July 5, 2010

"Sadly, the 4x4 has become an acceptable alternative to Mercedes or BMW for the pompous, self-important driver."

"To use them for the school run, or even in cities or towns at all, is completely stupid."

The creator of the Range Rover, Charles Spencer King, dead at 85.

81 comments:

T said...

There's so much to haul around now, you need a 4x4 just to fit it all in. Especially if you have more than two kids.

Chase said...

Love my Yukon, but it stays in the garage about 300 days a year becuase of gas prices.

My 2002 Mazda Miata however . . .

SGT Ted said...

Sadly, the car someone drives has become an acceptable alternative to shame people about their antisocial behaviors for the pompous, self-important Liberals who want to run your lives.

JAL said...

T, kids fit in minivans just fine. And with more space, unless you are driving a Suburban or Expedition.

4x4 SUVs are good if you live in areas that get socked in the winter by snow.

My daughter bought a used one here in the mountains of NC. She asked the lady why she was selling it.

"Honey, if you have one of these and it snows, they expect you to get to work."

But for the run around town folks, paying for and maintaining a 4x4 SUV is more a disposable income choice. Your money, your choice. (When they made the switch to shifting into 4WD possible with a push button inside, as opposed to getting out and turning the hubs, we had passed the utility phase. Even then, I bet most 4x4 SUVs never get engaged.)

Working 4x4s on the other hand(trucks, off road use etc.) are one of God's gifts. Along with duct tape.

JAL said...

And bungee cords.

Expat(ish) said...

Does my Subaru count as a 4x4?

_XC

PS - Much much better than a huge Suburban for getting around in the yuck.

Bob_R said...

Yeah, a 4x4 in the city is like a Ferrari in a traffic jam. A lot of people will put up with a car that is inconvenient and poorly suited to its task 99.9% of the time just to be in the "perfect" car a few times a decade. If it was me spending the money I'd go for luxury. To each his own. I spend money on musical instruments and recording equipment. Far be it from me to tell others how to spend their.

mesquito said...

Sadly, sneering at other people's transportation choices...

Big Mike said...

Every time I see one of those big SUVs tooling around town with "stop Global Warming" or "save the earth" or "love your mother" (with a picture of the earth) I really get an overwhelming urge to smash my car into it.

Then I think about the big SUV sustaining probably no more than a couple hundred bucks worth of damage while my sedan is totaled, and I get a grip.

GMay said...

Always been a car guy myself, but sometimes I wish I had an SUV around town just so I can see what's going on farther than the SUV in front of me.

chuckR said...

Just amazing that people were able to get around the northern states for so long with RWD cars.

Save the money you'd otherwise blow fueling one of these pigs or similar and invest in a set of four true snow tires instead. The hot tip on car blogs I've read is a set of Nokian Hakkapelittas. Expensive as a high performance tire - they are H rated, made in Finland, sold mostly in Canada in the North American market. Finns, Canadians - do they know something about snow you don't?

Admission - my cars have either Conti 810S or Blizzak tires - didn't know about the Hakkapelittas then.

HT said...

Sneer away.

He's correct. I was hit by a vehicle in the city, a vehicle whose proper place was a ranch, and only a ranch. No one has any business driving those humongous escalades and other SUVs. The only time I've been in a Range Rover was on an English farm.

I'll happily sneer. These vehicles are too big and obscure others' views if they have the misfortune but intelligence to drive smaller, proper sized vehicles.

bring it.

Hagar said...

Pickup based 4x4's are indeed inefficient unless you have a real need to go off-road. The fashion probably comes mostly from the argument that "most mass wins." There even used to be an oaf from NHTSA on the airwaves proclaiming that this was a matter of "simple physics; though, if that were true, there is no need for the NHTSA or IIHS, we could just weigh the vehicles, and that would be that.
Anyway, lots of husbands buy Excruciations for their wives to drive so that she will be "safe" and they have little faith in her driving skills, which make her a hazard to everyone else on the road, and even more so in a large, evil-handling vehicle.
However, 4x4 drive itself is an excellent idea- certainly so in Wisconsin winters - but also on dry pavements, and it is not synonymous with "huge," and I love the handling qualities of my Subaru.

bagoh20 said...

I bought my first 4X4 pick up truck 12 years ago, and then replaced it with another. I expect it will be the only type of vehicle I will ever own. I can carry materials, tools, animals, sporting equipment, etc.; and I can carry it virtually anywhere, anytime. That's what I do. Anything else would only allow me to live a small percentage of my life. If I own just one vehicle, it has to be a truck or I'm not me.

Telling people what vehicle they should drive is arrogant and myopic.

The one thing that increases your effect on the environment more than anything else you will ever do is having offspring. I don't care how many kids you have, but unless you don't have any, your carbon footprint will always be larger than mine. I don't mind that, now leave me alone.

JAL said...

No one has any business driving those humongous escalades and other SUVs. The only time I've been in a Range Rover was on an English farm.

