Coping: With the Passing of Automobiles

We may be seeing the “leading edges” of the passing of the modern Automobile business model.

A short trip down History Lane to put this all into perspective, starting with two snips from Wikipedia to set the course.  First, the historical origins:

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle.[24] He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.[25] His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure.[25] In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods, and was of little practical use.”

(Continues below)


If you’re new to UrbanSurvival, welcome to the place which holds to two major premises.  The first is that the USA is the most thoroughly monetized economy ever to pillage the Earth.

The second premise is Everything is a Business Model.

Helping us along are two concepts from business management and software engineering.  The former is the Product Development Life Cycle while the latter is the System Development Life Cycle.

Product development is easy.  Just go Wiki these four parts:

6 Phases of product lifecycle and corresponding technologies

Now let’s perform this morning’s shotgun wedding of concepts, shall we?

Cars 1.0

This was the period from the invention of cars until they were readily enough built that serious manufacturing came into view as a distant objective.

Cars 2.0

This is where fine-tuning of designs took place.  The original automobile concepts were largely evolved from the [draft animal] cart, wagon, and carriage industry.

Cars 3.0

Meet the Model T and so forth.  The initial (early adopter) peak of multiple technologies including cars, radio, and telephones, along with urban electricity came along about the time the 1929 Roaring Twenties Stock Market Bubble was being reached.

Cars 3.1

Next time you’re watching PBS and hear about an Alfred Sloan Foundation, here’s a little Wiki snip explaining why:  “Alfred P. Sloan extended the idea of yearly fashion-change from clothing to automobiles in the 1920s. His company, General Motors, was the first to introduce planned obsolescence (in cars) by means of making the production date, and thus the car’s newness or lack of it, visually discernible..”

Cars 4.0

In customary Product Development Life Cycle work, we would have excellent service, mainly, by this point in the evolution of automobiles.

To be sure, some outfits like ours Lexus dealer up in Fort Worth have totally nailed that…even though our old Lexus is 10-years old.  It may run longer than we do.

But the other aspect to think about is commoditization.  That’s where the auto industry has been.  And from 1981, or so, the industry has been holding prices at reasonably profitable levels by taking advantage of generally falling interest rates.

I appreciate that understanding where America is on the interest rate front can be somewhat confusing.  Fortunately, the Federal Reserve keeps track of such things in their Consumer Debt (they call it “Consumer Credit” because banks unpaid are creditors – but it’s really a DEBT report):

The data seems to suggest the best time to put a lot on a credit card would have been 3-years ago.  And the best time to have purchased a car looking at rates alone would have been Q1 2016.  More such jovial details over here.

The question to ask now is “What is the NEXTCAR going to look like?”

A lot of that will depend on how the pending (resumption of) war with North Korea goes.  If it goes cleanly (and there’s no counterstrike on US homeland soil) then we might see an orderly replacement regimen as self-driven cars are replaced with autonomous vehicles.

One school of thought argues that for the sake of environment, the NEXTCAR everyone buys should be all – electric.  But another says no, hybrids are the only thing that make sense.

In the event of a dirty (read: nuclear) resumption of the Korean War (*which was only fought to an armistice), then a number of NEWCAR concepts could come off the table.

For example, the idea of a high-tech, electronics-laden smart car, will make less sense because manufacturing and the availability of cheap parts from Asia will evaporate overnight.

It’s not beyond thinking, for example, that North Korea could hit US West Coast container ports.  Bye-bye electronic subassemblies…the dark side of globalism and the folly of dispersing domestic manufacturing to least cost offshore locales will come into stark focus.

What’s worse is that should North Korea take the battle to the American heartland, the whole Mississippi River infrastructure that the whole country depends on for food and energy distribution, becomes a risky proposition.

In that case, you might have more ‘location independence’ by stocking up on cordwood and building a “Producer Gas-driven automobile.”

What falls out of all this is a “topology” of what the future of automobiles might look like.

Since we showed above how new car interest rates are beginning to climb, at least one factor in the declining auto sales picture should be clear to you now.

