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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-16-08, 05:13 PM   #1
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The sqeeze on the $ will get worse

(This story fit's in with many topics about food riots, fuel price & when ,or if, we will drive a car
at all. It's possible that the bicycle will become more important that any of us ever could guess.)

We all know about the price sqeeze we all are facing on everthing.
This story details what the media won't tell or only hints at.

This is recommended reading if you want to factor what can happen
in your & your families life if you care not to far in our future.
(I think it's already started which explains many world events of late)

It's often said....."Knowledge is power or at least a good defense.
Denial is the path to hunger and want".

From the story......
http://www.alternet.org/audits/82476/
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-17-08, 07:38 AM   #2
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I read that yesterday. Even though the conclusions sound drastic the analysis was very conservative. For example Kare put peak oil plateau a decade or two out but others, like Kunstler has it two years ago.

The article really raises ominous points about wars and offers little hope of technology rescue since oil companies are claiming to lead but really blocking the new directions for energy.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
We all know about the price sqeeze we all are facing on everthing.
I hate to make a virtue of necessity, but I envision this as a good time to go on a diet, relax, stopping buying things, keep out of cars, watch the grass grow.

Could be fun...
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Old 04-17-08, 08:28 PM   #4
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I hate to make a virtue of necessity, but I envision this as a good time to go on a diet, relax, stopping buying things, keep out of cars, watch the grass grow.

Could be fun...
And healthy.

Add a library card to the mix, and you might even get smarter!
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Old 04-17-08, 09:00 PM   #5
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There's a couple featured in this article who would benefit from getting rid of one car and using bikes more on so many levels...
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Old 04-17-08, 09:01 PM   #6
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Oregonians make tough money choices to get by
Two couples and a single woman tell how tough life has become as fuel and food prices climb
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
DAVID AUSTIN
The Oregonian

Escalating gasoline prices. Increasing grocery bills. Skyrocketing utility costs.

They're in the headlines every day, but Oregonians are feeling the pinch in ways they haven't seen since the last recession.

Tim Duy, a University of Oregon economics professor and the director of the school's Oregon Economic Forum, said working people are hurting more now because income levels haven't grown since the last recession in 2001. The American dream, he says, is moving out of reach.

"A decent job doesn't get you there anymore," he says. "It doesn't take much to throw an average person into debt with the huge increase in food bills and utility bills. You have families wondering how they fell so far behind. Even families that you could say were well off have felt the stress because the incomes are stagnant."

Officials with agencies that help the needy say they're seeing something unprecedented: More families with two incomes are joining other needy people seeking help with food, shelter and other essentials.

"We have so many more people coming in here, and they're embarrassed," says Traci White, social services director for Portland Adventist Community Services. "They say, 'Gas is up. My food costs are up. We just can't make it.' They feel like they're having to beg."

Some families, even those with two incomes, are just steps away from a fiscal catastrophe, White says. Others are getting pressed to make choices about which bills to pay.

Juggling payments

Take Dave Fossler and Kate Long, for example. A few years ago, a couple making a combined income of $52,000 a year could get by just fine. But today, it's a stretch.

Long considers herself a bit of a juggler when it comes to the bills she shares with Fossler, her longtime partner.

It's not uncommon for Long, a customer service representative for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, to push aside the electric bill to make sure the rent gets paid. Or maybe the gas bill goes overdue to cover Fossler's tool expenses for his job as a mechanic.

But that strategy -- pushed to the limit by soaring food and gasoline prices -- backfired last month when they found the gas had been shut off. The cost to reconnect it? More than $400, Long says. "These days when the bills come, we go, 'How do we pay?' " she says. "In the last six months, things really have kind of snowballed on us."

They rent a house but plan to move into an apartment or duplex to cut costs. Recently, they received a tax return but put it toward back rent. Long says they're now about a month behind in the rent but have an understanding landlord. "She trusts us," Long says.

Fossler, 44, and Long, 38, both work full time, but a combination of medical bills from her diabetes, bad luck with roommates and the slowing economy have put them in the hole.

As a mechanic, Fossler works six days a week on commission at a Southeast Portland garage. But with the sour economy, customers have backed off on maintenance and repairs. That starts a spiral that leads to him making less money. Also, he is paying child support.

When the couple first moved into their house, the $1,200-a-month rent wasn't a problem because they had a roommate who helped foot the bill. But she got pregnant and had to move out. Someone else moved in but quickly lost a job, leading to another lost roommate.