I'll happily sneer. These vehicles are too big and obscure others' views if they have the misfortune but intelligence to drive smaller, proper sized vehicles.


Wow.

If I told you is you didn't accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Svaior you'd go to hell, would you be offended at my "self righteousness?" Just askin'.

This guy hasn't heard the recent declarations that there is no misfortune out there. There is "choice" and / or "stupid."

We who do not drive proper sized vehicles are not intelligent. (Get that?)

And what is a proper sized vehicle, pray tell?

One of those stupid "Smart" cars?

Every time I see one of those I want to bump it with my 23 year old Volvo SW tank which gets 25 mpg in town, 30 mpg on the high way.

Wow again.

JAL said...

I grew up in the northeast. I would as a teenager go OUT to drive in the snow for fun. My parents never said no. I never got stuck. Of course I did have a VW rear engine bug .... ;-)

That being said tire chains were the way to go. We would take them off when we got out to the parkway (needed them to get out of our street.) I learned to chain a car -- one of those life skills Dad taught me.

Then we went to studded snows, which I guess are outlawed now some places due to road wear.

We still put studded snows on here int he Appalachians during the winter. We have ICE on our roads like I never saw up north. Snow tires by themselves aren't all that much of a help on ice.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I agree a 4x4 SUV is totally unnecessary in some areas. San Francisco, Los Angeles for example In others...they are needed to get around because of snow and ice conditions.

Then we went to studded snows, which I guess are outlawed now some places due to road wear

I use studded snow tires in the winter and then change the wheels in the spring to the regular road type tires.

You know, you CAN get some SUV's in a non 4x4 configuration.

SUV's are also necessary if you have a family with small children who have to be stuffed into car seats, want to have any of your children's friends to come with you, want to go grocery shopping for more thana bunch of arugula at Whole Foods, want to carry stuff home from Home Depot, need to drive more than 150 miles at a stretch and so on.

People can just STFU about what I drive and they can drive what they want. If they want to drive a clown car that takes more energy to produce than it will EVER EVER save in energy costs. GO for it.

Freedom to drive what you want.

edutcher said...

Back before Medicare, doctors drove Oldsmobiles. Once they all became rich, Beemers were necessary to convey their status in society, but all good things get old. I started seeing this on the Main Line (Ann will know) about 15 years ago, so I'm hardly surprised.

If The Zero gets his $8 a gallon gas, it will be interesting to see how many people can do without their personnel carriers.

And how soon.

Paul Zrimsek said...

King was just jealous because the other manufacturers' SUVs don't catch fire all the time.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If The Zero gets his $8 a gallon gas, it will be interesting to see how many people can do without their personnel carriers.

Some people cannot do without. Businesses that rely on transportation and people like my husband who has a plumbing/well/pump business will just have to raise their rates to compensate. Too bad for the consumer.

Trust me....you cannot run his business out of a Prius.

chuckR said...

Drive whatever you want, but please get the hell out of the left lane when some one wants to go past.

bagoh20 - your truck will undoubtedly be a consolation to you in your dotage. A dotage supported in some part by my kid's carbon footprints, unless you are prepared to repudiate your Social Security ponzi scheme cash flow.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A dotage supported in some part by my kid's carbon footprints, unless you are prepared to repudiate your Social Security ponzi scheme cash flow

I'm READY. As long as I get all my money back that was unwillingly taken from me..... plus the lost interest that I could have earned in even a standard savings account and certificate of deposit portfolio. Better yet. Give me the earnings that I would have had in an indexed DJIA or SP500 fund.

You owe me about 600K, which I will never live long enough to collect on SS.

THEN I'll forego Social Security. Until then STFU. The Government stole money from me and I either want it ALL back or plan to collect it. Screw your children.

bagoh20 said...

"unless you are prepared to repudiate your Social Security ponzi scheme cash flow."

I am. I won't need it. Partly because I have produced far more than I have taken from my community. I'm not part of the ponzi scheme, except that I have had to put in all my life while also paying to support schools and infrastructure far beyond any expense me or my progeny will ever require in return.

You're welcome.

I have no problem with people having kids, and I don't even mind them extracting money from me to help support them. I just don't want them telling me how to live while doing said extracting.

Comrade X said...

Sneer away....bring it.

while you criticise people for driving the wrong size vehicle, I criticise you for driving around unnecessarily in the first place just to live a useless hipster lifestyle. If it can be done in a smartcar, it probably isn't even something that needs doing. Sorry you got hit by an SUV. Learn to drive better.

Donna B. said...

All this is so funny. Around here, a 4x4 is best suited for getting you stuck deeper and in places where your cell phone is less likely to work.

I used to think Range Rovers were interesting vehicles until I rode in one. True, it wasn't one of the fancier models, it was in Scotland, there were roundabouts and Brit drivers involved... but those things didn't bother me all that much in a car.