An article in Fortune Wednesday gets into replacement rates – which is yet another angle of the automaker’s pickle.  Obviously, once the automakers started making a better car, people began to enjoy their high reliability vehicles.  As the Fortune article notes, braking is never fun.

A few of our friends are buying high-end hybrids with soup-to-nuts electronics.  Automatic-spacing and braking on cruise control, lane change alerts with assistive correction, auto-parking, and 360-degree cameras.

It’s cool, I have to admit, but there’s a whole new business model coming into view:  The Uber and Lyft models.  Cars have become bloody-awful expensive.  And just like jet airlines don’t make money sitting on the ground, neither to cars amortize their high capital outlay when they’re parked in the garage.

We suspect that high utilization will be “the future” in cars.  Sure, some of the high-end “grays” with a few saved FeRN’s to spend before check-out time will buy them and pass them on.  But with high-dollar battery pack replacements due in 6-8 years, the monthly nut on driving the high-end hybrid is pretty steep on a per-mile basis.

Increasingly, therefore, and event more so if the NK’s go nuts off the aggressive end of the pool, we expect that shared-use business models will be around for a long while.  Nothing would surprise us more than Uber and Lyft becoming the new norm for the middle class, not just the student-loan-hounded Nuevo Broke who are testing the corporate-government alliance’s  “Rent Your Life” business model.

The way this works is simple:  Load up on student loans, get the best job you can, then trust government to fill the gaps.  Ignore the fact that such thinking failed in the Soviet Union…it’s makes a sweet song to the mass of youth today, most of whom haven’t taken a management accounting class in their life.

The NEWCAR is coming.  But despite all the hype, pardon me if we continue to sit on the wallet a year or two longer.  We don’t want to be the last sucker to buy a current-design car coming off an assembly line featuring parts that won’t be replaceable shortly thereafter.  Few companies seem to get customer service spectacularly right…especially if their product has four wheels and air conditioning.

An Amazing Customer Service Story

This is not to say all corporations are bad.

In fact, I had a customer service experience this week that completely blew my socks off.

I might have mentioned that I bought a Schwinn 840 Treadmill back in 2011 from Amazon.  It came with a 10-year guarantee on the motor.

Fast forward to Monday when visiting daughter Denise took a break from her “hot Yoga” and ran on the machine – full tilt (10-degrees) and full speed (10 MPH).

The machine failed 8-minutes and 13-seconds into the run.

Turns out that Nautilus has acquired Schwinn exercise products.  So when I called, we went through a well-structured trouble-shootizing (sic, that’s a Googlism, lol) process.  It was either the motor or the controller board.

So I whipped out the credit card  and bought the controller board ($177 and change).  It should get here next week.

The motor, though, is a different story.  Back-order from hell.

Now here’s the AMAZING part:  My customer service rep called Tuesday and said “You know, Mr. Ure,  since we don’t know when your motor will be in – it could be several months…could we just send you a new treadmill?

Holy cow!  No shipping….no strings, nothing.

Oh…and being a gambler I asked “What if the new controller board fixes the old machine?”

“I’m sorry,  I guess you’ll have two treadmills, then…”

OMG…what a treat.

This is how Nautilus (which holds Schwinn, Bowflex, and other brands) is going about building customers for life.

They don’t know I write – they know nothing about me except where we live and I have a credit card and bought what I thought would be a lifetime machine.

Shockingly, in today’s age, I actually may have done that very thing.

Hope for America?  Yeah…sometimes I still think so.

Urban Department of Reminders

On with George Noory at tonight at midnight central, 10 PM out West and 1 AM in the East.

And yes, look what appears on Amazon for Kindle today!

The Millennial’s Missing Manual: What School Didn’t Teach and What Old People Didn’t Explain.  $2.99…

Write when you get rich,

23 thoughts on “Coping: With the Passing of Automobiles”

  1. If possible & not really any of my business, please let us know how being on Coast to Coast AM affects sales of your new book & Peoplenomics subscriptions. I joined Peoplenomics after I heard you on George Noory’s show.

