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Old 04-09-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Mid-Life Medicine: Four Remedies For Your 40s




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When you turned 40 and promised yourself a big reward for the promotion at work, life proceeded to get crazier than normal. Translation: you got sidetracked and never splurged on that big-ticket item. Worse, three neighbors -- guys around the same age -- stayed on track and filled their garages with snazzy sheetmetal.
Take John the banker. He never stopped raving about his Audi A4's turbo engine and Quattro AWD -- until he stepped up to the all-new A6. Now he won't stop bragging about LED running lamps and the supercharged V-6. And when he concludes with, "It's got the latest generation of Quattro," you've already heard it so many times that you now say it in unison. Forget anger; you're jealous.

Then there's Mitch the lawyer. Nice guy, but if you have to endure one more speech about how the badge on his 328i really stands for "Brilliant Motor Works," you're going to hurl. So the day he comes home in a sparkling 535i touting an M Package, you tell your wife she'd better buy a case of Pepto. "I thought you liked Mitch?" "I do -- I just want his car!"
Finally, there's Tim the tennis pro, who's never shy about giving pointers on your backhand. Former owner of an Infiniti G25 with the vanity plate ACE, Tim recently pulled up to your house in an M37S. "It hits 100 mph in less time than my serve." Despite the self-serving (ahem) joke, Tim's still likable. Well, he was -- until you caught his new vanity: LOVE40.

***********

Unlike Tim, you're not loving 40, certainly now that it's three years gone and your once-hot Lexus IS 250 is decidedly lukewarm. But when you recently took the IS to the dealer for an oil change, you saw a glimmer of hope -- the 2013 GS 350. "Whoa, check out that face -- if that doesn't make the guys jealous, at least it will scare 'em."


But if there's one thing that got you this far, it's never making a hasty decision. Before writing a $60,000 check, due diligence is required on the A6, 535i, M37, and, of course, the new GS 350. Each is a fine example of what you aspire to drive: a high-style midsize sedan with a 300-hp V-6 and lofty levels of luxury and technology. To that end, you can't forget about the Mercedes-Benz E350. Looks like the toughest midlife crisis will be deciding.


4TH PLACE: Infiniti M37S
Lovely -- But Big, Noisy, and Thirsty

Had we been able to get an E350 (Mercedes-Benz PR declined our invite, saying they'd prefer to participate when the refreshed E debuts sometime next year), it still would have finished ahead of the Infiniti. That's because the M was, um, a bit of a mess. See those big 20-inch alloys set under that bold, curvaceous body that stands more than 59 inches tall? Well, the wheels, along with the meaty 245/40 Bridgestones, heighten unsprung weight, and that tallest-in-test roof heightens (literally) the center of gravity, all of which makes the Infiniti ill-prepared for passing physics. Throw in a touchy throttle, overly heavy steering, a stubborn transmission, grabby brakes, and a zealous stability-control system, and the M proved an absolute handful on our twisty road loop.



"Holy squealing tires and elbows, Batman!" said senior features editor Jonny Lieberman. Online editor Nate Martinez: "The gearbox went into Save Me mode near the end of the loop. It wouldn't let me downshift from 3 to 2 no matter how slow the speed or the rpm. It literally thought I was going to kill it." Associate editor Scott Evans: "The stability control is hyper-reactive. It's constantly on when you're trying to drive fast, always braking a wheel at the slightest hint of fun. Even when the light isn't flashing, you can feel it braking the inside wheel."

At the test track, the M managed to save some face, putting up acceleration (0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, quarter mile in 14.0 seconds at 99.6 mph), handling (lateral acceleration of 0.89 g, figure eight of 25.9 seconds at 0.70 g), and braking (60-0 in 108 feet) numbers that were virtually identical to those of the BMW. The only differences were that technical director Kim Reynolds had nice things to say about the BMW through the figure eight -- the M37 he deemed nose-heavy and suffering from sudden off-center steering gain -- and road test editor Scott Mortara noted the M's 3.7-liter V-6 was comparably loud and coarse during accel runs. Speaking of the M's V-6, not only is it the biggest and loudest of the bunch, it's also the thirstiest, consuming 18/26 mpg city/highway per the EPA and just 16.6 mpg per our evaluation.
Of course, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the M. Our crew appreciated the exterior styling ("Although now a few years old, the M's physique is still handsome. Nakamura-san's design philosophy based on flowing lines and rounded corners works well on this sedan." -- Martinez) and interior ambiance ("The design is very organic and the materials are good quality." - Evans). Further, the M is loaded with such useful tech bits as a blind-spot system, lane-departure warning and prevention, heated/cooled front seats, and a Forest Air system that cleans and humidifies the cabin air. But at over $61,000 as tested, or more than $2000 above the Lexus, the M37S simply felt too sloppy, cumbersome, and half-baked to place higher than fourth. Consider it a double fault.




