkyards After the First Breakdown: “Not Worth Fixing!”

    Are EVs turning into expensive headaches? EV makers have made various promises, including low maintenance expenses, straightforward repairs, and even battery swaps.

    However, the reality has been quite different. Electric cars are not only less reliable but also come with exorbitant repair costs. This situation has led to broken EVs being sent directly to junkyards, a stark contrast to the initial optimism surrounding EV cars as the future of transportation.

    In this video, we explore the darker aspects of the EV industry, revealing secrets that EV market prefer to keep hidden. From faulty batteries to expensive software updates, we shed light on why the dream of sustainable EV transportation is turning into a nightmare for many.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGxxnQI4ITI

    • ” EV makers have made various promises, including low maintenance expenses, straightforward repairs, and even battery swaps.”

      I would suggest that the EV makers have made various suggestions. Promises have obligations.

      • Hi Elysian,

        The EV push has been based on lies and omissions (a form of lie) from the beginning. Examples include “lower maintenance” – yes, if you don’t include battery replacement cost and higher/sooner tire replacement costs.

  10. if it wasn’t for things draining our wealth, most of us could retire in our 40’s and 50’s instead of our 60’s and now 70’s. Or at least not work “full time”, spending our time managing our wealth.

    That’s the thing, they don’t want a bunch of younger retired people with time on their hands. That’s one of the BIG reasons why they want us working 9-5 until we can’t anymore. Keep us busy, keep us tired, so we don’t show up to complain about stuff at city hall.

    They fear the retired guy in his 40’s as he can be a big thorn in the side of some shady politician because he still has some energy to fight and his kids are probably grown up too. They have to put up with the people in their 70’s, but it’s easy to make an older person look like a wacko, not so much with a younger one.

    By the time you are 70 you are looking more to protect what you have managed to hoard away, because you have no new income, but a younger one can deal more with issues that city hall would rather forget about. And you will be around a number of decades yet, unlike the guy who is 80. Sometimes they just wait you out at that age.

  11. I always remember listening to the radio years ago they were interviewing a gentleman of the UK and he said they weren’t considered owners of their cars only “keepers of the car”. mark

  12. I did buy my car new in cash, actually – a 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid. Used cars are less practical due to Midwest road salt and rust, plus they weren’t much cheaper than a new car anyway. It was tough finding an affordable new car though with the supply chain shortages, plus I wanted something reliable, fuel efficient, and not over-inundiated with “safety” features. It took some work but I was able to get a nice ride that should last me at least 15 years.

      • That why my “little goil”, once she was done with her Mormon mission about three years ago, got the 2013 Corolla that her grandpa gave to me (he’d given me the car some months earlier, just prior to his 87th birthday, BTW, still with us at 90, b/c he just couldn’t drive anymore, and that Toyota, bought (cash, of course) from what was then Geweke (pronounced “Give-A-Key”) Toyota in Lodi, CA, had only about 22K miles when I got it. I put about 2, 500 miles on it for about eight months (it was during the height of the COVID panic, with lots of “work from home”), and when the kid was coming home (Utah), her Big Sis and I caravanned to deliver it to her. Of course I paid for the registration in “Yew-Tah”, which was only about $150 at the time, and her first few months of car insurance (she was starting her job the following Monday), and, since, for every oil change, most of the out-of-pocket for a minor “fender mender” accident, a tune-up, and, recently, 2 new tires, but that’s been a great ride for her. If she at least takes care of it, it should last her into her THIRTIES.

        • Amen, Doug –

          My ex had am early ’90s Corolla that was still like new in terms of how it drove in the early 2000s. These things are the (old) Beetles of our times – only better in so many ways. They are not just great first cars. They are great cars, period.

  13. In 1986 I was able to buy a new Chevy Z24 on 8 bucks an hour…Turned out didn’t like it Traded it in for a new Isuzu Trooper…One of the toughest and most reliable trucks I ever had… that cost about 11k .Now you couldn’t give a new truck…..They all SUCK.

  14. I’ve consigned myself to the fact I will never have a new car. Too expensive and too much stuff I don’t want. The problem is the ones I have really can’t be re-bought, at least nowhere near what was paid for them years ago and it would be quite a struggle probably for a couple years to pay cash and skip the loan. Try getting a running fairly good condition k5 blazer for under 3000 today. Same issue as with the trans am

    • Buying new is a needless luxury for the ignorant.
      And a waste of money…

      Instead, worry more about why everything of any real substance in the US has a yearly (((tax)))…real estate, homes, cars, investments, etc…see below!!!

