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Why Americans Are Broke, And Getting Further In Debt

Tyler Durden's picture


Just as the president reminded us yesterday we are not a deadbeat nation, merely borrowing money today to pay the bills of yesterday, so, as the NY Times reports in this all-too-real article, many of the citizens of the US are also living not just paycheck-to-paycheck but short-term-loan-to-short-term-loan. As one debt-consolidation service noted "They've been borrowing just to meet payments on previous loans; it builds on itself." Rings an awfully loud bell eh? (and yes, we know the government's finances are not run like a households - though at some point the check book needs to balance). People in tough 'economic' situations fall into the 'poverty trap', borrowing money at ever higher interest rates in a shell game to keep previous borrowers at bay. The average debt for households earning $20,000 a year or less more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010 - as people dig deeper, precisely because they long to escape. As the focus of the article notes, "the belt-tightening was the easy part... the larger problem was cash-flow." Critically, experiments show that 'economic' scarcity by itself - independent of personality or any other factors - fuels a drive to borrow recklessly.


Via NY Times:

The belt-tightening was the easy part. Cancel the cable. Skip the air conditioners. Ration the cellphone, unplug the wireless Internet, cook rice and beans — done, and done. The larger problem for LaKeisha Tuggle, 33, who had lost her public relations job, was cash flow: After her unemployment insurance and savings ran dry, there was none.




The usual explanations for reckless borrowing focus on people’s character, or social norms that promote free spending and instant gratification. But recent research has shown that scarcity by itself is enough to cause this kind of financial self-sabotage.


“When we put people in situations of scarcity in experiments, they get into poverty traps,” said Eldar Shafir, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. “They borrow at high interest rates that hurt them, in ways they knew to avoid when there was less scarcity.”




People dig deeper precisely because they long to escape.




She recently made an appointment at GreenPath, a national debt-consolidation service, to see whether she could begin to pay down what she has borrowed. “By the time people come to see us, they have no more credit to use,” said Kathryn Moore, a counselor at GreenPath. “They’ve been borrowing just to meet payments on previous loans; it builds on itself.”




In one experiment, participants competed in rounds of the game “Family Feud,” a trivia contest in which each question allows for multiple guesses. One team was “poor,” allotted only 15 seconds per round; another was “rich,” having budgets of nearly a minute per round. Both groups could borrow time against future rounds, but the poor borrowed far more, progressively shrinking their future paychecks while the rich mostly avoided debt.


The research team, which included Sendhil Mullainathan and Dr. Shafir of Princeton, demonstrated that same effect in a series of related experiments. Scarcity by itself — independent of personality or any other factors — fuels a drive to borrow recklessly.




She picked up her purse on a chilly afternoon that winter, drove to a local strip mall and walked into a storefront payday loan office. “As long as you have that bank account, and a check with you, you can qualify,” she said. “So I took a check in, and when I walked out I felt bad. But I looked at the payments and thought, ‘Oh sure, I can do that.’ ”


And she could, just not for very long.


Payday loan operations typically charge 15 to 30 percent interest every two weeks, and many who have used them report slipping behind quickly and being forced to pay off the loan — with yet another loan, often from another payday operation. By the time people are in this deep, they have usually crossed a line and begun to think of borrowing as a necessity rather than a convenience or quick fix, experts said.


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Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:39 | 3154041 Mr. Fix
Mr. Fix's picture

But I'm not broke yet, so let the games continue a little bit longer.

Just keep stacking those gold and silver coins,

 keep stacking the ammo, and the food,

 prepare like her life depends on it, because it does.

 This will not end well.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:46 | 3154068 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

Wait!  Don't petition yet.  I'm still stacking!!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:50 | 3154093 negative rates
negative rates's picture

I took to refinancing every month, just so i could keep the cash flo straight.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:00 | 3154122 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

I use that example as the model for the US govt when I explain it to my friends:  A person who must refinance his mortgage every month (thus, at the mercy of interest rate increases) but with a printing press in their basement.  Eventually the scenario crashes and burns.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:01 | 3154140 TerminalDebt
TerminalDebt's picture

They just increased my credit limit on my credit card. I'm rich, I can spend like Obama now.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:30 | 3154245 trav777
trav777's picture

i need to know how to get in on payday lending.

but after banging out the entire population, you don't suppose people might hate me and anyone related to me, would they?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:51 | 3154318 qqqqtrader
qqqqtrader's picture


start 2 businesses, a payday loan and a liquor store (with lotto of course) next door. You loan it out through one door, and it comes back to ya through the other!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:51 | 3154500 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I judge the relative proximity to 'rock bottom', as the point where there's nothing left to TRADE for cash...


2 years ago ~ I'd walk into the coin shop & there would be at least a half dozen to one SELLERS of grandma's tea set & grandpa's coin collection to one STACKER...

Lately, that ratio has evened out... Hell ~ I was in there today & there was only one other customer... He was "exchanging" about 10 AGE's for a box full of 10oz silver bars & which amounted to basically a little ove a monster box of a different conferction [I won't get in to the Au/Ag ratio in this conversation]...

My first priority [on this visit], was to procure some more "junk"... No "junk" in inventory... Pretty decent inventory of ASE's [the 2013's were arriving the same afternoon]...

That's my anecdotal story for the day... [Go ahead & junk my comment now just because I rub you the wrong way]...   

