Americans have an illogical love affair with their vehicles. There are 209 million licensed drivers in the U.S. and 260 million vehicles. The U.S. has a higher number of motor vehicles per capita than every country in the world at 845 per 1,000 people. Germany has 540; Japan has 593; Britain has 525; and China has 37. The population of the United States has risen from 203 million in 1970 to 311 million today, an increase of 108 million in 42 years. Over this same time frame, the number of motor vehicles on our crumbling highways has grown by 150 million. This might explain why a country that has 4.5% of the world’s population consumes 22% of the world’s daily oil supply. This might also further explain the Iraq War, the Afghanistan occupation, the Libyan “intervention”, and the coming war with Iran.

Automobiles have been a vital component in the financial Ponzi scheme that has passed for our economic system over the last thirty years. For most of the past thirty years annual vehicle sales have ranged between 15 million and 20 million, with only occasional drops below that level during recessions. They actually surged during the 2001-2002 recession as Americans dutifully obeyed their moron President and bought millions of monster SUVs, Hummers, and Silverado pickups with 0% financing from GM to defeat terrorism. Alan Greenspan provided the fuel, with ridiculously low interest rates. The Madison Avenue media maggots provided the transmission fluid by convincing millions of willfully ignorant Americans to buy or lease vehicles they couldn’t afford. And the financially clueless dupes pushed the pedal to the metal, until everyone went off the cliff in 2008.

America is proving itself to be insane as described by Albert Einstein:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The 2008 cataclysm was created by the voracious greed and avarice of Wall Street, sustained by corrupt politicians in Washington, non-existent regulation by banking regulators, Federal Reserve easy money policies, unspoken guarantees of Fed bailouts if Wall Street excess risk taking blew up, and millions of delusional Americans with an unlimited credit line. Excessive debt created the problem. Adding debt is the present solution to the problem. And the accumulation of debt will lead to a tipping point that destroys the U.S. dollar and topples the Great American Empire.

This spiral of government sponsored debt financed debacles has shockingly accelerated as we have supposedly been experiencing an economic recovery for the last two years. The 2008 financial meltdown was the result of too much debt peddled to too many people who never had the means or intentions to repay the debt. The Wall Street peddlers of debt didn’t care if it got repaid because they had already packaged it, bribed Moodys and S&P to rate the toxic garbage as AAA, and sold it to their “clients”. Then they made derivatives bets that it wouldn’t be repaid and raked in billions more as their Ponzi scheme unwound. There was just one problem with their master plan. The Wall Street titans made their derivate weapons of mass destruction so complicated and confusing that their own evil organizations of Harvard MBAs didn’t understand them. Enough hubristic CEOs existed at enough financial firms (AIG, Lehman, Bear Stearns, Citicorp) to bring the entire system crashing down as the toxic derivatives intertwined every major institution in the worldwide banking cabal.

What has happened since those dark days of 2008 is mind blowing in its epic proportions and epic stupidity. To quote Doug Casey, “Not only haven’t we done the right thing, we’ve done the exact opposite of the right thing.” It is absurd and ultimately suicidal to cure a debt disease by administering massive doses of more debt. But that is exactly what those in power have done. The National Debt has risen from a $9.7 trillion to $15.6 trillion, a 61% increase in three and a half years, while our real GDP has grown by $244 billion, a 1.9% increase. Not exactly a fabulous return on investment. But at least there are 7 million less people employed today than there were at the peak in 2008. Plus, senior citizens and middle class savers have seen $450 billion of annual interest income they were earning in 2008 pilfered from their savings accounts and handed to the Wall Street banking elite through Ben Bernanke’s ZIRP.

The Federal Reserve has tripled their balance sheet (actually your liability) from $950 billion to $2.9 trillion. Various other Federal government controlled bureaucracies (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA) have stealthily subsidized hundreds of billions in losses on behalf of the criminal Wall Street banks. Other Federal government run agencies (BLS, BEA, CBO) exist solely to massage, manipulate, misuse, and malign economic data and financial projections in order to muddle, misinform and mislead the American people about the true nature of our ongoing economic calamity. Propaganda and obfuscation are the scheme of choice by the powers that be. They are counting on decades of government run public education to insure that millions of non-critical thinking dullards will be unqualified or uninterested in the truth about our grim economic prospects. The oligarchy’s master plan has centered on houses, automobiles, and the illusion of a jobs recovery.

Whenever I’m trying to understand the motivations of the sociopathic Washington politicians, Wall Street bankers and mega-corporation CEOs, I always come back to the words of master manipulator Edward Bernays:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

The relatively small number of wealthy men thinks they are smarter than the masses and can manipulate them through their control of the government, the financial system and the media. The players in this game remain the same, but they have switched positions. The debt accumulation which led to the 2008 collapse was heavily concentrated on the books of the ruthless Wall Street psychopathic banks and on the backs of a readily pliable public. Today, the Federal government and the Federal Reserve have switched positions with their banker puppet masters, essentially shifting all past and future debt onto the backs of the American middle class. The Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Report, issued two weeks ago, reveals the extent of this blatant scheme to screw the American people in order to save and further enrich the Wall Street psychopaths who won’t be satisfied until their looting and pillaging leads to complete collapse and the world erupting into a world war. The despicable facts are as follows:

  • Total U.S. credit market debt has RISEN from $50.9 trillion in 2007 to $54.1 trillion as of 12/31/11, a $3.2 trillion increase.
  • Household debt has declined from $13.8 trillion in 2007 to $13.2 trillion as of 12/31/11. The mainstream media would point to this $600 billion decline as proof that Americans have embraced austerity and have learned their lesson. Of course that would be a lie. The Wall Street banks have written off $200 billion of credit card debt and the 5 million completed foreclosures extinguished another $800 billion of mortgage debt. The truth is that consumers have continued to pile up debt.
  • Much has been made of corporate America being flush with cash. If they are so flush, why have they added $900 billion of debt since 2007, an increase of 13% to an all-time high of $7.8 trillion?
  • The revealing data shows up in the financial company data. These Wall Street national treasures have reduced their debt from $17.1 trillion in 2008 to $13.6 trillion as of 12/31/11. How were they able to do this, while writing off $1 trillion of consumer debt?
  • You guessed it. They dumped it on the American taxpayer. The Federal government increased their debt from $5.1 trillion to $10.5 trillion. And our old friends called government sponsored enterprises (Fannie, Freddie, Student loans) increased their debt from $2.9 trillion to $6.2 trillion. Wall Street banks and millions of deadbeats who chose to game the system and live the good life have effectively foisted their $4.5 trillion of debt upon the backs of middle class taxpayers who lived within their means. Another $4.2 trillion has been pissed down the toilet by Obama with his $800 billion Keynesian porkulus program, home buyer tax credits, cash for clunkers, green energy boondoggles, 47 million people on food stamps success story, 99 weeks of unemployment, doubling of SSDI membership, and his multiple wars of choice in the Middle East.

The average hard working, taxpaying American has been enslaved in debt of such proportions that they will never be able pay it off. Your share of the $15.6 trillion National Debt is now $50,000, and growing by $4,500 per year. Your share of the future unfunded liabilities, created by the people you elected, is approximately $350,000. This crushing burden is in addition to the $13.8 trillion of mortgage, credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt Americans have accumulated in the last three decades of delusion. Forty percent of all credit card users do not pay-off their credit card every month and carry an average balance of $16,000 at an average interest rate of 15%. Good to see the Wall Street banks passing along some of their 0% borrowing windfall to their “customers”.

Source: TF Metals Report     

Pedal to the Metal

You may have noticed the corporate mainstream media, crooked politicians and lying Wall Street shills attempting to pound the economic recovery storyline into the consciousness of a terminally distracted populace. This is part of the Bernays inspired master plan of a small cabal of powerful men to control the public mind and keep our mass consumer society functioning smoothly so these corporate fascists can continue to gorge upon the carcass of a once vital republic. Decades of mass media consumer indoctrination, dumbing down of children through public school education and the conscious manipulation of attitudes and opinions of the malleable masses has succeeded. The invisible government of the rich and powerful has effectively converted responsible citizens into mindless consumers of products, bought with debt, peddled by associates of the invisible government. The crowded shopping malls, automobile showrooms, and restaurants are a testament to the power of propaganda and the intellectual bankruptcy of a vast swath of the American population.