That Range Rover was a rough uncomfortable ride in an unstable feeling vehicle even on flat straight roads.

I prefer cars, but not tiny ones without horsepower. And having been raised by a man who checked gas mileage with every fill-up, I've been conscious of fuel efficiency long before it was fashionable.

So I am constantly amused by those claiming something like 23 city/30 highway as good. I get that in my 12 year old Cadillac Deville. That kind of mileage is average at best and nothing to brag about as being a sign of environmental goodness or whatever.

Fred4Pres said...

I love my 4x4 truck and my wife is geting a Subaru to replace our Rav4.

Fred4Pres said...

Donna B., I remember in high school driving around New Years Eve night with a friend who had a baby blue 73 caddy. There were six of us in the car. Yes alcohol was involved. We drove into the woods and weaved between the trees for a while. I am not sure why, but the ground was frozen and we were doing pretty well, when suddenly we were in some guy's back yard and he was having a New Years Eve party. My friend put on his high beams, illuminating the faces of horror and shock on the party goers in the rear bay window. He then floored the caddy to get away, which proceeded to fish tail over the back lawn. The guests had filled up the driveway with their cars, so he took out a row of viburnums along the side yard and slipped out of a gap on the curb near a hydrant, where we lost the muffler. The 455 engine roared as we raced away before the cops showed up.

I am pretty sure that caddy got 8 mpg city and about 12 mpg highway.

Good times.

Michael said...

Progressives would think it perfectly fine to buy a brand new Prius every year or every other year never thinking to calculate the "carbon footprint" of the production of those vehicles. A huge 4X4 owned and driven for 20 years will have a much smaller "carbon footprint" than four Prius (is there a plural?). But then, that isn't the point is it? The point is that the Prius is for the "pompous, self-important driver."

Fred4Pres said...

In a way, I am sure we did that family a favor by crashing their party. No one was hurt, the property damage was not minimal, but you can replace shrubs and grass. I am sure they still discuss that story even now, as do their friends who were at that party.

Memories.

Good times.

dbp said...

It is handy to have a 3rd car. A great 3rd car to have is a large SUV, ours is a Yukon XL. It is great for when one of the other cars is being serviced or to take to work when there is too much snow for my little rear-wheel drive car. We can take our family of 5 + in-laws + a ton of luggage on a trip with room to spare and a smooth ride that lets you put in 300 miles without getting tired. It is also handy for pulling said RWD car out of the ditch and hauling 1,000 lb loads of granite.

dbp said...

It is handy to have a 3rd car. A great 3rd car to have is a large SUV, ours is a Yukon XL. It is great for when one of the other cars is being serviced or to take to work when there is too much snow for my little rear-wheel drive car. We can take our family of 5 + in-laws + a ton of luggage on a trip with room to spare and a smooth ride that lets you put in 300 miles without getting tired. It is also handy for pulling said RWD car out of the ditch and hauling 1,000 lb loads of granite.

chuckR said...

You owe me about 600K, which I will never live long enough to collect on SS.

I'll give you the 600K I owe you just as soon as you give me the 600K you owe me. In business 34 years and most years pegged the SS tax.

GMay said...

Hell, I'd just be satisfied to have my Social Security "contributions" given back to me without interest at this point.

edutcher said...

chuckR said...

...

bagoh20 - your truck will undoubtedly be a consolation to you in your dotage. A dotage supported in some part by my kid's carbon footprints, unless you are prepared to repudiate your Social Security ponzi scheme cash flow.

The Ponzi scheme belongs to FDR and the Demos, not bag. Many a good (and I do mean good) Republican's political career was demagogued out of existence because he wanted to take the Ponzi out of the scheme.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If The Zero gets his $8 a gallon gas, it will be interesting to see how many people can do without their personnel carriers.

Some people cannot do without. Businesses that rely on transportation and people like my husband who has a plumbing/well/pump business will just have to raise their rates to compensate. Too bad for the consumer.

Trust me....you cannot run his business out of a Prius.


I was thinking of soccer moms and chi-chi doctors. Some trucks are little toy trucks and some are used for the purpose intended, as I once told my brother-in-law.

Freeman Hunt said...

Older people always like to say their SS is owed them. But who owes it? The government? The government doesn't have or make any money. Future generations? Why? They didn't have a say in it, and it looks like they'll be taxed at a higher rate than the elderly ever were.

So old people get a ponzi scheme going. Old people never stop it even as it is exposed as a fraud. Old people never even reform it to keep it solvent. And now that it's a total disaster headed for ruin, they think the younger (and much poorer) people owe it to them.

Say what?

Freeman Hunt said...

Minivans are better for carting small children around because they're easier to get into That's just my opinion though. I don't care what car somebody drives as long as he doesn't hit me with it.

Hagar said...

This is the land of the free and home of the brave, but if you pay $50,000+ for a Silverado with body by Brinks', I am still going to mark you down as lacking in both intelligence and good taste.

Michael said...