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:37 | 3154669 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

As more people are cash strapped, more people enter the pool of gold and silver sellers.  The unemployed and poor have already sold all their gold and silver.  Now the retirees are bringing in their gold and silver to sell (CD rates under 1% aren't providing enough to live on).  Soon the working lower middle will search for non-used jewelry to sell.  Looking forward to buying Rolexes for scrap prices someday or in trade for 25 lb bag of rice.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:14 | 3154783 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Rolex's are SHIT [only Jews & 'ewe's' would buy a Rolex]... I'd rather have the fucking rice... [the 'spirit' of what you say, though, I agree with]...


Disclaimer: francis_sawyer, regrettably was a EWE at one point in his life... I traveled extensively & priced the damn things  in places from Rio, to Frankfurt, to Tokyo, to Hong Kong, to Mexico City... Eventually caved& bought one in Cape Town... [this was still in the last year of 'Apartheid' (which was ended in South Africa ~ but still lives on in Israel]...

I thought I was getting deal [which I really WAS, because the Rand to dollar conversion was sweet]... But the motherfucking thing [GMT II Master] always broke down & I ended up paying more to repair it a half dozen times than what I bought it for in the first place... I ended up GIVING it away because it was a POS... Goddamned Hope Diamond...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:40 | 3154918 FEDbuster
FEDbuster's picture

So buying Rolexes for scrap might not be such a bad thing?  And you may be right about keeping the rice, if things get that bad.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 19:16 | 3155842 Enslavethechild...
EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

How bout we let the Amish run the country for a while. No money, no debt, no cars or telephones. No more fucking criminal government stealing our underwear off of us.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:43 | 3154929 trav777
trav777's picture

i have one and it's been pretty solid.  Daydate...there's few jams this can't get you out of.  This watch is the real "world currency."

But I would rather obviously have a Lange or patek, AP...however, you're bribing the police captain with a daydate, calatrava not so much.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:05 | 3155342 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

I'm much happier with a 'PP' [as you say], or an Audemars... I'm just more impressed with their attention to jewelry...


Real [fake] analogy?

In the movie 'Unknown', Liam Neison gives his Rolex to the chick as collateral [which she later gives back]... In the movie 'The Game', Michael Douglas [aka 'Nicholas Van Orton'] gives a PP to a corrupt embassy agent for a passport & a couple of bucks to buy some street tacos...

I'd bet the scenario holds up in real life...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:21 | 3154612 HomeBrewPrepper
HomeBrewPrepper's picture

I know a guy that does that. He makes more on the payday cash checking then the liquor side. People have such bad credit they cannot open a real bank account because there money would be taken. So they get it cashed there at a high rate, everyone's happy.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:35 | 3154268 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

If you spend like Obama it means you found a way to get other people to make your monthly payments. Fess up and tell us your secret!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:52 | 3154733 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Yes, you can spend like Obama provided you can get the Fed to buy your debt, and refund the interest payments you make.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:01 | 3154135 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

The American lifestyle (average) has been under attack as a matter of elite policy (off-shoring mfg jobs).  Labor is disempowered now unlike the 70s, hence lower inflation (disinflation of wages are a check).

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:54 | 3154110 China
China's picture

We are still stacking too.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:50 | 3154313 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

I'm still not convinced putting your name on a petition is for anything that its intended for, merely just helping big brother keep a database of prospective dissidents...

Caveat Emptor...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:51 | 3154509 hannah
hannah's picture


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:40 | 3154054 I need more cowbell
I need more cowbell's picture

I can't be broke, I still have checks left.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:49 | 3154084 10PastMidnight
10PastMidnight's picture

Sorry thats Benny's line, you'll have to find another.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:38 | 3154051 Colonial Intent
Colonial Intent's picture

Responsible gun user unfairly accused after shooting vermin.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:48 | 3154077's picture

Irresponsible parent victim of his own stupidity.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:33 | 3154258 trav777
trav777's picture

I love how the media can't see color unless it is the right color, then they want to be sure to plaster it as the operative part of the headline.

If it were 40 shootings in Chicago, it'd be "youths" or "teens" and some "random violence."

It's nice how the headline is telling you how to react.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:42 | 3154284's picture

You get a rare +1 from me as you point out a real problem with the media rather than blaming an entire race of people with collectivist disparagement. Perhaps you'll see this as an example of how the problem doesn't lie with any single race or special interest group but in how the system pits those groups against each other and pretends that individuals don't exist.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:06 | 3154374 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"a real problem with the media"

LOL.  The media is complete shit.  Side to side.  Front to back.  Top to bottom.  They are an enemy of the people.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:35 | 3154541 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture



Can't you see how the thing we were discussing, at length, the other day, is the exact same thing???... IOW ~ nobody is interesed in getting to the root of the "problem" unless they can manage to get by the PACKAGE LABELS...

When they finally achieve that ~ then [& only then] might we see some progress... Otherwise ~ It's just masturbation... 


If you're failing to make the connection, I'll highlight this:

"Perhaps you'll see this as an example of how the problem doesn't lie with any single race or special interest group but in how the system pits those groups against each other"

The 'SYSTEM', in my example, is controlled & manipulated by the 'special interest group' that it is trying to protect... The only "pitting against" that is done is BY the system AGAINST any public that happens to question the motives of, or challenges the equitable posture of the system itself [as well as the benefits thereto that it has achieved through means of coercion which include bribery, nepotism, theft, & even murder]...