  2. I have worked in a retail environment where replacing a product when something goes wrong was the norm, even if it was expensive – I’ve also worked in an environment where despite something being horribly defective on a brand new product – a blown engine on a car because someone at the factory screwed up – and not only did they not replace the car but they ‘fixed’ the engine – poorly . . . but when I complained on behalf of the customer who was elderly to the service manager – he was dismissive, saying that my job didn’t depend on helping the customer.

    I really wanted to ‘tear him a new one’, but I was determined to remain ‘professional’, though later that day I was ‘adios’ from that job for another reason. I thought in light of the lousy customer service, that company would fail eventually – and they did.

    People may not initially buy at a company because of good customer service, but they will keep buying and recommending to their friends and family; however bad customer service will always doom a business.

  3. Hi George.

    Your comment on using cord wood to power a “Producer Gas-driven automobile” is for the birds!
    It’s already proven that a standard gasoline engine can be fueled by Brown’s gas,(HHO),and will run very well. Youtube has tons of videos on producing this gas and there are already companies making the equipment to be installed into cars and trucks.
    If the Space Shuttle can be powered by Hydrogen and Oxygen why not cars?

    Thinking outside of the box!
    Rocket Mike

    • Well.. I can tell you I built a small wood gas generator.. when I was a child we use to play in the shelter belt of my friends home.. there was a tractor that we played on.. it had something odd on the front of it.. so I asked his dad.. it was a gassifier.. back in the thirties gas was rationed and farmers bought these systems for their tractors would chop up corn stalks and cobs and burn them to plow the fields. .the one I built was a small one and produces just enough gas to run a generator..
      ON the hydrogen gas.. I have a really good friend that worked in research and development of components for long term space flights.. anyway he was really interested in Hydrogen he was doing really good to.. he had it.. the right combination so you didn’t have the explosiveness of browns gas which you cannot store.. and the ability to produce enough on demand to operate a vehicle.. but he made a huge mistake.. he wanted to share that information with day three guys came to him.. ( nope they weren’t wearing black) they gave him some encouraging suggestions to step away and took all his research material and destroyed his lab. he has since retired and moved away from there but he hasn’t ever touched anything to do with hydrogen since..
      so far as I know.. Herman Anderson was the only one to do this.. but then his what 1600 patents all were given to the us government.. and he didn’t share any of his knowledge ..

      If you think about it.. you cannot have free energy.. just think of who it would effect.. absolutely everyone.. what and how I believe is that even solar should be given to the power companies to sell.. give anyone willing to set a system up a guarantee that they won’t have any increases and let them sell what is extra..

  4. “North Korea could hit US West Coast container ports. Bye-bye electronic subassemblies…the dark side of globalism and the folly of dispersing domestic manufacturing to least cost offshore locales will come into stark focus.”

    George that is another interesting topic.. war..
    Now.. I personally don’t fear Russia I am Leary about refugee’s from the six countries that have already said they are already following the quran and infiltrating the US with freedom fighters.. It doesn’t take a genius to know that you put twenty thousand fighters dispersed around the country give them assistance and let them take over jobs while we send out men and women over to their countries to fight.. and most of our military might is not here .. when I worked in one place we sent our men out and kept a skeleton crew at home..
    But.. Korea.. Russia.. the newspapers read like any american home town newspaper.. the same articles the same concerns.. nothing real major.. so the real battle is among a very few wishing to gain control and more power.

    But now consider this.. as a scenario.. we did what.. Sold out our ports and toll roads.. to companies from countries that are sentimental to other countries..

    We actually check what.. five percent or less of containers.. where the ports are controlled by foreign countries that share sentiments of some of these countries..
    (now take this article with a grain of salt.. even though I love this blog site from what I understand it is owned by one of the major players so whos interest will it reflect is up to those reading its discretion ….)

    Then Consider this.. which has been around for years.. if I am not mistaken.. Senator Rand Paul brought this very fear up to congress but was shot down.. about the same time he wanted to get legislation passed that would require congress to read in session the bills that they vote on.. now those two things I bring up out of my foggy memory of things I have read so I might be mistaking rand for someone else..