Hagar: Intelligence and taste are often hard to discern by looking at the cars people drive. You might think that is a clue but you might be very wrong. Your judgment might mean more about your own extra high standards and extra fine taste but then those too might be constrained by your cash. The longer I am around the more I focus on the profound amount of envy and rage that are bound up in judgments about other people's things.

AJ Lynch said...

Topic weaver:

I just put my bike in the back of my pickup truck so I can drive to the Schuylkill River bike trail and take a long bike ride. I am hoping exercise will help me to live long enough to get some of my money back from social security.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

So old people get a ponzi scheme going. Old people never stop it even as it is exposed as a fraud

Well squeeze me Freeman. I'm old and Social Security was here before I was born.

I've paid into SS since I first started working FULL time at the age of 16.....over 44 years. The last 12 years I've been self employed, so I get to pay in DOUBLE what you pay. My husband has been self employed for over 30 years and he pays in DOUBLE.

Do we get a choice....FUCK NO. So we should stop it after 45 years of both of us paying into the system DOUBLE what you pay and just give up any return on the money that was STOLEN from us by the Government?

I don't think so.

SS was exposed as a fraud when your parents were babies. So what do you want them to do?

Am I going to collect. FUCK YES!.

I paid into the stupid system. When I die if I haven't collected even a miniscule portion of what I paid in my children get zip.

SO you want us "old people" to not take back even some of what was taken from us.

. But who owes it? The government? The government doesn't have or make any money.

Yes. It is OWED TO ME. The Government FORCED me to pay in with a promise of some sort of return. I know....trust the government /facepalm.

Again. I say....fine...I'll opt out of social security so you won't have to pay into it......if you give me back the money that I have paid into the system.

And like ChuckR for the last 15 years my husband and I have both maxed out on SS, paying in both the employee and employer contributions. And where do my contributions go? Into a big black hole of entitlements to pay benefits to people who never worked a Goddamned day in their worthless lives. And now there isn't any money left to pay me back.

As self employed people, when our businesses turn down or if we are out of work, we don't get any unemployment benefits either. We are just S.O.L. So you can cry me a river about not extending unemployment benefits. Boo freaking hoo.

FUUUUUCK YES....someone owes me. If it is you.....tough shit. Take it up with your Congress critter.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

What the heck all the double postings....sorry.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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AJ Lynch said...

The SUV, global warming, "America's addiction to oil" etc were problems concocted by liberal politicians to divert our attention [we are dumbasses] from the fact that they were robbing and looting the nation's treasury to pay for a bazillion misguided liberal govt programs.

Christoph said...

The Range Rover is the king of the 4x4s even to this day.

It is a well made piece of kit.

I used to agree with Charle's King's position about 4x4s in the city ... until I found myself safely driving up and down snowy hills while others could not.

Further, because one lives in what could be described as a city does not mean one doesn't regularly go to rural areas and the country proper. Besides, we've got plenty of oil.

And gas is historically cheap too, compared to the amount of miles you can drive with modern, more fuel-efficient engines.

Mr. King, you were a great man! Thanks for all the opportunities to drive chicks from the city to the nearby offroad-vehicle accessible "Lookout".

bagoh20 said...

WWJD What would Jesus Drive?

Andrea said...

When we had the big snow here last winter, all those "intelligent," "proper-sized" Piouses that people around here drive were as stuck in the snow and unusable as my little Tercel. I missed work because I couldn't drive to it over the ice and slush. I hope we don't have a winter like that again for a while, because I'd like to be able to save up to get something with four-wheel drive, either an old Jeep Cherokee (my dream car), or a small pickup truck (much more practical for a single woman who has to do her own shopping and moving around). Or at least a Subaru -- most of their cars are 4WD I think. My ex-boyfriend had one of those and it drove nice though it was rather a gas-guzzler.

Re Social Security -- please keep in mind this is imposed on people. You can't opt out of it. I would just like all the money that was taken out of my paychecks over the years that was supposedly being put aside for me, but we all know that it's long since been spent so I probably won't even be getting that.

Mike Lief said...

Dust Bunny, those rants -- er, comments were EPIC!

Just read them out loud to the wife, who gave you a big "right on, sister!"

Donna B. said...

Fred4Pres - um, yeah. I have some of those memories of "good" times too... and I'm lucky to be here today.

Well... it's not entirely due to luck. Fear of not being instantly killed thus having to face my parents helped a lot.

virgil xenophon said...

If your old enough to have learned to drive in ice and snow in rear-wheel drive cars, you'll do just fine in a 2-wheel-drive SUV. Cheaper and with better handling and gas mileage on dry roads. And with chains/snow-tires you'll still be able to handle 90% of what winter throws at you..

AJ Lynch said...

DBQ can always cut to the chase with gusto! And her logic ain't bad either.

Btw I completed a 20 mile bike ride in this 96 degree heat and did not die! I ain't dying until I get some of my social security money back either!

Hagar said...

