Pumping It To Me

Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you is what I say.  After a dismal showing at the Detroit Auto Show the automotive companies announced that they would like to see a “higher gasoline tax as an incentive to buy their fuel-efficient cars.”

Personally, I don’t know about you, but I am getting a little tired of their act at this point in the game.  Here is a novel idea, build something worth a —- and the American public will rush to buy it, this business ethic or economic model has been proven over and over.

The automotive industry is espousing this idea of higher taxes on gasoline to force buyers to keep considering fuel-efficient and small cars.  They have shifted over production dramatically to reflect this trend, no longer having the bread and butter truck sales they have enjoyed in the past.  They saw how fast consumers with the lemming mentality or herd characteristic rushed out to buy small cars during the last round of fuel pricing in this country.

Now they are saying without this tax and higher prices on fuel, consumers will turn back to larger vehicles, crossovers and trucks, which they are producing fewer numbers of.  That they “need” this to stay competitive in today’s market.  Bull.

We help them out, and now they want to push prices on motor fuel upwards into the $6 per gallon range and force us to buy their products.  Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t this come under the heading of extortion?

Here is where the extra gas money goes, when the prices are down, the American consumer has more money to spend in other areas of life, such as:

  • Groceries 48%
  • Savings 42%
  • Credit Card debt 30%
  • Entertainment 10%
  • Home Improvement 9%

(survey of 3,013 consumers margin of error = +/-2%)

So now we are being told it is time for — Cash for clunkers — This one is really rich boys n girls, you are going to love this.  Sixty percent of the 21 million barrels of oil we consume daily in the United States is used by the nation’s 250,000,000 cars and light trucks. Our continued reliance on oil to drive the transportation sector is deepening our economic crisis, hurting consumers at the pump, and sending more than $500 billion in U.S. capital out of the country to oil-rich regimes.

The culprit?  Your old “paid for” car or truck.  Nothing is being said about the legions of trucks running up and down the Interstates of America, half loaded, sucking down diesel fuel to the tune of 4mpg.  It is YOU and your OLD CAR this is where the problem lies.  In the end, when it comes to government, it is always going to be “you.”

Cars which are 13 years or older account for only 25 percent of the miles driven, but they produce 75 percent of all pollution from automobiles. As the economies around the world improve, so will the demand for crude, and thus the cycle begins anew, prices will climb steadily upwards again.  What we have now is just a temporary fix to a bad problem.

This new Cash for Clunkers program would target Americans who own older, inefficient vehicles, often those of more limited means who would benefit most from upgrading to a more economical model. It is also touted as being streamlined for the consumer.  Cash for Clunkers could be up and running quickly and immediately and it would generate simulative benefits for the economy without requiring a major new government bureaucracy.

Yeah?  I will believe that one when I see it.

The vehicles would be sold to salvage yards, with the proceeds of reclaimed steel and used auto parts being returned to the U.S. Treasury. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which already administers rebate programs focused on domestic appliances, is well positioned to oversee such a program.

With an average premium per car of $2,500, including handling fees for dealers, the program would require an annual outlay of approximately $5 billion dollars to scrap 2 million gas guzzlers each year. The total cost of the program would be offset substantially by the high salvage value of steel and auto parts, which is on the rise.

Wait a minute:  This is bogus information, scrap metal, aluminum, brass all of it is actually on the decline, not on the rise.  Don’t believe everything you read.

Cash for Clunkers would provide much-needed infusion of market demand to the troubled automobile industry, which has seen sales plummet amidst the faltering economy. The program has the potential to take millions of the oldest, most inefficient vehicles off the road and shift the entire market toward newer, more economical models, increasing demand and creating jobs.

Then when they (the automakers) get in a better position, and with an infusion of new free money, find themselves fit and healthy, they come around and bite you in the rear or stab you in the back, which ever works out the best for them.  One more government parasite to suck the lifeblood out of you.

“Be ye not the first to try the latest, or the last to cast the old aside.”

It is time, as my daddy used to say, “To fish or cut bait” boys.  Either get with the program, build a better mousetrap or go under.  But stop sticking it to me, I am tired of it.


Loose Change

loose-changeSome of my friends, not all of them mind you, but some of them think I am crazy for doing this.

You see, like most Americans, their personal measure or standard for success is “money.”  If you are making a great deal of money at it, then it naturally figures, that you are a success.

The old standard of doing a good job, getting something accomplished for the betterment of man every now and then, all of that, it doesn’t count, if you are not making money while doing it.

Say it aint so …

Back in the seventies I got into this custom car craze, and I built a 138″ long wheelbase Dodge Van, that was by most accounts, pretty slick.  Fully carpeted, 10 stereo speakers, captains’ chairs, the whole nine yards.  It was a traffic stopper and received a lot of attention.  I entered it into a car show and came out of the show with a solid second place overall, which was okay, not great (I wanted #1).

The number one question people had when they looked inside was “how much?”  Not does it have this, or that, do you ever take it on trips, how much fuel does it use?  Just — How much?  It didn’t matter that I had added something like 4 miles of wiring to it, that I had increased the fuel mileage by reprogramming the transmission, changed out the intake manifold, added new exhaust system, re-geared the rear-end, that it had a CB radio on most days could talk about 37 miles.  None of those things mattered.

All I heard was — How much?

Now some thirty years later I am into a completely different arena of life, but the same old tired questions keep surfacing.  How much?  These same people who evidently did not move on or go away, are once again appearing to haunt me.  These are the people who now consider a large amount of hits as a cash crop, not as visitors.

The amount of visitors to your site indicates that you are at a successful point (monetarily speaking) where you can “sell the thing for an exorbitant amount of cash” or at best charge huge sums to advertise for say, Coke Cola or someone like that.

And believe me, I have tried to explain my position of “I am just doing what I like to do and that money seldom enters into it” over and over, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears.  Almost to the point of giving up.  “What are you up to these days Don?”

“Uh, not much, what’s new with you?” that kind of thing.

Each and every day in this country, we are bombarded with this “money standard” and for the most parts, it is getting to be redundant, at least on my end it is.  At least the word “trillion” still has some importance as denoting a lot of money, that so far hasn’t changed.  Billion which used to be a great deal of money, is being surpassed routinely and has lost most of its relevance or significance.

Take this New Deal thing that President Obama is ramming thru, it goes close to $2 trillion, it could go even higher, but it is capped because there has to be a point where the general public (the current taxpayer base) will balk at some of this drunken orgy of Washington spending.

President Obama during the campaign was cautious to say that his spending if elected would be at best, paid for.  Which in my opinion was a tad bit dishonest, but for the most part, that isn’t going to matter.  We are so far down in the hole now, that honesty in politics’ is never going to be an issue again.  If you do not believe that, then I have three words for you.

George – Dubya – Bush.

The Congressional Budget Office, the people that are supposed to keep track of all this, said last week that we are now going to have budget deficit of roughly $950 billion annually.

That my friends is a LOT of zero’s.

But like I said, “It takes a trillion to get anyone’s attention and then we have quadrillion after that.”  The first thing you know, “we are going to be talking some real money here.”

Lucky for me, I just do this for fun.