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:15 | 3155393's picture


Can't you see how the thing we were discussing, at length, the other day, is the exact same thing???... IOW ~ nobody is interesed in getting to the root of the "problem" unless they can manage to get by the PACKAGE LABELS...


But that is an argument against your constant diatribes against "joos," not a defense of it. Can't you see that?

I have posted hundreds of times in regard to the crimes of Israel and the problems of fiat money. But your insistence on referring to fiat currency as "joobux" detracts from any honest discussion of that subject and makes those who make rational claims against Zionism or fiat money look like part of a crazy cult.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 19:11 | 3155822 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Depends on your forum... But you brought up the "honest discussion of the subject" part of it... In my mind, an "HONEST" discussion would INCLUDE the role of the pre-disposition of those who called themselves 'Jews' involved...

The fact that, mostly, the 'steering committee' of those discussion panels exert extraordinary emphasis to EXCLUDE the 'role of Jews' in the discussion is, to me, suspect...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 21:18 | 3155900's picture

Let's talk about the role of white males in mass murder. Mass murder, after all is a white male problem. Why should be we avoid condemning white males as they are the ones who shoot little children by the dozen?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:58 | 3154532 Oppressed In Ca...
Oppressed In California's picture

Look at a map with all of the gun murders plotted.  Most points are in major cities. That's something the media will never report either.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:27 | 3154636 trav777
trav777's picture

and the people like Crockhead will be JUST FINE with generalizing that this is because all these cities have liberal governments, or "socialism."

They will ignore new england, Portland, Scandinavia, to do so.  ANYTHING but to make an "illegal" mental -third-rail-contacting generalization, no matter how valid it is.

That makes them no better than the dewey-eyed marxists who worship Lennon's "imagine."  Stop believing in fairy tales like human equality.

Does it kinda suck that this situation exists?  Sure.  But reality doesn't NEED your approval to exist.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:13 | 3155423's picture


and the people like Crockhead


I'm white and so are you. So by your own criteria we must be judged alike. Condemn me and you condemn yourself, my white brother.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:22 | 3154618 trav777
trav777's picture

you would get a -1 from me for saying something stupid, if I ever gave anyone except Tyler -1s.

You simply CANNOT come here and tell me that I cannot generalize.  If you DO NOT GET that a generalization is NOT an ABSOLUTE STATEMENT ABOUT 100% of members of a class, then you are too stupid to even be speaking and should stop right now.

A large SHARE of the problem lies in one demographic.  Ceding a city/state/nation to that demographic will inevitably result in destruction.  That's just simple fact.

If you can't deal with generalizations, then you're an idiot.  Men are taller than women.  Bears are dangerous.  Elephants are big.  Don't date chicks with tats of poisonous animals.  Falling long distances can kill.  These are all generalizations; that's what our brains DO.  It's an INCREDIBLY valuable skill, this ability we have to classify things.  Engineers can only DREAM that computers could do this simple thing.

The MSM is trying to get you to turn that off and refuse to do it.  It's CONDITIONING, ok?  They want to TELL YOU what is right and wrong and program you to react in their way.  Stop fighting nature.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 18:54 | 3155403 MisterMousePotato
MisterMousePotato's picture

Yeah, 2013 is gonna be weird all right. Before even two weeks go by, I find myself agreeing with something t777 has to say. In fact, his observation might even be profound. Have to think on it a bit more.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 22:32 | 3155821's picture


If you can't deal with generalizations, then you're an idiot.


If you can't shoot tight groups don't pretend that spraying and praying makes you the better marksman.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:43 | 3154055 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture

It doesn't matter till it does. A company cuts costs, stops paying for consulting and/or marketing, lays of 8,000 employees, offshores another 5,000 and says because of economic conditions, no raises to employees for the year & be lucky you even have a job (while the CEO & other C-suite execs accepts no such pay freeze). Company stock shoots to the moon but the economic damage that this company has done is catostrophic. It ripples across the public and private sector. This is happeneing all over the U.S. and media looks at stocks higher and tells a hurting public, "we must be winning". No, not really. 

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:30 | 3154244 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture

Ya, that sums it up a little more nicely. lol Good to see you still out and about realtick. :)

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:59 | 3154349 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

Booming businesses in my area:

1. furniture rental stores;

2. Dollar Store;

3. Big Lots;

4. cash for Gold (and pawn shops); and the biggest,

5. payday loan stores.


Signs of the New Paradigm I guess.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:18 | 3154402 salvadordaly
salvadordaly's picture

Booming buisnesses in my area:

1. For Sale

2. For Rent

3. Closing "everything must go"

I have not been in any of them, and do not know what they sell, but they are everywhere and growing!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:05 | 3154554 MarkD
MarkD's picture


Manchester furniture store closing its doors after more than 100 years



But yet there is a 241,000 sqft warehouse being built next door to me that will store the liquor for the state run liqour stores. Go figure.
Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:18 | 3154607 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

what happened to the doctor that killed his wife after the home invasion?  that story disappeared quickly, must have been a political donor.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:21 | 3154834 tango
tango's picture

When my dad died this year we had an estate sale.  The Lillian Russel bedroom and dining room (mahogany, 1948, stunning condition) did not receive a single offer.  What we heard repeatedly from the high-end crowd was that furniture was so cheap from foreclosures or attempts to stave off foreclosures that anything could be had at bargain basement prices.