Only psychopaths would encourage and condone behavior that would financially enrich themselves while destroying the lives and personal wealth of millions. The invisible government (Wall Street bankers, D.C. political hacks, mega-corporate executives, mass media titans) exhibits all the traits of a psychopath as described in a recent Harvard Business Review article:

  • Glibness and superficial charm
  • Lack of empathy
  • Consistent decisions in their self-interest, even where it is ethically questionable
  • Chronic, sometimes transparent lies, even with regard to minor things
  • Lack of remorse
  • Failure to take responsibility for their actions, and instead blaming others
  • Shallow emotions
  • Ignoring responsibilities
  • Persistent focus on gratifying their own needs at the expense of others
  • Conning and manipulative behavior

Do you recognize any of these traits in our president (Obama), congressmen (Weiner, McCain) Wall Street bankers (Dimon, Blankfein), corporate CEOs (Immelt), and mass media titans (Murdoch)? These people and many more like them will stop at nothing to further their self-serving agenda. They are intelligent and highly skilled at lying and manipulation. They lack empathy and don’t care what others think as they relentlessly pursue riches and power no matter the damage they inflict upon the people they so casually abuse, scorn and look down on. These are the people attempting to convince you that the path to economic recovery is through increased spending by consumers, utilizing debt supplied by them.

The entire recovery theme is a sham, financed by the Federal government with your tax dollars and the tax dollars of future unborn generations. I’ve arrived at this conclusion after pondering what I’ve been seeing with my own two eyes and through the insightful analysis found in the non-mainstream media (Zero Hedge, Jesse, Mish and many others). The mantra being pounded relentlessly by the mainstream media is that retail sales are booming and the unemployment rate has declined significantly, therefore an economic recovery is at hand. The chart below reveals the dramatic surge in vehicle “sales”. The annual pace is all the way back to 15 million, from the low below 10 million in 2009. The brief surge in mid-2009 was due to Obama’s highly successful Cash for Clunkers program that cost taxpayers $2.8 billion or $24,000 per car sold. It was highly successful for Government Motors (GM) and their union workers (Obama voters).

This rapid surge in auto sales has also resulted in a boost to overall retail sales, which have reached an all-time high. Automobile “sales” make up 18% of the retail sales number, by far the largest segment. The “record” retail sales are the result of surging gasoline sales, swelling food inflation, and a somewhat confusing cascade of car sales. It’s somewhat confusing until you realize how and why the 50% rise in vehicle sales has been accomplished by our Bernaysian masters. Retail sales in the first two months of 2012 are up 8.2%, led by a 9.2% wave of motor vehicle sales. Auto sales are at levels last seen in early 2008. This seems peculiar, since there are still 7 million less employed people in the country than in early 2008 and the real median household income is 9% lower than it was in early 2008. Real average hourly earnings have fallen for the last three months and are 1.2% lower than they were in October, 2010. A critical thinking person might ask himself, how could American households with less jobs and lower wages increase their purchases of automobiles by 50% in the last two years?

The answer is just what you expected. A phenomenal amount of debt peddled to people without the means or intent to ever repay the debt by the usual suspects: Ally Financial, Capital One, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and Bank of America. These fine upstanding institutions control 25% of the auto loan market. They doled out $24 billion of new car loans in the 4th quarter of 2011, with an outpouring of loans to those downtrodden subprime borrowers and an extension in the average loan length beyond 6 years. Subprime borrowers now account for 45% of all auto loans. As a refresher, subprime borrowers generally have little or no assets, have a history of late payments or defaulting on obligations, and have low incomes. No worries there. When has making hundreds of billions in subprime loans ever caused a problem before. Ally Financial CEO Michael Carpenter had this to say about the market:

“We have seen crazy, irrational competition in the subprime end of the marketplace, which is one reason why more banks are targeting the lower end of the market.”

Bank of America and Capital One increased their market shares of the auto loan market by 40% in the 4th quarter as they attempt to keep up with Ally Financial in reckless lending to deadbeats. If you aren’t familiar with Ally Financial, then you should be. You own 74% of this POS. Here is a brief summary:

  • GMAC, after contributing mightily to the financial crash of 2008 through their reckless subprime mortgage (Ditech) and auto lending and requiring a $16 billion bailout from American taxpayers, changed its name to Ally Financial in 2009. It’s sort of like John Dillinger using acid to try and change his fingerprints.
  • Ally Financial provides financing for all GM and Chrysler customers and dealers and is the market share leader in auto lending.
  • Ally Financial still owes the American taxpayers $12 billion.
  • Ally Financial is a ward of the Federal government and will do anything it is told to do by Obama. The recent foreclosure fraud settlement required Ally to pay $250 million to the customers it defrauded. They will only pay $110 million based on their inability to pay $250 million. Sounds like a company that should be increasing their subprime loan portfolio. Obama and his minions instead received a commitment from a lender they own and control to cut principal for delinquent borrowers and refinance underwater borrowers. And Obama didn’t even offer us a cigarette afterwards.
  • Ally Financial, along with Capital One, failed the Federal Reserve stress test last week. Ally, Capital One, Bank of America, and Citicorp are dead banks walking. Brilliant bank analyst Chris Whelan succinctly sums up their fate after analyzing the Federal Reserve stress test results:

“When you get to junior liens and HELOCs you will understand why I have been saying that Ally Financial and BAC need to be restructured. With a plus 20% loss rate on second liens, Ally has substantial capital issues to put it mildly. But look at C right behind them with a loss rate in the mid-teens followed by BAC. Yikes. This type of loss rate is typical for credit cards and both of these second lien portfolios are > $100 billion.

And the real lesson, dead friends, is that the good old USA is a subprime nation, a society of individuals whose aggregate probability of default is probably around a “B” to “CCC.” Convert the loss rates in the stress tests to bond ratings using the break points from Moody’s or S&P and tell me what you see.

Last point on Ally Financial: Yikes. Probably the weakest results of the whole group. Memo to POTUS: File Ch. 11, sell auto biz and bank to GM in 365 sale. Liquidate ResCap. Declare success. But do not be surprised if BAC follows if Ally goes into bankruptcy. The one thing that the Fed almost completely ignores is the vast financial risk facing BAC and Ally, and to a lesser degree, WFC, JPM and C.”

When you understand this background, anecdotal evidence that seems absurd starts to make sense. I spend two hours per day on the road and have plenty of time to observe my surroundings. I drive through the Mantua section of West Philadelphia every day. The average household income in this neighborhood is $16,000. The average home value is $25,000. The true unemployment rate exceeds 40%. At least 20% of the properties are vacant and the neighborhood resembles Baghdad. Last week, I counted six brand new vehicles with registration tags in their back windows in a one block radius of this neighborhood. Every block has newer model Ford Expeditions, GMC Sierras, BMWs, Acuras, Cadillacs, and Mercedes sprinkled among the squalor. Someone is loaning these people the money to buy these $40,000 vehicles or approving them for leases. This neighborhood puts the SUB in subprime. No financial firm worth spit would make a six year $35,000 auto loan to someone in this neighborhood unless they were instructed to do so by the Federal government or were guaranteed that the future loss would be borne by someone else – YOU.

The GM, Chevy and Chrysler car dealer ads in my local paper actually have the following headline in bold:

Have credit problems? NO PROBLEM

Most of the ads don’t even list the prices of the vehicles. They either tout the 72 month 0% financing or they list the monthly lease cost. It seems that virtually any vehicle can be leased for $300 per month or less these days. This might explain why 25% of all vehicles are leased today. In reality, 25% of the cars being “sold” today are really just being rented for three years. Both the lessors and lessees are basing these transactions upon delusions and assumptions which will likely blow up in their faces and again cost – YOU.

An auto lease payment is based upon interest rates, the cost of the car, subsidies from the auto makers, and the expected residual value of the vehicle at the end of the three year lease. When have financial companies ever miscalculated any of these assumptions? How about 2001-2002 and 2008-2009? The reason auto leases are ridiculously low is because Ben Bernanke’s zero interest rate policy is providing free money to Ally Financial and the rest of the Wall Street zombie banks and creating huge mal-investment – Again. The auto makers see no risks, as the used car market has been extremely strong for the last year and they anticipate continued strong demand for cars as they come off their three year leases. Therefore, they have estimated the residual values three years out at a very high level. The strong used car market may have been slightly impacted by the destruction of 700,000 vehicles under Obama’s Cash for Clunkers debacle. The combination of excessively low interest rates and excessively high residual value estimates leads to ridiculously low lease rates. The sales statistics for the first two months of 2012 reveal why this will blow up in the faces of lessors and the predictably incompetent financial drug dealers.