They don't have Internet service or cable TV. They rent movies, and Long takes the bus to work to save on gas. They own two cars but only drive one.

Meanwhile, food costs, they say, have gone up. They're paying about $200 a month more on food than compared with a year ago, Long estimates.

"A lot of people want to move forward and set themselves up for a good future," Fossler says. "But lately with us, it seems like we're going backwards."

"We have two jobs, and we're trying," Long says. "But it doesn't seem like enough."

Tough choices

Young couples have always struggled when it comes to money. But for Lindsey and Tim Burns, the struggle seems harder and longer these days.

Lindsey, in her second year of a two-year graduate program for counseling, wants to become a licensed professional therapist. For now, she makes about $150 a week as a part-time trainer at Curves.

Tim recently was moved from part time to full time at an office supply store. He gets health benefits for the first time, makes about $18,000 a year and says he looks forward to one day buying a house with his wife and having a family.

Given rising costs, however, that day may be further away than they'd hoped. Together, they make at most about $25,800 a year because Lindsey's job isn't permanent.

Rising gas costs hit them particularly hard because Lindsey has to drive two days a week to Longview, Wash., as part of an internship she has for her school work, a round trip of about 100 miles. With regular unleaded gas hitting an average cost of $3.49 a gallon this week, the trip cuts deeply into the Burnses' budget -- and their plans.

"Getting a house, getting a car that's reliable and then having kids is the plan," says Tim, 24. "But for that to happen, we're looking five years down the road before we have the kind of income that would support that. Right now, we just barely get by paying rent."

The bills for the Burnses are stacking up. Lindsey, 29, worries about paying her student loans from college and graduate school. She has about $3,000 in medical bills for a series of MRIs she had to get after visiting a neurologist last year. Insurance only covered a portion.

Tim's car broke down recently, and the couple had to borrow money from Lindsey's parents to get it fixed.

"I don't get my hair done, and we can't even go to the movies," she says. "We just can't afford to do those extra things. Dinner out for us is McDonald's or Arby's, and that's not all the time."

They also do without cable and the Internet, and going out at night isn't an option.

"I look at the economy more on how it hits us on a day-to-day basis," Tim says. "When my car broke down, we had to borrow money. We'd been saving up for an elliptical machine, but we had to put that toward paying for part of the car. It's rough because I feel like I was doing better when I was living with my mom. You just have to make tough choices."

Relying on experience

As a single person with a relatively low income, Joan Willie has long had to know how to deal with money problems. And these days, with rising expenses, things remain difficult. But Willie's experience in making ends meet has helped her cope.

The rising cost of food makes Willie cautious when she buys groceries. As a year-round gardener, she bolsters her supply with vegetables that she grows.

Willie, 54, lives in outer Southeast Portland and relies on a social service agency for help with some of her winter utility bills. The agency also provides space in a community garden for participants to grow produce.

Willie says she has chard, kale, onions, broccoli and collard greens as staples right now, "along with anything else that'll grow in these conditions."

"I can't deal with all the hassle of trying to get any food stamps, so I just eke things out and make ends meet," she says.

She makes roughly $9 an hour at a video store and puts in at least 20 hours a week. Sometimes, she gets overtime but there's rarely enough left over to save. She has to pay about $48 a month for health benefits.

She doesn't have a computer, cable TV or a cell phone. "Extras that I can't afford," she says.

The bulk of her income goes to the $575-a-month rent for her two-bedroom apartment. She owns a car but drives only to work and for groceries.

Of today's economy, she says: "When I was a kid, all it took was for the man of the house to go out and earn a paycheck. Now, if you're raising a family, both parents have to go out and work, and you'll be lucky if you can get by."
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Old 04-17-08, 11:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
(This story fit's in with many topics about food riots, fuel price & when ,or if, we will drive a car
at all. It's possible that the bicycle will become more important that any of us ever could guess.)

We all know about the price sqeeze we all are facing on everthing.
This story details what the media won't tell or only hints at.

This is recommended reading if you want to factor what can happen
in your & your families life if you care not to far in our future.
(I think it's already started which explains many world events of late)

It's often said....."Knowledge is power or at least a good defense.
Denial is the path to hunger and want".

From the story......
http://www.alternet.org/audits/82476/
Everything looks like shadows if you wear dark sunglasses.