This area (middle TN, affluent) was once the home to countless furniture stores.  They can now be counted on one hand.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:56 | 3154997 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Yes.  The local furniture stores have dropped like flies.  One had been in business since 1927.  The bedding stores pop up and die quickly.  Who needs a new bed or furniture when you cannot find a job.

Hope and Change.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:21 | 3154409 Argentbilly
Argentbilly's picture

We must live in the same town.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:54 | 3154522 hannah
hannah's picture forgot 'cash for titles' store. i find it hard to believe these people own their cars...? but they are displacing the liqour stores...?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:28 | 3154641 trav777
trav777's picture

everyone has a "we buy gold" sign...see those all over the place.

Ripping people off has found another conduit, I guess.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:45 | 3154056 Cursive
Cursive's picture

Easy money corrupts.

ETA: All of LaKeisha's problems would be solved if she could just get a primary broker/dealer license. If she were the Bank of LaKeisha, the Fed would buy her debt with FRN's and she could buy whatever she wanted ad infinitum. Rinse and repeat....

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:49 | 3154083 AccreditedEYE
AccreditedEYE's picture


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:50 | 3154095 Frozen IcQb
Frozen IcQb's picture

Who's LaKeisha? I have to read something else than ZH!!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:00 | 3154130 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

LaKeisha voted 98% for Barack Obama.  That is who she is.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:24 | 3154224 Arbysauce
Arbysauce's picture

Perfect. Is she TBTF? Remember to eat your twinkies daily. Oh wait...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:13 | 3155419 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Depends on what the "F" stands for...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:44 | 3154058 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Even WaPo , USSA's version of Pravda, ran a piece yesterday on the pre-retirement withdrawls and loans from 401-ks. That makes two liberal rags wandering off the Oblameo 'recovery' path.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:48 | 3154076 duo
duo's picture

that was easy.  Pay 10% + 28% in 2012 and not have your money trapped as GS siphons it away with HFT, or wait and pay 33% + the 3.9% Obamacare tax.  It's about a wash.  Taxes are not going lower, ever.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:35 | 3154266 trav777
trav777's picture


You actually think they are going to see the "solution" the same as YOU do?  ROTFL...are you drunk?

They will solve this will "just shows how we need more tax-the-rich."  Just as every shooting is why we "need to ban assault rifles," even if the shooting wasn't done with one.

The problem is "Busch" still, of course.  It's just too hard to solve the mess he made.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:50 | 3154061 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

USA trillions in debt, more so every day, at an accelerating pace.

US citizens: Monkey see, monkey do.

If your Gubmint is deep in the hole and broke, you may as well be too, cuz your Gubmint will soon be coming for whatever you haven't spent, be it PMs, savings, 401k, future earnings, your estate, etc.  Confiscate, tax, double-tax, repatriate, devalue, ......

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:44 | 3154063 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Pawn shops are the best indicator imo. Winter usually sees a lot of tools but they are stacked to the ceiling this year. I see a bunch of big screen televisions too. Pawn shops and ebay don't lie.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:26 | 3154419 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Kind of...  they're also void of any firearms, ammo, or mags...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:01 | 3154540 imbrbing
imbrbing's picture

The local thrift store parking lot here looks like a walmart parking lot now. 5 yrears ago mostly empty and now is packed all the time.

Those 50 cent used socks and shirts are selling like hotcakes.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:26 | 3154635 Texas Ginslinger
Texas Ginslinger's picture

I have bought almost all of my shirts, pants and coats from 2nd hand stores for many years.

I only buy new or seldom used items. 

Pay pennies on the dollar.


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:29 | 3154645 trav777
trav777's picture

do they sell Loro Piana cashmere?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:52 | 3154717 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Trav, there are 26 listings for Loro Piana on Craigslist in the US.   Here is one:

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 16:03 | 3155019 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Big screen TVs?   They must offer people peanuts for TVs.  A totaly commodity. The new iTv should be out soon as well (sarc).

F TV and Hoolywood - they all champion hope and change.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:45 | 3154065 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

By the time people are in this deep, they have usually crossed a line and begun to think of borrowing as a necessity rather than a convenience or quick fix

Like cows being milked daily. And we know what happens to them once they can't produce milk anymore.

"No Debt, No Sweat, No Banks."

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:45 | 3154067 Investor Wizard
Investor Wizard's picture

The real problem is trying to make change for those trillion dollar coins

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:47 | 3154074 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

How do we stay in business at the Change Bank?  Volume.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:13 | 3154179 CrimsonAvenger
CrimsonAvenger's picture

"Somebody better go back and get a shitload of dimes."

- Blazing Saddles

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:45 | 3154069 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I recently saw this movie where people where wearing this wristbands that said how long they could still live.

Nobody got older than 30. But you could buy and sell time.

The poor sold their time and the rich bought their time so they could live forever.

In the movie, nobody had more time than 24 hours. They first sold their time and they bought back time with their daily salary.

Those who lost their job...