% Chg Feb’11 YTD 2012




















Light-duty trucks
















Midsize SUV




Large SUV




Small SUV




Luxury SUV





It seems the delusional American public and their love affair with big SUVs, pickups, and their 8 cylinder luxury wheels will continue until they are hit over the head with the baseball bat of $5 a gallon gas. The Madison Avenue Bernays disciples have molded the minds and formed the opinions of millions of easily influenced, financially ignorant superficial Americans into believing the vehicle they drive is a true measurement of success. These people choose being up to their eyeballs in auto debt or perennial renters of luxury vehicles to appear prosperous to their neighbors and coworkers rather than actually achieving real success through the time honored tradition of earning more than you spend and saving the difference. The fact is that 80% of all the vehicles being sold in the U.S. are SUVs, pickups, crossovers, minivans, and larger cars that get 25 mpg or less.

As gas prices continue to rise towards $5 per gallon, a war with Iran looming in the near future, interest rates beginning to rise, and the country headed back into recession (MSM is wrong about the recovery), the car makers are poised to again experience enormous losses. Auto makers will have a sense of déjà vu as they have committed an epic blunder by overestimating the future value of the gas guzzlers they have been leasing. As a result, when the leases expire and auto makers take back the SUVs and pickups that get 15 mpg and attempt to resell them, the losses will run into the billions of dollars. There will be no one buying used gas guzzlers, with gas costing $5 per gallon. As the millions of subprime borrowers realize they can’t afford car payments, paying 40% more for gas, and trying to put food on the table, auto loan delinquencies will soar. This is as predictable as the housing market collapse in 2005. None of this matters to the psychotic governing elite who only care about the illusion of recovery today. These vampire squids will not be satisfied until every drop of blood is sucked out of the national carcass.

Ally Financial is part of the Federal Government and is being used to promote the agenda of the governing elite. They join Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal student loan peddlers as the primary tools of the corporate fascist powers that control this country. The nominal private ownership of these companies is a sham, as the state dictates how they will be run and who they will benefit. This corporate fascist empire is built upon an unholy alliance between big banks, big business, big media and big government, with each protecting and enriching each other. The psychopaths who are drawn to these organizations want to control people. They desire power, wealth, and the ability to manipulate public opinion. Their tactics include spreading fear and an atmosphere of paranoia in order to convince the populace that more government action will improve their lives. We are headed towards economic and financial collapse as these psychopaths will never willingly reverse course and the majority of our population has become so degraded (have you been to a Wal-Mart lately) that they are incapable or unwilling to confront the psychopaths.

Doug Casey in the latest Casey Report explains how evil and stupidity are a deadly combination:

“I would like to suggest that what really distinguishes political elites from normal people is not just a predilection for stupidity but a real capacity for evil. Evil might best be defined as the intentional and usually gratuitous commission of acts that are cruel or unjust. A person who commits many evil acts is a sociopath. The sociopaths who are naturally drawn to government eventually come to dominate it. They’re very dangerous people. They reset the social mores of the country they control. After a certain point, a critical mass is reached, and it’s GAME OVER. I suspect we’re approaching that point.”

The next time you hear a government drone, Wall Street shyster, or corporate mainstream media whore declare we are experiencing an economic recovery try not to laugh out loud. Their agenda doesn’t include making your life better. You are not in the club. Prepare accordingly.  


136 thoughts on “ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL”

  1. My little town is full of big pickup trucks(or men with small dicks,trying to compensate)and gas is now at the four dollar mark.I wonder how they can afford to drive.

    We had about two foot of snow so its a winter wonderland.
    I cruised some sites,its knothing but the same crap,Bush caused all our problems and Obama is great and trying to clean up the mess.No talk about lost freedoms or wars or any real thinking.

  2. Admin – another nice piece. Alot of accurate info in there. You are using $5 a gallon gas prices. That will be cheap in the not too distant future. America has long ignored the infrastructure needed to contend with high gas prices – i.e. mass transit. Commuters commute fairly long distances to work, and have little option but to drive given infrastructure does not exist. It is going to be a disaster.

    Another reality is that Americans do not recognize that they are living well beyond their means. The por feel entitled to a middle-class lifestyle, and the middle-class feel entitled toa rich lifestyle. A full-on attitude readjustment is required and is coming. The reality is that the poor will eventually need to live as poor do – with perhaps nothing more than the bare necesities of life, and perhaps they will even be hard to come by. The middle-classs will learn that middle-class is a daily struggle to make ends meet, with perhaps very modest accomodation, perhaps not even a car, no big screen TVs, etc. The inflated view of their entitlements will soon enough come to an end. The US is living perhaps 20% above its means, before the repaying of the debt is considered. To get back to a sustainable position there nees to be a 20 to 30% reset in the standard of living. In gross terms, if the average wage is about $50k now, it will be similar to living on a $35k wage, without incurring debt for the difference. It will be very painful, but it is what it is.

    One small quibble – you said above “Wall Street banks and millions of deadbeats who chose to game the system and live the good life have effectively foisted their $4.5 trillion of debt upon the backs of middle class taxpayers who lived within their means.” The quibble is the part where you say the middle class taxpayers lived within their means. By and large, they certainly did not, and they did their part, in small individual measures but multiplied by the hundreds of millions, to bring the debt burden to its current catastrophic levels. There are few innocents in this process, I am afraid.

    I have been braying for substantially higher gas prices for a long-time, as a means to force-prepare for the day when high gas prices would be forced upon the population via huge ol prices. The tax revenue would have been of course wasted, and there would have been even higher gas prices with increased oil prices. But it might have forceably weaned the sheeple out of the SUVs and pick-ups and into something more sustainable. But high gas prices are the kiss of death to politicians, so it never happened – instead, MPG rules were mandated – what a farce.

    Thanks again for the effort. Great job.

  3. The automotive industry is the Poster Boy for the unsustainable model of industrialization. It requires endless subsidy to contiue onward, in the form of bailouts of the companies engaged in automotive production and in the tax burden placed onthe population to keep the infrastructure of roads and bridges functional for those cars.

    In the absence of cheap energy, the model cannot function without continual subsidy from Goobermint, and it will collapse in due time. The problem of course is in substituting a different paradigm that can work once this one fails completely.


  4. llpoh says: “The US is living perhaps 20% above its means, before the repaying of the debt is considered. To get back to a sustainable position there nees to be a 20 to 30% reset in the standard of living. In gross terms, if the average wage is about $50k now, it will be similar to living on a $35k wage, without incurring debt for the difference.”

    The wife and I have been doing that for six years now. So far, it has not been too tough. Actually we try to make a game of it to see how “cheap” we can be. It will become very tough as inflation gains speed but we already own nearly a decade worth of new clothes and non-perishables that we add to monthly. Still, we are worried.

  5. Very good post, notably the part regarding car sales.
    Obviously, the numbers don’t add up.
    The more there are unemployed people, people on food stamps, people forced to retire with super low income an so on…, the more retail sales increase, or so are we told…

  6. IS – great job. You are Da Man. And your wife is Da Woman. It is a wondrous thing when spouses pull together, and makes life much easier. I have been blessed with this, too. My only gripe is she has developed a taste for Scotch and soda. No cheap stuff for her – nosiree – she takes only my best single malt when I am not looking and adds soda to it. The horror the horror. I have created a monster.

    1. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it! You and I are not in the Big Club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you in the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to believe, what to think and what to buy.

      The table is tilted folks, the game is rigged.

      Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard working people, white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard working people continue, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about…give a fuck about you! They don’t care about you at all, at all, at all.

      And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.

      That’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans are and will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white, and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth, it’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

      George Carlin

  7. New Chevy Volt commercial:

    Oh crap, it’s been taken off the web because of copy write infringements.

    I have it on my hard drive. How do I get it here, it’s pretty funny.

  8. “We’re not moving toward Hitler-type fascism, but we’re moving toward a softer fascism: Loss of civil liberties, corporations running the show, big government in bed with big business. So you have the military-industrial complex, you have the medical-industrial complex, you have the financial industry, you have the communications industry. They go to Washington and spend hundreds of millions of dollars. “That’s where the control is. I call that a soft form of fascism — something that’s very dangerous.”

    Ron Paul – 2007

  9. Admin: I hate to admit it but your list of psychopathic traits fits many boomers to a “T”. Now later in life these worthless fuckers can’t understand why no-one wants to be around them.

      1. Avalon thought a better title for the article would have been: Jesus Take the Wheel.

        It’s probably more fitting. We would need a miracle to get out of this situation.

  10. Peter Drucker, in his ‘Concept of the Corporation’ back in 1945 noted that GM recognized that 85% of the market was for used cars. To sell new ones, buyers for trade-ins that still worked perfectly well had to be found. As much as a native Detroiter can, i see that this leads to eventual saturation, initially of the car-per-household market, then the car-per-driver market, and then, possibly, the ‘hobby-car’ market, when cars outnumber drivers. It is unsustainable, but the logic of marginal utility-driven production almost demands it, as Jos. Schumpeter described it in ‘capitalism, Socialism and Democracy’ in 1943. it’s not like this hasn’t been obvious for a long time.
    The same thing has happened with computers, and Apple is the new GM, with the late Steve Jobs serving as the Harley Earl of the personal computer/iStuff world. the seeds of eventual collapse are planted with each new level of success.
    Thanks for a fine post – sobering reading on a Monday morning.