    With a Military that is embroiled in battles around the world.. american citizens having to front the money for these battles..
    the way I see the positioning that is taking place with our military in the news it reminds me of a chess move..

    here is a quote from the art of war.. it makes very good sense to.. “7

    You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. #Wang Hsi explains “undefended places” as “weak points; that is to say, where the general is lacking in capacity, or the soldiers in spirit; where the walls are not strong enough, or the precautions not strict enough; where relief comes too late, or provisions are too scanty, or the defenders are variance amongst themselves.”
    You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked. #I.e., where there are none of the weak points mentioned above. There is rather a nice point involved in the interpretation of this later clause. Tu Mu, Ch`en Hao, and Mei Yao-ch`en assume the meaning to be: “In order to make your defense quite safe, you must defend EVEN those places that are not likely to be attacked;” and Tu Mu adds: “How much more, then, those that will be attacked.” Taken thus, however, the clause balances less well with the preceding—always a consideration in the highly antithetical style which is natural to the Chinese. Chang Yu, therefore, seems to come nearer the mark in saying: “He who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven [see IV. ss. 7], making it impossible for the enemy to guard against him. This being so, the places that I shall attack are precisely those that the enemy cannot defend…. He who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth, making it impossible for the enemy to estimate his whereabouts. This being so, the places that I shall hold are precisely those that the enemy cannot attack.”

    Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. #An aphorism which puts the whole art of war in a nutshell.

    in my opinion Donald Trump is right on the money we need to strengthen america.. strengthen our borders and with draw from fields of battle to protect our own homelands..
    the last time I had read a report the estimated time to retool america’s manufacturing was five to ten years.. since the components for our grid are all made oversea’s there is a ten year waiting period on major components.. in the event of some major snafu we would be put back five thousand years..

    Just wondering minds would like to know.. why is congress making such a fuss about this could a russian have come out saying they are doing a crappy job.. did they run around america telling everyone to vote for him.. I highly doubt any of that.. I sure didn’t need anyone to say how rotten they are doing ..

    • Interesting stream of consciousness. It sparked a few neurons on why Trump is not resonating with many folks. Here’s my stream of consciousness on why I think Trump is a product of the times and is changing how nations and leaders work. Sun Tzu lived over 2000 years ago. At that time, wars were raging to unify China’s provinces into one nation under one emperor. For Sun Tzu, generals focused entirely upon military matters of territorial defense or conquest. Land equaled money. Warriors were farmers and craftsmen in the real jobs, so fighting a war meant the economy suffered. Wealth and war went hand-in-hand, so deciding to fight a war meant there had to be the potential for gains that would make the inevitable destruction and loss of life worth it for the empire/nation/alliance. Since Sun Tzu’s time, the concept of “battleground” has expanded significantly to encompass air, space and cyberspace. Are each of these adequately defended? I’d venture to say “no, they are not.” Yet much political advantage can be gained or lost via the exploitation of these new realms of combat without traditional militaries ever having to deploy or fire a single kinetic projectile in combat. Since space and cyberspace are intricately and permanently tied to the west’s financial well being, an attack in these areas can essentially be viewed as an act of war. Web hackers are the new militias. They don’t wear uniforms, but they prosecute a new form of battle against a series of clear financially significant targets, occupying or destroying monetary assets and, just as valuable, co-opting or destroying intellectual property, in ways very similar to marines doing an amphibious assault beach landing and occupying large swaths of land, harbors, cities, etc. With the advent of 19th Century warfare, Prussian general and historian Carl Von Clausewitz famously opined that “war is policy by other means.” In other words, when political negotiation failed, war was the final, i.e. last resort instrument for national power to achieving its declared policy objectives. Clausewitz saw that the way that war was being prosecuted was changing. As such, Clausewitz advised that the general by necessity also needs to be a politician. First, one must try to expand a nation’s influence through policy and negotiation (or rhetoric, as the case may be). When negotiation and/or rhetoric fails, prosecute a form of war. To end the war, more negotiation would be required. One might be tempted to think Clausewitz modeled his general/politician idea after George Washington, continental army commander during America’s Revolutionary War and the new nation’s first President. In America, by definition in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the president is ‘the commander in chief’ of the active military and all state militias (when the guard is called into federal service). So war and politics in our day and age were quite literally joined at the hip. Napoleon is another, admittedly more tyrannical example. Trump is thus a military commander and a politician. Some would say he lacks the experience to be either. I believe Trump has an understanding of the fluid and evolving nature of national power, to include certain forms of warfare and (to a lesser degree) politics (both domestic and international). He is aided by military monks like generals James Mattis and John Kelly for thet more traditional military roles and capabilities. Trump has successful businessmen sprinkled across his adminstration, like ex-EXXON CEO Rex Tillerson, now the Secretary of State. Tillerson and others highlight the importance of the global economy in maintaining global peace. Yet Trump is an entirely new breed of commander-in-chief. Unlike any before him, he is using social media to communicate (however crudely) on a routine basis to the nation, his political rivals and also to America’s adversaries. One is a fool to think there is no method to Trump’s apparent madness. He won/stole the primaries bypassing a media that ran lock-step with a stale political system. He mocked the media that supported the status quo candidates. As a CEO, Trump is learning while he wages a subtle form of psychological warfare, and as such, I believe he has a deliberate strategy behind his seemingly erratic tactics. He is actually fairly well equipped to handle the newly emerging forms of modern warfare, with the help of his economic team of advisors and general officer monks. He is, after all, all about “Winning.” If Trump survives the initial engagement with the present coalition of the unwilling in congress and the media, the Donald has a good chance to advance the fortunes of the nation and extend American influence, democracy and capitalism across the globe. As for “draining the swamp” – good luck with that.

