By on February 3, 2016

Keep both hands inside the car at all times.

One coupe flies, two coupes die.

By the time that Akio Toyoda was standing on that Detroit stage crowing about the triumph of the LC500, the nails were already being hammered into Scion’s coffin. The Scion tC, perhaps the best combination of practicality, style, and durability available for under twenty-five grand in the United States, will be taken out back and unceremoniously shot. The FR-S … your guess is as good as mine, but I’d be surprised if Toyota brought it over as the Celica, no matter how personally gratified I would be by such a move.

The story of Toyota’s American sub-marques could not be more different. Lexus has gone from strength to strength, effortlessly assuming a position as the thinking man’s luxury car with the LS460 while also flooding the market with Camry-platform high-profit product. Scion, on the other hand, has struggled from its first day with customer perception, dealer-satisfaction issues, and schizophrenic product planning.

Yet it’s easy to show that Lexus has been just as poorly managed as Scion; take a look at the Lexus lineup over the past 27 years and tell me that you can’t spot quite a few duffers and misfires. So why is the Official Toyota Brand of McMansion Owners soaring while the Official Toyota Brand of Dubstep Aficionados crashes? The answer, naturally, is: Barack Obama.


jobless

“The percentage of working-age Americans with a job is under 59 percent, its lowest level since 1983.” Well, that’s terrifying, isn’t it? ‘Cause I remember 1983. I was friends with 1983. And 1983 sucked. That’s just one of the terrifying facts surrounding this country’s “jobless recovery.”

Here’s another: “Wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP have been declining for over four decades. According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in seven of the 10 largest occupations typically earn less than $30,000 a year. A retail salesperson — the most popular occupation — earned an average of only $25,310 last year.”

Meanwhile, wages in the executive and financial sectors have been setting new records:

Between 1979 and 2005 (the latest data available with these breakdowns), the share of total income held by the top 1.0 percent more than doubled, from 9.7 percent to 21.0 percent, with most of the increase occurring since 1993. The top 0.1 percent led the way by more than tripling its income share, from 3.3 percent to 10.3 percent. This 7.0 percentage-point gain in income share for the top 0.1 percent accounted for more than 60 percent of the overall 11.2 percentage-point rise in the income share of the entire top 1.0 percent.

Ladies and gentlemen, with these two sets of facts I present to you: Scion Buyers and Lexus Buyers. In our modern Gilded Age, the wealthy continue to increase their buying power, while the people who serve them fall further and further behind. It’s plain to see, therefore, that when Scion’s customer base is flat broke, they won’t be buying Scions, no matter how good the Scion product might be. But that’s not the whole story. The chart at this link shows the wage gap between Millennials and their older counterparts. The average Millennial wage is below $24,000 in most of the country.

The Scion product line is deliberately targeted at Millennials in precisely the same way that the Toyota small-car product line is not, which explains why the Corolla continues to sell to senior citizens and H1-B workers while the xWhatevers rust on the lot. The fact is that if you’re earning $18,000/year or thereabouts, you probably can’t afford a new Scion even if you live at home with your parents. Payments and insurance would represent over half of what you bring home every month.

Put all of this together, and it’s easy to see why the parking lots outside Bernie Sanders rallies are filled with used cars and not brand-new Scions. It was a brand aimed at young people, and young people have been taking it in the shorts for over a decade. The blue-collar kids can’t get manufacturing jobs, because we shipped those jobs to China as part of the most-favored-nation status renewed by Mr. Clinton and supported by Mr. Bush. The white-collar kids graduate with six figures of student debt and jobs that pay less, adjusted for inflation, than anything available to their parents. Ain’t nobody buying any Scions.

“That’s all well and good,” you might respond, “but wasn’t the market for Scion always really the wealthy parents of those Millennials?” It’s possible, but the problem with that strategy is the amazing and unprecedented durability of modern automobiles. When I got my driver’s license in 1988, the average ten-year-old car was ready for the scrapheap, even if it was a Toyota. In 2016, the average car on the road is eleven years old. So parents are just giving their old cars to their children, secure in the knowledge that you can pay off a new car over seven fat years and still expect it to last seven lean years afterwards.

So why blame Mr. Obama, instead of Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton or Mr. Reagan or anybody else from the distant past? Well, the answer is simple: the buck is supposed to stop at his desk. He’s had seven years to fix the issue and instead he’s spent those seven years enriching the Hamptons crowd. The only youth employment program this country offers in any quantity is the United States Army, and nowadays that comes with an excellent chance of losing your legs or your life somewhere in the Third World. (Those guys buy sportbikes with their money anyway.)

Mr. Obama was elected, in large part, by young people who believed they were going to change the world by voting for him. Well, the world has changed — just look at the charts — but it hasn’t been for the better. The fact of the matter is that unless the next President enacts radical change to rebalance the economic slate in this country, selling anything to young people will continue to be a losing proposition. So consider that when you cast your ballot, whether it’s in the primaries or the general, and whether it’s for Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump, or Mr. Cruzubio or whatever he is. What killed Scion? Well, to quote a fellow who enjoyed his spare time with the ladies just as much as I do: It’s the economy, stupid!

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427 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Barack Obama, Scion Killer...”


  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    This is some low-grade trolling, Jack. Stick to cars, or if you’re going to troll about politics, at least be funny about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      BTW, you can get a less misleading graph (one that shows the U6 rate at its current 9.9% rather than 13%) here: https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/U6RATE

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Really. If the headline blamed our bought and paid for Fed govt, this would at least hold some water, but naming only Obama ignores a Republican congress that wisely (for them) decided to close ranks and refuse to do anything useful that would benefit anyone not writing checks.

      • 0 avatar
        stryker1

        I voted for Barack Obama, twice, but I still think it’s appropriate to critique him on this issue. He could have fought for economic justice, he chose to punt.

        • 0 avatar

          Same here voted twice not really any regrets as the other choices were just as bad if not worse. But he really did have a chance to make some financial changes early on to fix some of this but didn’t push the issue other then to allow more government spending then his opponents wanted him too. Shame really but it just proved to me the biggest problem with government isn’t ideals but rather money.

        • 0 avatar
          210delray

          11/22/63 — The REAL day the music died!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Astigmatism,
      Feeling guilty?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Both “different” parties and their representatives (with exceedingly few exceptions) are LITERALLY owned by Wall Street-MIC-Pharma-HealthInsurers-Banks-Agriculture (especially Wall Street/Finance).

      The Clintons are just as much whores to Wall Street as the Bush’s or Romney are/is.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Jack. B. That was one far stretch of an argument. Barely even entertaining. But, it did get the clicks on the site. And that is what this site has become.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        I agree.

        Everywhere else nobody gives the killing off of Scion much more than a paragraph. Avalon sold more than all of Scion put together, so this demise rates about 1 on the Richter scale. Yet here, we’re suddenly supposed to believe that the Scion tC in particular was wonderful. Its wonderfulness escaped the attention of the market, just as the ridiculous attempt to draw politics into this article is just a bloviated form of dogwhistling.

        P*ss poor.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Ah, Jack– I was genuinely pleased to hear you would be contributing more here. This post took away about half that joy. Why is it that almost every auto journalist gets sucked into the web of right-wing politics? I suspect it’s the people you hang out with. The folks who own the really interesting cars think that way, and to be their pal, you you might need to adjust your opinions to suit theirs, no?

      You write as if Obama or any president stands at the levers controlling the economy, waving his hand to make his wishes happen. No president has those powers. Every president probably has gotten more credit or blame for economic results than he deserves. But no president has faced a more recalcitrant Congress, whose opposing party swore on Inauguration Night to block anything and everything Obama proposed. In spite of that, you should acknowledge that your graph of unemployment, broadly defined, has shown a negative slope for the past seven years, and that’s a positive result. What else would you ask for, a lifetime pass to the Big Rock Candy Mountain?

      I fault this president for trade policies like TPP, which continues the exportation of American jobs and impinges on national sovereignty. I can’t abide or explain his support of this. But I also know that GOP has blocked every bit of Democratic legislation against this, such as a House-passed bill to remove the tax deductibility of offshoring costs. Once again, in the next election I’ll back the party that’s only wrong half the time, not the one that’s been wrong all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>But no president has faced a more recalcitrant Congress,<<

        Not accurate. The first two years 0 decided to deal the GOP out and pursue a totally partisan policy w/ his Dem Senate and House, refusing to compromise to gain GOP support. He decided he didn’t need any. He famously stated "elections have consequences" as his justification.

        After two years of getting everything he wanted from the Dem Congress, the VOTERS handed 0 the biggest reversal of fortune in 80+ years. And yet, unlike Clinton, 0 still refused to compromise. 0 refused to recognize that "elections have consequences".

        So 0 got re-elected with a smaller percentage against another moderate GOPer but again 0 lost more Dems. And then he lost the Senate.

        Again, unlike Clinton who had earlier pursued the same partisan strategy w/ similar rebuke, 0 doubled down and refused to recognize that "elections have consequences". His response has been to govern by executive order in violation of his own earlier pronouncements about the legality of doing so.

        Even Dems recognize that 0 has done less than any prez ever to try
        to work w/ Congress.

        0’s; refusal to deal w/ his opposition has led to greatest GOP majorities since the 1920's AND, out in the country, the greatest loses of Dems states-wide in the history of this nation. At the state level the Dems have been decimated and are at levels so low as to be unheard of in modern history.

        0 was right, "elections have consequences", he just never had the temperament to deal with it when it didn’t go his way, unlike Clinton and others.

      • 0 avatar

        don’t see this as a right wing post(other then the title). I disagree with Jack alot but here he is basically right both sides are bought and paid for. I do agree he decided to go click bait by focusing on Obama but the rest is solid.

      • 0 avatar

        @Wheatridger
        Agree with most of what you say. I would fault Bush2 for the Iraq war, and the banking crisis, and all presidents going back to Clinton for aiding and abetting too much immigration, including O’s DACA amnesty which is eating into millennial employment. Fun fact: O’s Domestic Policy Advisor is Cecilia Munoz, a former VP of the open borders advocacy group, La Raza.

      • 0 avatar
        210delray

        My take is that Jack see himself as a latter-day David E. Davis, with a hint of Hugh Hefner thrown in.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          My impression would be more like Steve McQueen minus Hollywood, with a dash of Hemingway thrown in (though not as gloomy as the latter could be).

          As an aside, I believe Jack does have a day job, in addition to several part time activities, some of which may be net expenses rather than income. But in any case, even ignoring the time he spends writing, I would say that he keeps himself quite busy, both on and off the job. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      sketch447

      “which explains why the Corolla continues to sell to senior citizens and H1-B workers while the xWhatevers rust on the lot. The fact is that if you’re earning $18,000/year or thereabouts, you probably can’t afford a new Scion even if you live at home with your parents.”

      UTTERLY BRILLIANT. BARUTH GETS IT.

      The earning power of Millennials has been eroded by the so-called “global” workforce. They have been replaced by thieving Third World H1-Bs, who eventually bring over their entire families to live off the American taxpayer.

      I’ve met plenty of Millenials who have over $100k in student loans, yet can’t make more than 12 bucks/hr.

      It IS the economy. The United States is NOT obligated to employ the entire world. Let these Third World deadbeats stay home and grow their own economies.

    • 0 avatar
      free2571

      Yes, absolutely, mark that one true.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Re-feudalization.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      In line with Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The financiers and money changers need to do with auto loans what FHA just did with mortgages; 3% down mortgages, where the 3% can be borrowed, also, and qualifying income to get loan can come from “non-owner” & non-loan signer, renter income (have friend vouch that they make 25k a year at Starbucks and they’ll pay borrower $85 month to drive car 8 days per month):

        “Mortgage giant Fannie Mae recognizes these hardships, and in response will soon offer a new kind of mortgage with new rules designed to add flexibility for borrowers.

        “They’ve recognized that households have changed and our guidelines need to change with it,” said O’Connell.

        It’s called the HomeReady mortgage program, and here’s how it works.

        Buyers can put as little as 3 percent down on the house, with expanded rules regarding the source of the payment.

        But here’s the real kicker.

        Traditionally, a bank looks at a buyer’s income versus their debt, which establishes how much money it will loan you.

        Banks will only consider income from you and a spouse or you and a cosigner, that’s it.

        HomeReady will consider incomes from others planning to live in the house without being a borrower on the loan. This means, if you live with parents, siblings, working children or maybe a roommate, as long as they make 30 percent of the household income, Fannie will include their money to help you qualify for a loan. These are being called “non-borrowers” by Fannie.

        Also, non-occupants of the home can add further income to the mortgage. Perhaps parents living elsewhere but willing to help pay the loan.”

        http://www.kare11.com/news/fannie-mae-roles-out-new-mortgage-rules/10563498

        The road to toal debt serfdom draws closer with each passing year.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Wow, @DeadWeight. Sounds like The Big Short will become one of the first movies in history to have a sequel that might be better (in at least one sense) than the original.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Serfdom is good for the environment, or is it that environmentalism is the best marketing serfdom has ever had?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Does this mean I get to be a Baron because I own some free and clear property?

  • avatar

    …or maybe because (aside from the tC) you could get the same car (Matrix/Corolla/Yaris), dicker on price, and drive out easier from the Toyota side of the fence…

  • avatar
    threeer

    I can’t be sure if Jack is serious or attempting to exhibit some form of humorous sarcasm…

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      When someone proclaims to understand the complexities of the largest economy in the world in only a few hundred words, I hope that it is sarcasm. But as the impending nigh-unto-300 comment count of this article will soon show, it isn’t Jack who is the most serious. The tsunami of one- and two-line enlightened summaries and witty quips is almost onshore.

      Everyone here is an expert!

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Signs that someone doesn’t understand economics:

      -Citing the U6 unemployment rate (which happens to include some people who have jobs) as the “real” unemployment rate, when it is merely one of six measures of unemployment and isn’t the “real” one

      -A failure to understand that the labor force participation rate will count teenagers who aren’t working and don’t want to work, retirees, stay-at-home parents and many other people who have no desire to work as not participating in the work force.

      As the population ages and spends more time in full-time post-secondary education, of course the participation rate will go down.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        That rate does show people who have marginal jobs that preclude their living the so-called American Dream. In other words, how many people who do not have what used to be called real jobs, not just McJobs or Walmart-to-Walmart parttime greeters.

      • 0 avatar

        True but this also sums up Jacks point.
        http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/09/459087477/the-tipping-point-most-americans-no-longer-are-middle-class

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You never know with Jack — but I’m guessing this is a combination of both. For example…

      …So why blame Mr. Obama, instead of Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton or Mr. Reagan or anybody else from the distant past? Well, the answer is simple: the buck is supposed to stop at his desk. He’s had seven years to fix the issue and instead he’s spent those seven years enriching the Hamptons crowd. The only youth employment program this country offers in any quantity is the United States Army, and nowadays that comes with an excellent chance of losing your legs or your life somewhere in the Third World. (Those guys buy sportbikes with their money anyway.)..