Remember when.... The strong dollar and high cost of American production was sending production overseas?

Well, this is the flip side of that. The dollar gets weaker and USA produced goods/services become competitive. Eventually, people will have a chance at some real money in production.

So, you don't get your Chinese made $5.00 flip-flops at Walmart anymore, but maybe you can afford a pair of good leather shoes because you have a job.

Maybe, just maybe, America will get over the era of massive junk consumerism. Look around your dwelling. Is your life filled with junk trinkets that filled a need for gratifying purchasing for a moment, but later mostly took up space? It wasn't always like that. Maybe a steak once in awhile will be a treat and maybe you will start to think about buying one good quality article instead of three pieces of junk. Maybe you will make a loaf of bread in your own oven. Maybe you will drink a homebrew that your neighbor made.

Inflation won't be fun. It will suck. Somehow, however, we will all survive. Believe it or not, there will be happy times too.

One day at a time, my friends. If your stomach is full today and your blanket is warm, sleep well. The morning will be there when you wake up just as surely as it ever was.

Last edited by mike; 04-18-08 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:20 AM   #8
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They own two cars but only drive one.
So sell one. That's a bunch of gas bills paid right there.
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Old 04-18-08, 08:26 AM   #9
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So sell one. That's a bunch of gas bills paid right there.

As gas prices rise, will that extra car be more valuable on the market this year or next year?

I would expect a glut on the used car market.
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Old 04-18-08, 08:48 AM   #10
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What impressed me the most about the article was the realization is that energy is really a coin of the realm, that almost everything is affected by the cost of energy. The development of Ethanol was the element that revealed that it is all connected. Food or fuel, both are energy, its a bit like the old argument of guns or butter.
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Old 04-18-08, 09:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
Everything looks like shadows if you wear dark sunglasses.

Remember when.... The strong dollar and high cost of American production was sending production overseas?

Well, this is the flip side of that. The dollar gets weaker and USA produced goods/services become competitive. Eventually, people will have a chance at some real money in production.

So, you don't get your Chinese made $5.00 flip-flops at Walmart anymore, but maybe you can afford a pair of good leather shoes because you have a job.

Maybe, just maybe, America will get over the era of massive junk consumerism. Look around your dwelling. Is your life filled with junk trinkets that filled a need for gratifying purchasing for a moment, but later mostly took up space? It wasn't always like that. Maybe a steak once in awhile will be a treat and maybe you will start to think about buying one good quality article instead of three pieces of junk. Maybe you will make a loaf of bread in your own oven. Maybe you will drink a homebrew that your neighbor made.

Inflation won't be fun. It will suck. Somehow, however, we will all survive. Believe it or not, there will be happy times too.

One day at a time, my friends. If your stomach is full today and your blanket is warm, sleep well. The morning will be there when you wake up just as surely as it ever was.

Exactly. People seem to have really short memories when it comes to recessions. This current recession is cake (so far) compared with the late 70's, and the late 80's.

I remember the late 80's housing crash when the mortgage rates were in the double digits AND it was required to put at least 20% down. A lot of people lost a lot of money, just like today. And yet just like every recession, people might have been pinched a bit, but most overall did just fine.

People will adjust to both the high price of gas and the crashing dollar. In some ways it will be bad, in other ways it will be good.
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Old 04-18-08, 09:40 AM   #12
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I'm already seeing a lot of homeless people begging on the subways.
I may be young and naive but I don't seem to recall hedge fund managers making
one billion dollars, maybe they did back in the 80's.
side note, I was watching my old re-runs of the Mary Tyler Moore show and one
episode where Rhoda was dating a guy who appears to be "connected" turned out
he was an executive who wanted to be a forest ranger and quit his High paying
job making $30K a year.
be grateful you have a job.
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Old 04-18-08, 11:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I hate to make a virtue of necessity, but I envision this as a good time to go on a diet, relax, stopping buying things, keep out of cars, watch the grass grow.

Could be fun...
Very mature attitude indeed.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-18-08, 11:44 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
I would expect a glut on the used car market.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
Especially a glut of gas guzzlers. Actually those things are nearly there already - last summer there were dealers that wouldn't take a big SUV as a trade-in as they had too many of them to begin with.

It wouldn't surprise me if we see a rash of insurance fraud as people try and torch them and claim the insurance.
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Old 04-18-08, 04:27 PM   #15
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Especially a glut of gas guzzlers. Actually those things are nearly there already - last summer there were dealers that wouldn't take a big SUV as a trade-in as they had too many of them to begin with.