      • Great Response WH… I love your posts..It definitely brought up a perspective I hadn’t considered..

  5. There is that 3rd option, George. That is, NOT to buy a new car, and instead to repair, replace, upgrade an older model.

    The amount of energy used to manufacture any car is staggering, from melting and molding the steel to building and then shipping the parts all over the world, then assembling them, then shipping the car to the showroom as well. There is a lot of sunk energy in each car.

    Throwing away something like a car is problematic, as you are going to pay for all that building and shipping all over. Additionally, the price, even with inflation adjusted money, is high and more so with interest.

    We have estimated the price for restoring our 1978 El Camino at around $6000. This is not a frame-off restoration, but it is pretty dang thorough. This vehicle get 25mpg and can actually carry things we use on the farm.

    The cheapest new truck we could buy is $19,000 (Nissan), and it isn’t very reliable in rural use and the parts are expensive. In addition, we have to contend with warranty issues, which require a drive of an hour to the nearest dealership. Towing would be in there if it is a drivetrain issue as well.

    If the things we talk about here regarding the future are going to happen, and each day it looks more likely, then having a vehicle that: a) cannot be remotely accessed, b) does not require ECU, c) has a long history of parts available (small lock chevy V8, d) simple to work on, e) EMP-proof…well, this makes more long term sense to me.

    If you are not handy, disinclined to get under your car and get dirty or simply believe in the American myth of vehicle=freedom, then buying new may be the only way for some folks to be happy. For us, each vehicle means more insurance, maintenance costs and taxation.

    But there is another way that is more economical and that is refurbed older cars. It will be a very long time before self-driving cars get into areas like our farm. It will be rolled out the same way as internet – maximum users first. Since that is the business expansion model, there will never be self-driving cars where our farm is, as we have yet to get cable service or cellular service.

    • OM2:

      You hit the nail squarely on the head!