      This feels like snark to me. And the data coming out on Millennials increasing buying power as they age doesn’t really support this position. By 2020, 50% of Millennials will make up the entire workforce, many of them business decision makers. We’re in the middle of adjusting how we market and what we say at our company right now because of this shift.

      But then there is the next paragraph.

      …Mr. Obama was elected, in large part, by young people who believed they were going to change the world by voting for him. Well, the world has changed — just look at the charts — but it hasn’t been for the better. The fact of the matter is that unless the next President enacts radical change to rebalance the economic slate in this country, selling anything to young people will continue to be a losing proposition…

      This is truth. Obama was elected for “hope and change,” that is undeniable. Was there hope and change? ACA, gay marriage rights, and a pretty decent recovery from the second worst recession in US history. The gloom and doom predictions of a double-dip recession due to housing shadow inventory never came true. Lets go back to 2009 also and right here on the pages of TTAC. Multiple preductions, including from some of TTACs finest writers that SAAR would, never, EVER, reach 2007 levels again. China would be the new leading car economy and the US was now in slow decline. Whoops – that didn’t happen.

      Lets also look at the most glaring piece of evidence that points to this probably being snark. What is the biggest, most giant, obvious glaring hole in Scion’s lineup since — forever? No CUV/SUV and no AWD offering. Millennials are completely rejecting sedans and have bought into the marketing fallacy that AWD = safe. Scion has no viable option, not even something they could fudge. The xB was interesting right up until Kia built a better hamster trap.

      The offerings that Scion brought to the table that could have been appealing to Millennials either sucked, or were overpriced, or both (Scion iQ anyone).

      I don’t care to get into the debate of economic recovery from the second worst economic collapse in US history that didn’t require a World War to dig out of, ACA, and gay marriage rights do or don’t represent “hope and change.” That falls into your personal politics. If you’re a right-wing hawk all of this points to the end of the world as we know it. If you were an Obama supporter, yay, hope and change.

      Are things tougher for today’s Millennials and the generation behind them? Absolutely? But the biggest thing killing what we worked for entry level jobs in the 50, 60, 70, and 80’s (depending on your age) isn’t government policy, it has been technology.

      My first office job was being a data entry clerk for the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles, second shift. I went to college during the day, ran to work a 3 to 11, went home and was up until 2 or 3 AM, got 4 hours a sleep, repeat.

      A) There are no data entry jobs. Could you imagine having to fill out a paper form that gets sent a central processing department that then directs to the right department where a clerk types it in to the computer 2 to 3 months after you submitted it and THEN you get your vehicle registration in the mail??? Those jobs don’t exist anymore – and it isn’t just the DMV. My second job, also in college was a file clerk. This was a summer job where I spent my time in a file room, all day long, filing. Again, in some dark corner of the government this still goes on.

      But the days of entire floors of clerks crunching numbers, doing data entry, admins typing, or even a crew with shovels digging holes are over. Technology replaced millions of these entry level jobs.

      B) Anyone who has worked with people under 35 years old, could you really see the somewhat entitled, everyone is a winner, mommy or daddy, or mommy and mommy or daddy and daddy took pictures of every poop, praised me for everything I did, played sports where they didn’t keep score, and I got a trophy for showing up generation going to class FULLTIME before 8 AM to work FULLTIME starting at 3 PM to get home around midnight to then study for 2 to 3 hours, get 4 hours of sleep and repeat? Paying their own way through college? Paying their own gas money and insurance – and then when I got a girlfriend splitting rent on their own apartment? I can’t say I NEVER asked the bank of mom or dad for a little help through those years, but largely self-sufficient?

      Ya – that’s a big part of the problem also.

      As far as technology, it’s only going to get worse. My sister is a pilot with UAL. Twenty-years ago this was one of the top 20 paying vocations in the United States and a job most would call glamorous. She saw her retirement destroyed, pensions gutted, pay frozen for close to a decade, and faces mandatory and arbitrary retirement even though she is probably more healthy than most people half her age. Lets face it, 30 to 50 years from now, there likely won’t be pilots, or only a pilot as a back up to automated systems.

      My wife is an anesthesiologist and a college professor. She is counseling people who are asking her about a career in anesthesiology, currently the highest paying profession in the United States to not pursue it. They are major developments in robotics going on right now and she feels that between nurse anesthesiologists, lowering medical standards, and automation, there will be no career path.

      The third part of this awful stew – globalization. We simply can’t compete. The average auto worker in Mexico makes less than $5 an hour, and does it basically as good as the US autoworker in the south, non-union, right-to-work state making $17 an hour. We can’t compete, and I sure as Hell don’t want to live in a nation where we take the approach of, “well any job is better than no job so go work for slave wages at $3 an hour so we can compete with Mexico.”

      But I’ve written this in the B&B for almost a decade now.

      If the guy building the Toyota can’t afford the Toyota, eventually it all falls apart. I have no good answer here between automation, an entitled generation with a subpar education, and globalization.

      Hope and change? For the record, I didn’t vote for the guy because I saw the message was hollow – because no President can change what is going on at a global scale. If you believe they can, I’d love to talk to you about some prime ocean front real estate I have available in Arizona…

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        APaGttH,
        Some interesting facts.

        Canada offers better opportunities than the US for the young, so does a multitude of other nations.

        I don’t believe that Obama is completely to blame for the current situation in the US. The position the US finds itself in has evolved over many decades.

        More so than many other nations many in the US realise change is needed, but the change should be made by others, not yourself.

        Disparity in income in the US is quite pronounced. When I’m there is see many older, retirement age people working checkouts, pumping gas and other jobs that here in Australia would be done by the young and under twenties.

        The 59% percent of working age people working is not that accurate though, I do believe that it is closer to 67%. Go back to the 1970s it was around 75%.

        This is a huge difference. Now the employed must provide and productive enough to support 50% of the actual workforce. In the 70s it was the workers only needed to support a third of the workers.

        This is a huge drag.

        As you stated the US economy is transforming, this will take some time a couple of decades at least. But it isn’t only the US confronted with these changes, the rest of the world also has to contend with this as well.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          I believe your country has been very strict when it comes to preventing wanton immigration, and no denying your being your own continent helps, whereas we have a large southern border through which all of the rest of the Americas can pour over. I’ve been told that it would be nearly impossible for me to immigrate to Australia and I’m a college educated white male with decent resources and significant corporate management experience.

          I think you all will be able to stave off the effects of globalization longer than some because of this.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            SaulTigh,
            It is actually the other way around. I have been looking at a US citizen gaining employment here in Australia and have read on many sites that it is easier to obtain a work permit in Australia.

            If you do decide to work in Australia, our pay is compressed so to speak. Our minimum wage is around $36 000 per annum.

            The average wage is currently $76 000 per annum. Cost of living now has become cheaper than living in the US. People tend to look at the cost of living by the cost of beer, cigarettes and gas. What about land taxes, insurances, electricity, etc?

            Supermarket shopping is cheaper here if you are wanting real food, ie, fresh food. Junk food is a little more expensive. Electronics are the same to more and to less. Home entertainment is cheaper in the US with computers, but cameras, TVs, household electrical goods are cheaper.

            Vehicles can be had from a little less to a lot more. Volume vehicles are cheaper, as are our pickups overall. EU vehicles are more expensive, but are not a Spartan as your ones.

            So, it works out about the same or a little less.

            Don’t expect big bucks just because you have a degree as well. Pay is based on supply and demand. In many instances a qualified trades person will make more money.

            Come over for a few years or so and work, you’ll love the lifestyle along with the 2nd highest standard of living in the world.

            This comment is biased, but the facts are true.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        APaGttH – good post.

        One thing that may help some find work is the fact that baby-boomers are reaching the end of their working lives and lifespans. The oldest boomers are 71 and the youngest are around 54.

        Technology and offshoring will most likely negate any gaps left by boomers leaving the workforce.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Scion killer? Q’est-ce que c’est?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “The average Millennial wage is below $24,000 in most of the country.”

    How is this possible when Millennials have higher rates of college education than any other generation? Or is this distorted because the younger Millennials are not yet of college graduation age?

    OR are wages for college graduates really that depressed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      OR the paper value of a college education has suffered massive inflation since 2000.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Of course that’s true. Too many college graduates. You’ve got to step up to the MBA or a graduate degree if you want big money.

        Or be an engineer.

        • 0 avatar
          cdotson

          Corey, as an engineer I can tell you that STEM careers are no exception.

          There is no shortage of STEM workers. My employer can easily find design and applications engineers in our field (industrial automation). Finding capable machinists and assembly technicians is *HARD*. The much-touted shortage of STEM workers is BS used to justify expansion of low-cost importation schemes (H1-B) to keep wages suppressed.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Interesting. I guess my brother’s choice was more on the machinist side. He got a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue. Had a job offer before he graduated.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If you get a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue, you won’t have a problem finding a job.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It seemed like it was hard to do! He did lotsa schoolwork.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I generally agree.

            The only STEM field where I see people having some success without a college degree is in computer programming. The one advantage a young sharp mind has is they could be working on the latest and greatest programming languages and concepts before college classrooms are teaching them. If they have some personality and get the right opportunity – doors open. Here is a fun fact, 16% of Alphabet (AKA Google) employees have no college degree. That’s not the contract staff, that is the ranks of their fulltime employees.

            I would also say those without a degree or MBA will see their careers stall out. I’m sans MBA or equivalent and I don’t think I will be able to move past the rung of the ladder I’m on in part because of it.

            I have no interest in shelling out $50K to $75K at this stage of my life for questionable ROI – and I’m really not sure I ever want to be a senior director or VP.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          MBAs are nearly as plentiful now as the B.A.s of yesteryear. I agree with cdotson’s assessment on the “shortage”, but concede its a complicated issue.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Increasing social stratification is geographic as well as by age and income. Exclude the high-wage areas of the country and you find that… yep… wages are really that low.

      Meanwhile, go to Boston or San Francisco and see a completely different picture.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Corey, when there’s an overabundance of a commodity (young college graduates), the cost (wages) of that commodity decreases.

      When everyone is told that college is the only way, that college education becomes worthless in and of itself because it is abundant, but also because it no longer represents a delineation for credentialist elites ostensibly responsible for hiring young graduates.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      People going out an getting worthless graduate degrees…

      Here’s a pro tip from a hiring manager: Don’t get an MBA unless someone is paying for (most of) it. The exception is if you are getting your MBA from a top business school. If so, work is probably paying for it anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        If I get one, it will be 100% work-paid. :)

        As of now, I’m not sure I need it. I have lots of insurance credentials instead, which mean more to people here.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’m starting my MBA this year because they’ll pay for it. Like you, my professional licenses and credentials mean more. I won’t be putting Bball 40 Dtw, MBA on my e-mail signature though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL

            There are some law school grads working here (insurance company, tells you the state of the legal profession) who are -not- lawyers here, who put J.D. on their email sig.

            WTF staaaahp.

            Other problem is that I have -all- of the insurance credentials now that aren’t related to agents.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            P.Eng/PE goes a lot farther than masters.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Lawyer here. If someone puts “JD” after their name that’s pretty much a dead giveaway that they’re not trustworthy.

            Relevant to this thread, I should add that stagnation is not just in the lowest income strata. Pay for big-firm lawyers has not meaningfully increased since I graduated from law school in 2008.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have worked here since 2010, and I’ve noticed our lawyers don’t really move much. We have six or whatever, and they stay where they are. Their office sizes don’t change, nor do their titles.

            We got a new general counsel almost two years ago, and we hired him from outside. He drives a Wrangler, so I’m assuming he’s cool.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Are you dal20402, esquire?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Use of “Esq” is more acceptable than “JD,” but I still personally find it a bit gauche and don’t do it. The letterhead or email signature with my firm name is plenty good enough. It makes more sense for solo practitioners.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @CoreyDL

            I see Ph D quite frequently here.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Whats JD?

            Agree that titles are a funny thing. A lot of people will put their education after their licensing status around here. Why? If you qualify to be an E.I.T, (engineer in training, which is like apprentice to journeyman) I assume you have a B Sc. A lot of people put B.Eng, which is confusing. I think only one school in Canada offers a bachelors of engineering rather than a bachelor of science in engineering.

            If you are a P.Eng, thats all people really need to know.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            JD = Juris Doctor = Lawyer

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            JD = Juris Doctor = Law school grad. /= Lawyer!

            Gotta pass the bar in at least one state before you can call yourself a lawyer.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            What does that have to do with Coke?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You sign all your official letters “Arnold Rimmer BSc” and the BSc stands for “Bronze Swimming Certificate”.

          • 0 avatar

            My son, my only son, Moshe, whom I love, went back to school and is finishing up a degree in physics with a minor in math. He’s pretty good at math and logic. His professors would like him to go on to grad school and think he can get a stipend-paying spot in physics, but he’s strongly thinking of taking the actuary exams instead.

            Maybe because it’s the most math-based profession there is, but the actuarial industry has always put more credence in their testing procedures than in college degrees.

          • 0 avatar

            Agree MBA is almost worthless at this point there are just to many of them. I had a friend who worked for a company in Seattle for a while where everyone in the company (other then the guys building and shipping the products) was an MBA from the IT guy to the Production manager to the President just pointless in my opinion ,they also lost a shit load of money the first 3 years after the MBA’s bought the once profitable company.

            Ronnie I would encourage the actuary school I don’t hear much complaining from the two I know and they are both very well paid. Not sure how many jobs there are for that in Detroit lots here in the Northeast thou.

            In the USA most engineers under PE don’t use anything and oddly enough a lot of the older engineers only have Associate degrees and alot of experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Mixed, regardless of college education rates most of any generation have no college education so with millennials they’ve been split between very well off types who got into expanding tech markets and the rest who got caught in the recession crunch. The middle of the whole generation got caught in the lurch pretty much.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I actively discourage my employees from pursuing college educations. I know that sounds horrible, but I sit them down and have a “come to Jesus” talk about what our company has to offer people without degrees (and it’s significantly better than most places) and flat out ask them what their plans are. If they have some very specific thing they want to do with their degree and are passionate about it, by all means. Otherwise, I think it’s a waste of money, especially when you’re already working full time and maybe supporting a family. I think this the discussion that High School guidance counselors should be having, but aren’t.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    What Astigmatism said.

    The problem with Scion is the product. Competition from other makes in the same price range is doing fine. The tC is in a dying segment; the image-conscious buyers who wanted coupes now want CUVs. The xB got eaten by the cheaper, more stylish, better-equipped Kia Soul. The FR-S is an inherently low-volume product made lower-volume by the flawed Subaru engine. The B-segment cars are good enough, but not outstanding, and you can’t build a brand on a couple of B-segment cars because it comes across as low-market.

    Ask my wife — the reliable channeler of popular opinion about cars — about Scion, and you get this: “Cheap ugly ghetto cars.” And this is from someone who really likes other cars in Scion’s wheelhouse, including the Mazda3 and the Jetta. There’s the brand’s problem.