Those who where broke...

no money... no time

It was a pretty good movie that actually went pretty deep.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:50 | 3154091 Cursive
Cursive's picture

@Sudden Debt

Interesting concept that was a complete rip-off of "Logan's Run." The production values sucked (think made-for-TV movie or direct-to-DVD) and having to watch Justin Timberlake for more than 3 minutes (parental obligation: movie time with dad) was painful.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:03 | 3154150 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Logan's run was about your gem that turned red and you had to be killed to be reborn.

The one I saw was a movie about time trading and the power the elite had over the distribution of time.

Okay, Logan's war was good because it's a classic but than you can also call the Matrix a rippoff of Logan's war because they both handle the illusion of the world you live in.



Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:18 | 3154200 Cursive
Cursive's picture

@Sudden Debt

True.  And Logan's Run is a just another adaptation of the Homerian/Odyssean story.  Sorry, I had to bitch mainly because the film, "In Time," could have been pretty good, it just wasn't a quality production.  Half assed script, half assed directing and half assed acting.  Amanda Seyfried was good, though.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:24 | 3154416 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I love talking about movies :)

I watched while playing a game on my iPad so the real details might have passed me and if it where that good, I would have put my pad aside.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:30 | 3154439 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

speaking of movies, the time traveling hitmen in Looper get paid in silver and gold... 

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:00 | 3154534 hannah
hannah's picture

the 'only' reason they got paid in gold was so bruce could use it as a flac jacket later in the movie...! taping fiat to his back wouldnt have worked to well....

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:55 | 3154116 caimen garou
caimen garou's picture

" In Time" i think, should slap wrist bands like that on some congressmen& women!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:47 | 3154070 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture


“They’ve been borrowing just to meet payments on previous loans; it builds on itself.”

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that the same thing that every western country is doing right now?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:00 | 3154127 ItchyBeard
ItchyBeard's picture

But but we've been told that macroeconomics and microeconomics have different set of rules . . .

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:48 | 3154072 CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding's picture

I am officially broke. All my savings are belongs to Toyota. Brake jobs and transmission issuues are expensive you know

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:50 | 3154086 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

Do your own brakes.  It's one of the easier car repairs that a man can still do in this pussified society.  Google it.

I can't believe there are people who pay for oil changes and still call themselves 'men'

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:54 | 3154109 CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding's picture

Yes, But they change the brake fluid and do it right. They charge good money, But if there is a problem, Im covered

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:01 | 3154137 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

understood.  Do your oil, though.  Please?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:10 | 3154575 Argentbilly
Argentbilly's picture

Right, I use Amsoil and change each car oils once a year. I let it drain for about three hours and rock the engine to get more used oil out. Since I don't have an impulse to change oil every 3/3000 I save 6 oil changes a year $300 savings on two cars. 

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:03 | 3154365 pursueliberty
pursueliberty's picture

When did brake fluid start going bad in non tracked cars?

I've got a truck with 300k on the original brake fluid, it still stops fine.  Worse case scenario a a caliper needs to be replaced and you open the system for a second.  They make one man bleeders now that allow you to do it yourself, I get my wife or a friend to pump the pedal while I bleed them.


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:59 | 3154528 CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding's picture

I always have the brake fluid flushed after getting new brakes installed.  But thats just me. It cant hurt

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:51 | 3154737 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

It can hurt your wallet.

The only thing that causes brake fluid to "fail" is that it is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture).  That's why the whole system is sealed, especially the cap/lid on the master cylinder.  When it absorbs moisture it lowers the fluid's boiling point.  If you like to hammer on your brakes really hard and often you can, in extreme circumstances, boil the fluid in the brake calipers resulting in very dramatic (but temporary) loss of braking ability.  As soon as the fluid cools again, things return to normal.  However, in most cases the friction material on the brake pads will be well beyond it's intended operating temperature producing a noticable "fading" of braking ability WAY WAY WAY before you would ever boil the brake fluid in the caliper.  Even worn out moisture-saturated brake fluid.

So unless you're going racing at the local road course or stopping heavy loads going down a mountainside in your truck, changing your brake fluid with each pad change is throwing away money, pure and simple.  If you're the nervous type, change it every 100K miles.  I've owned cars with a quarter million miles on them and never completely changed the brake fluid (only what was replaced with fresh when I put on a new brake caliper).

Like was said above, changing your own brakes is no big deal.  Requires usually only one special tool (brake pad spreader or just a big c-clamp).  Replace the rotors at the same time you do the pads (they usually just slide right off once you have the brake caliper removed on most cars).  The way the pads interact with the rotor is FAR more important than changing the brake fluid would ever be on a typical commuter car/daily driver.

Former ASE-certified mechanic in a past life.  Still an avid hot-rodder and racer.



Tue, 01/15/2013 - 16:32 | 3154887 CaptainSpaulding
CaptainSpaulding's picture

Thank you. I will do away with the brake fluid flush next time

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:39 | 3155532 MisterMousePotato
MisterMousePotato's picture

brake fluid is so easy, I can do it. if I can do it, anyone can.

google gravity brake bleeding.

not just easy - actually better, too.

also, will prevent the ... well, you know what happens when you say to your wife, "Okay, Honey. Now ... slowly press on the b-, no, I said 'press' ... ."


Reminds me of the old joke, "Why did God make you so beautiful?" (Even my wife thinks that joke is funny.)