It wouldn't surprise me if we see a rash of insurance fraud as people try and torch them and claim the insurance.
I own an SUV and have since it was new.....in 1993. I CAN afford my suv because I bought
it to drive for 20+ years so as to conserve the resources it takes to build all the cars that
I would otherwise have to buy. We can also afford it because we use it ONLY when we have
to leave our small town to visit the city or to visit our children (a Looooooong drive) once
or twice a year.

We travel in limosine comfort for pennies a mile now and I feel not one bit of guilt for
being a car keeper. That said, anyone who use/owns an suv for everyday transport is
nuts! This type of vehicle was never intended to be an everyday vehicle. My suburban
was built for long life and supreme comfort when used as intended.. That
it does very well. The rest of our transport needs is done on our bicycle/tricycles in
town.


So you can see it's not what vehicle you own it's how smart you use it. There are
a lot of not to smart people driving suv everyday.
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My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

Last edited by Nightshade; 04-18-08 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 04-18-08, 05:11 PM   #16
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I have to say I am very surprised to learn that you own an SUV. I feel the same way about my firebird. Yes it's a "gas guzzler" since it gets 28mph on a freeway. On a flip side I doubled the miles I have put on it since last summer by driving from SoCal to Bay Area this week (400 miles). It was still cheaper then flying, and less stressful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
I own an SUV and have since it was new.....in 1993. I CAN afford my suv because I bought
it to drive for 20+ years so as to conserve the resources it takes to build all the cars that
I would otherwise have to buy. We can also afford it because we use it ONLY when we have
to leave our small town to visit the city or to visit our children (a Looooooong drive) once
or twice a year.

We travel in limosine comfort for pennies a mile now and I feel not one bit of guilt for
being a car keeper. That said, anyone who use/owns an suv for everyday transport is
nuts! This type of vehicle was never intended to be an everyday vehicle. My suburban
was built for long life and supreme comfort when used as intended.. That
it does very well. The rest of our transport needs is done on our bicycle/tricycles in
town.


So you can see it's not what vehicle you own it's how smart you use it. There are
a lot of not to smart people driving suv everyday.
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Old 04-18-08, 06:58 PM   #17
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As gas prices rise, will that extra car be more valuable on the market this year or next year?

I would expect a glut on the used car market.
Just one of the reasons I got rid of my truck before it was too late. I have a feeling it won't be long before it gets extremely difficult to sell a vehicle that only gets 15mpg!

A lot of the problems people are having now are things they brought upon themselves. If a person is borrowing money for a huge plasma television, well that's his business but I'd say he has his priorities severly mixed up. One of my coworkers pays $130 a month for cable TV, drives an SUV, lives 18 miles from work, and has a wife and two children. If that were me I'd be making some major lifestyle changes as quickly as possible.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:56 PM   #18
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I wasn't really aware of peak oil when I bought my last truck, however I always buy used and always pay cash. So I will continue to use it until I either can't buy fuel it or it isn't worth fixing. Currently my company is covering the operating costs on it...drive on! However we are being "encouraged" to find creative ways to cut down on vehicle miles and curb fuel costs. I only come home every couple of weeks from my jobsite. I am going to start using Amtrak. The cost of a round trip is half the cost of a round trip in the truck. Only two problems...one I have to travel on Amtrak's schedule, and number two I have to leave work early on Friday to catch the train It takes about the same amount of time as driving and I don't have to deal with the morons on the interstates. I am still working on trying to cycle commute to work. It is 9 miles from the hotel to the jobsite. I can make it there, it is the coming back at the end of the day that won't work due to traffic conditions. The only alternate route adds over 5 miles to the 9 and that is more than I want to ride at the end of a 10+ hour day.

Aaron
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
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Old 04-18-08, 08:07 PM   #19
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Just one of the reasons I got rid of my truck before it was too late. I have a feeling it won't be long before it gets extremely difficult to sell a vehicle that only gets 15mpg!