    As to your political rant, your diagnosis is not bad, but blaming the president is absurd. The biggest single reason for the problem is tax policy controlled by Congress and largely established at the request of George W. Bush, which the president has managed to change a bit, but only a bit. That tax policy ensures that pretty much all productivity gains go straight into the (often offshore) brokerage accounts of about 5000 people, leaving nothing with which to increase anyone else’s wages.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      This should be the article instead of what Jack wrote.

      Edit to add: The fact that almost no effort was put into developing, updating, or marketing the cars other than the FR-S didn’t help either.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Say, can I graph, too? Data from Mr. Cain’s site: Total US Sales vs Scion exaggerated 100-fold graphed (so you can actually see the dip):

      http://i.imgur.com/mkls6nQ.png

      Scion xB vs Kia Soul (ouch):

      http://i.imgur.com/g5Lohii.jpg

      Agreed: in the end, it’s the product. Total US sales recovered, Scion sales did not.

  • avatar
    319583076

    We can’t all be smart…

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “The fact is that if you’re earning $18,000/year or thereabouts, you probably can’t afford a new Scion even if you live at home with your parents. Payments and insurance would represent over half of what you bring home every month”

    Not sure if serious. My payments and insurance on a high mileage lease of a car rather more expensive than most Scions total less than $370 a month. A low mileage lease on a Scion could probably be half that. Is Mr. Baruth suggesting that 1800 divided by two is 300, or that Scion owners are paying 7000 a year for insurance?

    • 0 avatar

      Good luck getting bought on a lease by Toyota Financial if you have an $18,000 income. Also, $18,000 a year divided by 12 isn’t $1800, it’s 1500 pre-taxes.

      Now, consider that you have to buy health insurance (THANKS OBAMA) for an ungodly rate or pay a fine, and you have very, very little disposable income.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Bark,
        In the real world,..

        “Before the Affordable Care Act, many health plans and issuers could remove adult children from their parents’ coverage because of their age, whether or not they were a student or where they lived. The Affordable Care Act requires plans and issuers that offer dependent child coverage to make the coverage available until the adult child reaches the age of 26. Many parents and their children who worried about losing health coverage after they graduated from college no longer have to worry.”
        -US Dept. of Labor

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          We took away your worrying about health insurance after college and replaced it with worrying about finding a job after college.

          XO

          -US Dept. of Labor

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          In the real world, I’ve paid approximately $18,700 more since January of 2014 in healthcare expenses than I would have paid in a pre-ACA world.

          Enjoy your welfare state; I paid for it.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Jack,
            You recently had a ton of medical expenses, and I am glad to see your recovery is progressing. I don’t blame you for selecting a policy which didn’t reflect needs you could have reasonably foreseen.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            That’s where you’re wrong. I have selected the minimum available deductible on healthcare since 1995. Because I’ve been hospitalized a dozen times and I’ve broken ninety bones.

            The past two years, my employer hasn’t offered a plan with less than $6500 out of pocket costs for in-network, period, point blank.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Frack $6500 deductible?! Our HDHP is $2000 OOP.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Jack,
            I’m sorry you have had to spend so much money on your health. That really sucks. I can see why you would be frustrated.

            I am at the opposite end of the spectrum. For 30 years I’ve paid into the system, and on average, spent maybe $40/year of HMO money on providers. I typically see a doctor once every 3 years, and typically for something minor like poison ivy.

            I’ve started doing the math on how much money I’ve paid into the system vs. what I’ve gotten out, but when I realized it approached 6 figures, I stopped. Too depressing.

            So here’s the good news for you: you’ve obviously gotten great value from the American health care system, having gotten a lot more services than you’ve paid into the system.

            I could say “Enjoy your welfare state; I paid for it” but I don’t like to imitate.

          • 0 avatar
            eamiller

            Oh Jack…

            Every employer was moving to High deductible/OOP LONG before ACA. For that, you should look at the healthcare/insurance industries for the real blame. The fact that your employer decided to offer high OOP plans has more to do with that than ACA. But that doesn’t fit your political narrative.

            ACA is rather a drop in the ocean, in terms of healthcare costs. Single payer insurance is the only possible answer at this point. Other countries came to that conclusion years ago, we’re just stubborn idiots.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The past two years, my employer hasn’t offered a plan with less than $6500 out of pocket costs for in-network, period, point blank.”

            What does that have to do with ACA?

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It’s not a welfare state unless the corpocracy is the primary & clear winner…

            …wait, it IS a corporate-welfare system!

            An INCREDIBLE (coincidence, I’m sure…/sarc) FACT that way too few people are discussing:

            “WWhen the legislation that became known as “Obamacare” was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.”

            What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider (before going to WellPoint, as well as after, Fowler had worked as Baucus’ top health care aide). And when that health care bill was drafted, the person whom Fowler replaced as chief health counsel in Baucus’ office, Michelle Easton, was lobbying for WellPoint as a principal at Tarplin, Downs, and Young.

            Whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: “to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well.” Watch the five-minute Bill Moyers report from 2009, embedded below, on the key role played in all of this by Liz Fowler and the “revolving door” between the health insurance/lobbying industry and government officials at the time this bill was written and passed…”

            Read the entire Glenn Greenwald expose here –

            Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1

          • 0 avatar
            Splorg McGillicuddy

            I don’t get it, Jack. By Republican standards, YOU SHOULD BE PAYING out the ass since you’re much more expensive to maintain than average.

        • 0 avatar

          In the “real world,” their parents can’t afford health insurance AT ALL. If your kid is broke, what makes you think the parents are wealthy?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            And yet, the data show that medical cost inflation has declined under Obama’s tenure and with the advent of ACA. Perhaps there are people now paying less for insurance who are less vocal.

          • 0 avatar

            The data. Sure.

            Find me anybody with a non-McJob who’s paying less for health insurance now than they were pre-ACA.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Who’s paying less for insurance?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Bark,
            Sorry, I can’t help you with that. I really just don’t talk to people about their health care costs.

            I’m not trying to be argumentative; just want to interject appropriate facts into the discussion.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @CoreyDL – $2k is my deductible on my HDHP plan as an individual. A family plan is like an $6-8k (!!!!) deductible.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh right, people have families! I just checked, and the family rate is $4k.

            Let me guess, you’re with Anthem BCBS?

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Here is the real-world equation – find that chart of how health care costs were increasing from say 2000 until 2010, drag it into Excel, and create a trend line from it, up through 2016.

            That’s what we compare costs under ACA to…not to some blue sky scenario under which costs were going to magically start dropping by themselves.

            If you’re working on your car outside and the sun is setting, you get a worklight…and you don’t compare the brightness of that light to that of broad daylight, you compare it to what it would be like with no worklight after the sun has set. It’s a dynamic situation.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If you’re making $18,000 a year, you’re almost certainly going to qualify for the affordability exception from the coverage requirement. And in every state with expanded Medicaid you’ll qualify for Medicaid.

        • 0 avatar
          thats one fast cat

          Close, but no.

          2015 Poverty guidelines:
          100% FPL: 11,770 for an individual
          135% FPL: 15,889.50 for an individual
          135% FPL, family of 4: 32,737

          Most states that expanded have both income and asset tests so the ability to finance a car at 18K/yr would not allow an individual to qualify for expanded coverage. They would most likely fall into the “donut hole” as they make too much for ‘caid and not enough for the the state/federal exchange subsidy.

          • 0 avatar

            Just checked here in CT on our exchange 26 year old 18,000 income single would be $67.00 a month for coverage with $500 deductible. It states this is after state and Federal subsidies of $181.46 a month. So at least here you would get a kick in. It also notes that you may get 1/2 of the deductible and copays covered depending on situation.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        If you’re under 26, your on mom and dad’s insurance, you aren’t buying your own.

        Two of our four kids are on our insurance, kid 3 works fulltime and is paid well, and kid 4 lives in Israel.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Low wages and low credit score is the bread and butter at Toyota finance. At least in Florida the average Toyota buyer looked to have a very poor credit score. In fact if you tell some Toyota dealer that you a have a great credit score they won’t even want to make a deal. Not to put a race to this. But, it is basically mandatory to speak Spanish if you sell Toyota’s in Florida. This also goes for Honda’s.

        • 0 avatar

          This is so unbelievably wrong that I can’t even begin to reply to it.

          Also, the reason you have to speak Spanish to sell ANY car in Florida is because EVERYONE IN SOUTH FLORIDA SPEAKS SPANISH. I have visited dozens of dealers in the Miami area. The Ferrari dealers speak Spanish. The Mercedes dealers speak Spanish.

          I can’t even. Seriously.

          Do you have to know how to use apostrophes to sell Toyotas in Florida?

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            You can’t sell shoes in south FL unless you speak spanish.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LAWLLLLL

            Is it still trolling if you actually believe what you’re saying?

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Corey,thanks for proving my point on you being the definition of a troll. Hilarious.

            And yes, a large portion of Toyota sales in Florida are low credit value customers. And the majority of that population in Florida is Hispanic. Florida is a different country then the rest of the United States.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      well…..first off it’s 18000/12 = 1500 a month. Then you account for taxes and you’re closer to 1200 a month. If you live with two other people in a 2 or 3 bedroom house that’s a completely reasonable deal. Living on your own or with a spouse only? That’s pushing it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Taxes would be 6.25% for FICA and Medicare. Federal tax would be fully refunded at the end of the year – or have we all conveniently forgotten that fact.

        State tax would vary from negative (money back in credits) to a peak of about 5% – but state tax isn’t federal policy folks.

        So in a state where state tax is neutral, after FICA and post-tax refund you’re at $16,875 or $1,406 a month. Toss in an educational credit or two and you might be making money in the other direction.

        Not directed at you Xeranar but these people who scream about entitlement programs, handouts, and they’re giving away my money, who then ignore said programs when alleging to care about the plight of those with lower incomes is beyond disingenuous.

        Bark M. misses the point that the kids can be on mummy and daddy’s insurance until 26 years old now – so ACA payments or penalties are a non-issue. Never mind having no health insurance even when you perceive you’re healthy is stupid. Hey, guess what, I broke both my legs skateboarding and now I’m bankrupt, saddled with a decade of ruined credit AND I still can’t discharge my medical debt! ‘merica! YAY!!! And then folks like, ehem, me and my wife, who paid $96,000 in federal taxes last year (that was after all the deduction math) end up paying for said no-insurance slacker. Yay system!

        We then also have to ignore, as people are doing tossing all this math around, the 47% of Americans who don’t pay any federal taxes – you know, like someone making $18,000 a year and going to college at least part-time. Tuition is tax deductible folks, or are we missing that point?

        So really if someone today is making $1,500 a month – they’re likely bringing $1300 to $1400 of that home, and that’s more on the low side. Toss in any of a long list of possible credits, exemptions, or deductions, even on a non-itemized return, and now they’re actually making more than $18K.

        That’s how it is in the, ehem, real world.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Those guys buy sportbikes with their money anyway.”

    Sick literbike, brah!

    I think one of the huge problems with Scion is there was really no “room” for it. There was “room” above the Toyota brand for Lexus, just like there’s “room” above Ford for Lincoln.

    Scion’s problem was that the Toyota brand reached far enough downmarket via the Corolla and Yaris, that it left no room for another mainstream brand below it. Just like there was no room for Mercury in between Ford and Lincoln.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Jack – you realize that it has been a record year for car sales and that the majority of this volume were non-luxury cars aimed at the same target demographic than Scion? Maybe Toyota just had no idea how to manage this brand?

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    I drive an older LS430. Last fall some guy in his 50’s driving a new Audi A3 parked next to me and asked why I don’t buy a less frumpy German car.

    I told him I couldn’t afford disposable cars.

    That totally made my day.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      LS430 > A3.

      If he knew anything about cars beyond a badge, he’d have known not to even question. Meanwhile at middle age, he’s in the smallest Audi available. :D

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Hey Corey,
        I am almost 50 and if I was gonna pick an Audi as a car it would be a3 or A4, do not hate on the smaller size some of us do not need or want a A6 size of car, just the same way a LS 460 lexus would never be in my car choices either.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I see your point, esp if you had already done “been there done that” with something like an A6 or LS.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Just seems like asking someone in a well-engineered and very excellent Japanese sedan why they’d not get a less “frumpy” German car, while talking to them next to their own Golf Luxury model is a bit odd.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Big difference between A3 (fancified Golf) and A4 (longitudinal, Torsen-equipped real Audi), especially if your plan is to try to insult LS430 owners.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I don’t see the point of that comparison…between a brand-new smaller Audi and a what – 2001-2002 LS-430 – ?

        The smaller size and lower place in the product line of the A3 can’t be denied, but it’s a new car with a new car warranty.

        The fact that the LS is like a 15-year-old car with no warranty that is going to need more attention than the new A3 (yeah – even considering the fond longings of the TTAC B&B, it will need more attention) can’t be denied either, for better or for worse.

        How can one be “better” than the other?

        I don’t even know why I’m responding to this…it’s so far OT. I guess there has to be at least one incidence of self-reinforcing Lexus-worship per post on this board, regardless of whether or not it has anything to do with the original topic.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There is a difference between scheduled maintenance and unexpected attention as all automobiles require the former. The A3 will give you plenty of both the only real difference being a free loan from zee dealer. Maybe you missed the LS400 with 700K on the clock?

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/no-fixed-abode-gotta-rich-cheap-car/

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Um, no, dude. I’m pretty sure the 15-year-old Lexus will have more unscheduled repairs than the new Audi, and they won’t be under warranty. Come back to earth.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “I drive an older LS430. Last fall some guy in his 50’s driving a new Audi A3 parked next to me and asked why I don’t buy a less frumpy German car.

      I told him I couldn’t afford disposable cars.”

      Only a total and complete douchebag & a$$hole would make such a remark to a stranger. I would have told him something way more crude & aggressive.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Last year, the US auto market reached its highest ever sales in history. Nearly every auto brand had record sales. And in that market, Scion continued to fail. Just as predecessors trying to reach the youth market had failed, like Geo, Saturn and Suzuki. There simply isn’t a business to be made selling mediocre product to young people, especially not at a fixed price.

    Scion was truly a business failure, and according to the laws of the free market, was terminated.

    And yet, somehow, Jack managed to blame Obama for this. Kudos! You have outdone the gold lame jacket.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      And yet the tC had the lowest age at purchase of any car in the market.

      See? It turns out I really do know more about this stuff than you do.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        We are agreed that the marketplace doesn’t support targeting young buyers. I just don’t blame the president for a failed business model.

        • 0 avatar
          pleiter

          Sooooooooo…..kids would rather have a 7 year old ‘nice’ hand-me-down, from parents than a Brand New Economy car. The day of ‘the new car’ is dead, thanks to the kids being aware of the increase in durability and longevity (and automated troubleshooting thanks to OBD-II), which is core to Jacks’ story. Who is going to buy all those Hellcats now that gasoline is $1.59 a gallon ?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        What about Scion’s completely lack of AWD or a CUV/SUV when car buyers young, old, and in-between, are rejecting sedans of all sizes and complain about anything that doesn’t offer AWD.

