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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?



  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,075
    edited August 2013
    Imagine a world where 90% of the people are driving 13 year-old hoopties and living in the 'hood or the trailer park! Of course we would have much more open space because there wouldn't be as many cardboard and Tyvek McMansions polluting our precious farmlands!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,684
    We live well below our means. I don't want my wife to struggle if I die first. So we don't have a mortgage or bills that exceed her income or mine. We share meals most of the time when we eat out. Don't do theaters and fancy restaurants. We do live in a nice home that is mostly paid for. Would not buy a new car if we did not have the cash to buy it. Always pay off the CC bill each month to get the perks. So I guess we are not making the Banksters and Wall Street criminals very happy.

    To me that is living the American Dream of independence from a tyrannical oligarchy.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,684
    You are right about polluting our farmlands. When I was a kid in Los Angeles everything South of us for 50 miles was orange groves and strawberry fields. The building boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s made that one huge subdivision.

    However there are other ways to pollute farmland. Growing corn for ethanol comes to mind.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,681
    edited August 2013
    Well good for you (seriously) . Apparently living under tyranny suits you. :)

    Living without debt gives me the flexibility to tighten the old belt pretty darn tight when the economy retracts and to have an emergency fund that really could last me more than a few years.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,684
    To me the tyranny is not being able to fly to Hawaii without being xrayed or groped. Having everything I post here on Edmund's subject to scrutiny by some over paid wonk. When any of our Bill of Rights are trampled we are under tyranny.
  • Well, being beaten at the airport is more like tyranny. Most of us in America suffer under the horror of being "inconvenienced".

    anyway, send $25 bucks to the ACLU and go car shopping!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,367
    "Ask the 89 year old if things are better or worse now than when she was growing up."

    Well, I'd say a respectful 'duh' to that, since the country was in depression from when that woman was five through sixteen.

    I'd ask her if she thinks things are better now than when she was about 22 through maybe twenty years ago.

    I'd ask her not only economically, but in every way. ;)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    My grandmother's cousin really never talked bad about the "old days". I think sometimes if you grow up in a bad time, you don't really realize just how bad it is, until you experience something better.

    Now Grandmom, she's old enough to remember when her parents had a car and a truck, a house in Harrisburg and a farm out in the country. They lost the farm in the Depression, as well as the car. Kept the truck, because her father needed it to survive for his business.

    Granddad grew up on a tobacco farm, first in North Carolina, then up here in Maryland. Had to drop out of school after 6th grade to help out with the farm and tend to his younger siblings. He was born in 1916 though, so that would've been before the Depression hit. There's an old, stately mansion nearby that had fallen on somewhat hard times, and his family lived in it during the Depression, and tenant-farmed the land. He ended up joining the Marines, in order to get work.

    Similarly, my other Granddad, on my Dad's side of the family, and born in 1914, had joined the Marines in order to find work. He lived in Tennessee, in a depressed area. Got out of the Marines in 1939, couldn't find work down there, so he came up here and started working for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

    Times were rough back then, but people found a way to persevere.
  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    Interesting about both of your grandfathers joining the Marines to find work in the late 1930's. Most people don't realize that America did not come out of the Great Depression until we entered WW2.

    I just went back and looked it up, unemployment peaked at 24.75% in 1933, but was still 14.45% in 1940.

    My father was born in 1919, and grew up on a hard scrabble farm in East Texas. In 1939, an Army recruiter promised him 3 hot meals a day, 365 days a year, and he signed up.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,367
    Both my parents came from homes where the Dad took off, although both grandmothers remarried pretty good guys. My Dad worked at the railroad car factory in our town during the war, second shift, after going to school during the day (that's the plant that had been in town from the 'teens to only a couple years after NAFTA).

    My mother was from New York City and was one of seven siblings. She said she cried most every day for the better part of the first year she lived in my Dad's little hometown! After Dad died, she made me promise to never move her anyplace out of town, and we didn't...she loved knowing most everybody and bumping into somebody she knew virtually everywhere she went. I miss that too. It's one of those things that if you didn't experience, it's probably hard to comprehend.