A lot of the problems people are having now are things they brought upon themselves. If a person is borrowing money for a huge plasma television, well that's his business but I'd say he has his priorities severly mixed up. One of my coworkers pays $130 a month for cable TV, drives an SUV, lives 18 miles from work, and has a wife and two children. If that were me I'd be making some major lifestyle changes as quickly as possible.
A lot of the problems other people are having now are not brought on by their own actions. Have you lived within your means, stayed out of debt, and saved ? You will still be damaged by the hyper-inflation that is now underway. A good deal of the inflation is the result of the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air to try and restart the pyramid scheme that was the housing bubble. If you lived frugally, you now get to pay for your neighbor's McMansion, suv, and big-screen home theater system that he couldn't quite afford.
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Old 04-18-08, 10:30 PM   #20
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A lot of the problems other people are having now are not brought on by their own actions. Have you lived within your means, stayed out of debt, and saved ? You will still be damaged by the hyper-inflation that is now underway. A good deal of the inflation is the result of the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air to try and restart the pyramid scheme that was the housing bubble. If you lived frugally, you now get to pay for your neighbor's McMansion, suv, and big-screen home theater system that he couldn't quite afford.
There are fewer villains here than one might imagine. The frightening inflation we are currently experiencing is really a simple matter of math: People want stuff. A lot of people. The amount of stuff is limited. Unfortunately, some of that limited stuff includes basics, like food and clean water, as even a casual glance at the headlines will confirm. In this situation, the Fed is almost irrelevant. Despite the frantic efforts of the Fed to make things better, our choices are few, and very stark: We can resign ourselves to a lower standard of living, we can take measures to dramatically lower population growth, or we can do what we're doing now, which is to extract resources at a completely unsustainable rate until the whole system collapses and nature corrects the situation for us. There's no nefarious plan here. It's just a bunch of mostly good, moderately intelligent, yet deeply flawed humans being greedy on a planet with finite resources.
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Old 04-19-08, 08:25 AM   #21
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A lot of the problems other people are having now are not brought on by their own actions. Have you lived within your means, stayed out of debt, and saved ? You will still be damaged by the hyper-inflation that is now underway. A good deal of the inflation is the result of the Federal Reserve creating money out of thin air to try and restart the pyramid scheme that was the housing bubble. If you lived frugally, you now get to pay for your neighbor's McMansion, suv, and big-screen home theater system that he couldn't quite afford.
I agree, that's why I didn't say "all of the problems people are having were brought on by themselves."
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Old 04-19-08, 09:57 AM   #22
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A. If you lived frugally, you now get to pay for your neighbor's McMansion, suv, and big-screen home theater system that he couldn't quite afford.
Forced frugality for me in the 1970s; leaves me very happy, debt free, mortgage free, subsidized due to low income, etc., yet I can snap up a recumbent trike easily. It is very sad about housing, employment, Harley Davidson, energy in general- the world falling apart; yet people could not even pay me enough to get a McMansion, any gas hog, plasma TV,

BUT
I have kind of a perverse sense of humor watching oil rise 115, 116, 117.....

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Old 04-19-08, 10:14 AM   #23
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I have to say I am very surprised to learn that you own an SUV.
Yes, I know. To say that one owns an suv here is like admitting to being a child molster.
It's bad.
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Old 04-19-08, 10:37 PM   #24
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There's a couple featured in this article who would benefit from getting rid of one car and using bikes more on so many levels...
The people in this article were very much like a lot of people I hang out with. (Michigan has been in the recession longer than some other locations, I guess.) People do make bad choices, but often those bad choices--especially about buying overpriced houses--were approved by the financial "experts" over the last 5 or 10 years. I don't understand the one couple paying $1200 for rent, and having two cars but using only one. I have more admiration for the last woman, who lives on a smaller income but does some gardening and lives in a low rent situation. She, like all the people in the story, owns a car. That is something that very few people think of when they're trying to cut back on expenses.
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Old 04-19-08, 11:53 PM   #25
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The people in this article were very much like a lot of people I hang out with. (Michigan has been in the recession longer than some other locations, I guess.) People do make bad choices, but often those bad choices--especially about buying overpriced houses--were approved by the financial "experts" over the last 5 or 10 years. I don't understand the one couple paying $1200 for rent, and having two cars but using only one. I have more admiration for the last woman, who lives on a smaller income but does some gardening and lives in a low rent situation. She, like all the people in the story, owns a car. That is something that very few people think of when they're trying to cut back on expenses.
It is true, financial experts and related parties dropped the ball on this one. But it is still pretty amazing how little research people do before going into this sort of thing. I am about to buy a new bike and I have been researching for the past couple of weeks, while people buying a house worth 250x the cost of my potential bike just sign the dotted line.
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