But what you really need is a F-350 King Ranch, XLT Lariat Super Duty, Extended cab, Diesel, dually, Off-Road 4x4!
That will show 'em who is Queen of the Road!

Nora said...

It seems that Mr King was offended that the car he created for landed gentry became accesible to plebeans.

Randy said...

DBQ can always cut to the chase with gusto! And her logic ain't bad either.

Think so? Rude and coarse != gusto IMO.

DonnaB: LOL @ your first comment ;-)

Freeman: That your point has been thus far misunderstood doesn't make it less pertinent ;-)

knox said...

SO you want us "old people" to not take back even some of what was taken from us.

Yeah. Any of you who can afford it should. Sucks for you? Join the club: I've been told since I was 18 that I'll never see even a dime of what I've put in.

DBQ, I have a lot of respect for your opinions. But the whole "It's owed to me, fuck the consequences!!" is what got our country into this mess. And it's what has stood in the way of any meaningful reform.

I have no problem with the "Greatest Generation" getting SS, medicare, etc. to the hilt: at least they earned it. But our current boomer elders have laid waste to everything since the 70s, taking what they can get while the gettings good, and giving the rest of us the finger. I have no problem with asking them to give up their bennies.

knox said...

Just read them out loud to the wife, who gave you a big "right on, sister!"

YEAH! WE WANT OURS!!!

Freeman Hunt said...

The last 12 years I've been self employed, so I get to pay in DOUBLE what you pay. My husband has been self employed for over 30 years and he pays in DOUBLE.

Actually, no. We also own our own business and also "pay double," so you don't pay double what I pay. Plus, my generation will be paying a higher rate that you've had to pay.

Again. I say....fine...I'll opt out of social security so you won't have to pay into it......if you give me back the money that I have paid into the system.

It isn't there. My generation does not have your money. You allowed your representatives to spend all of it.

And now you want your children, who have absolutely nothing to do with the SS mess, to pay higher rates in order to pay you back?

Again, I ask, say what?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have no problem with asking them to give up their bennies.

Try it.

Freeman Hunt said...

I've been told since I was 18 that I'll never see even a dime of what I've put in.

Same.

DBQ, I usually agree with you. In this case, as you seem to be on the side of the government stealing on your behalf, I don't. Keep in mind that the reason your money isn't there is because it was spent on programs by your generation. So it was paid in by you (though at a lesser rate), spent by the government you elected, and now you want children not yet born to bail you out.

Is what happened ridiculous? Yes. Absolutely.

Should future generations have to pay it off? No. Why should they?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In this case, as you seem to be on the side of the government stealing on your behalf, I don't. Keep in mind that the reason your money isn't there is because it was spent on programs by your generation. So it was paid in by you (though at a lesser rate), spent by the government you elected, and now you want children not yet born to bail you out.


First of all I don't appreciate being lumped in with the Boomer generation in a political sense. Agewise ...yes. Politically....no.

Let me ask you this then.

Are you in favor of cancelling the pensions of teachers, police, fire fighters, private sector and public sector union employees?

Yes or No?

Those mismanaged pensions are underfunded, broke and will probably have to be picked up by the Pension Guarantee Fund, paid for by you as a taxpayer.

Oh...but they have a contract you say?

Well then, the forcible taking of my money by the government represents an implied contract. We will make you pay into this fund and in return promise that you will get XXX returned down the road.

So, unless you are ready to stiff all the teachers and others, defund their pensions and not give them any benefits,( who by the way, many have not contributed any money of their own to their own pensions or benefits packages)..... why are you ready to stiff the elderly, most of whom paid into the system for their entire lifetimes?

fair is fair. No social security, no medicare....NO government pension plans or medical coverage for anyone then. NO more bailing out the Union's pension and benefit plans with tax payer dollars.

You ready to go there?

Randy said...

Those mismanaged pensions are underfunded, broke and will probably have to be picked up by the Pension Guarantee Fund, paid for by you as a taxpayer.

IIRC, no taxpayer funds have ever been used by the PBGC to pay out benefits upon the termination of a covered pension plan. Has something happened lately?

Are you in favor of cancelling the pensions of teachers, police, fire fighters, private sector and public sector union employees?

If "[t]hose mismanaged pensions are underfunded, broke and will probably have to be picked up by the Pension Guarantee Fund, then the question becomes not one of Yes or No but when and how, doesn't it?

CalPERS, the wealthiest pension plan in the United States with $171 billion in assets, currently spends an unsustainable $17 billion per year on benefits. If the state of California can't afford to keep providing massive additional funding (IIRC, about $5 billion last year), and it looks like it can't, then the plan ought to consider seeking protection sooner rather than later. If the PBGC assumes control of the assets, uses the stricter terms for retirement age, and reduces benefits to the covered amount (current maximum $54,000/annum), there is a good chance that the assets might be sufficient to meet the payout. If California waits until the assets are drawn down to something approaching zero, the likelihood that future taxpayers will end up footing the bill for current misfeasance rises exponentially.