    Anyway, both of my parents were poor growing up. My Dad had a good job at our post office, with good hospitalization and retirement, sound saving habits, and retired at age 59.

    I'm not sure things are better now than 20+ years ago--overall.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,681
    edited August 2013
    well the cars are better than 20 years ago, but "better" as a generalization is...well...a generalization.

    I know I'M better off now than when I was 22, because nowadays 22 years old don't have to worry about being drafted and dropped into a jungle.

    Unemployment rate is the same it was in Dec 2008--7.4% and it was the same in 1993 and over 10% in 1983. So for most americans, things haven't changed much---perhaps it's just that different TYPES of people are now unemployed.

    Buying a car on credit isn't difficult these days--low interest rates and plenty of factory-financing deals.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    edited August 2013
    I'd ask her not only economically, but in every way.

    Exactly right. Or ask my 90 year old mom. She'll tell you everyone raised their own food so they didn't starve but times were hard. She'll also tell you just about *everything* is better now than in the "old" days. About the only downer she can think of is that you can't hop a passenger train from her old hometown and get to New Orleans. My mother-in-law in the UP used to take the train to Chicago back in the day too. And both moms lived in rural small towns. Cheap cars and cheap gas and airlines put the hurt on passenger rail.

    Most people back in the "good old days" didn't much live past their mid-80s, much less were they driving around at that age back then.

    My mother-in-law switched back to Buicks after a fling with BMWs in her 70s. My mom's last car was a Mazda Protege that wouldn't die. It really outlasted her ability to drive safely.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,727
    The unemployment counts have been "adjusted" since early days to reduce the number of unemployed. AND those who are employed are working more part time jobs now, at lower wages since more and more higher paying jobs left for overseas. Hard to get a loan when you're making $9.00/hr at the local fast market for 22 hours a week and 9.00/hr at a second part time job of similar ilk.

    More and more people here in the Western Ohio region are driving around in old cars. The newer cars are being sold to lots of older people on SS and other retirements along with the higher income folks who have come through the continuing recession just fine.

    And there are lots of new cars being sold in the last 9 months or so here. I keep wondering if it's a bubble that will taper off now that the need for replacements after people kept their money in their pockets for so long have replaced their worn out clunkers.

    And is this new car surge related to the cash for clunkers in the past where so many cars got traded for the government push to try to jump start sales back then? Fewer good used cars on market then. That was 4 years ago.

    This message has been approved.

  • It was hard to buy a car ANY time at $9 an hour.

    If the unemployment figures were "adjusted" to lower unemployment rates, then it was still worse in the early 1980s than now.

    As for more part-time workers, what that means is "less than 40", not 20.

    Sure, the rust belt and agricultural communities are going to take a harder hit, but many parts of the country are boomtowns right now.

    Even parts of Detroit are humming and being invested in. Just not the parts we see on TV. There's no "juice" in a success story about Detroit.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,008
    But remember that life also has aspects that are not necessarily quantitative. Quality of life reaches far beyond income and consumption data sometimes. I think that life today offers a lot of things that weren't available in yesteryear, but sometimes the price is loss of time and simplicity, and the enjoyment that can arise from that.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    Great post - I have a friend or two who "keep score" with their bank account and they can't understand why we quit cold turkey and took a year off in our "prime" earning years.
  • So very true. Some things you can't crunch numbers on. The trick is to not wish for a world that in reality never was---it's like with old car videos, or old car TV commercials---it all looks so idyllic in that Corvette---but you don't have to work that bear of a clutch while watching the film clip, or endure the waves of heat washing over you on a hot summer's day.

    What's happening (my two cents) is that people's time reference is shifting to the "present moment". Everyone now lives in the now, the immediate. There is no future or any past for many people anymore. Technology is of course driving this.