3RD PLACE: Audi A6 3.0T
Fast and Powerful, With Minimal Feel

Yeah, yeah, I know -- the Audi smokes the others in just about every performance measurement and is the least expensive, but somehow finishes third. Which means we're all morons and can't tell a steering wheel from a Frisbee. Trust us, we've heard all the rants before, and, despite what you may believe, we understand the anger, disbelief, and bewilderment. It just doesn't make sense, right? Let me explain.
Yes, the A6, whose supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 doles out the most torque (325 lb-ft) and second-most horsepower (310), outclassed the others from 0 to 60 (4.7 seconds), in the quarter mile (13.4 seconds at 102.2 mph), around the skidpad (0.95 g), and through the figure eight (25.1 seconds at 0.74 g). In fact, the only test it didn't win outright was 60 to 0 braking, which, at 106 feet, placed it in a tie with the BMW. But despite four wins and one first-place tie, the A6 finished last in the most important criterion: driver engagement. Martinez: "The Audi failed to give me any enthusiastic feedback. There was no visceral exhaust note to go with the entertaining speed and no communicative steering either. It just felt like it was going through the motions." Lieberman: "The Audi has Quattro, but it's very nose-heavy. Audi masks this flaw with all-wheel drive and gobs of power, but it's not a good-feeling car to drive. For instance, while not as fast, the Lexus just kills the Audi in feel."
But, as you're sure to write in your heated letters, the A6 is undeniably quick. Evans: "Hammer it out of a corner and you're off. Phenomenal corner exit with all that grip and power." Moreover, it's not that the A6 doesn't inspire confidence -- with Quattro, an intuitive eight-speed with paddles, and big 255/40 Pirellis at every corner, it's quite the opposite, in fact -- it's that it does so without inviting the driver along for the thrilling ride. An enthusiast behind the wheel will be impressed with the Audi, but not any more impressed than the front passenger. Unlike the top two finishers, the A6 doesn't grab the driver and say, "C'mon, partner, let's go!" No, it's more of a "Welcome to business class. Please buckle up and enjoy the ride."


That said, it's hard to fault aspects of a nice business class. The A6's cabin was deemed a stylish mix of leather, wood, and aluminum, as well as a welcome high-tech hot-spot, what with Google maps, Audi Connect, and a motorized 7-inch display that tucks neatly into the dash when the power is turned off. Still, the Audi isn't the ideal biz class. Its seats, front and back, are rather flat; its ride was the stiffest of the group; and, despite being the heaviest of the bunch, it came across a bit tinny, somewhat hollow, and pretty noisy. With traits like that, not to mention a conspicuous lack of driver involvement, the quick, surefooted, and "bargain" $57,470 A6 is an investment we'd buy after two others.

Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz1rXvDH8ZF
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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In driving feel, the Lexus does exactly what you want it to do -- it shrinks around you. Yet, when it comes to pampering, it opens up, inviting you into the richest, most aesthetically pleasing cabin in its class. Lieberman: "Gorgeous interior. Love the metalwork, especially the volume and tune knobs. Feels like they're off my old Marantz Quadradial. Extremely solid and finely made." Martinez: "From the classy analog clock to the soft leather lining the seats, center console, and doors to the near-perfect sport steering wheel and massive and clear multimedia display, this Lexus oozes modern sophistication." Evans: "This is my favorite Lexus interior ever. So refined and stylish. Not boring and not overdone."
2ND PLACE: BMW 535i
But Will You Love Me Tomorrow?


It's no secret that we haven't exactly turned cartwheels over this latest generation of 5 Series. Two years ago, when the so-called F10 debuted, it didn't even make it to Round 2 of our Car of the Year competition. And that was a year after the last iteration of the previous-gen E60 won an eight-car comparison test. Talk about following in the footsteps of greatness -- and stumbling.
But whether this $63,245 Alpine White 535i with an M Sport Package stumbled into second place is moot. At the end of an arduous weeklong test, we scored it higher than the Audi, and here's why: better ride (silkiest of the group), quieter interior (quietest of the group), smoother engine (smoothest of the group), engaging steering, more comfortable and supportive seats, and an overwhelming sense of solidity. Whereas the A6 tried really, really hard to feel like a $60,000 automobile, the BMW didn't even break a sweat.