  11. Headline in the NYT. It must be a recovery.

    Surprise Increase in Rates Is Credited to Signs of Recovery

    Published: March 18, 2012

  12. My wife and I gave our 2003 car to our daughter for graduating college, so looked for a new one. Found the one we wanted, made the deal on the phone, I sent her to go buy it. Write a check.

    She came home with a new credit card with $30,000 in payments. WTF? How did they talk her into that and why wouldn’t someone want the cash?!?

    I wrote a check a month later. The system is so screwed up. What’s funny is they can’t find who to bill Sirius radio to, so we get that for free.


  13. “The relatively small number of wealthy men thinks they are smarter than the masses and can manipulate them through their control of the government, the financial system and the media.”

    They don’t think, they know it, they peruse People of Walmart too. There is no People of Honest Means website glorifying our existence, or resistance.

    “The answer is just what you expected. A phenomenal amount of debt peddled to people without the means or intent to ever repay the debt by the usual suspects: Ally Financial, Capital One, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and Bank of America. ”

    I was really interested in this. In 2010 I paid off my “box” through Capital One. I never, not one time, not ever, have been approached by them to buy another car. Me, a debtor that made every single payment, on time, through the same bank account. They don’t want to lend money to someone with a low debt load, steady job, history of fulfilling contracts and a 760ish credit score?

    Now it makes sense, lend to me and the economy goes to shit, I might let you take back your car if I can’t afford it, but I might make the payment. Lend to a deadbeat and either the government will help you take back the cars, or pay for them outright.

    All of the government backed financing is to keep the auto unions happy until after November.

    If (when) Obama is re-elected, there are whole segments of our society that are going to be feeling major pain, but they won’t be able to do a damn thing about it then. Fools.

    Guess the lesson is, fiat on until you just can’t fiat no more.

  14. A bunch of clueless morons on Zero Hedge think this is an anti-car article.

    I’m so thankful that TBP members and commentors have IQs vastly higher than the drones that troll on other sites.

    The commentary on this site is far superior to any commentary on any site on the internet.

  15. “A good government produces citizens distinguished for courage, love of justice, and every other good quality; a bad government makes them cowardly, rapacious, and the slaves of every foul desire.”

    Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Antiquities of Rome

  16. Really? Anti-car?

    How’s about anti-dumbass decisions. I’ve bought new cars/trucks and I regret it. I’m on pennance in a junker pickup because I KNOW I’m POOR!!!

    I paid them off, sold them and said “Fuck it!”

    Funny… if you do a little math, calculate opportunity cost of driving a junker, it doesn’t matter how po you are. SAVINGS appear. STRESS disappears.


  17. Two points here:

    1) Personal transportation isn’t only convient its also an expression of liberty…

    2) Its NOT a Ponzi scheme… Let’s not forget caveat emptor…

    Maybe its time to consider dumping your present posture

    Its just a thought…

    1. juandos

      You’re another clueless moron that can’t even comprehend what the fuck the article was about.

      Comments like yours are a reflection of America – dumbasses out the yazoo.

  18. Card802

    Regarding the Chevy Volt commercials.

    It may be gone from the internet ……. but, have you been watching the NCAA basketball tournament? GM has been running Chevy Volt commercials quite often.

    Basically it is a “testimonial” type commercial …. HAPPY Volt owners breathlessly exclaiming how happy, delighted, and fulfilled they are with their wonderful Volts.

    Truly pathetic.

    And it merely reinforced to me that truly EVERY commercial is basically a lying sack-‘o-shit piece of propoganda and bullshit.

    1. Meanwhile, GM shut down production of the Volt last month.

      Maybe some creative financing from Ally Financial will do the trick.

      0% financing for 100 years or until your battery explodes and burns you to death.

  19. Here’s my love affair with the automobile.

    I bought a 1996 Buick Century last month for $2,975 cash.

    I’ll be driving it for at least the next 5 years (or, $49/month) …. and probably 10 ($24/mo).


  20. Jim

    Not that it’s all that important but …

    I am NOT imagining the Volt commercials I saw the past two days. Yet the factory is shut down per your link. How the fuck does that work??

    Again .. not that important but I just don’t get it.

  21. Juandos:

    So debt is an expression of freedom?

    Hey, if you can afford to drive a big-engined guzzler when gas jumped 28% in a month… go, be “free”.

    Yet these sales aren’t made to people who can afford. They’ll all be part of another “Credit Crisis” where taxpayers foot the bill… again!

    Caveat emptor my ass. MORAL HAZARD.

    Price fixing! Market ignorance! Buy high, sell low!

  22. I have for years been a believer that the American people are as much to blame as the government and corporate manipulators. Most of the middle class have come to believe that they really deserved the faux lifestyle they were living. It never mattered that they had to spend 136% more than they earned each year to acquire the appearance of it. They were so dumb that they believed they were born as royalty and deserved to live better than the rest of the world. Born in the USA stamped accross their ass meant a deserved ticket to a life they never earned. Bernays learned early to capitalize on the stupidity and gullibility that was already there. Add ego to that and you got a beautiful recipe for where we are now, fucked. Manipulating an entire generation through it’s stomach and ego is not a show of exploitation of the innocent but rather a show of stupidity by the masses.

  23. “Tesla Motors, an electric car company located in California, ‘only’ lost $35 million in its 3rd quarter after burning $465 million of taxpayer funds issued by the Obama administration. This month taxpayers ‘only’ lost $9 billion dollars from Government Motors’ IPO, despite perfectly timed hype from Motor Trend naming the government-subsidized Chevy Volt as ‘Car of the Year’ – without a single Volt ever being sold – a vehicle the Obama administration is going to offer $7,500 worth of tax and ‘clean-car’ incentives to bribe consumer purchases.

    Taxpayer-Funded Tesla failed for trying to sell its ‘earth-saving’ $92,000 EV that cost $140,000 to make. It is estimated, conservatively, the ‘$33,500′ Chevy Volt will cost $81,000 per unit to produce. Naturally, taxpayers will make up the difference…another affirmation our ‘democracy’ is cleverly being used as a smokescreen for those disseminating their socialist and communist agendas.

    President Barack Obama’s administration has bought almost a fourth of the Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. hybrid vehicles sold since he took office, accelerating federal purchases as consumer demand wanes.

    The U.S. General Services Administration, which runs the government fleet, bought at least 14,584 hybrid vehicles in the past two fiscal years, or about 10 percent of 145,473 vehicles the agency purchased in that period, according to sales data obtained by Bloomberg under a Freedom of Information Act request. In fiscal 2008, hybrids accounted for less than 1 percent of government purchases, the data showed.

    The government is boosting investment in a technology that has failed to win broad acceptance after more than a decade in the marketplace. Consumer sales of hybrids are headed for their third consecutive yearly decline. Government agencies and businesses have said they also will purchase all-electric models being introduced by automakers including GM.

    “At some point, the reality is that for this technology to be accepted, it needs to be done without a government crutch,” said Jeff Schuster, director of forecasting at J.D. Power & Associates in Troy, Michigan”.

    The Obamamobile

  24. So far only one dumbass posted. That is a great ratio. TBP members are nothhing if not great at running of dumbasses.

  25. WTF? Not one comment has turned that pretty pink color? Not even juandos?

    That’s GOT to be a TBP record.

    Ron Paul eats shit. There … that oughta do it.

  26. Stuchenstein:

    I disabled images on my phone so the ads quit crashing the browser…. that means I can’t thumbs up/down nada til I get to the lap top…

    Then I’ll throw a thumbs down your way, promise.

  27. I lived with one car I shared with my wife for 10 years. I rode my bike, took the bus etc and I’ll tell you it wasn’t easy. I finally purchased a car after my job relocated to a ghetto neighborhood and there was no way in hell I was going to bike or bus there. We live in a society where you almost have to have a car, otherwise your at a major disadvantage. Manhattan is the only place I’ve been where living without a car is better, everywhere else everything becomes a major chore.

    Not having a car in America is almost like being a cripple. Take a trip across town, two hours and transfer in a crap area hoping nobody decides to mess with whitey. In winter you freeze at the bus stop and the bus will be late and then hope to God the high school kids on the transfer bus don’t get on and raise hell.

    The United States demands you get a car, or your for the most part a lower class citizen. This isn’t Holland or Denmark. We sold our soul to the Devil and now he wants to get paid. There is no plan B. The US is massively spread out and suburban to survive without autos. We can’t rebuild the grid. The gird is far to low density and sprawling. We fail without the auto.