        Yes Jack, you can’t point to the iA and go see, they aren’t rejecting sedans. I’ll point to the God awful Yaris on the showroom floor, which is the best selling aid to the iA if someone is in a Toyota showroom looking for a B-segment car.

        If you look at the B, C, and D segments as a whole, they’re all in decline in total sales.

        Buyers want trucks, CUVs and SUVs, and size doesn’t matter, look at the exploding growth in the subcompact CUV market.

        Scion has nothing there – and saying the XB was the answer is more than a stretch. The Gen II xB was largely maligned by the Scion faithful, and makers like Kia built a far better hamster trap.

        And to the point of Kia Soul what is one of the biggest complaints the B&B have???

        Oh ya – lack of AWD – and story after story wondering when and if a refreshed Soul will offer the option.

        Huge respect for you, you’re writing ability (love), and your insights. But pointing at tC sales as people’s exhibit A as evidence that politics is the fault for the death of Scion is flat out disingenuous.

        I mean wait a minute, a 4-banger, inexpensive, two-door hatchback, reasonably equipped, that at least offers a grin and a wink to the cars Millennials were sitting in when mummy and daddy were hauling them around as kidlets before they bought the Ford Explorer is appealing to a young demographic? You don’t say!

        What other options are there available for vehicles that at least offer a look back to the many hot hatch possibilities of the 90s?

        Well there is…and how about…oh and you could always get…then there is the….

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      You called the gold disco hoodie lame!?????

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    So in other words the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, or the same as it ever was…

    Next time just post that.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Marat, we’re poor, and the poor stay poor.

      Check out the Royal Shakespeare Company’s presentation of Marat/Sade, whose full title is The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade.

      It’s all in there…

  • avatar
    SCfanboy

    Thanks, Obama.

    Man, I can’t believe no one beat me to that.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The new “gig” economy, with even deeply indebted, educated younger workers working contract assignments or gig-to-gig, makes labor/benefit costs massively lower for corporations.

    No pensions, 401(k), health plan, private disability, or any other labor costs except a straight up 1099-wage that is downward pressured by the perpetual threat of both outsourcing or in-sourcing.

    The financiers and money changers need to do with auto loans what FHA just did with mortgages; 3% down mortgages, where the 3% can be borrowed, also, and qualifying income to get loan can come from “non-owner” & non-loan signer, renter income (have friend vouch that they make 25k a year at Starbucks and they’ll pay borrower $85 month to drive car 8 days per month):

    “Mortgage giant Fannie Mae recognizes these hardships, and in response will soon offer a new kind of mortgage with new rules designed to add flexibility for borrowers.

    “They’ve recognized that households have changed and our guidelines need to change with it,” said O’Connell.

    It’s called the HomeReady mortgage program, and here’s how it works.

    Buyers can put as little as 3 percent down on the house, with expanded rules regarding the source of the payment.

    But here’s the real kicker.

    Traditionally, a bank looks at a buyer’s income versus their debt, which establishes how much money it will loan you.

    Banks will only consider income from you and a spouse or you and a cosigner, that’s it.

    HomeReady will consider incomes from others planning to live in the house without being a borrower on the loan. This means, if you live with parents, siblings, working children or maybe a roommate, as long as they make 30 percent of the household income, Fannie will include their money to help you qualify for a loan. These are being called “non-borrowers” by Fannie.

    Also, non-occupants of the home can add further income to the mortgage. Perhaps parents living elsewhere but willing to help pay the loan.”

    http://www.kare11.com/news/fannie-mae-roles-out-new-mortgage-rules/10563498

    The road to toal debt serfdom draws closer with each passing year.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Even when a company offers benefits, it’s a coin toss on if they’re any good. My wife, who is an occupational therapist that works full time, doesn’t take any benefits from her employer. They don’t match in her 401k and the investment options are trash. She’s better off throwing cash in a Vanguard IRA. Health insurance? Ha. Her price as an individual would be more than what my premiums are for me, her, and our daughter. Plus, it’s terrible insurance.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So HomeReady is a step beyond (read: lower) an FHA?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Yes, it’s like FHA where you can count your buddy Jeff’s job at the hipster coffee place as income. Also, FHA is worse now that it used to be. You have to pay FHA premiums for the life of the loan now. It used to be until you got under 78% LTV.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          If you are under 78% LTV and have managed not to trash your credit you’ll have plenty of refinancing options. Of course that may not be true anymore if the Fed decides in the face of all evidence that money is just too easy.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            By the time current FHA borrowers get under 80% LTV, rates might be higher. You are correct about being able to refi though.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I thiiiink mine falls off at 80% LTV. I made it in before they changed the regs, bought in early 2012.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I actually refinanced to drop mine (and also lose a nice quarter-point on my rate) at about 85% LTV. The lender was willing to do so based on my credit and payment history. Freed up a couple hundred bucks a month, which will pay for the refinancing costs in about six months.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          They also have raised PMI rates – ouch and ouch.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        One more step in the direction of more flexibility for the borrower accompanied by more risk. Too risky for my blood. If I couldn’t afford at least 10% down I wouldn’t want to try to buy.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I chose the FHA since I didn’t have the 20% down required for a regular. Plus, the interest rate (bottomed out for both loans at that time) and the home prices round here made it not much more than rent, honestly.

          Obviously in posh places like the entire state of California, this wouldn’t work.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I have a VA loan. I didn’t put anything down because my down payment was having to live in Fort Benning, GA, and other fun vacation spots, for three years.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        HomeReady is here and will be expanded massively.

        Similar debt-increasing and de facto insane loan structures will be made for everything from autos to couches.

        The 0.1% (forget the 1%, that’s a fiction as even the majority in the 1% aren’t thriving, believe it or not – wealth is THAT concentrated now due to central bank reflation of corporate/financial asset values) will not rest until politicians & central banks have every man, woman and child owing until they die and thereafter.

        Negative (real AND nominal) interest rates are here and bail-ins of financial institutions will be next.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Like Jack, correct symptoms, wrong underlying cause. Wealth is that concentrated now due to tax policy that effectively results in zero tax bills for the top 0.05% or so (it’s even less than 0.1%) while imposing the bill for civil society on the middle and upper classes generally. My effective federal tax rate (somewhere in the top 5%-but-not-1%) is a bit over 20%, while a billionaire’s is usually less than half that.

          There’s a reason inequality started to increase at exactly the same time that capital gains and dividend taxes were made toothless.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “There’s a reason inequality started to increase at exactly the same time that capital gains and dividend taxes were made toothless.”

            I demand graph porn to prove this point.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            15% to 20% long-term federal capital gains tax (depending on year/administration) and 15% dividend tax also contribute massively to increasing concentration of wealth, but ZIRP & NIRP as implemented by central banks have played massively outsized role in new wave of wealth concentration as formerly marginal, junk and even former net-negative valued financial assets have been marked up by 5x to 100x since 2009 (I can literally prove this with many examples re everything from bonds to equity to indentures to real estate to chattel paper) and even junk corps can now borrow at gov’t bond rates plus a measly 110 basis points and use essentially free money to buy shares of own company back.

            Central bank monetary policies are exacerbating income inequality, and more significantly, wealth concentration and indebtedness.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            @28: a handy graph of US income inequality over time is at http://www.the-crises.com/income-inequality-in-the-us-1/

            and long-term capital gains tax rates by year are at: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=161

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            More graphs than you can shake a stick at, all showing roughly the same thing: income inequality starting its climb up from historically low levels in the early 1980s. Reagan’s 1986 tax reform was the famous one that radically cut top income rates , but he had another one in 1981 that began the process (70% to 50% top rate, 40% to 20% CG rate, and a 500% increase in the estate tax exemption is nothing to sneeze at).

            http://gini-research.org/system/uploads/443/original/US.pdf?1370077377

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            DeadWeight, let’s look at the empirical evidence supporting my theory and yours.

            1) Tax policy as a driver of inequality and wealth accumulation: It fits. The two great periods of inequality in American history where the late 19th/early 20th century, when there was no or very low federal tax and state taxes were almost always deeply regressive, and the last 30 years, when federal taxes on the extremely wealthy have largely disappeared and state taxes have gotten steadily more regressive.

            The brief period of very low inequality from the ’50s to the ’70s correlated exactly with the most progressive tax policy we’ve ever had. We went consierably too far — by 1979 there was little incentive to create wealth — but as a response to inequality postwar tax policy worked.

            2) Central bank actions/easy money as a driver of the same things: It doesn’t fit. The first of our great periods of inequality had no central bank and hard currency. The main effect of hard currency was to exacerbate economic booms and busts, but it didn’t do anything about inequality. The second period, in the fiat currency era, has had consistently rising inequality through a whole bunch of different types of central bank action. Inequality rose during the Great Volcker Tightening, rose during the middling period of the ’80s and early ’90s, rose (with a brief recession-induced break) during the easy-ish 2000s, rose during the QE period from 2008 to 2014 or so, and is continuing to rise during the current period of quick dollar appreciation. I’m agnostic on your asset-bubble theories, but it’s tax policy that really correlates strongly with inequality in our history.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Astigmatism

            THANK YOU for feeding my addiction.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            I also might recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_J8QU1m0Ng

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          @DeadWeight Are you Dr. Michael Burry? Or are you just the next guy who is ahead of his time and isn’t afraid to do an honest review of the Emperor’s new clothes?

          PS I once worked, at least peripherally, with Lou Ranieri. Wish it had been Burry instead. Though Mark Baum seemed like a fairly cool, if somewhat obsessive, guy also. My bet though is that the guy Ryan Gosling portrayed in Big Short probably wasn’t as cool and as funny as Gosling portrayed him.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      DW – what really terrifies me about the gig economy is what all these Uber drivers using Enterprise rentals to buy food will do for retirement.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I truly don’t understand why Toyota doesn’t just absorb the Scion product. Rebadge the iM “Corolla Hatchback” and the tC “Celica.” Rebadge the FR-S with some kind of 86 reference. Despite the different platforms, call the iA “Yaris Sedan.” I think under that scenario sales of all of them would increase, dramatically in the case of the Corolla Hatchback.

  • avatar
    Chets Jalopy

    It’s a good trolling headline, and blaming any president directly for the economy is dubious, but the numbers don’t lie. Workforce participation is at the lowest since the 70s. Instead of tackling the economy, Obama and his cohorts in Congress fulfilled their wet dream of canceling my individual insurance policy and nearly doubling my premium over the last six years. Wall Street has done really well under obamas reign. Main Street continues to tread water. Why else would a socialist nearly win Iowa?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Income inequality killed Scion. The blame for it can be spread all over the place and the two political parties. The thing that kills me is when those who are poor or whose lives have gotten progressively harder align themselves with one party because RELIGION! America must be run as if everyone believes what we all believe!

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Maybe it was the iPhone and Apple.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ?! $24K !? .

    Jesus H. Kee-rist you can’t even afford a crappy repossessed condo in the slums where I live on that .

    I guess my Son’s decision to drop out of College and become a Mechanic like me , was the right move after all .

    Scary times .

    This article was seriously bad click bait in it’s heading , just wait and see .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      it depends. if you get a degree applicable to a field where there’s demand for the skill (e.g. engineering) you can make out fine. if you spend $110,000 getting a degree in History or Philosophy, well, then I feel sorry for you.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        My buddy has almost $200K in debt from his degree in Classic Lit from Cornell. He’s an assistant manager at Best Buy.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Wow ASM. Movin’ on up.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Fck.

          I think a good tip is: Don’t get a degree in something not made anymore.

          Professional Poem Reader
          Sopwith Camel Builder
          General Studies
          Civil War Studies
          Steam Engine Technology
          Alchemy

          All avoids.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Geez now you tell me my Alchemetic doctoral program was useless. Guess its time to throw out this lead into gold formula.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I would say that some of these degrees may be useful for pandering to hipsters, but they’ll eventually run out of their parents money.

            Let’s open a Sopwith Camel bike factory. We’ll make fixed gear bikes that have styling from WWI aircraft.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The issue is Bball, they’ve become welfare cases.

            Feds own student debt post 2010 and allow for basket weaving = welfare for schools and students

            Students can’t get a job = Feds give direct welfare to student

            Student debt ages out after 20 years and is forgiven = indirect welfare for student.

            This whole system is predicated on some form of welfare coupled with a period of debt slavery for the “student”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hipsters think that an interesting degree in post-Renaissance poetry and wearing scarves and big glasses while buying organic will get them through life. They don’t think beyond that.

            Money don’t grow on them trees you’re hugging.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “lead into gold formula”

            Flint NEEDS YOU

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Let’s open a Sopwith Camel bike factory. We’ll make fixed gear bikes that have styling from WWI aircraft.”

            I’m on board, it would be quite a coup if we could get Snoopy too.

            There is actually a nice WWI/II aircraft museum in VA Beach if you’re ever down that way,

            @shaker

            lmao

        • 0 avatar
          jpk112

          He chose poorly! But hopefully he is at least a great conversationalist.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            He’s a smart guy and I like him. If his biggest faults are that he went to school somewhere he enjoyed and learned about something he enjoys, then he’s probably an okay dude.

        • 0 avatar
          baggins

          BBall40DTW

          you buddy must be one bitter dude. Seriously bad decisions on his part, but how often does a 18-20 year old know any better

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I agree that one needs to be realistic when picking a career path. Kids have been told a billion times, “All that matters is that you feel good about yourself.” I told my sons that it is hard to feel good about anything if you can’t earn a decent living. An “education” is important but that can be a trade or College/University degree etc.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yes but learning a trade is for drooling sh!t-kickers who couldn’t hack it at a university.

          /sarcasm

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This is quite literally how trade schools are portrayed by high schools everywhere. The kids who managed to have a couple hours of shop class rather than English or History each day were the ones who attended the trade school.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “yes but learning a trade is for drooling sh!t-kickers who couldn’t hack it at a university.”

            Guilty (?) .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Ironically, the ticket to a reasonable paycheck as a young person is not a college degree, but more likely a skilled trade certification. The downside to this is the massive student loan debt you’ll incur, but most of the people I know my age who have any sort of $ to spend on a new car are usually mechanics and technicians of some sort. The only other two fields are high risk public safety/national security jobs (military, police, and fire) and medical (RN, PA…). Even those fields are not guaranteed to make you $. A lot depends on the agency you work for with firefighting and Law Enforcement, as you can easily see wage disparities of $15k-20k/year.

    I find myself somewhat trapped by this. I’m 32, and I work for one of the highest paid fire departments in my area, making upper $40k per year. My boyfriend is in the military with about 8 years left till his 20 years and retirement, and I get asked all the time if I’m going to quit the Fire Department, get married, and follow him. Unfortunately, that’s not a reasonable option. There’s no way, even going back to school for a different 4 year degree and assuming the student loan debt associated with that, that I’ll be able to count on finding a job that will pay me nearly $50k per year right out of the box (much less have a pension which I am beyond extremely fortunate to be accruing right now).