The California STRS is supposedly a bit better off than CalPERS but I wouldn't bet much on its actuarial soundness.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh...but they have a contract you say?

Not I. I'm of the opinion that public sector unions should be illegal, and no taxpayers should be on the hook for contracts with private entities.

Freeman Hunt said...

I wrote my comment before Randy wrote his, and then someone came to the door, so I didn't hit "Publish" until my guest left just now. Randy's info casts things in a different light, I think.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Randy

My comment was in response to Freeman and Knox stating that 'old people', who have paid into social security for their entire lives, should be stripped of benefits because the program is broke. Why should they have to pay for old people's benefits, they say?

Why indeed. Why should I have to pay for the benefits of government employees or teachers then?

My comparison is to publically funded pension plans and to bailing out the unions plans. Those plans are broke as well.

Do you support stripping benefits from teachers and others because the plans are broke? Or do you support ever more bail outs of those unions and plans that refuse to make concessions.

If you support stripping social security and medicare from the seniors who have contributed their own money and their employer's money to the plans, then you should also support stiffing the others who are recpients of TAXPAYER funded retirement and benefit plans and who mostly didn't contribute one dime to those plans.

Fair enough?


BTW: the community services board that I am on has gotten word that our employer contributions for payroll this year (including paying for a previously set aside unfunded pension liablilty) is going to be 18%. This doesn't include the employee portion, which they haven't been paying of 7%. Add in the 6.2% for Social Security and the 1.45% for Medicare......we (the taxpayers and ratepayers of this district) are paying 32.65% on every dollar of payroll. This also doesn't count the CalPers medical coverage of $1328 per month per employee. (they also don't pay anything on this either)

So while WE taxpayers all across the country are paying through the nose for government employee's bloated pension plans that they don't even contribute to......Knox and Freeman want to make old people who have paid out of their paychecks for years,give up their measly social security subsidies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not I. I'm of the opinion that public sector unions should be illegal, and no taxpayers should be on the hook for contracts with private entities.


I'm good with that.

So what is your proposal for when the teachers and firemen and cops come crying about their upside down pension plans? Screw 'em? Take away their retirement? Let'em eat catfood?

If you want to take away the future benefits(paltry as they are)of those who have paid into the SS program....against our will I might add.........

Then, I want my damned money back. I never wanted to give it to the government in the first place. I bet my past employers would like to have their contributions back too.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

If the PBGC assumes control of the assets, uses the stricter terms for retirement age, and reduces benefits to the covered amount (current maximum $54,000/annum), there is a good chance that the assets might be sufficient to meet the payout

This is, of course the answer to the pension issue. Benefits will have to be reduced and retirement age raised. SS should also be indexed for income.

AND we should quit using the SS funds for benefits for people who have never worked or for those who aren't even citizens.

They have already raised the retirement age for Social Security several times.

I personally wanted to see Bush's privatization plan go forward because it would benefit the younger people and gradually phase out the old style SS plan for one that is personalized and where you can actually get a decent return on your money AND be able to pass it on to your family.

But to just say....screw you...you're old.... and why should I have to pay for you isn't realistic because promises/implied contracts have been made with generations of people, some of whom sadly...rely on this promise to live.

So unless you are willing to nullify all the contracts with teachers etc, and I bet you really aren't, you are just whistling into the wind.

Randy said...

Then, I want my damned money back. I never wanted to give it to the government in the first place. I bet my past employers would like to have their contributions back too.

While I understand your frustration with the idea, the truth is that your money was spent paying then-current benefits to others. All you received in return was promise to pay you in similar fashion at some future date.

In the course of your lifetime, the government has arbitrarily altered that promise on a number of occasions, by including medical care, by including long-term care and then eliminating it, by covering prescription drugs only to turn around and eliminate them and once again including them, and by significantly altering the definition of "normal retirement."

As any drastic change would require about 300 members of Congress and the POTUS to commit political suicide, a highly unlikely possibility (see Bush privatization plan results), admitting the truth about Social Security isn't a realistic possibility. Until such time as all the "trust fund" money runs out and it is unavoidable.

WRT: your community service board: sounds like their problems are of their own making. They negotiated the contracts. If they can't fulfill them, they shouldn't agree to them. (ASIDE: Am reminded of my local water district, ever so proud of having "cut costs" by attrition and early buy-outs (as if the latter weren't a cost): they will go from 5 employees per supervisor to 7 employees per supervisor. Gee! Well more than half of their employees are meter readers. Who knew it was so complicated?)

So what is your proposal for when the teachers and firemen and cops come crying about their upside down pension plans? Screw 'em? Take away their retirement? Let'em eat catfood?

No, my suggestion is that, if those who promised can't pay, the plans should go into receivership and be administered by the PBGC just like what happens when private plans go broke.