      20 years ago I bought a ’76 Ford Courier for $400 knowing the brakes were blown but otherwise fairly sound. I bought engine rebuild kits + extras from J.C. Whitney for a few hundred and spent a week’s vacation tearing that engine completely down to the mountings. By the time it was done the compression nearly torn the skin off my palm when I held it on top of the carb. That little 4-cyl truck could hit 85 easily on a highway and got incredible gas mileage doing it. Trimmed the interior in Oak and sueded leather. Gave it to my Dad as a retirement present. For several years after I bought it, I got regular letters from a ajor local Ford dealership offering to buy it: turns out Couriers are really in demand as Jitneys in S.A. – where they were originally manufactured. [Interesting sidenote: Couriers were shipped up from S.A. Ford factories on ships but the salty ocean air caused excessive corrosion to their frames later on… a common failure in that model. I had to weld new struts on mine to shore up the damage caused years before!]

      Currently I drive a ’92 Mazda Protege that I paid $900 cash for -from that same Ford dealership. 1.8 liters and 16 valves of pure power, by golly! And to think they had it hidden away deep in the steel bowels of their backlot! I was amused that such a multi-million dollar outfit as that big dealership was blown away that I walked in with a couple of grand in cash and they couldn’t give me correct change for the final $1400 pricetag [Hey! Those safety checks and extra little taxes DO add up, don’t they!] -after watching their Cashier scurry around for a few singles I rounded it up and called it quits!

      I’ve driven it for 6 years and have spent about $700 on various parts in that time; at this point all critical components except the tranny have been replaced [by me!]. If it goes, I won’t do the work myself [at my age I now tend to throw money at a project just to get it done!] but will probably call a local Technical School and hire a good student to do the job for me. But -at the moment- I have a reliable set of somewhat-dated wheels that has cost me very little in the long run. And, that’s what survival is increasingly all about, right?

      But, no… I haven’t named that car -and won’t- since it’s still just a machine!

      BTW: I’m far more urban than yourself but
      I don’t have cable or a cellphone, either! A more-reliable landline and a full 3-D home theater w/2,000 discs [my system can convert any film to simulated 3-D] take care of those needs nicely.

      Oh, HEY! I like your comments… you communicate your thoughts very well.

  6. George,

    Despite your admirable treatise on the ‘Passing of Automobiles’ I have to politely disagree, since the love affair Americans have with their cars doesn’t extend to the entirety of the planet. In Europe and Asia, the rail is still king and the primary people-mover of choice [frequently it is the only choice]; sure, there are a few nations who have also embraced the insanity and centered their progress around gas-guzzlers [Germany’s Autobahns come to mind] but by and large, most smaller nations get by just fine using
    Interrail or -GASP!- a bicycle. Not surprisingly, those 30 nations who honor Interrail also boast of less pollution and far fewer vehicular accidents that the U.S. on it’s best day. And, you’ll also note that the cars on the roads in Europe aren’t huge SUV’s that could house a family of four but rather highly-efficient compacts designed soley for one thing: to get you from point A to point B without a DVD player in multiple backseats or slick electronics to dazzle the senses on a dashboard resembling an airliner cockpit. NOTE: Europeans also rarely name their cars like a member of the family.

    There’s also a very GOOD reason why those cheaper yet more efficient Euro models never make it onto U.S. asphalt and -as always- it boils down to dollars and not-so-common sense.

    I also take exception to the Wiki claim regarding Cugnot’s 1770 “Fardier” – as being the first self-propelled vehicle. Wiki conveniently overlooks that Leonardo DaVinci conceived and designed his self-propelled cart in 1478; true, like many of his visionary works Leo never actually built his cart while alive – but, others in the centuries since have and proven the Master’s genius once again… I have a wooden scaled-model of Leo’s cart and it’s amazing to see it scuttle across the floor with no batteries or petrochems for assistance.

    Why is it that instead of creating a vast interstate highway system Eisenhower didn’t instead mandate a national rail system that could have proven to be a better use of resources? Like many of our other contemporary evils, we can thank corporate greed [and powerful D.C. lobbyists] for that decision and we’ve paid the price ever since. And, despite periodic yearnings for a new west coast bullet train, the EPA stands always-vigilant to protect us poor slobs from unproven but very scary ramifications. The stupid cycle complete once again.