      The Tax Poem
      Tax his land, Tax his bed,
      Tax the table at which he’s fed.
      Tax his tractor, Tax his mule,
      Teach him taxes are the rule.
      Tax his work, Tax his pay,
      He works for peanuts anyway!
      Tax his cow, Tax his goat,
      Tax his pants, Tax his coat.
      Tax his ties, Tax his shirt,
      Tax his work, Tax his dirt.
      Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink,
      Tax him if he tries to think.
      Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,
      If he cries tax his tears.
      Tax his car, Tax his gas,
      Find other ways to tax his ass.
      Tax all he has, Then let him know,
      That you won’t be done till he has no dough.
      When he screams and hollers, then tax him some more,
      Tax him till he’s good and sore.
      Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
      Tax the sod in which he’s laid.
      Put these words Upon his tomb,
      ‘Taxes drove me to my doom…’
      When he’s gone, Do not relax,
      Now its time to apply the inheritance tax!!!

      Sincerely, a Revolutionary…

      • My 24 year old son asked me the other day – why are we taxed multiple times on the same income ?

        He meant –
        Income Tax
        Then Sales Tax
        Then Capital gains Tax
        And so on.

        I thought to myself – a wise young man.

        • It was ‘splained to me when the first Jurassic Park movie came out in ’93. The T-Rex, big and powerful as he was, was STUPID compared to humans, i.e., he hunted by instinct instead of reason. That didn’t mean he wasn’t effective…although, like most big reptiles, his eyesight wasn’t that great, he had a keen sense of hearing and could readily detect MOVEMENT. So, whatever moved, and the T-Rex could catch and overpower, he used those powerful jaws and teeth, and took a bite! As almost everything that did move was no match for the T-Rex, so that “strategy” worked just fine. A big, lumbering Brontosaurus might knock him down with its tail and get away, but once the T-Rex sunk his teeth into the Bronto’s neck or throat, it was all over. Smaller dinosaurs, although they could prove tasty morsels if the T-Rex could nab one, were agile and quick, and in general, the T-Rex didn’t waste a lot of effort on them. Big herbivore dinosaurs were the target of choice, providing plenty of meat for the effort of making the kill.

          It’s the same way with the IRS and State taxing authorities. Like the T-Rex, they look for “whales” or similar large entities that can’t scurry off and run, and provide a good target for investigation and/or enforcement efforts. Plus, they can be prone to making even “honest” mistakes, as the tax codes are typically so complicated that even experienced tax attorneys often can’t make sense of them. Never mind that, intuitively, they have the most incentive to “fudge” their books, although that tends to bring that “T-Rex’s” unwanted attention.

          So, to sum it up, it’s not money itself, but its MOVEMENT that generates taxation events. Earning income from salaries or wages (income tax), or profit from a business (personal and/or corporate income tax), retail sales of specified items (sales tax), owning real estate (property tax and additional assessments), the value of assets increasing, even simply due to inflation which is no “gain” at all (Capital Gains tax), and, when you die, ESTATE and/or INHERITANCE tax, so “Uncle” and/or the State you die in robs your heirs of what you intended for THEM.

          Of course, there’s an ever-thriving industry of not only accountants but also tax/estate planning. There ARE ways to work around taxes, LEGALLY. C’Mon, do you really think those hot-shot politicians vote to take money out of THEIR pockets?

  15. You are always paying for a paid vehicle. The county I reside in charges a semi-annual property tax + a $30 “registration” per vehicle. Not paying it would involve you not being able to renew your state registration and being illegal to drive it on the road after the county puts a “lien” on it through the DMV. Having a few dollars extra on you paints a target on your back these days. And we just celebrated Independence Day. What a joke!

    • Same here in Taxachusetts Allen,
      In addition to the outrageous property tax on our paid-for house we must also pay an “excise tax” on our paid-for cars, which are 20+ years old but always subject to mulcting by the state. Seems like “you’ll own nothing” has been going on for awhile and we just weren’t aware of it…..”and be happy” not so much. Quite the opposite.

      • Property taxes in Texas are the 7th highest in the nation. Property taxes are now extortion paid to the county, school district and the State. If you have the allowed 2 exemptions your property taxes double every 7.2 years. Without the exemptions they double at a faster rate. Both the democrats and the republicans are doing nothing to reduce property taxes. Both parties and the school districts are partners in the extortion. Who is $ John Galt?

