Cars, Carbon, and the Debt Fueled Crisis

Pull up a chair, Friends.  I’m about to tell you about my fascination with automobiles – particularly big, muscle-bound machines that claim more cylinders than miles per gallon.  Vrooooom!!!!  Whooooosh!!!  What’s that sound?  That’s the sound of you getting poor!  Beep Beep.

Of course, now that I finally wised up and figured out that those cars were sucking the life out of my finances, I own a very wimpy and respectable 2003 Honda Hybrid.  It is so fabulously anonymous that I sometimes put my key in the wrong Anonymobile.  My awesome boyfriend refers to it as “The Corolla” even though it’s not a Toyota, and it’s definitely NOT a Corolla.  Yeah — it has no personality.

But, here’s the thing:  That little guy is getting up to 52 mpg when I drive it just right.  Compared with my grandma’s truck that used to shoot a 6 foot flame out of the 4-barrel Holley whenever I hit the gas, I’ll take it.

Today I saw a late model Jeep rolling down the road with huge, knobby tires ala Mad Max.  It looked cool as hell, but stupid as hell too.  I guess I’m getting old because all I could see was a rolling price tag…

That Jeep must’ve cost close to $40,000.  The tires were at least $500 apiece.  The lift might have been $2000.

Now, Friends — I grew up in the great state of California where nobody in his right mind would take an expensive machine like this anywhere offroad.  If you showed up deep down a logging road with that thing, you’d mostly see some advanced pointing and laughing.  I had to wonder if that thing will EVER even be placed into 4WD while commuting home 22 miles everyday!

I’m the last to begrudge a beautiful machine.  I have a deep and sincere love/hate relationship with advanced engineering such as this.  I love it because it still represents a piece of American open-road, adrenaline filled freedom fantasy for me.  I hate it because the reality is completely different as you inch around everywhere in the United States at 45 mph.

The fact that a working class hero could even roll one of these beasts is a testament to just how much wealth the average American yields.

But, wait.  Is it wealth?  Or, more likely — is it debt?  And, is the debt considered leverage or just an advanced form of free-range slavery?  Is this Jeep on our list of productive assets?  Unless you’re selling these to a long line of suckers, then — NO.  Unless this bad boy is putting American Cash Dollars into your hind pocket, it’s a non-starter.

Even my ultra dorky Dorkusmobile Honda is a severe liability.  But, that’s the thing with liabilities… As we continue our journey, we’ll learn how to minimize the liabilities and wring the living crap out of our assets.  We’ll strategically place our dollar soldiers on the field to win and not to get mopped up by emotional non-investments.

If you’re wealthy as hell — then, by all means, rock the Jeep or whatever.  But, judging from the statistics on American and their wealth, I’m guessing the vast majority of high-end vehicle owners are in debt up to their occipital regions.