  28. Jim wrote, “And Obama didn’t even offer us a cigarette afterwards.”

    Damn it! That is freakin hilarious and deserved repeating!

    Your thoughts on your drive through the squalor and all the new leased mobile mcmansions were great. I’m sure you can thank the government for the decreased lease pricing….since, atleast here in California, if you have a leased vehicle the government considers that a valid expense when figuring out snap/medicaid benefits and, in contrast if you own your vehicle outright, they place it down as property that is held against you when figuring out if you qualify for assistance.

  29. I have just finished reading some case studies of upper-middle class people that have fallen into homelessness. These folks were well-educated, and had incomes of $150k – $1 million per year. These earnings extended over several or many years in most cases.

    The common thread for these folks was that they were pigs and not squirrels. They ate everything in sight, borrowed heavily to support the maximum lifestyle possible, and paid for nothing outright. Their cars were leased or on finance, their homes were heavily mortgaged and remortgaged, they ate out constantly, had gym memberships and country club memberships and sent their kids to private school. They had stock options worth millions in some cases, and didn’t crystallize their gains, and often borrowed heavily against their options in hopes of leveraging even higher gains, and by so doing managed to chrystallize tax gains and ended up with huge tax bills but no cash to pay for them.

    Then they lost their jobs. And then they couldn’t find jobs quickly. And so lost their homes and their spouses and their cars. And then they often turned to drinking, and hence became truly unemployable forever.

    They were pigs – they consumed everything they could get their hands on, to the extent that credit would allow it. They had no savings, so their buffer was very short – in a matter of weeks they were doomed, and new jobs take more than weeks to find. They hadn’t squirrelled anything away for a rainy day. Hell, they eve admit that they couldn’t even conceive of a rainy day – they were masters of all they surveyed – what could happen, right?

    My wife and I decided when we were married we would try to carry no debt. During our decades together, we have managed this except for 1 used car bought on finance, and paid off very quickly, and a mortgage on our first home, which was paid off in a very few years. Otherwise, we have been successful in carrying no debt. We save more than we spend – we save at least half our income these days. We take gains when they present themselves, and do not risk all of our eggs in one basket. We pay cash for everything, and negotiate every substantial purchase vigorously.

    Everything we have today we owe, in large part anyway, to the decision we took all those years ago that we would carry no debt if humanly possible. We became squirrels. There were years that went by when we didn’t eat at a restaurant, as we were paying off a mortgage. We budgetted and scrimped and tucked money away at every opportunity. We lived a very austere life. We no longer do so – we live extremely well and do not generally consider money at all anymore, exept to ensure we save.

    Each of those people I read about brought their plight, by and large, onto themselves. They did not have anything to fall back upon, and so did not have time to recover. They built their future on sand, and not on rock, and the first wave washed it away. Far, far too many middle-class folks in the country are doing the same, and many will come to grief as a result. There will be enormous pressure from certain sectors to take from the squirrels and give to the floundering pigs. I say to this, as cold-hearted as it seems, that it is not my problem. The pigs need to suffer the consequences of their own actions. It is not my problem

    I advise all to work with your partners and spouses to come to a decision to carry no debt, and to squirrel away nuts for the future. The short-term austerity will pay dividends in the end. I advise all without spouses and partners to find life-partners that are supportive of being squirrels, and not to join with pigs, as that road leads to heartbreak.

    My two cents, for what it is worth.

    1. llpoh

      While you were living a life hell bent on no leverage, your government had other ideas. You, your wife, and your kids EACH owe $400,000 for the existing and future debts of this great nation.

      That’ll teach you to play by the rules.

  30. Admin – I won’t cough up my $400k until the rest of the bastards do.

    I meant to mention that in there somewhere, but forgot. Nonetheless, being a squirrel offers a lot more opportunity for survival than being a pig. It isn’t the certainty it once was, but I still cannot advocate giving up. But it may well be too late.

  31. “The U.S. has a higher number of motor vehicles per capita than every country in the world at 845 per 1,000 people.”

    It wouldn’t be this high if states like AZ didn’t pass laws making it illegal to pick up illegal aliens standing out side Seven/Eleven in order to bring them to my house to mow the lawn or clean the garage. Now they have to drive here themselves, thus more cars.

    Nooo….. I’m not serious.

  32. DaveL makes another asinine comment. Where do you come up with this shit? Did you have a closed head injury as a child? Do you teach at a University? Holy shit for brains.

    Interesting stories Lipoh.

    Americans have every right to drive the biggest, most gas-guzzling cars and trucks they can borrow to get. Can’t wait to see the car lots and the side of the road used car sales forthcoming. They have every right to buy as much Asian shit as they can fit on their credit cards. I’ve never seen so many new Lexus’ and Toyotas lately. Another useless observation. Yawn.

  33. AWD – thanks. Despite some previous fun and games we are on the same side. Hell, for the most part I even admire doctors.

    Plus sometimes the firefights are for the peanut gallery. Gotta keep them interested and alert.

  34. “Admin – I won’t cough up my $400k until the rest of the bastards do. “-LLPOH

    Coughing it up is not an option. The value will simply be extinguished through various financial instruments in a cascade fashion. Its unlikely to occur simultaneously through all asset classes, some will collapse before others based on Political and Banking imperatives we are not generally privy to in advance. One of the biggest problems you have is in certain types of securities and stocks that are highly illiquid. Unloading them in a rapidly deflating market is just about impossible if you are not on the “inside” of the game.

    Anyhow, the biggest risks right now are in FOREX and in Equities. If you are invested in either, hopefully you are hedged. Regardless though, its going to be pretty hard to keep any portfolio at near par value once a few major collapses occur. Most paper wealth will simply vanish, the money won’t be there to bid the assets due to collapsing leverage.

    It will be an interesting shakeout to say the least.


  35. What is illogical about loving cars? I wrecked my car and took the bus for over a year and it sucked a wet grocery sack of hairy donkey dick!
    If you have little kids, life without a car sucks, no matter how good the public transportation is in your area.

  36. I’m merely responding to the first sentence which claims that the American love affair with the car is illogical. There is nothing illogical about loving cars. Cars are awesome tools.

    Just because a large number people and organizations have their cars tied up in credit ponzi, that doesn’t mean I do, nor does it mean that I fall into any other generalizations and you’ve made. Why do you think I took the bus for a year? Because I pay cash for my cars.

    If I choose to own a gas-guzzler (which I don’t), that’s my prerogative. The stats and charts don’t show that I bike 6 days week so I can enjoy a Sunday cruise in gas guzzler. Nor do they show that 9 of 10 of my cars are collectors items that haven’t been driven in 10 years.

    It’s ironic that you assumed I belonged to your imagined collective. I thought this site was about individuals and freedom. I guess the government isn’t the only one with one-size-fits-all myopia.

  37. If you make a dumbass comment that has nothing to do with the article, I’ll call you a dumbass.

    Pretty simple.

  38. The most important sentence sentence in any prose is the introductory sentence. It sets the tone for the entire article. But you decided to use a sentence that has nothing to do with the article. Who is the dumbass?

    I like your blog, and you have a lot of great articles, but you should take a writing class before you go apeshit on someone for responding to your own words. Words have meanings.

    1. I can’t help it if dumbasses don’t have the inclination or ability to read past the first sentence. I know it requires thinking and trying to understand concepts and make connections. That is too hard for many people. What is illogical is your comprehension abilities.

      Words do have meanings. Too bad you were unable to comprehend the article. I’ll write the next one at your 3rd grade comprehension level.

  39. First, there are some good points in the column. We should and will become more fuel efficient as the market responds. But try to not sound so hysterical. It will happen steadily. No emergency response needed. Yes, the higher prices will hurt the economy. But that’s already set in stone. Any “fuel savings” we achieve will just make fuel cheaper for China and India and their use will increase more rapidly. That’s how markets work. Meanwhile if we force change too soon we could damage the economy, to little lasting gain.

    Second, lay off the hysteria about gas prices destroying people’s lives. Not everyone commutes 15,000 miles a year. Gas going from $4 to $5 means a family with 24,000 miles total use in 18mpg average SUV/Crossover type vehicles spends about $100 more a month. Their food and utility bills will rise more than that. Inflation will erode their savings by many times that amount.

    Not every guy in a pickup has a small wee wee. I use mine for work with 1500 lbs in the bed every day. I bought a Ford that gets 15mpg with the load in it. Sorry, that’s the best one can do now. I drive a whopping 5,000 miles a year in it, by the way. Meanwhile, someone in their “green car” who drives 20,000 miles commuting uses more fuel than I do. Who do you think builds those fences, does the gardening, and hauls the stuff around? Guys in Priuses?