        • Indeed, Truth –

          Property taxes get under my skin even more than income taxes because property taxes preclude the possibility of ever being the owner of your property and so never being independent of the necessity to earn income to pay the taxes. If you could own your home after you paid it off, you would have a place to live even if you earned zero income- because it would be your home. Period.

          That’s what the bastards don’t want us to have – ever.

        • Last year my old mobile home (1987) and land went from 70k to 225k in appraisal. I protested and got it knocked down to 185k. That’s still a big ass jump.

          This is in Lampasas which is about 50 miles north of Austin. I bet you can guess who all has moved in the last 3 years and pushed values way up. Yeah – the locusts from Kalifornia.

          The bastards act like this is investment property. I’m not interested in selling. This is my stinking home.

  16. ‘the FIRE economy … is all a big Ponzi scheme’ — X

    And it presents an increasingly bizarre aspect. It’s deeply abnormal that, according to the official dating, the US economy spent but two months of the past 15 years in recession. QE did that — digital check-kiting by the Federal Reserve’s counterfeiters with badges.

    In June the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.1%. Sounds low, but large cohorts left their jobs during the pandemic and didn’t return. More importantly, June’s figure is up from a low of just 3.4% in April 2023 — and is more than 6 percent above its 12-month average. Such a rise in the U-rate signaled oncoming recessions in January 2001, July 2007, and March 2020. Now it’s screaming ‘recession dead ahead.’

    Given the vast distortions created by 15 years of goosing the economy with fake, gay digital currency, the fallout is going to be earth-shattering. Real people are gonna get hurt — sadly, not the ones responsible for this debacle.

    The official NBER business cycle dating committee won’t announce it till sometime next year. By that time, everyone will know we’re in a world of hurt, as the US fedgov deficit lurches to $3 trillion on its way to $5 trillion. We are not in good hands, comrades.

    • My understanding is that the unemployment numbers are being fudged right now too. Even the information they give us is fake and gay. They lie about everything else. Why not job numbers? Such is life on the Truman Show.

      • Each first Friday of the month, the BLS reports two different statistics. Today the establishment survey claimed 206,000 new jobs added. But they revised away 111,000 jobs from the April and May reports. Ultimately these heavily estimated, b.s. ‘jobs added’ numbers could be revised to zero.

        Meanwhile, the household survey is a monthly poll of 60,000 households. Because the current unemployment rate of 4.1% does not sound alarming, BLS does not appear to be tampering with it. But a rise from a low point heralds recession. Specifically, a half-point rise in the 3-month smoothed U-rate signals a recession warning from the Sahm rule. It was almost, but not quite, triggered this morning. Chart:

        https://tinyurl.com/4uj3hskf

        • Jim H, I heard the same “news” story.

          Headline: 206,000 NEW JOBS IN JUNE

          Footnote: April & May numbers were over-estimated by 111,000.

          Since the number “expected” was ~190,000 the reporter was pumping the fabulous news that “more than expected” was happening. Based on April & May revisions the real number (if there is such a thing) is probably 150,000 or, ~25% short of expected.

          Rule #1 in how to lie with statistics: The Large Print Giveth and The Small Print Taketh Away

          • As in Orwell’s 1984. The government reports the chocolate ration has been raised to 5 grams/month from the previous 10 grams/month.

        • Jim,
          I read somewhere, years ago, that 200K jobs a month adds nothing, it merely accounts for new hires who reach working age coming into the work force. People quit, people move, people are fired, people die.

  17. It began with Sears and the A&P. Back in the olden times, people would haggle over price. The local merchant would look at what stock he had on hand and would price it accordingly. Then the buyer would come in, also look at the stock and make an offer. If there was a lot of inventory on display it might actually encourage someone to lowball the retailer, who might realize his mistake and let it go for that price. Or if there’s only a little bit on the shelves, perhaps trigger a bidding war amongst the customers. Witness people rushing the Home Depot before the hurricane, and the subsequent government intervention when market forces take over.

    A&P changed all that. Put as much stock out as possible, with a set price. Don’t haggle, don’t bargain, just pay that price. And Sears, having started out in mail order catalogs, wasn’t into haggling either. Having all your wares on display was a selling point -hey, look at all we’ve got!- instead of a potential liability.

    Only place left for the customer to question the price was at the car dealer. Then in the 1990s and early ’00s that went away too. “Pay one price” became a marketing tool for people who felt intimidated by the negotiating process. And it worked. Because people don’t want to feel like they got ripped off (even though pay one price is pretty much a guarantee you’re getting fleeced).