    Why else would you insist on e-mail in your car?
  • berriberri Posts: 4,008
    24/7; It's kind of sad to me really that some need this to feel wanted and important. No time to smell the roses because I might miss some critical email drivel of which, what - far less than 10% is actually important and useful, while the majority is boasting, false crisis and/or messes caused by misinterpretation. Funny thing to me is that so often I find that if people had just talked the email fiasco wouldn't have blown up in the first place. Technology can be great until it starts replacing emotion. Ironically, 24/7 probably reduces a person's capability over time because I think it just leads to group-think rather than innovation and real accomplishment.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,727
    edited August 2013
    > critical email drivel of which, what - far less than 10% is actually important and useful, while the majority is boasting, false crisis and/or messes caused by misinterpretation.

    Yup. That sounds familiar. And Facebook is a prime example. My wife just abandoned her Facebook after all kinds of irritating problems with the self-propagating efforts of FB to expand their knowledge for advertising. Then family took offense that she didn't live her life on FB with them. And that she didn't want every kid's constant emails with their school friends being sent to her email to make her look on FB to see what the drama is.

    Bad enough to try to make a point in print on Edmunds to have someone twist the point to try to make it different than originally it was. I can't imagine handling that while driving with my high tech infotainment center.

    And the higher equipped cars seem to come with the unneeded centers with 12-inch GPS and control center for the whole capsule. :(

    This message has been approved.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    I had a chat with my grandmother's cousin last night. I had to go over there to help her set a trap for the feral cats we have running around, as she's a bit too fragile to set it.

    As for the Depression years, she says she remembers a happy childhood. Christmas was nothing extravagant. You might get an orange in your stocking, but that was about it. But, she lived in a 5-bedroom house with indoor plumbing and a bathroom, which was a rarity around here. I don't think my house got a bathroom until 1950, when the county ran a water line through. And my grandparents' house, built in 1947, had a "wash room", but still had an outhouse.

    She went on to live in Washington DC for awhile, and met her husband in 1942. At the time, he manned an anti-aircraft battery on a hill at what is now the National Arboretum in DC. But then he went off to Belgium, Africa, etc, and came back with what today is known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

    She had her ups and downs through life, but I think she's done okay over the years. She says that in many respects things were "better" in the old days. For instance, she mentions about how as a 9 year old, she could go out at night and go visit her best friend who lived about a quarter mile away, and not be worried about anything. Truth be told though, our neighborhood isn't that could probably do that today, although today you'd have to worry about getting hit by a car at night.

    Oh, and yeah, back in the day, she remembers her family raising their own food. Everybody around here did that. In fact, at my house (wasn't my house then, obviously), I remember as a kid, there was an old chicken coop that was falling in on itself, out back by the workshop.

    And Grandmom and Granddad always had a garden, going back as long as I could remember. Granddad last had one in 1989, as he died in April 1990. But I remember that summer, helping Grandmom put one in, just because it was a habit for her. That habit eventually died off though, although every once in awhile, my uncle will till up a patch of ground in the spring, plant a few tomatoes or something, and then not tend to it so it just becomes a buffet for the local critters and such.

    As for cars outlasting their drivers, that's happened in my family, as well. I got Grandmom's '85 LeSabre, after she couldn't pass the eye test anymore. Ultimately ended up with Granddad's '85 Silverado as well. Grandmom kept it for about 5 or 6 years after he died, but then gave it to my Mom. She got a new F150 in 2002, and sold it to me. On my Dad's side, he gave up driving at 90, back in 2004, and he offered to give me his '94 Taurus. I didn't need it though, so another cousin got it, and it lived a hard life until he gave it away in 2012.

    My grandmother's cousin is still driving, but she doesn't know how much longer she'll be ale to. But, GM isn't making any money off of her, and neither is anybody else. She's still driving an 1989 Coupe DeVille that she's had since her then-boyfriend sold her back in 1992. Before that, she had a 1979 Volare wagon and before that, an early 70's Duster with a 318. So, in my lifetime, she's only had two brand-new cars. That Caddy has spoiled her though, and she says she'd love to get another. I doubt if she'd be able to even see over the dashboard of a modern Caddy though...or most modern cars. I'm sure she'd have major visibility issues with all the high beltlines, thick pillars, and such.
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