    Third, even if prices hit $5 it’s not that huge a difference for many people. A “8 cylinder luxury car” driver couldn’t care less if his gas bill goes up 25%. He’s driving a $90,000 car! His depreciation bill is more worrisome.

    Look around. Things are improving. My truck gets 15mpg working and 18mpg for leisure use. Just 7 years ago my truck was getting 11/13. That’s about a 33% improvement. My 4300 lb “crossover” gets 21 city and 25 on the highway. If you can find a way for me and my family and 3 dogs to get around in something better than that, let me know. Oh, and we only use that vehicle for about 7,000 miles a year.

    The solution is more efficient trips, less frivolous use of cars, moving closer to where the jobs are (or rather, moving the jobs to where the workers are) and being smart about when and where you drive. The only way that will happen is….HIGHER PRICES. Let it happen.

    1. Bruno

      The fucking article has nothing to do with fuel efficiency of cars. It says nothing about gas prices destroying people’s lives. I’ve never seen more dense people not able to understand the point of the article.

      The article is about the Federal Government and Wall Street shifting their debt onto the backs of the American taxpayer. It’s about captured financing companies issuing loans to people who should not be getting loans. Do you understand the leasing part of the equation? $5.00 gas will result in huge losses for the finance companies who made bad assumptions. The losses will be foisted on the back of the American taxpayer.

      The fucking article has nothing to do about gas mileage or what kind of car you drive.

      Jesus you people are thick.

  40. “Just because a large number people and organizations have their cars tied up in credit ponzi, that doesn’t mean I do, nor does it mean that I fall into any other generalizations and you’ve made.” —- Mike

    Hello!! Earth to Mike!! The article wasn’t written directly to YOU !!! So, why in the hell are you taling it so PERSONALLY??

    You’re like the phat phuck boomers on this site who get all worked up when Admin calls boomers phat phucks when all he is saying is that boomers are GENERALLY phat phucks but not specifically calling out any phat phuck boomers on this site but if the reader just so happens to be a phat phuck boomer (like me) that is only a coincidence and shouldn’t be taken personally. So, stop it.

  41. “Not every guy in a pickup has a small wee wee. I use mine for work with 1500 lbs in the bed every day.” —– Bruno

    The way that is worded makes it sound like Bruno has a 1500 lb wee wee in bed.

    But that can’t be right. Can it?

  42. Another contributor to the insanity is the Auto insurers. This must be a govt directive descended from the cash for clunkers program. My teenage son was driving like a teenager and spun out on wet pavement to hit the curb on a turn. Yeah it banged both tires on the drivers side, some damage but certainly fixable. The repair shop says “I can total this for you if you want, I have a good relationship with the adjuster.” Then the same thing happened to my friend, his teenage son rearended another car, bent bumper, radiator damage, again fixable. The repair shop wants to total it. Don’t we fix anything anymore? But then I realized, a fixed car is one less new car sold! The govt has to be behind this, it is too crazy for a sane person to comprehend. Has anyone else experienced this?

  43. ” … even if prices hit $5 it’s not that huge a difference for many people.” — Bruno

    That is one of the most clueless statements I have ever read on this site. Sorry, Bruno. It just is.
    “The solution is more efficient trips, less frivolous use of cars, moving closer to where the jobs are (or rather, moving the jobs to where the workers are) and being smart about when and where you drive.”

    Those are very good suggestions. But what about the people who are already doing some, or all, of these things?? $100 extra per month just for gas is a HUGE deal to such people … and there are many of them. Do you live in a bubble?

    I’ll bet you wrote to your congressman begging him or her to raise your taxes as well. Fine. But do you mind if I ask you to just stay the hell out of MY pocket?

  44. So why is the first sentence completely irrelevant to the article? Are there any other sentences that have nothing to do with the article? If it had nothing to do with the article, why did you write it?

    Maybe you could make a list of all the sentences we should disregard and which sentences you deem are worthy of a response. Or maybe you could color code them so we know which sentences you meant us to read, and which are meaningless. You could put it all in a chart! Or better yet, you could learn to write and refrain from adding sentences that have nothing to do with the article. That way, you could spare us all from your ad hominem rage.

    1. Mike

      I’ll spell it out for you dimwit.

      It’s illogical to hock yourself up to your eyeballs or to perennially rent a vehicle because you love how you appear in that vehicle. Did you not understand the part about appearing successful versus being successful? The fucking article is about debt, not cars. It’s about the Federal Government subsidizing morons at the expense of taxpayers through subprime debt.

      You might be the most clueless dupe I’ve come across on TBP. And that is saying alot, because Bruno just showed up.

  45. Another tax Mike, aka the GrammarCop, would like to impose.

    Mike will no doubt laugh his ass off at this.

    Seriously … Jimmeh …. you are a turrible write. Just TURRIBLE. You might consider using this service below. We don’t want to lose Mikey, or confuse him any more than necessary.

    1. Stuck

      I received an email from a dickhead who said he couldn’t take my article seriously because I used Americans rather than American’s. He said my “staff” should have picked up this dreadful grammar mistake and that he was available to proofread my articles.

      I refrained from responding. You know me. I prefer civility in all things.

      You can see some of my civil responses to David Pierre on Zero Hedge.

  46. Admin:

    I think you need to put an “idiots version” of your articles at the end. A brief synopsis so somebody with a 2nd grade education (like Mike, Bruno and DaveL) can understand what you wrote. They grew up buying term papers off other people and reading the “cliffs notes” version of everything, and watch the MSM short-attention-span news every day; so they are used to being spoon fed their opinions and information; saves them having to actually think or use what’s left of their brain.

  47. “Nooo….. I’m not serious.”

    AWD. What part of this comment didn’t you understand you fucktard? Get off my back you microcephalic.

  48. I understand that this article is primarily about cheap credit, debt, and the fake economic “recovery” – and I agree with you on that completely, but…

    America’s car culture is so ingrained primarily because of our built environment. In the 1950s we tore up nearly all our streetcars and destroyed our cities by building interstates THROUGH then, rather than merely connecting them at the periphery as Eisenhower had originally INTENDED the Interstate System to function. We replaced the streetcars with dirty buses, and white flight saw the exodus of the middle class into the suburbs hollowing out city cores.

    In the suburbs the only way to get around is by car, because there is no public transit, and there are rarely even sidewalks on the street! To get a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs, suburbanites drive 1 mile each way because roads are subdivided into collector roads, arterials, and freeways, rather than being designed as a grid leading to poor redundancy and inefficient land use thanks to segregated housing and retail land use.

    Now 2/3 of metropolitan America lives in the suburbs and commutes to work in cars rather than by public transit, because either: they are afraid of it, it runs too infrequently, it doesn’t exist at all. Cars are still “cool,” while trains, and primarily buses are for “poor people” or “minorities.” Bicycling to work is something only hippies do, or it is too far, and walking is totally out of the question.

    Why can’t GM make trains, even now? Rather than buying up the streetcars in the 50s through National City Lines, Firestone, Standard Oil, etc… why couldn’t they have just taken over streetcar production? Also, all the light rail systems being built now are supplied with foreign-designed (but built in America, thanks to Buy America provision) trains. Why don’t we have a company that designs AND builds them in the US? Why can’t riding the bus be “sexy” just like driving a Corvette is? Why don’t we build more bike lanes and sidewalks? Its a hell of a lot cheaper than building and maintaining interstates!

    1. Philip

      You are dead on.

      European cities and villages are designed for easy walkability, easy bike access, and have great small rail systems.

      Copenhagen is the perfect example of a city that does it right.

  49. Philip, all that will change, as the cost to own/drive a car becomes prohibitive. We already see people trading off to hybrid vehicles, even though fuel prices aren’t “too expensive,” yet. But when they do get too expensive, people will stop using their cars and will revert to whatever makes the most logic at the time — whether alternative-fuel vehicles, bicycles, moving back into the cities where everything is within walking distance, or whatever. It’s just the way it works. Markets evolve to meet demand, as long as any semblance of a “free” market is allowed to exist.

  50. Why it doesn´t surprise me, that US government is doing everything to impoverish its own citizens? Since Bush we can see that the mainstream media are supporting the politicians, who are corrupted by the corporations and banks
    As prof. Stiglitz has said, the government was just Privatizing Profits, Socializing Losses and the population is being indoctrinated by stupid and lying propaganda.
    Your article just shows how hard is to fight against it, because even if you know the truth. Another bubbles will arise, another declines in our economy will impoverish us and the whole world in consequence. But for how long?