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      You’re risking your life as a firefighter and they only pay you in the 40s? What the hell is wrong with your union?

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Sloomis – LMAO we’ve been without a contract for a year or two now. I can’t even remember. We’re at impasse waiting to go to a magistrate. The problem is that there’s only one other agency in our area paying more than us. We get lieutenants that leave other departments and come work for us riding backwards as a firefighter and get a raise. As long as that continues to happen and we have no trouble recruiting, the administration sees no reason to give us a raise. Most agencies in this area pay firefighter/emts in the low $30k range starting out. Medics will get maybe $5k more. This is starting pay. I’ve been on the job less than 5 years. At our agency, I think a topped out (16 years and a certain number of upper level classes) firefighter/emt makes in the upper $60k and a medic low $70k. If you’re just an EMT (not a firefighter), you’re probably making $9-10/hr starting out at an ambulance company in this area. That’ll be primarily interfacility. Overwhelming majority of 911 EMS in our region is handled by Fire Rescue now.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The starting pay for Fire & Police in Hampton Va has been bumped to just under 39k a year in an area with a median income of right around that IIRC.

      I’m not sure of the top out but in neighboring Gloucester county VA IIRC my friend’s ex father in law pulls down (or did, sure its more now since its been almost a decade on) 80k a year as a fireman – obviously he has been there awhile.

      I’m not sure of how wages for Fire & Police shake out over the country but I’ve always guessed emergency services at the lower end of the scale are in areas of the country where tax revenues are lean like say a rural area with a low population density and low wages in general.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @raph – Central Florida is a jurisdicitonal mess. The largest county, Orange, has 13 independent municipal governments in it plus GOAA and Reedy Creek. There’s a 13 mile stretch of road here that passes through 2 counties and 8 cities and comes within a miles of 2 more. All that to say it can be hard to compare wages and demographics across these different agencies. In Florida, most tax revenue for fire protection comes from property taxes, so assessed property values and the tax rates on those is what really affects a governments revenues and consequently its ability to pay higher wages. A big debate that goes on here is staffing though. Unfortunately, almost no departments have full time 4 man staffing on their engines, with many of the smaller and/or more rural ones running 2 man engines. The sad thing for those guys is they are usually the ones making $30k a year as a firefighter/emt and they’re the ones that are in the most danger.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I fall squarely into the category of the white collar graduate who makes money hand over fist but is throwing most of it at college debt. I work for a performance division and am the definition of an auto enthusiast, but I’m currently stuck in two very UNenthusiastic used vehicles of 12 and 7 year vintage. Even the idea of purchasing a $25k new car doesn’t compute at all (the fact that my employer doesn’t MAKE a car in that price range worth purchasing notwithstanding.)

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    This is “The Truth About Cars” not “Fave the Nation”.
    Please keep your scewed political opinion off this site.
    You are a complete and utter moron Mr. Baruth!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ll make you the same offer I make to most people who call me a moron: we can take a proctored WAIS together and the loser jumps off the Golden Gate Bridge.

      In the meantime, thanks for being a fan, fan!

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        Jack, I haven’t called you a moron, but I’ll do the Wechsler at your convenience. I think one thing we all can agree on is that our government is broken. And the depressing part of that is neither side has a reasonable solution and that depresses me. Especially for my children and grandchildren. Hopefully, I will leave them secure.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The “B&B” is due for a purge…

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        The WAIS challenge would be a fun contest for me, if we could dispense with the bridge-jumping. Not sure who would win, but the challenge would be fun. Haven’t had to hammer out one of those in a couple of decades or more, but I have been known to put them on smash with little to no test prep. But I am reasonably sure that the same is true for you, which is one of the reasons that I enjoy reading your work.

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        My PhD says you are a sniveling whiner, as does my age and wisdom. You would challenge me to something your healthcare would barely cover…or are you just a martyr? So narcissistic.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          >Begins his comment with “my PhD says”
          >Calls the other person narcissistic

          I mean, yes, Jack can be, but come on.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Ph.D. in what, kmars? Inquiring minds want to know. And how does your age enable you to deduce that he is a sniveling whiner? Is it because you are old enough to be crotchety? And what is your basis for claiming wisdom? Talk is cheap…

          Or as the old saying goes, any jackass can kick a barn down, it takes a carpenter to build one. I have seen what Jack can produce, and even if I don’t like all of it, there is some pretty impressive construction.

          Perhaps you’d be better served by watching episodes of Top Gear and not exposing yourself to broad ranging subjects on a site like TTAC. I know I’d be better served if you did that, and I expect that Jack has quite a few other readers/followers who would rather see you gone, instead of Jack.

          But if you’re so wise, why don’t you post something you have produced that you think belongs on this site, the way you’d like it to be, for the managing editor and the B&B to judge.

          And since you have attempted to segue with regard to the WAIS challenge, I can only surmise that you do not have the kind of objective results that would enable you to rebuff Jack with a show of extreme intelligence, so you resort instead to some whining about how he is sniveling and narcissistic. Perhaps you’d better adjust your mirror…your objections may be closer to you than they appear in your mirror.

      • 0 avatar
        kmars2009

        I am older, wiser, and have a PhD. Get ready to swim. If you survive the fall. I must say you are amusing.

  • avatar
    kit4

    About time someone took the veneer off of Obama. Lowest labor force participation rate in 40 years and getting. And Shillary wants to build on that “progress”

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Seriously! I have never before heard criticism of President Obama. Jack is really breaking ground here. Anyhow.

      Those who look for answers and not merely for scapegoats will look into why labor force participation is low. Some of it is demographics, as boomers retire. Some of it reflects willing choices, such as the lower earning spouse deciding to stay home with the kids rather than spend all her earnings on daycare and nannies.

      Some of it does reflect the loss of lower middle income jobs, mostly in manufacturing. This is an outcome of automation, globalization and the changing world economy. Leaders who get this and address it successfully (e.g., re-training, expanding education and thoughtful tax policy) will serve their constituents well.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You can’t really point the blame at one person, this started with NAFTA and GATT twenty five years ago. Barry Soetoro merely exacerbated the overall situation at the direction of his handlers, but its much easier in post to just blame it on one man.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Are you really a birther? That’s sad, dude.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t really know what the truth is but there are too many questions surrounding his past to just take whatever they say at face value. I suspect the President’s real past is somehow tied in with alphabet agencies, whatever it actually happens to be. These are the only resources strong enough to hide whatever the truth is and these are the agencies which would step in whenever a political candidate gets to a certain level. I do not believe even this dysfunctional country is going to allow a serious presidential candidate to stand who is not vetted by them. Every empire has a Praetorian Guard and ours apparently signed off on the President.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Read up and you will find there are actually very few questions, particularly questions that matter, about Obama’s past.

            He was born in Hawaii, went to Indonesia for five years as a young kid with his mother and stepfather, and returned to Hawaii where he completed grades 5-12 and was a bit of a slacker. Then he went to Occidental for his first two years, got his $#!t together, and transferred to Columbia (like any sane person with the opportunity would) for his last two years. After college, he had a variety of jobs (one at a for-profit but mostly in the nonprofit sector) until he decided to get a JD. After attending Harvard Law, he worked briefly at a law firm until he got an opportunity to go back to the nonprofit sector. He was either at a nonprofit or a public-interest law firm until he won his election to the Illinois state Senate, and he’s been in politics ever since. Few people have as well-documented and public a history.

            Very few opportunities for “three-letter agencies” to get involved, and a fairly typical career path for a liberal Democratic politician. No conspiracy theory needed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You seriously need to drop this conspiracy theory stuff, 28.

  • avatar
    ihbase

    J.B. mistakes correlation for causation.

    -Michael

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      If only Mr. Obama’s campaign slogan had been “I Won’t Be Responsible For Anything, Nor Will I Make Any Difference!”

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Full employment
        Minimal inflation
        Doubling of equity markets
        Restoration of housing market
        Considerably declining deficits
        ACA, resulting in health insurance for tens of millions
        Peace with a non-nuclear Iran and Relations with Cuba

        If this is “not making a difference”, then the vast majority of previous presidents would jump at those achievements.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Full employment?

          In what world do you live? Napa Valley, Fairfax County, or Manhattan?

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “Full employment
          Minimal inflation
          Doubling of equity markets
          Restoration of housing market
          Considerably declining deficits
          ACA, resulting in health insurance for tens of millions
          Peace with a non-nuclear Iran and Relations with Cuba”

          Must be a marketing problem as the good news just isn’t getting out. 65% of the population thinks the country is on the wrong track.
          .
          .

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            60% of Americans think that a 600 year old man built an Ark with his three sons and loaded it with 3 million animals to ride out a flood.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            There is evidence of a large flood in the ME region around 5000 BC.

            “Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah’s flood could have occurred.

            “It probably was a bad day,” Ballard said. “At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under.””

            http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/evidence-suggests-biblical-great-flood-noahs-time-happened/story?id=17884533

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            VoGo,

            Very, very well done.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t think it is well done or warranted to mock any religion or belief, especially in this forum.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            It’s a good point, 28, but I feel VoGo’s comment was so far down on the list of belief mocking occurring regularly on this website that it isn’t even a blip on the radar for me.

            It didn’t directly attack a core tenet of Christianity, it mocked the literal interpretation of an old story that I think should be viewed through the lens of the moral tenets taught–obedience, faith, following moral principles despite societal trends. Potato potahto perhaps, but I think it makes a difference. Any tamer and he may as well just censor his own beliefs entirely, and is that what we want?

            Besides, it was succinct and well worded. And demonstrated that majority opinion can indeed be divorced from fact in a way likely to annoy the person it was directed to. So from an internet banter point of view, yes it was very well done.

          • 0 avatar
            Whatnext

            Then why 28CL didn’t they save the unicorns…..!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            @28-Cars-Later

            I don’t think anyone (worth listening to) disputes that the people and (some of the) events in the Bible occurred. But that doesn’t mean the conclusions the Bible wants you to accept are also indisputable.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @30-mile fetch

            I don’t read every post every day but I do hope the belief mocking is not actually occurring. We all know there have been people who lost their lives because they drew an inoffensive picture of the founder of a certain world religion. Yet some think its alright to poke fun at Christianity simply because the odds of the Spanish Inquisition rolling by to introduce you to the iron maiden are zip. Therefore I believe such snide comments are abhorrent and inappropriate for our little car club, no matter how ridiculous the belief system may be.

            @JimZ

            I question quite a bit myself and I too question the Bible as it is written. What I do not do is poke fun at people’s beliefs in this forum, its not appropriate and could be deemed offensive. We’re better than this.

            @Whatnext

            Because I hunted them all to extinction first.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Slow down. I didn’t mock anyone’s religion. Polls have shown that 60% of Americans believe the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. That’s just reality.

            If I wanted to mock people who believe the story of Noah’s Ark, I’d actually take them through the text itself. I might ask them why the text indicates that there are 7 bovines are taken on the ark. And a sentence apart, indicates that there were only 2 bovines taken. Well which is it? The text itself is inconsistent, but you would only know that if you had actually read the text, rather than looked at the pictures from a summary made 3 millenia later.

            Sorry, Ancient Near Eastern Literature major. Which according to the wisdom above was worthless.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Ancient Near Eastern Literature major.”

            Sam hill is that? Byzantine Empire and stuff?

            Oh, and don’t mock religion. You never know when you’ll need cannon fodder.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree this is possible, but you made the statement in reference to “65% of the population thinks the country is on the wrong track.” which may or may not be accurate as the source is not cited (nor is yours).

            “you would only know that if you had actually read the text, rather than looked at the pictures from a summary made 3 millenia later.”

            So is this another snide comment or do you genuinely imply I learn Aramaic to get the full story?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            28CL,
            I think that someone serious about understanding their Bible would be well advised to read the original, which in this case is in Biblical Hebrew.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @VoGo: If you’d care to read it again, you’ll see that one verse says seven or seven /pairs/ of every clean animal, and two or two /pairs/ of every unclean animal. Bovines are not mentioned specifically.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Admittedly a shortcut. I didn’t want to get into a sidebar on sacrifice rituals and the species used.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            There is ample evidence of a “great flood” and there are historical accounts from various cultures from that area. If one takes into context the fact that they did not nor could not travel great distances, that would account for their belief that the world was flooded.

            I do not feel that VoGo was being disrespectful.

            I do agree with “28” that Christianity has been deemed “fair game” and other religions and sexuality has been deemed untouchable.

            With that being said, extremes in belief or implementation of one’s interpretation of belief have damaged religion. That applies equally to Christianity as it does to Islam.

            Islam, Judaism and Christianity share the same Abrahamic monotheistic roots. Jesus was a Jew and so was Mohammed. He (Mohammed) felt that he was a prophet in the same great tradition as Jesus.
            I consider myself a Christian and therefore my Biblical focus is more on what Christ did and said. I view the old Testament more as a history book. Anyone who studies any history knows that what is recorded tends not to be exactly what happened. It is an interpretation of events.

            Jack’s Scion story is his interpretation of events put to (electronic) paper. Others will interpret things differently or pull from it what they believe is true or not true.

            What is most important is the open exchange of ideas, thoughts, opinions and even belief. The fact that there is this level of masterful debate on a car site makes me believe that all is not lost.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Peace with an Iran that SAYS it will be non-nuclear, but which refuses to allow full inspection of all sites.

          Your thinking, or lack thereof, @VoGo is precisely why Obama can take bows for something that is really nothing, at least for the US. Any other reasons he may have had are debatable, but to say that the world can now be assured that Iran is not building a bomb is just willful ignorance or a total lack of intelligence.

          As to the Bible, Noah and the great flood, if that is pure fantasy, why is it that almost every culture in the world has a great flood legend as part of its history? Not to mention the citation elsewhere of scientific discoveries supporting the possibility of such a cataclysmic event?

          There have also been many other items that have been cited in the past as evidence that the Bible was fiction, or erroneous, but which have later been proven to have been correct, with subsequent archeological discoveries. The ancient Hittite kingdom, now known to have existed, was one such example, before it was proven to exist.

          You may or may not like the Bible, or what it says one should or must do, but to claim that it is riddled with easy to prove errors is a charge that is easy to make, and as far as I have ever seen, has never been unequivocally been proven.

          After this, I suppose here comes another deluge…

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Well, considering the President is the executive officer of the Federal Bureaucracy and only sets some policy goals he really isn’t responsible. Never mind that if we accept what economists agree to, that Obama’s original much larger stimulus package would have gotten us back on track by 2011 instead of 2013/14.

        It’s convenient to blame the President but when the Republicans are advocating against minimum wage as a whole and ignoring basic changes in policy that we can SEE have positive effects in other Western Democracies you really can’t blame a center-left president for that. It’s just lazy writing.

      • 0 avatar
        thats one fast cat

        +1

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “60% of Americans think that a 600 year old man built an Ark with his three sons and loaded it with 3 million animals to ride out a flood.”

          If that were true, Obama would not have been elected in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            It could easily be true. Dummies often don’t bother voting.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Master Baiter – look at demographics. There are plenty of good research done that shows who votes Democrat and who votes Republican.