    And besides, it’s unseemly in modern society. How barbaric! Like having to shop at a Bedouin village! Here in the first world we know that the car dealers are vetted by the experts in the government bureaucracy (Chevron Deference) and so there’s no way they’d try to screw us over! Why, anyone who thinks otherwise must have done something wrong!

    When I was a kid, in the summer every Sunday we’d walk down to the flea market that operated at the Silver Drive-In. I learned how to haggle there, and at hamfests (big flea markets for amateur radio operators and nerds). Some of my favorite memories were finding some hidden jewel on a card table and getting it for half price. Found out later that most people are happy to give kids a break, but even now I can still sometimes get someone to take a lowball bid. That’s capitalism at its core, and we seem to have given all pricing power to the seller.

    • Just wait till Trump’s punitive tariffs on China jack Walmart’s prices to Whole Foods Market levels. Already they’re cracking down on self-checkout with a highly visible security guard presence, as the Joads and Clampetts desperately try to pilfer food.

      There’s a black wind blowing in the cotton field
      And oh how funny it makes me feel
      Baby, sweet thing, darling

      Cotton’s pretty thin yonder on the hill
      Won’t clear a greenback dollar bill
      Baby, sweet thing, darling

      — Woody Guthrie, Black Wind Blowing

        • George Costanza call your office…

          Jerry: “Was it below the rim?’

          George: “Well, it was on a doily”

          Jerry: “It was garbage”

        • Oh my gosh why am I not surprised! I stopped buying pre-prepared cold items from them a while back. Things like tuna and chicken salad, prepared green salads. I noticed some were looking a little old and the greens wilted and it just hit me duh idiot what so you think Whole Foods is doing they are probably using up their old stuff by putting it in a prepared dish and selling the old food back to you. Yuck! Their baked goods on the other hand are actually quite good.

          • That’s common practice in most grocery stores. Usually seen in the meat dept. where the pre-seasoned plates are older cuts that are just about to expire. They look bad so cover ’em with spices and marinade so no one notices. I think the cut up fruit cups in the refrigerator by the produce are the same thing (and with a massive markup too).

        • The big grocers do this, because they can. The little ones don’t because they can’t survive something bad happening. I worked for a small grocer and they always told you to toss something bad, don’t ever risk it. We had to live on our good reputation. Another reason to shop at the small place over the chain.

          Wendy’s chili is burgers from the day before too.

          • I’ll defend Wendy’s chili, at least in the 1980s. I worked there in high school, overnight grill man. One of my jobs was to prep the chili. The burgers were overruns from throughout the day, because the rule was to get patties started when a customer came in the door. If you didn’t need one, it got cooked anyway, and then put into a pan on the edge of the grill. That became the chili meat. It was stored in the refrigerator until the night grill man came in, who would take the pan, add water and put it on the grill to boil. Then pour off the greasy water, chop up the meat and add it to a big pot with spices, a drum of tomato paste and more water. Then the morning crew would put it on the burner where it sat all day simmering.

            I was pretty grossed out by it at first, but it made use of otherwise wasted product and it wasn’t like someone pulled it out of the trash. And it’s not a bad cup of chili either.

      • “Already they’re cracking down on self-checkout with a highly visible security guard presence, as the Joads and Clampetts desperately try to pilfer food.”

        And to think that just a few years ago, the douchebags were FORCING us to use them. Now when I go to the store, most of the kiosks are cordoned off. Oh, the irony! I asked one of the associates at a Target why they were doing that, and she told me “Oh, management just wanted to know how many people use the kiosks vs the manned registers”. Yeah, right.

        • The Safeway grocery store in Spearfish, South Dakota removed all of the self-checkout machines, too much theft.

          You travel, so you visit a grocery store here and there. The Safeway had self-checkouts the first visit, returned about three years later, the self-checkouts were gone. I asked what happened that the self-checkouts were gone, theft was the answer.

          You have to buy some beef steak from South Dakota ranchers, or you think you are.

  18. The only new car I ever bought was a 2006 Miata. I had a windfall from a real estate transaction, and traded my 99 Miata in on it. There was a 10k difference between the two, so I got out my envelope full of cash and counted out 10k. The salesman was flummoxed. He had no idea how to handle that much cash. Neither did his boss. They finally got one of the finance guys to take care of it.
    Now 10k won’t likely make a down payment on a new car, and definitely not a truck. Unless you live in Mexico.

  19. They “system” needs this. Debt slavery is necessary to fake the economy.
    You get a loan, the bank creates the load with money they owe to others. That loan money gets deposited in the account of the dealer, which in turn is used to create more loans.