    So -for us at least- cars are KING. They have also been the most useful propaganda tool our noble industries have ever churned out: for many Euro families the only real American dream isn’t life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness but rather a late-model Made-In-USA monster in their garage.

    No George, I just don’t see much automotive obsolescence on the immediate horizon: instead of a gun being pryed from
    “cold, dead hands” it will be a set of car keys so sophisticated they cost a couple of Bennies to replace and we will gladly shell out big bucks to keep them in our pockets.

    Oh, we may pat ourselves on the back and boast of how our newest models set new standards for luxury, efficiency and beauty… but, we’re only fooling ourselves: in reality -as wonderful and alluring as personal transportation may be- we’ve been collectively had. And, in many corners of the world the snickering continues behind our backs.

    • I don’t know whether Eisenhower could have changed what he did. During the war gas was rationed but people still bought what gas they could and some cents went to road taxes. Resources were needed for the war effort and so that gas tax money accumulated and was available to Eisenhower to order the building of the Interstate Highway System.

      • Tom:

        A very GOOD point! But, my next question would be this: we still collect taxes on every gallon of gasoline sold… so, why is our interstate highway system a crumbling shadow of its former self? I suspect we both know the answer to that!

        NOTE TO GEORGE: the Texas highway system is a shining opposite to the rest of the nation’s roadways; genius in design and meticulous in maintenance it really was the gold-standard for the entire country [But then, I haven’t driven in Texas for about 30 years so that may have changed]… and it went even beyond simple repair. Lady Bird Johnson was disgusted that travelling across the Lone Star state was so dismal that she LANDSCAPED many miles of otherwise bleak asphalt. Not such a bad legacy, that!

    • Thank you Gregory for your viewpoint that is not centered on the American entrainment model of excessive consumption. Americans are harnessed to an infrastructure built from the exploitation of resources from around the world. This is infrastructure that America can not only afford to expand to meet the needs of an increasing population, it cannot maintain the infrastructure that it has. The automobile has been the center of this culture. The rest of the world does just fine without needing the 1.4 vehicles per person now found in the USA.

      • BS; the Federal Reserve has been the center of the culture and so has the war machine, i.e. the military industrial complex. There WAS plenty of money over the years, obummber spent 8 trillion of it all on his lonesome and didn’t trick out those shovel ready jobs he ran on. WE have given billions of dollars away to other countries. We have been fleeced as a nation, they’ve collected plenty of money to fix our roads and our infrastructure, they’ve wasted it, as you so well know. We are watching them fleece us some more while we pay for the invasion of non-taxing paying invaders who suck off of the host nation. Our MSM, connected and hooked up to the artery of the USA, lied to us and didn’t tell us the truth nor the extent of the tax payer funded invasion. I could go on and on for all the ways the citizens have been fleeced.

    • The USA had a great rail system, until it was torn up. Mail could be sent from Kentucky to California and be delivered in 4 days, that can’t be done today. George, you mention in another column how we don’t do things in this country as a benefit, it is done with an eye to greed and money. A business model. That’s why our great rail system went away and cars became kinglets.

  7. That’s all groovy Jon, but it doesn’t help me if I have no cellular access. AI requires cloud access too, so that’s out. Satellite linkage that is portable is in excess of $3000 plus high usage rates – so where is something I can use outside of a city? Where is the fancy AI that allows a car to drive to my farm?

    Or do we abandon all farms and go live in a hive, eating soylent green?

    • “…Or do we abandon all farms and go live in a hive, eating soylent green?”

      May come a lot faster than you think. Some guys have figured out a way to make protein and carb food, for now for animals, out of air and electricity.

      So photosynthesis being only 2% efficient and this run off of solar cells at 20% efficiency and able to be done anywhere. No good farm land needed. You can bet it will be a big hit.

  8. Got my Kindle copy already. Do you anticipate print copies someday? Would REALLY REALLY like a hardcopy or two when and if they go to press. Make excelllent gifts for the 4 kids.

  9. Sent a gift copy of your book to both of the kids this morning George. Let’s see if they take to your wisdom.

Comments are closed.