            The portion of that 60% that votes Republican tends to be old, uneducated and white. That is statistical truth not leftist hyperbole.
            Do you find it odd that Pope Francis chose to visit the USA? That happens to be a hint as to whom the other huge segment of Christianity happens to be in the USA. Hispanics are a rapidly growing Christian and mostly Catholic group. You add to that blacks and other minorities and that means a large piece of that 60% isn’t going to vote Republican.

            The “Comb-over in Chief” and all of his bullsh!t may be great at cementing support from the Republican core but isn’t going to get him elected.

            The only thing going for the Republicans are the fact that traditionally 2 term Presidents and their party rarely ever get a 3rd term.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Scary, and even scarier is that we let politicians and the corporate elite ship those jobs away without much of a protest. No wonder Bernie Sanders is popular!

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would say coming from Jack this is a bit rich, man who has a 911 in his garage and IIRC some pricey shoes, watches, and guitars, but 2 things I think killed off Scion was cars are better now as he states and last a long time so there is more supply now for kids to have a car that their parents feel they are safe in that will not blow up and also Scion was pretty bad on the marketing, updating models and the pricing structure was different from the rest of their competition. Oh and their cars are ugly and not having a CUV killed them.
    Pretty easy to blame one the president , not really correct but pretty easy.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      It’s also rich considering Baruth’s open snobbery about “every self-styled “motoring journalist” on the continent” lacking “a valid major-sanction racing license.” Jack’s qualifications for his self-styled political ramblings, as best as I can tell, appear to come from having spent fifteen minutes in the comments section of a Wall Street Journal article.

      • 0 avatar

        Or, you know, an English degree from a top university.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Hey, I also spent nearly a decade of my life working in various financial institutions, but don’t let that slow your roll.

        I don’t see the hypocrisy in wanting everybody in this country to have a chance to have as much stuff as I do. My self-esteem isn’t predicated on owning more Paul Reed Smith guitars than everybody else, although I do have seventeen of them, including four Private Stocks and three Wood Libraries.

        Maybe I want to live in a world where people can live a decent existence without being part of the one percent, eh?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Maybe I want to live in a world where people can live a decent existence without being part of the one percent, eh?”

          Baruth 2016.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            eh, Baruth is ok and all, but I’m stumping for Zod 2016. Because with General Zod, at least you know where you stand. Which you don’t. You /kneel/ before Zod.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Jack as Trump’s VP would be an interesting administration…Trump as the populist front man, and Jack as his behind the scenes guy responsible for making things come together to make America great again.

        • 0 avatar

          Four Custom Z horns here, checking in.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          Now you’re just grasping for a straw man. I never questioned the sincerity of your wishes for everyone to be healthier and wealthier – I never endorsed them, either, but it’s not my place to say. I question your understanding of how to achieve that goal, or why we’re not there today.

          But more to the point, I question why this rant is on TTAC in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Over 200 comments in 2 hours, that’s why.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Because Mark decided this was worth publishing. And nobody forced you to read it. In fact, it would have been a LOT less effort on your part to skip reading it, but you chose to spend the effort to read it, and b!tch about it.

            Go you.

        • 0 avatar
          seth1065

          Jack you got every right to own what you earned but I think if your gonna be fair and “privileged” as you say, the president has helped you out in his 8 years, I am not his biggest fan but to say all of your article is his vault is a bit much. I am pretty sure something he has done has added to your pocketbook.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Yeah, Jack, you heard what the guy, and Obama, both said…if you have all that stuff, YOU didn’t do that, it was the system that was set up for you that gave you that stuff. You OWE it all to Obama, according to the official religion of the welfare state.

            And while you are at it, don’t forget that Hillary-ious has reminded you that it will take a village to raise John.

            Oh, brave new world!

            Or as Laurie Anderson has noted, Home of the Brave. Nothing more, nothing less…

        • 0 avatar
          jonsey

          This is exactly the same message Trump uses.

          “I’m rich, smart and successful. And I want the little people to be as well.[regurgitate flawed statistics and historical fallacies that resonate with the less educated] Vote for me!”

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            Well, just to rebut the suggestion that Trump’s message only resonates with the less-educated, I have a STEM related engineering degree and two grad programs, one in Comp. Sci and a second M. Acct, plus a slew of 99th percentile test scores, including the GMAT, and while I disagree with some of his campaigning rhetoric, Mr. Trump’s arguments resonate with me as well.

            My son says that on his FB several people have weighed in that previous administrations on all sides of done such a lousy job that perhaps we should go with Trump just to see if something, anything, would be better than the status quo.

            And as a long time independent, I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that reasoning, especially among millenials who have been left holding the bag in spades.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      I am by no means a shill for Jack, and he will agree. But Jack and a few of us here are much better off than the average American, so he is not entitled to speak about income gap?

      I suppose people like Gates and Buffet shouldn’t be charitable then, since they are just snobs underneath. They should just go hide in a 0.5% cave somewhere and hope that they aren’t found by a vigilante with a spiked club. That’ll make everyone feel better.

      And for the record, IMO Obama is as responsible for Scion’s demise as Chairman Mao was responsible for China’s air pollution. In other words, no frickin’ way.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s not even a valid comparison, the economic miracle in the PRC which created the pollution to which you refer didn’t even occur until after his death.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          The culture of corruption and nepotism predates Chairman Mao by centuries. That is what allows China to continue polluting post-industrialisation. With or without an economic miracle in the Deng era of privatisation, the pollution would have come.

          Similarly, the rise of outsourcing, offshoring and deregulation in the US predated Obama’s presidency by decades. Those things are causing income inequality and are somewhat related to Scion’s inability to find its target market.

          And TBH, if the deregulation continues, the US will become what Russia already is, and what China is marching towards.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting points on precedence in Chinese culture. I compltelty agree with your second paragraph.

        • 0 avatar
          jcjr

          BOOM
          *drops mic*

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Jack, in the past you’ve had no trouble being provocative without bringing politician-blaming into the mix. I come to this site to get away from commenters whose idea of wit is “Shillary,” etc., and here you are attracting them to TTAC.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “I come to this site to get away from commenters whose idea of wit is “Shillary,” etc., and here you are attracting them to TTAC.”

      They were already here. But like water in a wet sponge at the bottom of your sink, they are hiding in the matrix, ready to come out when someone squeezes it. Fortunately, it’s easy to see when someone is about to, and can be avoided if desired. Sponge water is kinda gross anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        gottacook

        Well, sure, “it’s easy to see when someone’s about to”; the word “Obama” was in the headline. My point is that I’ve come to regard this site as an oasis, one of several (including the Hemmings Motor News blog) that I visit daily, and I would wish it to remain so. I’d rather that sponge not get squeezed here, and I’ll likely be chased away if it happens too often.

        There is enough blaming of politicians (and of the U.S. political system, such as it is) already, and I would suggest to the managing editor that Jack has his own site if he needs to express himself along that axis.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          And I would suggest that I would rather see narrow-minded readers such as yourself, who wish to impose your own preferences on this site and all of its other readers, (whether they agree with you or not), leave this site, rather than have Jack restricted to writing PC and/or strictly automotive material only.

          Part of the attraction of this site for many of us is that it is not just a narrow view of cut and dried auto specifications, but rather discusses automobiles and their place in our lives and in our society.

          I would rather have the choice that includes others whose viewpoints I don’t agree with, rather than having a narrowly proscribed little sanitized oasis from the rest of the world, where you can indulge your automotive whims unhindered by unpleasant viewpoints you choose not to skip over, but instead try to censor.

          Don’t let the doorknob hit you where the dog should have bit you on the way out, amigo. I doubt that your absence will result in any calls to bring you back by sacrificing Jack’s editorial freedom.

          Go cook something up elsewhere, @gottacook.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            VolandoBajo – agree 100%.

            Like I said further back in this blog,

            “What is most important is the open exchange of ideas, thoughts, opinions and even belief. The fact that there is this level of masterful debate on a car site makes me believe that all is not lost.”

  • avatar
    NoID

    Loving everyone who’s losing their minds about Jack blaming Obama. He also blamed Bush and Clinton…

    And I think it’s perfectly appropriate to criticise any president who promises to address XYZ, fails to address XYZ, then claims that he addressed XYZ and XYZ is great, thanks.

    This problem has been decades in the making. We can’t discount 8 of those years any more than we can compress that entire time into 8 years. Unless you own a WABAC machine and you were raised by a beagle.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Please point to the evidence that Obama promised to save Scion.

      If we want to blame someone for Scion’s death, maybe it should be the guy who wrote such terrible reviews about the FR-S. Yes, it was Jack. And now he feels guilty about it, so he blames the President, without regard as to whether or not Obama directly controls Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      People be overreacting at any criticism of Obama. OMG, Jack has an agenda.

      I don’t always agree with Jack’s writing, but he openly points a finger at Obama because Obama is the current sitting US President. Until his term expires and his replacement goes to his first day at work, Obama is tasked with fixing the country and enlisting the help of Congress.

      Whether Obama delivered on his campaign promises is of secondary concern. Things change, the country changes, the global economy changes. What matters more than campaign promises in 2008 is how he addresses current events in 2014, 2015, 2016 and, to his best ability, beyond that.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        Well, if we want to go the convoluted route, lots of things could be blamed for Scion’s demise, and most of them would be far more accurate than “Barack Obama”.

        But, here we are, so “Mission Accomplished”.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    Well, since they can’t blame Obama for high gas prices anymore, gotta find something to fill the void.

    • 0 avatar
      kmars2009

      Hello! U are correct. They’re using Obama as a scapegoat. Scion was lame to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Gas prices have historically always come down in election years, manipulated by the incumbency to attempt to retain control of the agenda. There just happened to be a lot of other factors in place this time as well.

      And for all of you professional doomsayers who want to sacrifice other people’s money to save the world by taxing carbon, please allow me to ask what happened to your previous impending doomsday scenario, peak oil?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Thank you for painting peak oil alarmists and those who believe it’s not necessary to use up all our resources as quickly as we possibly can with the same brush. It really helps foster open dialogue.

        What if it’s all just a big hoax and we’ve created renewable, sustainable sources of energy for nothing?

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          And what if our “energy-saving” electric vehicles are really just snake oil, shifting the petroleum consumption from the view of the owner and into the central power plants?

          I never said wasting energy was good, but the global climate agreements, for example, are much ado about nothing, with every country going along so as to not look like they are rocking the boat, while in reality probably none of those countries will ever achieve what they are signed up for, but not bound to.

          Just like unattainable EU standards led to “cheating” that so far has mostly only touched VW, unrealistic goals to prevent what may very well be normal cyclical climate changes, if one were able to have accurate data from previous times when the earth was warm, perhaps warmer than it is today.

          But we focus on a shorter period of time, and then ask everyone to suffer so that the few can create and get rich in a new carbon credit market. Sorry, but I ain’t buying the baloney.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “And for all of you professional doomsayers who want to sacrifice other people’s money to save the world by taxing carbon, please allow me to ask what happened to your previous impending doomsday scenario, peak oil?”

        Oil and carbon…..

        Um, it is covered by the title of a Cheech and Chong movie, “Up in Smoke”.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Here’s real TRUTH –

    – This isn’t an “Obama Thing.”

    It started in the 70s, and has been promoted (intentionally or not is a matter of debate) by both political parties, under presidents ranging from Nixon to Clinton to Reagan and both Bush’s, and the federal reserve.

    It’s the natural trajectory of a full fractional fiat reserve system, whereby the banks (chartered banks of/behind central banks, not community banks or credit unions), control the volume of fiat credits, and can decide on whether to inflate or deflate the value of debt. This is the whole crux of the matter.

    Anyone that had the power to determine when (timing) and whether to use such powers, being able to position themselves in advance of such inflationary/deflationary events, probably would do so.

    This is why it’s factually true to state that the game is rigged.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Except and this is where I puncture a huge hole in your argument: Every other western country with a central bank (and that includes all of them) aren’t facing the same strain and depressing of wages. This is a policy decision made by conservatives build around a pro-corporate model stemming back to Republicans being free soilers and free laborers.

      As the small yeoman farmer and business owner gave way to large businesses and corporations the political ideology of the group had to shift. This came about with the split of Roosevelt (Teddy) from his GOP compatriots. When the GOP won the battle and put Taft into office they became open supporters of corporate authority. Following their crushing defeat by Jim Crow Democrats in coalition with FDR populists and liberal Democrats they licked their wounds and went to find a new base. They found it in Jim Crow Democrats that weren’t fiscal conservatives but were about stopping black equality and keeping the south in poverty. It’s a complex situation where until the 1990s when migration to the South really started it was a and is a very poor place. So these pro-corporate Republicans merged with the southern conservatives who adopted ‘free market’ ideology and melded it with their social conservatism. When Goldwater emerged and Reagan took up the mantle they started to publicly espouse small government in the same breath looking to expand government for the sake of new markets for the corporations.

      They get people like you to carry their water by blaming fiat currency when fiat currency has zero impact on the wealth of individuals except to increase it since any limited currency model eventually gets into fractionalism to deal with the increasing population that inevitably makes it impossible to work.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        So, you’re claiming that there aren’t the same economic trends & concentration of wealth in England, Germany, France, etc.?

        Really?

        Japan is the notable exception to this trend among developed economies due to deeply ingrained cultural factors and structural tax policy.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          And to clarify, there’s increasing wealth (speed & size disproportionate) in Japan, also (see Keiretsu), but Japanese execs of major companies make somewhere on the order of 40x that of the average employee at their company in TERMS OF STRAIGHT SALARY (not including other compensation, perks, etc.), compared to 90x in Germany and 200x plus in the U.S (if we’re talking large, publicly traded companies).

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Xernar,
        The US does not have a free market economy.

        It is a mixed economy. This means there is government meddling. This is not advantageous for the consumer as market are not reflective of true consumer trends. Trends are supported and created to suit the outcomes of generally major corporations, farmers and unions.

        There are only around five or six actual countries that are regarded as free economies. Switzerland, NZ, Singapore, Australia and maybe a couple others.

        People like yourself the true leftist/socialist and those on the right seem to forget we need to protect the consumer first and foremost.

        Without the consumer there is nothing. Supporting the minorities like the GOP and Democrats do to gain those few extra percentage points to put themselves into power is the problem.

        The consumer is all of us, not just the rich and corporation, the socialist unionist and green types.

        If the consumer is protected first, then it will be much easier to manage the economy.

        When a protective tariff, technical barrier is put into place to protect industry it creates artifical and unnecessary distortions that must be addressed with more regulation and shaping and on and on.

        This is why our countries are a mess to manage. Way too much interference by those chasing the fringes so they can gain or maintain power.

        What about placing the consumer first?

        An example is Flint. GM bailout, Solyndra, corn/dairy and other protect agri sectors. These all impact everday life in the US by the normal person more than worrying about wages.