    So everyone with money in the bank thinks their money is available, but has actually been loaned to others several times over. All these amounts still show up and make it look like the economy is bigger than it really is.

    Good for politicians, not good for consumers.

    The added benefit is that if you have loans to pay, you can’t afford to get fired or tell the boss to shove it.
    Ask many people why they got the clot shot and the answer will be, “so I didn’t get fired”.

    If you can’t afford to be fired, you can’t afford to be arrested (which will lead to firing), so you can’t afford to resist violations of your rights.

    Ever wonder why it is the youth that protest in such large numbers? It’s not just because they are more passionate, impressionable, or have nothing else to do. They do not yet have anything to lose.

    The fear of loss is one way we are kept under control.

    • Fractional reserve is now at zero, for practical purposes.
      Say you borrow 50k for a construction loan. You put it in the bank. The bank now has the 50k available to loan out, again. At interest.
      Fractional reserve lending isn’t as bad as the Federal Reserve Bank, but it’s a close second.

    • Hi Dan,

      You write: ” . . . if you have loans to pay, you can’t afford to get fired or tell the boss to shove it.”

      Exactly.

      I have advised every young person I know to find a way to be self-employed or at the very least to live below their means, so as to not be under the thumb of a paycheck that you’ve got to have this week (or this month) to avoid losing your place to live or food to eat.

      • Had this exact conversation with a young person at church very recently. He’ll graduate high school next year –bright young guy but just not college material (whatever that means). Told him there’s no shame in working a trade.

        What opened his eyes was when we looked up tuition at both Alabama and Auburn (~$130K and ~100K respectively). Not to mention books, “fees”, housing, etc.

        By comparison. the welding program at the local community college was $2K. And, employers here locally are desperate for qualified welders.

        Yeah but Mr. Mike you used GI Bill for college. Yes sir, I did. But that was a different time. No way in hell would I advise a young person to enlist these days.

        • >Alabama and Auburn (~$130K and ~100K respectively).
          I suspect that if a basic class in financial literacy, to be taken no later than one’s junior year, were a requirement for HS graduation, there would be a lot fewer takers for “champagne priced” kollidges, no matter what their “reputation.”

          Young people need to know the meaning of, and be able to calculate, Return On Investment, a phrase that probably strikes fear into the hearts of university recruiters, and totally mystifies high school “guidance counselors.”

          I am highly in favor of the “bootstrap method,” meaning, among other things, that if you want to pay for high priced “edumacation,” it needs to make good financial sense, and you need to find the wherewithal to pay for it. Journeyman qualification in any number of skilled trades is an excellent way to do that.

          Who knows? You might decide on a career path that leads from certified welder to certified welding inspector, or even to welding engineer or metallurgist. Or, you might decide to follow the shutdowns, put your welding hood down, and make tons of money. Either way, you will be beholden to nobody, which is to say, a free man.

          Old saying in the construction industry, “I was looking for a job when I found this one.” Contrast that with the fear in a bureaucrat’s eyes, and the smell of it on his person, if he believes his job may be at risk, because he realizes he may not be able to find another. Poor bastard.

      • “Exactly” why one should avoid debt as much as possible. Treat it like the real plague that it is.
        From my late father: “Don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.”

        • From my late father: “Don’t spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need.”

          Unless you plan to sell them at a profit.

      • Hi Eric

        Its not just the paycheck any more. Its the “health insurance” coverage. Lose that, and you and your family are on very thin ice. Between the insurance mafia and the government (just a gang of thieves and murderers writ large) the cost of a trip to the local branch of the medical industrial complex can bankrupt most people. That’s even more control over peoples lives than simply losing income. Look back to the year 1913 for one of the key factors in play. That bastard Wilson sold us out, The rest as they say is history. But keep in mind the old saying “the victors write history”. I recommend that everyone who wants to understand the foundations of our current dire situation, read a book titled he Creature from Jekyll Island, by G Edward Griffin. Or you could watch any number of videos on Rumble or Youtube.
        This one leads into an entire series of videos on what is money.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTIP3IhG3Xo

        • Indeed, BJ –

          And that’s why it’s smart to be healthy – and skip “health insurance,” which insures no such thing. I’ve not spent to be “insured” so far and that has saved me tens of thousands, at least. People didn’t use to be so afraid of living without “coverage.” But that was back when people weren’t afraid to live.