  51. Admin

    Great article. Whew, am I ever glad I read through the comments thread because I was convinced the article was a subliminal message about the poor gas mileage of Ferrari’s.


    Fire away with more comments. Admin is too busy being civil with Mike and Bruno to notice.


    Great picture of that behemoth on the hood of the car. When it comes to an opportunity for fat pics, you NEVER disappoint.

  52. Admin

    I don’t post as often because everyone here picks on me, and you know what a sensitive and caring person I am.

    Just kidding. Except for a torn right bicep, I’m fine, but thanks for asking. I tore that sucker hitting out of a sandtrap. Golf is a dangerous sport.

    Lots of distractions lately, not the least of which is figuring out my income taxes, which I just totally fucked up by leaving out some considerable interest in an account (in my defense, I never got a 1099-INT). Now, I have to restart the whole fucking math drill from the very beginning.

    So, I’m in a foul mood. Maybe I’ll troll TBP tonight and try to vent my wrath on someone. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  53. “…the Wall Street psychopaths who won’t be satisfied until their looting and pillaging leads to complete collapse…”

    [Morris] Berman has written a trilogy of books on the future of America and tells [Nomi] Prins in this interview that America is in irreversible decline; it is a nation of ignorant people and hustlers and “At this point we can no more reverse our downward trajectory than we can turn around an aircraft carrier in a bathtub.” -Pam Martens

  54. “As the credit crisis recedes and underwriting standards begin to loosen, bonds backed by consumer debt such as auto loans, credit card payments, and student loans are becoming increasingly risky, Moody’s said on Thursday.

    Relaxed underwriting standards, more complex structures, and new untested market participants are just three of the trends suggesting that risk is on the rise for some sectors of the asset-backed securities market, Moody’s said in a report….

    With credit standards slipping in asset classes such as subprime auto loans, and risky crisis-era structural features showing up in transactions, credit rating agencies need to make sure they are keeping up with the deteriorating credit standards and rating the these bonds appropriately – which means withholding their coveted Triple A rating if it is not deserved, or making sure there are other features that mitigate the risks, said Moody’s.” (“As crisis fades, risk returns to asset-backed debt – Moody’s”, IFR)

    When your too big to fail toxicity is not an issue, apparently.

  55. Thanks, KB.

    If I tried to replicate the PGA Tour’s Spiderman’s (Camilo Villegas from Colombia) method of reading the greens to get a line on his putt, I’d be in a full body cast.

    And if I had that young lady driving the golf cart and caddying for me, I’d be on the course sunup to sundown. Can you imagine asking her to help me read the greens a la Villegas and what that would look like? Oh, my.

  56. Can you imagine asking her to help me read the greens a la Villegas and what that would look like? -SSS

    The game of Twister comes to mind.

  57. Fuckit.

    I post a picture of a little brown protuberance, aka nipple, and I catch holy shit from SSS.

    KB posts a very provocative very sexy porno pic of a totally naked drop-dead gorgeous woman and SSS refers to his “sunup to sundown” hard-on.

    Shit is all fucked up.

  58. The real proof of consumer’s intellectual bankruptcy is the scene that happens thousands of times every day. You seek “pre-approval” for a loan, either for a house or a car, and the lender tells you how much you can afford….really. People will shop for food at Aldi to save money but believe the advice of a lender that will profit greatly from the transaction. Really sad.

  59. KB posts a very provocative very sexy porno pic of a totally naked drop-dead gorgeous woman and SSS refers to his “sunup to sundown” hard-on. -Stuchenprank

    I dont see any sex acts in the picture. I was going to post a picture of what I found when I googled Naked Twister but thought it indecent [for this community] and decided not too.


    Its not ‘just’ psychos in charge its our whole culture thats psycho.

    Whether we have been led to this or have forced the rulers to react this way is equally abhorrent

    Our best bet is to abandon the material and go for growth – Agricultural growth

    Copper and silver disinfect water – water is the basis of all sentient existence, if you have it, you exist

    Oyster mushrooms and hemp grow prolifically, cheaply – this is where the WORLD can get its future food from

    If people dont switch on they will go extinct, and every passing day, is a another opportunity to change individually, as a society and as a species.

    Protect yourselves

    Love and Gratitude

  61. Oyster ‘shrooms and hemp, eh? Thats worse than pornography to SSS.

    “I dont see any sex acts in the picture.” says KB. Holy fuckity fuck fuck. Is THAT the new standard? Sex act = no .. anything else = yes? Goddamn, the hits on this site will soon go through the roof.

  62. Stucky

    I have no problem with hemp, which is a useful plant with a very low THC content. The U.S. is the largest importer of hemp products in the world. Hemp is grown legally in places like France, Ireland, and Chile, but not here. Insane. The cannabis plant (marijuana) is another story.

    Re “Is THAT the new standard? Sex act = no .. anything else = yes?” Let me clarify. No nudity!!!!

  63. Six years ago I was in debt $117,000.00 2car loans and 1 lease. Living the American dream. What an idiot I was I learned the hard way. I paid them all off and in the meantime learned the hard lesson of debt slavery. But no more Started a business with no money. Built it up. Learned to live frugally. Now six years later I am no longer a debt slave. Payed off all my debts and owe just on house. My business is thriving in a down economy. My business model consists of me and my talents god gave me. I created something that will make me 400,000.00 this year and let me pay off my house all because of a good idea. “there are 3 kinds of people in this world….1. Those who make it happen 2. Those who watch it happen. 3. Those who wondered what the hell happened. Which one are YOU!

  64. I waited this long to get into this thread just to see how Stuckinstein and llpoh would post knockouts for us to enjoy.

    The American “love affair” with cars is a multi-generational crock of shit.

    Our dependence on oil for transport and the end of it is an untended consequence of President Eisenhower’s program to build an Interstate Highway system in the name of national defense. Crock of shit from the start, doomed the efficient railroads and back in the late 50’s/early 60’s no one thought about oil depletion or dependency or anything else. The good times rolled and I lived through all of them. But it set in motion a sequence of events that have shoved up into a corner of living all spread out beyond the distances one can walk, bicycle, etc…. Gotta have public transport or a vehicle of your own.

    People have had cars for 5 (FIVE) generations now and everyone, being a majority of dumb as a stump, don’t understand how fucked we are by an unintended consequence of Interstate Highway program started 60 years ago!

    Now we’re fucked because those 5 generations of societal growth has favored suburbia over living close to where you work. (Ask Admin about that!)..

    We are about to be forced to move the other way. In two more generations, we will be building little towns and villages where you work within walking, bicycle or horseback from where you live. Do yourself a favor and read Kunstler’s “World Made By Hand” and “Witch of Hebron”. The only problem is what happens to us during the transition between the world now and the world then.

    A big die off is going to happen, that’s what. The adjustments necessary to re-route society onto a sustainable path is going to be a bloody one as large cities become untenable and populations flood into the countryside ripping and raping as they go because they have no choice to do it or die.

    And no place to hide except as an expat and without great luck, where ever you go will likely be worse than where you are. The ones that will survive already live in rural PA, IND, OH and are called Amish. Every they will live poorer and hungrier and they will have to give up their passive ways or die in the over run of animals from other places.

    Ah such a happy subject…. Enjoy the rest of your day..


  65. Muck

    The only thing that is a “crock of shit from the start” is that post you just made.

    Per you, the Interstate Highway System “doomed the efficient railroads.” Really, now. So I guess those doomed railroads are no longer hauling the big bulky stuff like coal, food grains, chemicals, cattle, and timber. Yes or no, Mucky.

    Now, I will grant you that passenger rail traffic went into the shitter in the past half-century. Did the explosion of commercial airliners since the 1950s have anything to do with that? Well, did it, punk?

    The population of the U.S. during Ike’s time was about 150 million. It’s more than doubled since then. So let’s take a look at what the Interstate Highway System also did while our population exploded. It permitted goods to be delivered to markets much more efficiently and quickly and thus saving untold billions of barrels of oil. It also created a ton of jobs in the transportation and the transportation support industries, the travel industry, and so on.

    Anyone who starts throwing darts at Dwight Eisenhower does so at his/her own peril.

  66. Dear SS: No darts have been thrown at what was probably the best President we’ve had post WWII.

    I said “unintended consequences” of Ike’s starting in motion of the Interstate Highway System thereby marrying us to diesel engined 18 wheelers 50 years down the line.

    The Interstate Highway System enabled this country to grow while the population more than doubled from when I was in high school (1952-56). It allowed us to grow as a country and contributed greatly to our economic success. No arguments there.

    You and I have no dogs to fight here. Railroads – which will be rejuvenated at time goes by – were indeed blown out of the water by the thunder of diesel engines in those 18 wheelers.