        Truer supply and demand is needed to create more progress in a more competitive environment.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Big Al,
          Not to criticize, but I really wish we would start referring to people as people, and not as consumers. It creates a mindset that the only purpose someone has is to consume. Too nihilist for hump day.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            VoGo,
            Well the fact is in any society we consume. We will always consume.

            My use of “consumer” is to differentiate between wealthy down to the poor and needy.

            We must create a society that caters to all fairly, ie, society equates to consumers.

            As I mentioned all political parties tend to cater to a certain fringe of a few percent to maintain or win power.

            We need to place the “people” (as you call it) first.

            Catering to the unions, manufacturers, farmers etc has created the world in which we live.

            Inequitable and unfair.

            As we say at work, “the squeaky wheel always get’s the grease”. This needs to stop and we need to assess a little more closely what and where our tax money and our income is actually buying an supporting.

            Do we receive the fairest bang for buck for our efforts?

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Actually, DW, No. No they’re not facing the same issue. You conveniently refocused on ‘concentration of wealth’ which isn’t what I pointed out. Which again, doesn’t have anything to do with quantitative easing (something the wealthy actually don’t want).

          In each country mentioned they face either an aging population, a limited size/industrial capacity, or are in a deeply flawed union that refuses to face a single currency cannot fix vastly different economic situations. France and Germany struggle because they’re trading with partners who don’t have the same rules but use the same currency.

          As for Japan, their aging population combined with oversavings then overspending created an untenable situation which is completely irrelevant to the United States.

          But if we’re going tit for tat, lets look at Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Australia to start. Places where more aggressive socialist movements have had central banks that work far better and avoid some of the obvious free market shortfalls.

          As for Big Al, I’m not even going to bother with your 5th grade arguments. Never mind that you name Australia a ‘free economy’ which is completely false, they’re more socialist than we are and benefit from it. Never mind half the vibrancy of places like Australia are due to the strong labor movements that kept wages high and didn’t allow for the income shift.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          LOL Australia is a “free economy?” did you seriously type that in earnest? We /are/ talking about the same Australia which bans video games it deems too “violent” or prurient, and the same Australia which gave the power to censor the internet to ACMA?

          I think your definition of a “Free Economy” needs another look.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @BigAl – The doctrine of “laissez faire” is often raised to that of religion by its proponents. Failure is conveniently blamed upon interference of the system from politics, unions etc. Milton Friedman is often viewed as the “Great Prophet” since we went down the religious path earlier. It is convenient to label interference as socialist or communist since one can then enlist the aid of the CIA and/or military to bring about free industrialization. One mustn’t admit that the profitability of big business should be the cause for coup or invasion.
          Case in point, why did the CIA and MI6 oust the democratically elected government and install a dictator into Iran?

  • avatar
    iMatt

    This isn’t a phenomenon unique to the USA. Same trend is happening in Canada from what my own personal experience tells me.

    It took me 8 years after finishing college and a move across the country to finally get my big break.

    From what I understand, the situation is even worse in most other western countries.

    Ironically, I thought the US was largely insulated from this so called “lost generation” with a healthy economy.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s not a U.S. specific thing, as you state.

      Australians & Kiwis, Canadians, Brits, etc. all have fantastically high PERSONAL/HOUSEHOLD debt-to-income ratios, and other nations, such as Japan (officially the most indebted NATION aka GOVERNMENT), have a debt structure whereby the government has proportionally more debt vs many western nations than the private households do (Japanese *official* debt-to-GDP is close to 300%, and in reality, Japan is insolvent and can never repay its debts absent massive currency debasement).

      China and other emerging market nations are piling on to global economic worries as their models show that it’s only by currency devaluation that they, too, will be able to pay their debt back (if only in debased fiat – China has sold off 1 trillion in USD equivalent bonds out of an estimated 3 trillion USD in last 8 months to support yuan peg to USD, and they know, especially given demand destruction AND their DEMOGRAPHICS that they have an unsustainable system and will face a Minsky moment soon).

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Currently Japan’s debt is 2X their GDP, so you’re off by a bit and their servicing costs now account for half of government spending in Japan. There is room to pay it back but as a society they’re dying out and there is little room for replacement. They face a functionally different issues than us.

        China’s situation is different, they bought US Debt to help finance their own continued expansion which is a function of broken ‘free market’ ideology trying to keep limping along. Now that they no longer have random agrarians to throw into factories and their population is aging (along with a lop-sided sex imbalance) they’re looking at a 50 year outcome that could see them fall below a billion people and a countryside devoid of individuals.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Japan’s *official* debt is 246% (it’s actually significantly higher due to things like book cooking and fiscal calendar year tricks, but whatever).

          http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/65b7ebba-824b-11e5-a01c-8650859a4767.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wonder if such things as population replacement are factored in when those type of projections are done? How can the spice continue to flow without warm tax donkeys to milk?

  • avatar

    I suspect the explanation may be much simpler: Scions were more expensive than their value. At least when I shopped for xD, the “pure” price was easily $2k higher than equivalent Yaris. And even that Yaris wasn’t selling very well. There you have it — if they sold cheap cars cheap (like Nissan did), they could’ve sold more of them.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Scion’s fate was sealed by a lack of investment by Toyota, as evidenced by the lack of product. I can’t really draw the connection to the state of the country.

    It takes a revolutionary politician to fix this country. Money wants this country to become Russia or whatever China is becoming. It’s not money’s fault as wealth by nature seeks to multiply itself at the cost of everything else. It’s the government’s fault for not having the balls to regulate the money.

    It takes a revolutionary politician, and Obama was not that revolutionary politician. He campaigned as such, but did not deliver. The only revolution was getting a half-black man into the US presidency. That was a warm moment for a nation that is still racist, but unfortunately that does not fix the bigger problems strangling this country.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    /Looks in mirror, sees booger dangling from nose

    “Thanks, Obama.”

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Hey Jack,
    When are you going to contact me so I can give you my postal details for that Texas Edition badge?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Next week, I’m traveling and working much of this one.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Thanks Jack,

        Make that BBQ in Texas the second week in April so I can appreciate my presence.

        Oh, I’ll want a rack of beef BBQ ribs (with chili and garlic), slow cooked duck leg, thigh, some baked potatoes with sour cream.

        I normally will drink a case of 24 beers at a time, make them Coors Light please;)

        I’ll even bring over some Stubbie Coolers (Beer Cozzies????). Stubby Coolers are actually an Australian innovation started out by some guys who made wet suits for surfers. They wanted to use the scrap of neoprene.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Lol. Yes, hold one guy responsible for fixing decades of globalization, automation, deficit spending, an aging population and baby boomer financial irresponsibility. Jesus H. Christ this is a new low for even you Jack.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    If Congress would pass a formula change for how we calculate minimum wage a large portion of our lost real wages would disappear overnight. It’s an issue of bringing value back to service jobs which are the new dominant group of jobs for the vast majority of Americans.

    If we raised minimum wage to 15/hour (you know, on par with the rest of the first world) we would push median income up 15-20K over the first year and make household incomes closer to 100K. Price would inflate slightly, perhaps increase by 20% but given that salaries would increase between 40-100% over the next few years for correction this would be absorbed with minimal issue.

    But again, the President doesn’t have control over that so there is little to put on his head.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      I’m not sure minimum wage hikes are the solution, but what I am sure of is that the US President, given enough motivation, can force the compliance of Congress. And I do mean “force,” as he is the de jure head of something something big with tanks and guns and stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        There are more complex reforms focusing around city centers, redeveloping a home manufacturing base, changing how we deal with international trade, how we tax foreign trade, and etc…But minimum wage is the best place to start in practical terms of shifting value back towards individuals and away from elites.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “But minimum wage is the best place to start in practical terms of shifting value back towards individuals and away from elites.”

          And away from fixed income retirees.

          It feels good and gets people on your side, but what it actually does is distributes some benefits almost evenly among quintiles of household incomes. The vast majority of minimum wage earners aren’t household breadwinners, they live in households of many different levels of income. Does little to their standard of living.

          Where this especially fails at “stripping the elites” is the fact that a significant increase in the minimum wage raises prices disproportionately on basic goods and services rather than luxury items. People on fixed incomes and low but not minimum wage earners get a price whack on basic things that consume a larger portion of their income, but no raise. Sucks to be them, and they’ll love you for it. They’ll blame corporate greed which you can easily hide behind.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Chan,
        The Pres might be the head but congress holds the money so I doubt that would be the right answer. Like most Presidents he has done some good stuff and some bad stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “…It’s an issue of bringing value back to service jobs…”

      You can’t legislate someone’s value. If their contribution is only worth $7 an hour to a business, paying them $15 is not the solution. You’ll just drive up the cost of goods and services, which leaves everyone in the same place they started.
      .
      .

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        You can’t evaluate somebody’s worth except on the market and the market is a lie by default. So yes, we can legislate value of workers and we do all the time.

        I love the fact that I completely explained why you’re wrong before you said it and you still said it. It’s almost as if right-wing troglodytes read from a script….

        So, if I double the wages of every fast food worker tomorrow the cost of food doesn’t double, right? No. It goes up by about 30% if no cost is ‘passed on.’ That analogy applies across the board. If the cost of labor doubles over night the cost of living goes up a fraction of the cost of living which isn’t 100%. Hence your argument is stupid and worthless. It’s as if pro-business people aren’t even good at business….

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I would suggest that the reason the minimum wage has to be legislated to $15 is because there are 11 million illegal workers in this country (or however many there are, maybe it’s 10.9 million).

          Remove every illegal immigrant and every H1-B and every other beneficiary of programs designed to keep Americans out of work and then you’ll see what happens to wages. Supply and demand.

          • 0 avatar
            SWA737

            Don’t worry Jack, as soon as we get them registered to vote and signed up for benefits, they’ll quit working.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The competition that drives down wages isn’t so much from people inside the country as people outside. If you remove the supply of labor willing to do certain jobs for a given price (i.e., for some jobs, immigrant labor), the work just disappears, to be done abroad.

            We’ve already seen this in action. When Arizona and Alabama stepped up state-level harassment of immigrants, and a whole bunch of them left, fields and plants just sat empty. Locals weren’t willing to take the jobs for the wages offered, and it didn’t make sense for the owners to stay in business at much higher labor costs.

            The only sustainable way to raise American living standards is to bring the rest of the world with us. The tariff regime left us with globally uncompetitive industry (e.g., GM in the ’70s) and a giant legacy union contract problem. We’re honestly doing a decent job of improving conditions in most of the poorer parts of the world — East Asia and most of Africa are in far better shape than they were 30 years ago — but it’s way slower than would be ideal, and in the meantime, yes, there is pressure on wages for both skilled and unskilled labor.

            And this pressure is made far worse by both national and global tax policies that prevent owners from having to share productivity gains.

        • 0 avatar
          Cobrajet25

          The problem is people are only willing to pay so much for fast food. If the cost goes up 30% and your business DROPS by 25% because of the increase in cost, how long are you going to stay in business?

          How long are any of those workers that had their wages doubled going to be employed?

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “If their contribution is only worth $7 an hour to a business, paying them $15 is not the solution.”

        if we let businesses determine what “value” their employees contribute, we’d all be getting paid in company scrip. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not be a servant.

        and don’t think that couldn’t happen, Wal-Mart has already tried that in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”

      It was true when FDR said it in 1933, and it’s still true today. Businesses that succeed by providing low cost goods/services thanks to labor at less than a living wage are making their profits off the backs of society, since our basic human decency won’t allow us to let those workers go hungry or homeless.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Globalization and the information age has put a tremendous premium on certain kinds of higher education. A degree in Women’s Studies, while it may get you a nice job at a university, contributes nothing to the global economy.

    My 24 YO son has been in the workforce for a little over a year and he makes $65K/year. He has a degree in Software Engineering from GA Tech.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I feel a lot better about myself now. I spent the whole morning accomplishing something. It’s easier to deal with a snowstorm than a sh!tstorm.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    You don’t think that maybe the reason Scion failed perhaps had to do with the fact they made cars no one really wanted?

    Just because the cars were targeted at a particular demographic doesn’t mean that that particular demo *actually liked them*. All the millennials I know would rather have a mustang/camaro/wrx/miata than a scion, with perhaps the notable exception of the FRS. “Toyota” hasn’t been synonymous with “cool” for a long time.

    Oh, and if you were in for practical-but-cool instead of the sporty list above? Then you purchased a Camry (well, Carolla up here) or accord (civic up here). because, resale value among other things.

    One just needs to read older scion articles on this very site to see the writing on the wall – the cars weren’t interesting to their target demographic.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Yup, economy is terrible and no jobs for Millennials, that’s why Home Depot is going to hire 80,000 people for the spring and summer season – because you know – broke people don’t do work on their homes.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/home-depot-is-hiring-80000-seasonal-workers/ar-BBp4D5c?li=BBnb4R7

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Seasonal jobs at Home Depot aren’t really the desire of anybody, much less underemployed Millennials.

      The established homeowners (for most part) are NOT Millennials. I’d love to see a credible figure for the % of people in the Millennial generation which own homes. I bet it’s incredibly low.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Putting aside the idea that a seasonal job at Home Depot contributes to anything but Home Depot’s bottom line, have you considered the idea that much of the work being done by homeowners with assistance from Home Depot is to refurbish an aging national fleet of homes at minimal cost?

      If AutoZone hired a bunch of people on a part-time basis, would you also hold that up as a good thing?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Jack,
        It’s not just cheap homeowners. A lot of contractors shop at Home Depot. In fact, if you go early on a weekday, it’s wall to wall guys in toolbelts. Home Depot has pushed out the traditional lumber yards and trade supply stores in many areas.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Ouch. :(

        We’re trying to fix up this turd to sellable condition. Been making a few trips to HD and Lowes lately.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Are you purposely missing the point?

        Guess who is one of the largest contractor employers in the United States? Home Depot doesn’t directly install windows, doors, siding, flooring, carpet, etc. they subcontract to tens of thousands of operators across the country.

        Broke people don’t “fix up” old homes, and you seem to imply investment in an appreciating asset is somehow a bad thing. If consumers are investing in their largest asset to that scale, there are hundreds of thousands of supporting jobs being represented.

        If Home Depot needs to hire 80,000 people then the macro economic picture is vastly better than you project. Go to Home Depot at 7 AM, the contractor desk will have a line out the door. Or is the youth of America too, ehem, good to sling mulch or help Bob and Martha pick out tile?

        I worked at Radio Shack for a bit while in college, and did construction one winter break. I didn’t boo hoo that these jobs were beneath me.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          “If Home Depot needs to hire 80,000 people then the macro economic picture is vastly better than you project.”

          Why don’t you replace “Home Depot” with “Farms” and “people” with “migrant farm workers” and then see if you still feel like a brilliant economic analyst?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I finally went back and read the article apagthh cited. Summary: Home Depot hires 80K seasonal workers every spring. 2016 is nothing different, so reading any economic miracle into it would be foolish.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point is that Home Depot’s activity is an indication that contractors are busy and money is being spent on home improvements, which is a positive economic indicator.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            That conclusion is only logically correct if that activity is occurring for historical reasons. If it is occurring for different reasons, it may well not indicate what it has in the past.