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 01:57 | 3156832 malek
malek's picture

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (it attracts water) and if there's enough water in your brake fluid

1. your brakes may fail on extreme downhill use because of steam bubbles forming (but still unlikely)
2. metal parts in your hydraulic braking system can start to rust on the inside (where the brake fluid resides), and may necessitate expensive repairs.

Therefore it is definitely a good idea to have the brake fluid changed every 2 years...


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:02 | 3154143 Racer
Racer's picture

I have known men who couldn't change a bulb or knowing about the need and how to check the oil level!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:05 | 3154370 pursueliberty
pursueliberty's picture

I know more than I care to admit.  One wife bragged that her husband is good at writing checks, I laughed inside.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:33 | 3154259 edifice
edifice's picture

That isn't fair. Many men live in situations (apartment complexes, for instance) where changing the oil, or any sort of car maintenance is impractical. I will agree that a disproportionate number of modern men simply lack the know-how to do these things. Thankfully, the first thing I was taught, after how to drive a manual, was how to rebuild an engine. Many men aren't as fortunate.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:33 | 3154657 trav777
trav777's picture

it's not worth my time to change my own oil.  I have all the equipment and used to do it, got the stands, ramps, wrench, all of it.  I stopped when it stopped being worth my time to do it.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 17:27 | 3155481 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

As long as you can trade your labor for a higher value than your cost, you're good.

At $30 per oil change, when it would take most people an hour to change it themselves, I imagine it is good economics for many to have it done for them.

As employment continues to be more difficult to find, I think many will be forced to admit that it is worth their time to do it themselves.

Wed, 01/16/2013 - 00:17 | 3156646 akak
akak's picture

I think Trav is just averse to changing his own oil because it is, you know, black.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:16 | 3154194 mercenaryomics
mercenaryomics's picture

Dealing with same issue forthwith. Need to get the timing belt on the 4runner changed, and just today the engine started accelerating in a jerky uneven fashion so I suppose a gasket or something similar.  

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:32 | 3154443 Ace Ventura
Ace Ventura's picture

Do some info-digging beforehand. How many miles on your 4Runner? Also make sure there is a timing belt involved in the first place. Several manufacturers have gone back to using chains instead of belts, as these tend to last much longer and are not as predisposed to sudden failure, would can really mangle your engine internals.

Jerky, uneven acceleration is usually a problem with uneven mixture of fuel/air being metered into the engine, usually due to mass airflow or throttle position sensors going bad or simply being dirty. One good piece of advice is to start with the simplest cause and work your way up from there.

YouTube and yahoo/google/bing search for your symptoms, and you'll find many how-to videos on a bunch of stuff.

P.S. If you're referring to replacing the serpentine accessory belt on your 4Runner, that is a job you can do yourself in one afternoon easy.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:29 | 3154437 Argentbilly
Argentbilly's picture

Just got a third recall notice from Toyota, another rust issue for the Tocomas. They blame it on high road salt use in Northern States. Although, not the intent of your post avoid 2000 and up Toyotas like the plague. 1970's Toyotas are some of the best cars ever built however. 

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:49 | 3154085 kridkrid
kridkrid's picture

It all will get turned off eventually.  SNAP will be gone or the amount will be trivial at best.  There won't be short term loans anywhere but a pawn shop.  But the pawn shop will likely close as it becomes too easy of a target for those who can't be fed by their SNAP payments. 

Get creative.  I don't think there is any sort of dystopian scenario that lies outside the realm of possibility.  Start with the things that you know to be certain and recognize that welfare of any sort is never about charity or altruism... rather a kind of bread and circus in the form of Ho-Ho's and cable.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:51 | 3154097 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

A MILLION arrows up kridkrid! 

Going to what you know is so simple yet so powerful.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:52 | 3154094 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

As a nation we have abandoned the concept of thrift, of putting off instant gratification today (usually of what we want) in order to be able to pay for what we need (there is a big difference between need and want) in full tomorrow after our savings have accumulated. As well, we as individuals of this nation no longer have any substantial buffer to speak of, a word used often in the Cog household.

<Have you seen the buffer honey. It was JUST here a moment ago.>

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:55 | 3154117 Yes We Can. But...
Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Does this 'buffer honey' come in a tube?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:03 | 3154149 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mrs Cog is the honey and I sure do love her buffer. :>)

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 22:41 | 3156392 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Get back to that feature article, slave-dog.

(Note that a comma should come before the direct address, thus alleviating any confusion of having "honey" adjectivally modify "buffer".)

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:53 | 3154103 koncaswatch
koncaswatch's picture

Cash flow management; the true secret to financial sucess of any entity, personal or business. The trillions of dollars of cashflow related to the US debt are trapped in a circular flow between the TBTF banks and the FED. Meanwhile taxpayers get to pay for it all.  As the article lead in depicted, everything down the drain.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:53 | 3154105 sudzee
sudzee's picture

Platinum now priced above gold on it's way to a trillion.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:57 | 3154121 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture
South African miner Amplats closes shafts and cuts jobs

"Anglo American Platinum has said it will cease production at four mine shafts in the Rustenburg region of South Africa, which could lead to the loss of almost 14,000 jobs.

The world's biggest platinum producer said lower demand for the precious metal and higher costs meant the shafts were unprofitable."