    But – I repeat – it was unintended consequences of that push toward highways large and small that has left us in an untenable position 60 years later as we have gotten used to 2 cars in every garage and cheap gas besides – which is about to come to a screeching halt.

    Those highways did their job – and sealed our fate – and now we get to figure out how to downsize, shrink our lifestyles and return to the small town, village sized civilization we had before the Interstates linked the USA together so efficiently.

    Without the Interstates, the railroads would be carrying a whole lot more of that coal, wheat, oil and other stuff. They will again, if we’re lucky.

    The airlines are pimples on the backside of automotive passenger loads. They have one advantage: they deliver you where you are going faster over medium to longer distances. That’s it. They will also be priced out of business real soon now as the cost of jet fuel prices them right out of the market.

    Peace, SSS, sir. I am not criticizing one of our best Presidents. I am merely pointing out that it really hard to predict what will evolve over 60 years from what was a really good idea.


  67. One of the things that’s also diminished the use of commuter rail in the U.S. is that some cities’ systems are, frankly, not serious about providing good service at a good price. Here in Massachusetts, the MBTA(Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) runs the rail system into Boston. It’s been a patronage saturated joke for decades. For years, you could start working at the MBTA and retire after22 years with a full pension. 22 years. A full pension. There’s not an economic concern anywhere that can absorb contracts as ridiculous as that. If the MBTA was run with an ounce of forethought they’d be expanding the parking lots at the commuter rail stations right now. One of the factors limiting the use of the rail is the dearth of parking spaces at their stations. I’m not kidding. I dated a girl who said it was a fight every day to get a spot at the station near her northwest of Boston. It was clearly discouraging additional folks from using the system. I’ve seen the same problem at one of the stations due west of the city. But the people who run the MBTA are just servicing the various state representatives and senators and Boston’s dim bulb Mayor Menino, providing patronage slots. The Public? They’re irrelevant.

    1. Fred

      We have the exact same problem where I live. I could take the Lansdale train to Phila, but you can’t get a parking spot at the station after 7:00 am. The trains are 50 years old. You are jammed in like sardines and they are always 10 minutes late.

  68. You know, guys, even the best presidents can make decisions that turn out badly, those unintended consequences bite back. Not to mention that maybe planning for rapid road transit for the military was fighting the last war.

    Or you could blame Henry Ford for turning a rich man’s toy to transportation for ordinary people which ultimately led to the rise of Suburbiastan.

    Hindsight is always 20-20.

  69. Mike (Muck About)

    Ahh, you and Novista defused a firefight. Stop being so polite and civil,,,,,please.

    Look, no president has a crystal ball into the future. The Interstate Highway System was a good idea then, and its pluses still outweigh the minuses.

    One counterpoint. The commercial airlines are not “pimples” vis a vis travel. Last year, 630 million passengers (that’s 2 flights per person in the U.S.) flew on domestic flights, with another 90 million on international flights. All time records. What’s your definition of pimple?


    Hint: don’t try to post anything ending in jpg.

  70. “You know, guys, even the best presidents can make decisions that turn out badly, those unintended consequences bite back”

    Presidents in this day and age use think tanks as their advisors. Obama used Think Progress and Bush used AEI.

    The great thing about being advised is that you can claim you got bad advice while those who give that advice say that those who took it didnt have to take it.

  71. @KB: That re-dating of post is yet another of WordPress’s wonderful properties. The stupid software puts a time tag on a comment post correctly, but dates them all as being posted the same date as the article was initially published. If you go down the comments, you will see 24 hour days roll by with a post made at “10:10 PM” followed by one tagged “8:24 AM” which means the second comment was made the next day!

    I hate fucking WordPress.

    @SSS: Pimple is what I said and pimple is what I mean. Air passenger miles are impossible to figure out because “passenger mile” is defined in about 20 different ways! Same way with automotive “passenger miles”. However, in the interest of further peace, I did some research and the link below will lead you to a summary of “passenger miles” using a large variety of transportation methods. You will see that airline passenger miles is indeed a pimple on the automobile’s backside. Well, maybe a carbuncle instead of a pimple. OK?

    Have a good on the links, SSS.. Don’t strain your back!


  72. KB

    My definition of porography is a fluid one that changes with the times.

    The 1st issue of Playboy was clearly porn at the time. Mild stuff now. In fact the pictures SSS posts of ladies in wet t-shirts with their nipples fully visible probably wouldn’t have even made it into Playboy back then,

    40 years ago The National Geographic we’d get in the mail had porn in it. Black women! Tits showing! Hoo-hahhh!!!!

    Today porn is a picture showing the insertion of any item into a vagina. Anything else goes. Times have changed.

  73. Muck

    I didn’t say passenger miles, I said passengers, as in 630 million PASSENGERS flew on U.S. domestic flights last year.


    I’ll tell you what porno is. Posting a photo of a hemorrhoid. Now who would do such a thing?

  74. SSS

    Ahem, I think your correction to Muck makes your position even less tenable … at 2 flights per year per capita vs. the cohort of soccer moms, and maybe JHK knows how many trips NASCAR racks up. And all the rest of the happy motoring population. Just sayin’ …

    I just finished writing part six of my Money series and brain fatigued so I may put off searching for relevant statistic just now. Maybe I’ll start with Greyhound.

  75. You humans are weird. Why does showing nipplage turn acceptable imagery into pron when otherwise the entire boob is on public display?

  76. One of the reasons the Volt facility is closed down is the actual dealers could not sell them and were about ready to revolt as GM was channel stuffing them to dealers to make the numbers look good. By the way to help GM out immelt the GE CEO ordered 7000 vehicles last year and make employees that travel use them or they do not get reimbursed for traveling.

    My vehicles are 13 and 9 years old. My wife and I are about to buy our last vehicle before we retire. I do not want to spend the money but her SUV simple has to go. Most Suv’s are driven by women where I live. Definitely not buying a government motors vehicle most likely a Ford.

    Funny how someone mentioned cash for a car. It really sucks now if you intend to pay cash for a vehicle. You do not get any incentives or rebates if you do not finance a vehicle. I was floored when they told us this. We saved and intended to pay cash for the next one but may finance and pay it off in two months to get the incentives.

    What boggles my mind now GM is again re-inflating the credit bubble with sub prime financing. I am sure the other dealers are doing the same unless they are foreign cars. Ally financing is the new GMAC!

  77. I don’t understand the debt slave chart. if my share is $50,000 in FRN then at about 1650 per ounce it’s only about 30 ounces of gold not 70.

  78. Novista

    The original argument between Muck and me was planes versus trains, as in commercial air travel destroying commercial train travel, not planes versus cars.

    I win. Commercial air travel buried commercial train travel decades ago.

    Look forward to your six-part money series, assuming you will post it here.

  79. KB My definition of porography is a fluid one that changes with the times. -Stucky

    Nudity, IMO, is not sexual acts. The golf cart girl was nude, but used her body position to hide certain features, but she wasnt engaged in a sex act with another person.

    It is to me a filmed, digitized today, sexual act that defines pornography.

  80. “What boggles my mind now GM is again re-inflating the credit bubble with sub prime financing”

    Wall street, imo, no longer creates the capital needed for companies to expand, thru stock sales, needed for that expansion. GM, btw, because it has become a ‘bank holding company’ is eligible to get zero interest loans from the fed, and to loan that money to purchasers at higher interest rates.

  81. “What boggles my mind now GM is again re-inflating the credit bubble with sub prime financing”

    Wall street, imo, no longer creates the capital needed for companies to expand, thru stock sales, needed for that expansion. GM, btw, because it has become a ‘bank holding company’ is eligible to get zero interest loans from the fed, and to loan that money to purchasers at higher interest rates. Not to mention that since GMAC has become a bank holding company it becomes too big to fail and will be bailed out. Its riske free. Under those circumstances risky credit bubble creation pays off even if it fails.

  82. People are trying to live the champaine life style on a beer budget. Energy prices well sink Obama,i try to imagine the look on peoples faces in Phoenix when they get theyre summer electric bill and it is like 600 bucks.
    People should sign up to buy my dads trade in cars,he buys a new car every year and loses his ass everytime,he likes to trade in at 40000 miles,he drives to other citys just to take my mom out for breakfast.Hey if it makes them happy.
    The gal with her hands spread,is she talking about how big something is?

  83. The electric features have been talked, but what’s really special about the Zero is
    its absolvitory nature. What if I could make it do ALL the work if I wanted.
    E-bicycle is a whole lot faster and there is a lot less work involved in comparison to a common bicycle.
    Lexus concept bike is an innovation of green technology. Your
    in all probability thinking these electric bikes cost a lot, but that is the place your improper.
    The generative mode now today does not replace any of the existing brakes.


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