Much of the 5's air of expensiveness comes from its 7 Series' underpinnings, which, alas, make the 535i feel like its bigger and heavier sibling. It is no longer an upsized 3, but rather a downsized 7. While we prefer the former, there is a plus side to the latter. Says Evans: "The embodiment of what I think of when I think German. Very solid, substantial. Buttoned-down and refined, no-nonsense." From Lieberman: "All that solidity equates to one hell of a nice, smooth ride. 80 mph feels more like 40 mph, and 90 mph feels like a totally responsible, safe cruising speed."

Though not as quick as the Audi and just a tick behind the Lexus to 60, the BMW was nonetheless one brisk Bavarian, registering a 0-60 run of 5.5 seconds and a quarter-mile jaunt of 14.0 flat at 99.3 mph. And in addition to putting down a curt 106-foot 60-0 stopping distance, the 535i circled the skidpad with 0.89 g of intensity and weaved through the figure eight in a respectable 25.9 seconds at 0.69 g. The BMW is a rewarding car, in that you get a sense for its easy-to-explore limits, but it's also a frustrating car, because its feels so different from its beloved predecessor. Martinez: "Immediately after turn-in, there comes a behavior that's very non-BMW: Plowing." But endure that initial understeer and the 535i satisfies. Lieberman: "Understeer shows up, but generally because you're pushing hard. A more gentle hand is rewarded with a high level of smoothness and a chassis that eats up transitions and corners."

Also helping the 5's cause: an EPA rating of 21/31 mpg city/highway and an observed score of 20.0 mpg. Efficient dynamics, indeed. Alas, the 535i is a car you respect, not one you fall in love with. Our verdict, per Evans: "Competent, but in a somewhat cold, calculating fashion. I know I can drive it fast, but I don't walk away dreaming of driving it again."







1ST PLACE: Lexus GS 350 F Sport
Maybe The Ultimate Driving Machine

Remember that E60 535i I mentioned, the one we adored and awarded first place in a February 2010 comparison test? Well, this new Lexus GS 350 F Sport reminds us of that car. A lot. Nimble, balanced, precise, and quick, the GS is a (retired) BMW cloaked in Lexus steel. At 3834 pounds, the GS is the lightest of the four and it feels it -- turn-in is sharp and accurate, and weight transfer, whether lateral or longitudinal, is neutral and composed. The Lexus proved the most entertaining, rewarding, and confidence-inspiring up, down, and along our demanding Malibu road loop. Ultimate driving machine? Oh, yeah.
Lieberman: "Great steering. Balanced, communicative, properly weighted. Just a joy to drive. Neutral without being leaden. Very Mazda-like, in fact. And I say all this having driven the car in Sport instead of Sport Plus." Evans: "This is a Lexus? Really impressed with the handling and confidence in the car. Holds the road much better than expected. Can really fling it at the corners." Martinez: "The Sport Plus algorithm allows for a proper testing of its grip thresholds, and on the loop's tight technical zigzags, it was just right. Only once did any traction control light flash, and, unlike the Infiniti, shifts were clean, fast, and when you wanted them. Also unlike the Infiniti: The Lexus felt way smaller than it was. Like, really smaller."


Here are some numbers to consider: 0-60 in 5.4 seconds; the quarter mile in 14.0 at 101.0 mph; lateral acceleration of 0.94 g; figure eight of 25.4 seconds at 0.71 g; EPA fuel economy of 19/28; and observed mpg of 18.9. Not first, not last; just right in the sweet spot. Only 60-0 braking, at 110 feet, was behind the curve, but only by 4 feet versus the Audi and BMW. Then there's price. At $58,800 as tested, the GS F Sport, again, sits comfortably in the sweet spot.

OK, now for the whale in the room: the prehistoric fish face. "Predator," "Vader," and "abstract art piece" were some of the other terms thrown around. But as Lieberman summed up: "Please don't let the looks detract you from buying the Lexus GS, because it's without doubt the best car of these four."

So go ahead and trade in that old IS. This GS is a midlife crisis cure-all.


Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...#ixzz1rXw30rhY
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
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I really get the feeling that the outcomes in these compares are largely dictated by advertising dollars. That they don't take into account real world factors such as durability (!) also sours me on them.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:04 AM   #4
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Cts-v Ftw!
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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I always indulge myself in spite of constant complaining from Sig-other.
I would not buy any of these as A4 is only 2.0 4cyl and other quite family cars with some sport options.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Remedy? More like a reminder that you are now old and boring.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:56 PM   #7
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Remedy? More like a reminder that you are now old and boring.
Exactly... those cars don't look like midlife crisis cars. The list should be like: M3, Vette, 911, GT500 or something.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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I always indulge myself in spite of constant complaining from Sig-other.
I would not buy any of these as A4 is only 2.0 4cyl and other quite family cars with some sport options.
What does this have to do with the A4? The A6 has a supercharged V6 but yes they are all family cars. Old people like comfortable and quiet with their sip of sport.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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I am not even 35 yet, and I don't like to be assaulted by creaks and groans and tire roar, and wind noise. A little (natural, not synthetic, see BMW...) aural feedback that the engine is running, and what it is doing is nice... within reason.

Who does love that on a car that doesn't need to be as elemental as a roadster type sports car?
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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What? Why would I use these 4 for my remedy?
Actually,my mid-life medicine would be a nice, young, broad.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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What? Why would I use these 4 for my remedy?
Actually,my mid-life medicine would be a nice, young, broad.
If you're already married, that can take your car away, and half your stuff...

A nice young, hot car is a safer substitute.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:05 PM   #12
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If you're already married, that can take your car away, and half your stuff...

A nice young, hot car is a safer substitute.












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Old 04-09-2012, 08:13 PM   #13
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^^^ post of the day!
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:17 PM   #14
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I am not even 35 yet, and I don't like to be assaulted by creaks and groans and tire roar, and wind noise. A little (natural, not synthetic, see BMW...) aural feedback that the engine is running, and what it is doing is nice... within reason.

Who does love that on a car that doesn't need to be as elemental as a roadster type sports car?
Agreed.

The GS350 F sport is a hot momma for the class (midsize+ w/ V6 power).

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Old 04-10-2012, 12:18 AM   #15
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Wow.. what kind of crap is this article? People approaching their 40s nowadays didn't make the .com boom or burst. A lot of us got jobs in the freeze and post boom.

Anyone with a family that has that kind of money at 40... yea, I want your job.

- brian
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #16
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well it is not about how old you are or when you were born. It is about living within your means to afford a 55k+ car. I am going to hit 40 in 2 years. And I have just come to a place where I can afford such a car. I have zero credit card debt, and only my house and my WRX are not paid off. I am an engineer and my wife is a nurse. We do not have an overtly expensive house, and we pay cash for everything other than cars. We just wait for it and save up.

I am not even a well paid engineer. Here in Houston, I make well below the average for an engineer with 13 years experience.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:39 AM   #17
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Cts-v Ftw!
They would say it's not refined enough,has chinsy knobs, etc...
If I was going to spend the type of money I'd be in a CTS-V also!
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #18
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most boring mid-life chrisis machines ever.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #19
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This stuff just bothers me.
"You're forty! You're old and insignificant and no one will like you because you do not have a BRAND NEW EVERYTHING! Be jealous of your neighbor. Buy something! Keep up with the Joneses! Buy more things! Buy better things! Spend money! Buy, buy, buy!"
Anyone stop to think that maybe this sort of rampant, in-your-face materialism and ravenous consumerism is a big part of how we got into this economic mess?
What a sad state of affairs this is.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #20
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This stuff just bothers me.
"You're forty! You're old and insignificant and no one will like you because you do not have a BRAND NEW EVERYTHING! Be jealous of your neighbor. Buy something! Keep up with the Joneses! Buy more things! Buy better things! Spend money! Buy, buy, buy!"
Anyone stop to think that maybe this sort of rampant, in-your-face materialism and ravenous consumerism is a big part of how we got into this economic mess?
What a sad state of affairs this is.
Agreed. 1st two paragraphs made me want to vomit. Who makes decisions like that? Apparently almost all of society - but certainy not me or anyone I like.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:48 PM   #21
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Who in their midlife crisis would take any of those sedans over a Corvette? It's all about being really selfish and flashy, and a sedan isn't that. Article isn't really that well thought out.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:26 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by XanRules View Post
This stuff just bothers me.
"You're forty! You're old and insignificant and no one will like you because you do not have a BRAND NEW EVERYTHING! Be jealous of your neighbor. Buy something! Keep up with the Joneses! Buy more things! Buy better things! Spend money! Buy, buy, buy!"
Anyone stop to think that maybe this sort of rampant, in-your-face materialism and ravenous consumerism is a big part of how we got into this economic mess?
What a sad state of affairs this is.
I agree that this type of materialism is distasteful, and it sometimes backfires if the system encourages people to be over-leveraged. But ironically, much of what is good about this country also drives from it, IMO.