And in similar bullish news:

Hey Wall Street, get ready for more layoffs

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:14 | 3154187 CrimsonAvenger
CrimsonAvenger's picture

I remember when my shaft was closed. Saddest day of my life.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:36 | 3154665 trav777
trav777's picture

Silverbugz idiots waiting on "industrial panics" on this metal should look at the production bottleneck in Pt if they want to chase this type of home run.

The problem is that, being stupid silverbugz muppets, they're too busy getting repeatedly blowtorched to save up enough money to buy platinum.

If RSA goes TU, which it will inevitably absent a reinstitution of apartheid, the vast majority of Pt production goes offline (80%).  RSA is, like any of these countries, always only one election away from a Mugabe.  It's only a matter of time at this point.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 22:55 | 3156409 akak
akak's picture

The only things surrounding silver here on ZH that have been "blowtorched" have been your objectivity, your rationality and your credibility, all of which are smoking and in ashes after your frequent, nonsensical and specious generalized attacks against silver holders, the overwhelming majority of whom are substantially ahead on their investments/savings over the past five or ten years, regardless of exactly when they purchased silver. 

You only make (even more of) a fool out of yourself every time you make these ridiculous, dishonest and wildly emotional attacks on "silverbugs".  Dance, troll puppet, dance, to the rising note of the silvery flute!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 11:57 | 3154120 azengrcat
azengrcat's picture

The ultimate poor person asset stripping machine:




Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:01 | 3154132 Super Broccoli
Super Broccoli's picture

oh i'm sick of all those useless petitions !

what about we petition to forbid petitions ?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:04 | 3154151 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

paid my income taxes, some yrs in the 6 figures, paid ss, paid state and local and sales taxes, paid real estate taxes, paid off my home am debt free, yet I am the problem and the elite powers get the bail many here blame us god fearing gun owner's who raised families and provided services to our fellow for charity I am guilty there as well..went to war, served and tried to save who I could both with us and those poor peasant rice growers, ...well folks words to live by; no good deed goes unpunished

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:29 | 3154239 My Days Are Get...
My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

I am there to Brother - identical profile

2/101 68'-69 RSVN

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:08 | 3154376 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

mp 101 rsvn 69-71 we are many and have yet more work to do. don't want whats coming, but what i want got nothing to do with it.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:20 | 3154404 My Days Are Get...
My Days Are Getting Fewer's picture

Wrote this to my 101st Bro this morning:


Thank you for sending this excellent article Gordon.  I saved it in my electronic 'Nam archive.  At 3 AM, I was wake and watching old movies on TV.  They were running Jack Nicholson flicks.  Then, it dawned on me that Easy Rider was made in the spring of 1969, when I was soldiering with the 101st.  And yes, while I was on FSB Whip in the Ashau at the time Hamburger Hill went down, my friend Cpt John Pape of 1/101 was pulled out of the field with his company and shipped to FSB Professional to bail out the Americal Division in the Battle for Tam Ky. John's photo is on the cover of that June 1969 issue of Life Magazine. In Tam Ky, the 101st took casualties mirroring Hamburger Hill. And, after the first day of operations, the 101st did not have any flyable helicopters left.  The events at Tam Ky were suppressed, so as not to give anyone any more bad info to support an immediate withdrawal from 'Nam. I have an electronic copy of the after-action report published in 9/69, which made it on to the Internet, only because a handful of ex-pilots copied, by hand, a beat-up old copy they retrieved from the Army.     While we personally may have made successes out of our post-military lives, the culture of Easy Rider prevailed. Their adherents has kids and grandkids.  So did we.  But, we were out-numbered by the Easy Crowd. This is not the sole reason why our society is in moral and financial decline. But a significant contributing factor in my book.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:47 | 3154496 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

While we personally may have made successes out of our post-military lives, the culture of Easy Rider prevailed. Their adherents has kids and grandkids.  So did we.  But, we were out-numbered by the Easy Crowd. This is not the sole reason why our society is in moral and financial decline. But a significant contributing factor in my book.

So being an uncomfortable MIC pawn getting shot at and shit on in the jungle is somehow morally superior to being a comfortable MIC pawn smoking pot and riding motorcycles around?  Further, I'd like to hear how you made success out of your civilian life without accepting the easy rider lifestyle...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 14:42 | 3154688 trav777
trav777's picture

well, the nation simply isn't the same PEOPLE as it was when it was ascendant.

It's 25% a 3rd-world country now.  EXPECT at least a 1/4 move toward the behavioral and cultural norms typified in 3rd world countries.

The basic notion of justice, right and wrong, government, the "social contract" is DIFFERENT between different people.  Different societies are that way because of the PEOPLE in them, not because of random accident.

For example, future time orientation.  A recent study asked various populations whether they would prefer to have say $3000 now or $3800 at the end of the month.  So many norweigians answered the latter - they had trouble completing the study because the norweigians thought the question was inherently stupid, "who in the heck would NOT choose the more money at the end of the month??!?"  The answer: well, nigerians.  Only 9% of them didn't take the money now now now.

Nigeria's society will feature a more present-time-oriented system of values, policy, and behavior.  This tendency among nigerians is WHY.  The society didn't create them in ITS mold, they created the society in THEIRS.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:54 | 3154988 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

wow, a real spartacus...hat tip to you sir.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:29 | 3154433 joego1
joego1's picture

Guilty of the same crime here. I can see my fate slowly coming into focus.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:53 | 3154982 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

have no fear..spartacus is here too!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:53 | 3154974 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 23:51 | 3156592 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

You strike me as an intelligent responsible person.