            In particular, if the increased activity formerly indicated the building and customizing of new and better housing, and if it now indicates (a) that many more homeowners than in the past cannot sell their homes and (b) they cannot afford to buy a new home even if they did sell their current one, then this (busy Home Depots) is likely not an indicator of what it would have indicated if the activity were linked to an expanding housing market.

            As a specific example, if I were to sell my three bedroom 2.5 bath home in a near relatively good public schools and multiple transportation modes, plus significant shopping opportunities, and if I then intended to downsize as the natural evolution towards empty-nest syndrome, I would end up paying as much for a smaller home now as I did for my current “too large” home fifteen years ago.

            We have generated a lot of activity at Home Depot (and Lowes, which is much better at customer service than HD seems to be, and also is much better than it was a decade or two ago), and have been doing so especially in the last five years, as it has become obvious that the only way to obtain less expensive housing will be to move to a far more rural location, something neither of us are willing to do.

            Hence, we keep the hardware stores busy. In addition, there are relatively fewer small hardware stores, also driving an increase in the HD parking lots. But as a semi-retired/retired IT consultant, my household is hardly contributing to economic expansion, other than for the hardware stores’ bottom lines.

            I will refrain from calling you an idiot beneath contempt for failing to consider such an alternate interpretation, pch101, and I hope you will do the same if you do not agree with this analysis.

            If you do not, simple counter-arguments would be welcomed and considered. Not sure what drives your moods or your contempt-o-meter, but I am hoping for either agreement or solid reasons why you still feel that all that HD activity means the same thing today that it did, say, thirty years ago, when the middle class was still the largest segment of the United States.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        Where do you live that people tear down an old house and build new without it being to divide lots onto more units?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Home Depot, Lowe’s and other season-oriented big box stores hire tens of thousands each spring, and have in nearly every year since their inception.

      Google such hires for the last 8 years.

      It’s the same thing with clothing/electronic retailers doing large scale hiring in anticipation of Christmas.

      It’s meaningless, not to mention that these are low-wage, low benefit, low security service sector retail jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        True, DW, but not everyone who takes those jobs is desperate, or has that temp seasonal job as his only employment. Lots of folks who take holiday jobs have a good first job but are working part time to earn a few extra bucks. I did this one year and earned enough to help pay for a nice Christmas trip.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I don’t begrudge these type of jobs and I especially don’t begrudge the people willing to take them, show up for work, and earn an honest wage.

          I’m simply stating that at anywhere from $10 to $16 an hour, even these better than McJobs are supplemental income type ones, and that even assuming most of these are full time (they’re probably not) and that they’re secure long-term (again, they’re not, being very susceptible to short-term downturns in home renovation), $20,000 to $36,000 gross income is not remotely livable for a primary breadwinner in any remotely livable metro/urban area that I know of (especially if children are in the equation).

          I’m the guy who respects the person working the window at McDonald’s drive thru who has a pleasant disposition, by the way – that’s a tough gig and those are people with better attitudes than myself.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      If a seasonal retail job is what most Millennials have to look forward to for future employment then this editorial seems more accurate than I first thought.

      That’s straight-up Dickensian “Are there no workhouses?” type of talk.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Yup, economy is terrible and no jobs for Millennials, that’s why Home Depot is going to hire 80,000 people for the spring and summer season – because you know – broke people don’t do work on their homes.”

      let me clue you in on something: there’s a reason that- even in Detroit- the signs at the entrances of Home Depot stores are in both English and Spanish.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I agree with the others in just how bad this article is, though I only read a bit of it because it was so bad.

    Yes Scion was supposed to be aimed at younger buyers but the fact was the only thing that really sold well was the original xB and those went to far more retirees than millennials.

    Toyota missed the mark by a mile and that is the big reason behind the downfall of Scion.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I have no idea if the article is good or not. Skimmed it, don’t know enough about the topic anyways.

      I just did what I often do. Found something in the comments (in this case, talk of professional titles) that interested me and just chimed in there.

    • 0 avatar
      oldowl

      I admit that after I started reading a few dozen politico/economic replies to Baruth’s piece, I skipped down to here. Maybe Scions just missed all the markets. Maybe they were the Kaiser-Frazers of this age.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What question was Scion trying to answer in the first place?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          “How many times can we re-body a Corolla and add Altezza lights?”

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          28 has the right question. Marketing To The Youth never works unless you are the music or fashion industry, and as far as I can tell that’s the only reason Scions weren’t Toyotas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m just speculating but I wonder if in the 90s Toyota executives on both sides of the Pacific were kicking around the idea of “how can we stay ahead of the curve” and somehow the concept of Scion was born.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It was a two-prong idea:

            1. Create a gateway brand for Generation Y
            2. Experiment with some alternative sales approaches, namely no-haggle pricing (which is the norm in Japan) and customization at the dealership level (to standardize the product on the assembly line while providing the ability to individualize the product with something similar to tuning at the store level, thus reducing cost while increasing consumer choice.)

            Supposedly, one of the motivators was the failure of the Toyota Echo (as in “echo boomer,” as in Generation Y) to appeal to young US buyers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I realize the reasoning behind Saturn was quite different, but from the marketing/distribution level a similar formula seems to have been in play:

            1. Create brand to appeal to specific niche of the time.
            2. Experiment with no haggle pricing.

            Scion used the same dealers as Toyota so the distribution channel may have been the same as the parent brand vs Saturn, but still the first two tenets are remarkably similar.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The primary motivation of Saturn was to bring lean production to GM, as did NUMMI.

            It would seem that Roger Smith wanted to get rid of the legacy brands, which were failing, and eventually replace them with Saturn. Smith’s theory was that GM was a hopeless basket case, so he would create a new brand as a demonstration project that would grow, win converts and eventually lead to killing off the old GM — he figured that GM couldn’t be fixed. But Saturn was widely reviled within GM by both labor and management, so it fizzled out after Smith left.

            In contrast, Toyota was just looking for younger buyers, and wanted to find alternative ways to reach them.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I say this in all seriousness but Ruggle’s thoughts might be interesting on Scion’s demise. I seem to recall him claiming he worked with Toyota on creating it, or something to this effect.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Jack, I’d look at the rate of change in unemployment % over different administrations (and congresses) more than just the unemployment %. It’s just better math. You know that better than I do, but it doesn’t prove out your currently inflamed political bent, so…. whatever.

    As far at the comparison between Lexus and Scion, spot on. It’s more an indicator of our economic dysfunctions than the individual sub brands decisions and implementation.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I hate to see the volume of angry diatribe being thrown around by people who have way more in common than they would possibly be willing to admit. My best friend is a card carrying John Birch conservative, yet we manage to golf and drink and travel and generally be idiots without much conflict other than he is always wrong. But I love him anyway.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    That was one far stretch of an argument / article.

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      282 comments and counting, though. Mission certainly accomplished from a clickbait standpoint.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        Absolutely, this is what has become of this site. Post anything for clicks. Really does not have to do with autos. The stories people manufacturer are entertaining.

        • 0 avatar

          False.

          This is the least click driven automotive site in the biz. How many “Top 5 reasons to buy a Nissan Maxima” or “Watch this Camaro smoke a Ferrari at the dragstrip!” posts do you see here?

          That would be none. Never once have I had a piece rejected by any editor for not being “popular” enough. I cannot say the same thing about any other outlet to which I contribute.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Bark, I have to hand it to you. Your posts seem to be most informational and entertaining to read. I’m originally from the Garden City area of Michigan and like that you promote/keep up with Ford products.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Blaming POTUS for a foreign car company killing an under invested brand, wow, I really didn’t see that coming.

    Seriously, it takes a lot of effort to clean up a financial crisis, ending 2 wars (if you consider ISIS is a new one that’ll be 3), while keeping USD as the world commodity currency.

    Consider how much USD came back after dropping almost 1/2 its value, I’d say our economy is doing better. No, you will never get those jobs back, because they are either now in Mexico or replaced by robots, and no, USD is not pegged to gold since Nixon Shock.

    Get used to it, the advantage we have over the rest of the world since WWII and winning the cold war is over. We’ll now be competing with China, Vietnam, Mexico, etc for jobs and investment returns.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Jack is correct !

  • avatar
    redapple

    Dotson is correct.

    STEM shortage is BS. Helps employers justify a higher H1-B allotment.

    Only 30% of US born STEM graduates are in a STEM field 5 years after graduation.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    All your clickbait bases are belong to us now.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    This is hilarious.

    America has a long history of blaming economic success or failure on the president, even if he has limited control over it.

    I see everybody forgot that “Bushitler” was surely blamed for every single economic wrong by the current president, and, by his supporters in the 2012 election, suggesting the impotence of their man… because it is OK if their man is impotent, just not OK if he actually is judged on the results of his policies like they judge others. Judge not me like I judge others, right?

    I am certain if TTAC existed, these same people would be explaining how Alan Greenspan was responsible for the late 90s economic boom by his quasi-gold standard, and it’s unfair to assign either the economic growth or the rise of the mighty V6 to Bill Clinton, right? Right? Right? Is this thing on?

    Maybe I should go listen to YouTubes of 3800 engines and John Deere tractors.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      That sounds like a good idea, except I spent all but 2 hours of my workday pushing snow in a Mustang 2057. That thing is louder than a mid-size skid loader has any right to be. So I’m listening to videos of people pretending to be doctors giving checkups, tailors giving suit fittings, etc.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    400 comments! Time to dust off the “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner.

  • avatar
    Blake Noble

    Well… This was a rather interesting little essay. It’s always amusing when folks refuse to see the forest because they’re too busy reading and cursing at all of the political flyers stapled to the trees.

    Hats off to Baruth on this one. Why? Because, regardless if you love or loathe his approach here, he’s exactly right.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Compromised from birth, ACA represents a scorching indictment of the current dysfunctional political system. I’m far from endorsing this approach, but had ACA allowed anyone to enroll in Medicare, costs may have actually decreased across the board.

    Instead, the wildly inefficient insurance system continues to distort the healthcare market by locking out competitors by actually raising prices (see the recent BCBS Michigan antitrust suit). The 3 nominally ‘non-profit’ hospital systems in my local metropolitan area are all building unnecessary and mostly-empty ultra-lux surgery centers, birthing centers, imaging centers, etc.

    If I were king, I’d move to a Japanese style system of price controls combined with private insurance. Japan spends half of what the US does on healthcare and achieves better outcomes. Freeing up 3-5% of GDP for other purposes would go a long way to increasing American competitiveness.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      An INCREDIBLE (coincidence, I’m sure…/sarc) FACT that way too few people are discussing:

      “WWhen the legislation that became known as “Obamacare” was first drafted, the key legislator was the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, whose committee took the lead in drafting the legislation. As Baucus himself repeatedly boasted, the architect of that legislation was Elizabeth Folwer, his chief health policy counsel; indeed, as Marcy Wheeler discovered, it was Fowler who actually drafted it. As Politico put it at the time: “If you drew an organizational chart of major players in the Senate health care negotiations, Fowler would be the chief operating officer.”

      What was most amazing about all of that was that, before joining Baucus’ office as the point person for the health care bill, Fowler was the Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs (i.e. informal lobbying) at WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance provider (before going to WellPoint, as well as after, Fowler had worked as Baucus’ top health care aide). And when that health care bill was drafted, the person whom Fowler replaced as chief health counsel in Baucus’ office, Michelle Easton, was lobbying for WellPoint as a principal at Tarplin, Downs, and Young.

      Whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry; as Wheeler wrote at the time: “to the extent that Liz Fowler is the author of this document, we might as well consider WellPoint its author as well.” Watch the five-minute Bill Moyers report from 2009, embedded below, on the key role played in all of this by Liz Fowler and the “revolving door” between the health insurance/lobbying industry and government officials at the time this bill was written and passed…”

      Read the entire Glenn Greenwald expose here –

      Obamacare architect leaves White House for pharmaceutical industry job

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/05/obamacare-fowler-lobbyist-industry1

  • avatar
    Cobrajet25

    The Scion was positioned as an affordable car for young hipsters to buy if they had a little money in their pocket.

    But the car was honestly not all that affordable in this economy, not all that hip compared to many other offerings, and it’s intended audience didn’t wind up having much money in their pockets.

    It was like a low-end Toyota, only without the resale value. Only a matter of time before the brand folded.

    Had Toyota made the Scion actually, genuinely CHEAP it would likely have seen more success.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Must disagree. Scion was never EVER marketed to hipsters, because when it came out hipsters were not a market segment yet. It was marketed to the trendy/cool backwards hat and white sunglasses kids of 2003.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Why did Scion fail? Because a FR-S stickers for $32k. That’s out of reach of the ‘youth market’.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “Wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP have been declining for over four decades.”

    I see Obama has been playing the long game! Or he had to focus on minimizing an economic crisis – I think that went reasonably well.

    Scion actually managed to sell to a lot of <35 customers and first-time car buyers, so it doesn't seem like a failure. The problem is that the current lineup consists of cars that would do fine as Toyotas – there's no point to keeping them separate.

    The original xB was designed for the Japanese market so it was odd, slow, and terrible in a crash. But it was also cool. It didn't fit in as a Toyota, and it would have lowered their safety ratings (also, Scions in general would have lowered Toyota's reliability ratings).

  • avatar
    210delray

    Over 400 comments! Talk about clickbait!

    Jack, you have to go back more than 50 years for the source of today’s problems.

    Don’t you know it was all Lee Harvey Oswald’s fault (and pick his his co-conspirators if you must — Fidel, CIA, LBJ, the Mob…)?

    If Oswald hadn’t killed JFK, the latter would have easily won re-election in 1964. It’s doubtful the Vietnam War would have been escalated as aggressively, and LBJ would not have succeeded JFK. There’s no way Nixon would have won, and hence no Watergate.

    In turn, Carter wouldn’t have gotten near the White House, and thus no opening for Reagan, who cut taxes for the rich and started us down the trajectory of vastly increased deficits. Under Reagan, we also went from a creditor nation for the rest of the world to a debtor nation.

    Ergo, Oswald is your man, not Obama!

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Awesome. Nail on the head.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    Congress deserves plenty of blame as well. A President can only do so much and he hasn’t had much to work with in Congress for most of his administration. All of our elected leaders have failed us on this issue by not working together on these issues.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Troll all you want Jack, but for the first time in 9 years my blue collar brother is able to afford health care for all his family, not just the kids.

    I do wish our Congress would get their shit together though.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve said it before basically health care for the middle class stayed on the same unsustainable trajectory it had been on before the law came into effect. But it has lowered the cost to many under the middle class. Also in an odd twist it helps the self employed and those employed by very small companies alot (if they make under a certain amount say $60,000 for a family of 4) because they can now get affordable health care more easily with the exchanges then they could on their own. Especially if your older the 30 or so where it was an issue before ACA. Also a number of companines used the ACA as an excuse to cut their medical costs just saying I know of a number that did that.


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