11 September, 2012

Cash For Clunkers For Idiots

Assume you drive 12,000 miles in a year in an old car that gets 12 mpg.  In an average year you will purchase 1000 gallons of gasoline which at $3.50/gallon equates to $3,500 in fuel costs.  Assuming you are a responsible driver and get your oil changed by the "pros" at Jiffy Lube every 3,000 miles ($29,95) you spend another $120 per year on minimum maintenance.

Assume your "clunker" is valued at $4,000, of which you pay about $50 in personal property tax for the "privilege" of owning a car.

Now, you decide to trade in this "clunker" which you own, free and clear, towards a brand-new, higher-mileage car.  You get Kelly Blue Book top dollar for your trade-in, having kept it in immaculate, showroom condition all these years.  You negotiate a great price on a 2013 Ford Fusion SE - $23,000.  After taxes and tags you owe $24,380, minus your trade PLUS the extra grand you brought with you to sweeten the pot = $19,380 which you agree to finance on-site at a great rate of 2.9%.

Your new car payment is $594.59/mo for 36 months (three years).  Not to worry, though, this new car gets 25 mpg around town and a staggering 37 mpg on the highway.  Well, your commute is mostly highway miles and you never get caught in traffic, so you assume you average about 32 mpg per tank.  Your driving habits don't change all that much the first three years, so you purchase 375 gallons of fuel at $3.50/gallon, totalling $1,312.50 in total fuel costs.  Your new car has a smart oil feature and only requires oil changes every 6000 miles, and they're included at no charge with your new car service program.  LUCKY YOU!

So, let's add it up.  Your old car, over 36 months would have cost you $11,010 to own.  Your shiny new car?  Well it is taxed at almost $415 annually on top of your fuel and payment, $26,587.73 for a net savings... hey, wait a doggone minute!  It costs over $15,000 MORE to own that new car !  And discounting basic maintenance (tires, filters, etc) for most vehicles as even-up, it would take EIGHT YEARS for the new car to begin to put you on the positive side of that equation.

And let's face it, by then you'll be wanting a new car again anyway.  Sucker.

(Please, by all means, verify or refute my thought process.)

Obama -vs- Romney: Misinformation Showdown

In a recent flurry of campaign advertisements by the big-two candidates it has become evident, now more than ever, that both of these moral reprobates has no interest in facts or reasonable dialog regarding the economic state of this country.

Sure, there are other facets, but I am going to concentrate on two (2) disparate television ads which I had the unpleasant experience of viewing back-to-back last night.

First, let's explore Mitt Romney's patently ridiculous attack on what he refers to as the "Obama Plan".  According to the Romney ad, Obama's defense cuts will strip Virginia of 130,000 jobs.  He doesn't mention that under Obama, military expenditures have continued right on from George Bush's administration.  What he goes on to claim is, at least in Virginia, that his administration will "create" 360,000 new jobs.

It does not require a PhD to conclude from this rhetoric that those jobs will be defense-sector jobs, jobs which do not produce wealth but rather subsidize militarism and are paid for by... tax dollars.  These jobs, in essence, create welfare queens.  Just like the public works projects of the New Deal, these jobs do not generate services or products for the private market.  They generate new layers of government bureaucracy and further financial burden (including future liabilities) to a litany of critically unfunded federal programs.

Now, to be perfectly fair and bipartisan, let's take a look at Messr Obama's ad.

Obama claims that Mitt Romney is out of touch with the middle class. This is a middle class who Obama TWICE approved TARP bailout funds to private mega-banks while hundreds of thousands of private citizens were foreclosed on.  With official unemployment stagnant near 8.3% (and real unemployment anywhere between 13 and 21%, depending on which source you quote on any given day; I prefer the BLS) this administration's M.O. has been to continuously blame George Bush and the DEMOCRAT-CONTROLLED House of Representatives for each and every failure of the past 45 months.  All Obama needs is one more term and he can put it all right.

The ad claims that Mitt Rommey's tax plan would add an average of $2,000 in taxes to every middle-class household's annual liabilities.  In the next breath the ad states that multi-millionaires would see up to $250,000 in tax breaks.

Obama claims Romney doesn't understand the middle class because of his relationship with Bain Capital, a resource and venture capital firms which buys and sells companies for profit.  Obama, who has never held a real job and who, in just this past year, sent his own wife and children on numerous multi-million dollar vacations/excursions - whose very same wife wagged her finger at the American people condescendingly and said "The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."

Her vitriol and latent disconnect from the people of this country can only find its equal in the likes of a quote oft-times attributed (though likely exaggerated) to Marie Antoinette who said "Let them eat cake", an epithet of her royalty overshadowing good sense and common decency in a time when millions were scraping just to get by, yet the glorious leaders spared no expense for their own comfort.

At least they had an excuse - they were French.  And we all know what happened to them: they were beheaded and the monarchy overthrown in one of the most bloody and brutal revolutions/coups in all of modern(ish) history.

What I want the reader to take away from this is that NEITHER of these disgusting people deserves to be president of the country envisioned by the founding fathers.  The good news is that country was destroyed long ago...