So why did you do all those things?  Don't you know that debt is the way to prosperity - there is no upside to paying anything off.


That's the new normal and has been for years

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:05 | 3154159 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Call Greenpath and make an appointment for Uncle Sam.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:08 | 3154168 BrigstockBoy
Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:09 | 3154170 Inthemix96
Inthemix96's picture

It might be the fact that there are no jobs for people to do, so with no wage, never mind a livable one, people could be skint, EI:-

No fucking money?  I predict stealing on the increase from here on in, more suckers being nicked for trying to feed their families, more folk locked up for doing said stealing/looting, massive jail populations until there are so many in the jails, the inmates over-run the guards, and next thing you know, a full blown mad max scenario.

And dont get me started on when the cars and trucks wake up like that movie from the eighties predicted, the trucks will be chasing us down and running us over, twice, just to make sure.

Frightening times ahead ZHers, watch out for that car called "Christine", had a fucking shocking attitude toward humans if I remember right.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:09 | 3154172 From Germany Wi...
From Germany With Love's picture

Hint: if somebody feels they have to point out that "I/You/We are not X." it probably means they are X because otherwise it would probably be self-evident and such a remark would not have been necessary in the first place.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:13 | 3154185 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

When society is about to collapse, why the fuck would you care about being more in  debt??

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 23:50 | 3156589 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Got git one of them subprime car loans.... sign up for a student loan... and get as many credit cards as you can.


Then go NUTS!  Fuck it

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:16 | 3154193 Sizzurp
Sizzurp's picture

Just say debt.  Toss aside the fear, and default now. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...... psalm23

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:52 | 3154971 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

you were spartacus until "default now". pay your debts young man and walk away from the rest

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:16 | 3154196 MyBrothersKeeper
MyBrothersKeeper's picture

Not ALL Americans going broke....just the ones in the private sector who aren't rich or don't qualify for know those pesky middle class people

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:19 | 3154202 FubarNation
FubarNation's picture

'We are not a deadbeat nation'


Really fucking sad if he truly believes that.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 23:48 | 3156586 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

No - America is a nation of LOSERS

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:19 | 3154208 Mad Mohel
Mad Mohel's picture

Long JHP and FMJ.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:33 | 3154209 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

These people are doing what Krugman tells the government to do. I wonder why it's not working.........Ah I forgot they have to pay interest. So this is what will happen when governments have to pay real interest.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:21 | 3154216 NEOSERF
NEOSERF's picture

When you are borrowing to buy lottery tickets to "escape" poverty, you know the end is near.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 23:48 | 3156583 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

That's a great idea - never thought if it.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:25 | 3154225 monad
monad's picture

Who are these Americans? All my shit is paid for, the only people I owe is the IRS, and they've been hounding me since I got pubes. Sure I don't have any russian bankers holding my money, who in their right mind would?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 15:50 | 3154963 hooligan2009
hooligan2009's picture

bravo sir! you are spartacus!

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 23:48 | 3156582 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Who are they?


They are the majority who watch Dancing with Stars (re-runs) because they are so fucking braindead they can't remember who won (while eating a box of donuts with a gallon of cheap ice cream washed down with a case of Coke)

Whilst trading their food stamps for cash to buy more guns

That is America. 

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 15:27 | 3163419 monad
monad's picture

Oh good. I thought it might be the 50 million people put out of work by the banksters. Remind me, the cold war being fake and all, who won WW2?

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:28 | 3154235 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Borrowing to pay off loans?  Why didn't I think of that.


Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:28 | 3154242 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

in personal finance credit problems arise when you can't get any more. your prospects no longer merit a loan, you're like a washed up rock star. michael jackson was (supposedly) broke when he died. he needed that world tour. now his estate is worth a fortune (he was literally worth more dead than alive, not a good position if you are a race horse, or a rock star) but personally he couldn't raise any money, because he couldn't perform.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 12:37 | 3154270 Montezuma
Montezuma's picture

They still dont get it... a militaristic nation costs money, if you want to expand your empires power across the world you need loads of money. Before when you build an army and went to war you pillaged everything the other nation/empire had.

The main problem with US is that its wars benefit mainly certain companies, just like bailouts help certain banks. People dont get shit.

If country has a strong middle class it has a strong economy, but US has debt ridden middle class, industries that make tons of money because of government contracts or free money but still avoid taxes by loop holes or just blackmail government to have a "tax holiday" or "repatriotism day".

Have you noticed that hardly anybody talks about Glass-Steagall or the Military Industrial Complex? First you fix those, then you start cleaning house in government corruption specially the hillbilly states that are in the FEDs tit all the time.

Will this happen? Fuck no. Its game over already, think what nutbags are going on and on about? "They are coming after our guns... 1776 will commence again..." I mean Jesus like the most important thing people have to think about aret AR-15 and highcapacity mags, why arent all these gun nuts and "patriots" serving their nation in the military? Because they are buch of pussies who only want to play war but dont want actually go to war.

Only hope for America has is that 20% dont belong to any organized religion, maybe at some point they stop believing the other shit too..

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