The pension giveaway to police & firefighters about a decade ago (90% of last year's salary @ age 50) has been abused (it has become routine in many departments to goose final year salaries to obtain even higher benefits than would be paid otherwise), combined with the redefinition of thousands as "public security" employees in order to get the same benefits as well as the 10% increase in all pensions being paid at the time are what may have broken this camel's back. We'll see.

Randy said...

Then, I want my damned money back. I never wanted to give it to the government in the first place. I bet my past employers would like to have their contributions back too.

While I understand your frustration with the idea, the truth is that your money was spent paying then-current benefits to others. All you received in return was promise to pay you in similar fashion at some future date.

In the course of your lifetime, the government has arbitrarily altered that promise on a number of occasions, by including medical care, by including long-term care and then eliminating it, by covering prescription drugs only to turn around and eliminate them and once again including them, and by significantly altering the definition of "normal retirement."

As any drastic change would require about 300 members of Congress and the POTUS to commit political suicide, a highly unlikely possibility (see Bush privatization plan results), admitting the truth about Social Security isn't a realistic possibility. Until such time as all the "trust fund" money runs out and it is unavoidable.

WRT: your community service board: sounds like their problems are of their own making. They negotiated the contracts. If they can't fulfill them, they shouldn't agree to them. (ASIDE: Am reminded of my local water district, ever so proud of having "cut costs" by attrition and early buy-outs (as if the latter weren't a cost): they will go from 5 employees per supervisor to 7 employees per supervisor. Gee! Well more than half of their employees are meter readers. Who knew it was so complicated?)

So what is your proposal for when the teachers and firemen and cops come crying about their upside down pension plans? Screw 'em? Take away their retirement? Let'em eat catfood?

No, my suggestion is that, if those who promised can't pay, the plans should go into receivership and be administered by the PBGC just like what happens when private plans go broke.

The pension giveaway to police & firefighters about a decade ago (90% of last year's salary @ age 50) has been abused (it has become routine in many departments to goose final year salaries to obtain even higher benefits than would be paid otherwise), combined with the redefinition of thousands as "public security" employees in order to get the same benefits as well as the 10% increase in all pensions being paid at the time are what may have broken this camel's back. We'll see.

Freeman Hunt said...

Knox and Freeman want to make old people who have paid out of their paychecks for years,give up their measly social security subsidies.

You didn't just pay it out. You also spent it on government programs. That's why it isn't there. And you're asking young people, who are poorer than old people, to pay out, at a higher rate than you paid in, to fund you with no hope of ever receiving any benefits themselves.

Obviously it has to be phased out because people are greedy and think they're owed young people's money, so no other means of getting rid of it will ever pass. But if people really wanted to be "fair" we would dump SS and only pay out to the needy. I write "fair" in quotations because really there is no "fair" in this unless maybe you confiscated all the property of the government officials involved and put it toward paying for this mess.

But yes, politically, privatization and phasing out is the only possible solution. So I can compromise on that if it will get it done.

Also, I don't buy this argument that you can't fix one thing without fixing everything. (Though I'm all for fixing everything.)

P.S. And once again, I've walked away from the computer before hitting Publish and due to a wv fail, I see that I have again cross-posted with Randy. Ha.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

PBGC: It currently protects the pensions of more than 44 million American workers and retirees in more than 29,000 private single-employer and multiemployer defined benefit pension plans. PBGC receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income, assets from pension plans trusteed by PBGC, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the plans.

I may be wrong but I don't believe that government agency pensions, like Cal Pers or other Municipal entities pay into the PBGC. If they don't, then the taxpayer is STILL on the hook.

Re: the community services district. Not unionized at this time. However the decision to participate in Cal Pers was made many many years ago. It would cost us an arm and a leg just to get out of the program because we would have to have the actuaries calculate the past and current unfunded pension liablilities and then pony up that money. A LOT of $$$ since the markets have been under performing for several years. We are chained to the program.

While I understand your frustration with the idea, the truth is that your money was spent paying then-current benefits to others. All you received in return was promise to pay you in similar fashion at some future date.

So. This is the same promise that has been made to any defined benefit plan participant? Promise to pay in the future. However, in the case of the government and many unions, the participant isn't even paying into the plan. It is someone else's money. Either the employer or mine as a taxpayer.

Yes, I am upset. When we are paying for these bloated and abusive public employee pensions and bailing out the plans that the unions extorted from the employers.

While at the same time working people who don't have unions or benefits are having their hard earned dollars taken from them for a ponzi scheme. Money given away like party favors for votes. Given to people who never paid into the system and who aren't even citizens of this country.

And .....then people like Freeman and Knox want to tell the social security payers to stuff it because they don't want to pay the freight. The same way that I haven't wanted to pay all these years. Too bad.

Unless you tell EVERYONE to stuff it, police, teachers, DMV workers along with the 'old people' ....it means nothing.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

You didn't just pay it out. You also spent it on government programs. That's why it isn't there. And you're asking young people, who are poorer than old people, to pay out, at a higher rate than you paid in, to fund you with no hope of ever receiving any benefits themselves.