      • Eric, That is a great advice for young people. I think if I had kids today, much of their life learning from the youngest age until they are of age would be centered around macro and micro economics and personal finances. The single most helpful thing we can do for the kids is teach them by example about self sufficiency, how to be independent of the government and truly learn the value of money. How to make it, how to save, and how to budget. Then when they leave the house for the fist time they are prepared.

    • The “yutes” also don’t yet realize the trouble their making for themselves. I’m not saying one shouldn’t exercise 1A rights and protest, and certainly I’ll always stand up to an abusive cop, but those who wield “Gubmint” power don’t like to be challenged, and they’ll use any means, fair and NOT, to retain that power. How DARE you peons object!

  20. ‘“car buying” – something a dwindling number of people are able to do anymore’ — eric

    Then there’s the ‘can buy, won’t buy’ contingent, which includes your humble correspondent.

    This week the European Union’s directive that all vehicles be equipped with speed limiters goes into effect. Such regulatory overreach incentivizes clinging to old vehicles, rather than spending good money on a dystopian Govmobile which controls you, rather than you controlling it.

    Govco assumes that since the proles willingly pay for handheld devices that surveil their every movement and communication (i.e., smart [sic] phones), the dumb bunnies likewise will line up to buy cell phones on wheels for 30 or 50 times the price.

    Nope. I’m a hard ‘no’ on that. Listen up, EeeVee Mary and Lightning Jim Farley: can buy, won’t buy. I’ll never darken the door of your showrooms again. That’s because I fundamentally reject the product you are making, and will squeal in glee when your moribund industry-government partnership swirls down the drain into Chapter 7 liquidation. Goodbye and good riddance! 🙂

    • + 1. Saw Eric’s review of the CT4 and thought seriously about replacing my 2008 Saab until sanity returned when I realized I’d be buying a $50k computer.

  21. In 2001 I bought a ’99 Ford Ranger base for $4000 with 60,000 miles on it. Cash. Now, admittedly, I bought it at a wholesale auction, a guy with a dealer’s license took me with him and charged me $200 to run it through his books. It was $4600 and change after tax when all was said and done.

    So it was below “normal” pricing, but that may have only been a $6000 truck retail.

    It’s incredible to think that you could get a three-year old truck for that. Imagine what it would cost to get a three-year old truck today!

    But this is all part of the FIRE economy — finance, insurance, real estate. It’s all a big Ponzi scheme, a game of musical chairs, where you get rich by inflating assets and moving money around, not by manufacturing a product and selling it at an affordable price to average people.

    The Chinese do that. Our country, and our economy is run by a “tribe” historically known for stuff like coin-shaving and exchanging money in the temple.

    Strangely enough, Uncle Henry, the guy who “put America on wheels” by selling Model Ts for $300 was rather critical of them…

    • Henry Ford’s views about “Dat TRIBE, Dere” (thanks to the late Carroll O’Connor for his portrayal of one Archibald “Archie” Bunker, of 704 Hauser St, Queens, NY) were quite common for Christian men of his time. But once one became a public figure and/or a prominent businessman, it was risky to speak out against the “TRIBE”. Ford managed to get his car company out of debt rather quickly, and soon owned the means of supplying raw materials and shipping them to his River Rouge plant. Ford even started his own bank, which also drew the ire of the “TRIBE”, to enable prospective customers to buy Model Ts, this became Ford Credit. Once Ford couldn’t be shut down from interference from without, he could say what he wanted, and he DID.

      There was but one way to screw with Ford, and that was in the mid to late 1930s. At that time, the labor movement was “feeling its oats”, and was backed up by organized crime, including noted mob figures like Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Meyer Lanksy, and “Dutch” Schultz, all “TRIBE” members. They sought to organize “Detroit”, and, of course, Ford resisted, and was one of the last holdouts in signing a labor agreement with the UAW, then part of the CIO. Part of the problem was that Henry Ford had gotten old, and had turned over Ford to his son, Edsel, and a team of advisors nicknamed the “Whiz Kids”, which also included a young Robert McNamara. They urged compromise rather than fight it out, and, of course, the Old Man was fairly much push aside when he tried to re-take the reins. This was one reason that Ford didn’t do as well as the other car makers in securing Defense contracts during WWII. It was only after Ford died in 1943 that the Army authorized, for example, the Ford GA V-8 and V-12 aluminum OHC engines, suitable for tanks and even AIRCRAFT. FDR personally saw to it that Ford got NOTHING unless the company was the unique supplier.

      Today, FordMoCo is as “woke” as any of them. Sad.

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