In the end, (most) people will always be petty and jealous. We can only pick a standard by which people will judge each other to be petty and jealous. And turns out, you could do a lot worse than using money as that standard. Money is at least universal (fits an immigrant based country like this one well), and it encourages productivity (can't argue with iPad).

I come from a culture based on prestige (or at least it use to be), and let me tell you that is a lot of BS, no better than materialism.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:27 PM   #23
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This stuff just bothers me.
"You're forty! You're old and insignificant and no one will like you because you do not have a BRAND NEW EVERYTHING! Be jealous of your neighbor. Buy something! Keep up with the Joneses! Buy more things! Buy better things! Spend money! Buy, buy, buy!"
Anyone stop to think that maybe this sort of rampant, in-your-face materialism and ravenous consumerism is a big part of how we got into this economic mess?
What a sad state of affairs this is.

I can't disagree much with that.

People do need to keep their lives running, and sometimes that means upgrading the tools of their lives, like cars. There is a thread of normalcy woven in... but it is blended with quite a lot of hype, and marketing push, backed by political and economic global policy.

They push toward teen-agers, women, and every other high-spending demographic, even harder than they push toward middle-age men who have a mental shift after working so hard for so long for others, then turn their attention back to themselves when their children leave home. It is socio-economics at work.

But the marketing onslaught to take that and go overboard with it, is not doing people any favors.

Even if the people stop doing that... which personal spending has been curtailed since 2008's economic crash, and the credit over-extension per household has retracted to near zero savings rate, instead of firmly negative (credit abusing)...

The government however, hasn't gotten the hint, and the government is leveraging the american taxpaying household far more than they themselves ever did.

In a nation based on a consumption economy, that makes nothing, and buys everything from foreign trading partners... if commerce goes down, there isn't anything else... so the government stimulates the economy, and suggests everyone buy everything to keep the economy going. We saw it after 9-11, with a small recession, and zero percent interest on cars and trucks...

And then we saw it with housing later in the decade, which created a housing bust, and sent the economy into a much worse recession... and the government still stimulates, and tells people to buy. It lies about the unemployment rate, it lies about the inflation rate, it lies about recovery from the recession, in order to keep the economy and by extension, ANY of the then-current political administrations afloat. They've all gone the same direction, the only thing that has changed is velocity, which has gone from run, to rocket-powered.

This has been happening for at least 15 years directly since before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000... and has happened at other points in recent US history as well.

American consumption economics supports the economics of other producer nations, now that the US has regulated and taxed it's way out of being a producer nation anymore. Those other producer nations, flush with cash from american and other first-world consumers, then lend that money back, at an interest rate return. Not a stupid plan on their part.

However, it is a house of cards that cannot stand forever, and the further it gets pushed, and the bigger the issue becomes... the harder everyone will fall. The 2000 crash and 9-11 were moderate. The 2008 crash was bigger, and we still feel the effects, and the same policies are accelerating now.

The next bubble to burst will be the cash bubble, and it will be historic, and likely change the face of the globe economically, and likely politically as well, and could theoretically precipitate war, just as the Weimar republic's hyper-inflation, Europe's debt to the US for WWI reconstruction, and the US's new-deal fed great depression precipitated WWII.

Last edited by HipToBeSquare; 04-10-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:03 PM   #24
scott_gunn
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There is nothing wrong with a middle aged man who finally can afford an expensive car buying one.
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:56 PM   #25
HipToBeSquare
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott_gunn View Post
There is nothing wrong with a middle aged man who finally can afford an expensive car buying one.
The key being... "can afford"

If that is the case, I fully agree with Scott. I am a capitalist, and people should be free to spend their legally-obtained, already-taxed earnings in non-criminal activities, with no restriction.

If that is not the case, and people are succumbing to marketing pressure, and leveraging themselves financially to compete with the joneses, so to speak, I don't think that helps anyone.

It may be legal to accrue huge debt, and it may not need to be restricted or regulated, other than enforcing voluntary debt-arrangment contract terms; but financial irresponsibility carries socio-economic consequences, and financially irresponsible voters tend to not hold their elected officials financially responsible, either.

Living beyond one's means has a ripple effect, culturally.
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