Who is this YOU you are talking about? I wasn't me.

Young people are always poorer than old people. That is an effect of time. So?

When I started work, minimum wage was 1.25 an hour and the SS/medicare portion was 3.65%. $50 a week gross wages.

The incentive is to get a better job and get richer as we get older. Hard to do when the government is forcing you to give them more and more money for things that are of no benefit to you...isn't it? Welcome to my world.

Now the avg minimum wage is $7.50 and the SS/medi portion is only 4% higher than it was 46 years ago. However, the cap on wages is also much higher. Is the contribution percentage higher. Yes, but not as much of an increase as the base wage.

I'm asking that if you want to eliminate social security, that you at least have the honesty to say that you will also eliminate all other publicly funded pensions at the same time.

You DO realize that you "poor" younger people are paying for those government luxury pensions and benefits too??? Without, I might add, ANY possible return for yourself EVER...unless you are parked at the government pension trough. Are you?

Intellectual honesty....or is it just easier to pick on older people many of whom (not myself thankfully), have no other pensions because they weren't part of an organized gang and worked at low paying jobs.

Is the system totally screwed up and unfair. You bet it is. Is it my fault. Hell no it isn't.

What do you want the these inconvenient old people to do after having paid into the system all of their lives? Work until age 80? 85? Clean toilets at McDonalds? "Thanks for the money you paid all these years.....now get out of the way." "DIE you useless expensive old farts"?

If that's the case and that's your attitude, I sincerely hope you don't have much interaction with your parents. And I sure hope you don't raise your children with that attitude. It will come back to bite you in your old bony ass one of these days.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
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knox said...

Well said, Freeman and Randy.

DBQ, I agree that government employees have been receiving unfair advantages, and those advantages should be yanked (even if we weren't facing a crisis). And I am sympathetic to your frustration. But if common-sense people like you refuse to give anything up, well... it looks pretty damn bleak for the rest of us.

Government employees should be forced to retire at a reasonable age, contribute reasonable amounts to their insurance, and forfeit things like retiring with hundreds of paid sick days.

Freeman Hunt said...

DBQ, you'll have to point out to me where I defended government union pensions. And your characterization of my attitude towards the elderly is totally dishonest. I already commented that the needy should be provided for. Instead you skip over that and assert that I think they should be worked to death or left to die. And you're attempting to lecture me on intellectual honesty.

You paid in, so you think you're owed, and apparently, that's where your thinking stops. It doesn't seem to matter to you that younger people will have to pay in more than you paid in to pay you off and then not receive any benefits themselves.

Randy said...
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Randy said...

If they don't, then the taxpayer is STILL on the hook.

Municipalities, school districts and other creatures of the state can and do declare bankruptcy. Thus far, a state has not done so, but one probably could. If California were to do so, CalPERS would be right behind them. Arrangements could be made to transfer the assets of CalPERS to the PBGC or something similar and have them distribute benefits adjusted for the actual amounts available. I doubt something like that will ever happen, but the government never owned an automobile manufacturer before 2009, so I hesitate to say it will never happen.

Re: the community services district. Not unionized at this time. However the decision to participate in Cal Pers was made many many years ago.

Whether or not the CSD is unionized is irrelevant. The decision to enter CalPERS is largely irrelevant as well. As you say, that decision was made many years, perhaps decades, ago. That does not absolve the agency of its fiduciary responsibilities, which include oversight and adequate funding of their pension fund. Just because almost every other such agency chose to believe what turned out to be pie-in-the-sky long term projections doesn't excuse any of them. Now that reality has set in with a vengeance, CalPERS has no choice but to ask the funders to increase their contributions to meet their current and future commitments. That's the way it is supposed to work. As it turns out, the CSD and other like it were provided a free ride by the irrational projections and spent money that they would otherwise have had to use to fund their pension obligations had they been participating in a less politicized, more conservatively managed plan based on sound actuarial principles. For them to complain now about increased costs associated with their own decisions is a bit rich. Now, they must choose how to balance their budget: cut staff, cut services, cut benefits for current staff, or attempt to continue kicking the can down the road to future generations by underfunding current obligations utilizing unsound actuarial assumptions. (My $ is on the last first and service cuts second.)

So. This is the same promise that has been made to any defined benefit plan participant? Promise to pay in the future.

Yes, it is. Given your profession, I'm surprised you are asking the question.

frank said...

intriguing ... from here in Oz I'm fascinated by the general tone of 'hate the government' I'm reading here. Looks like the American sport.

On this side of the Pacific we also have compulsory 401K (we call it Super[annuation]) which is looking pretty good for most people.

Also read today how the internet nowadays is mostly filled with invective and rants - whatever topic is just the launching pad to vent your existing prejudice - so what started out about 4WDs ended up as let's fight about the government ripping us off ... que ?