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Old 02-14-2009, 06:37 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ganaraska View Post
This is not the case. The depression was over by 1934. In fact the economy was doing so well by 1936 the government deliberately pulled back, causing the Roosevelt Recession of 1937 - 38.

The war only started in 1939. There was some buying from overseas. The big buildup in the US did not start until after Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In other words the big war buying did not start until 1942.
Yes there was some buying from overseas, BUT Roosevelt was already beefing up the US production for the inevitable. I was recently working at an Alcoa plant that went on line in 1939/40 making aircraft parts, they started building the plant in 1936. By 1941 it was running near capacity by 1942 they were adding on to it and running over capacity.

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Old 02-14-2009, 07:18 PM   #30
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We need to ban irrational remarks....settle down dudes.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:24 PM   #31
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If you're lost in the sixties, you need a genuine 60's muscle car like this '66 Olds Toronado with 385 HP. Great carbon footprint!
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:31 PM   #32
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I'm always a bit nervous when anyone says a "great majority opinion," Gene, particularly when it comes to economists. I'm rather fond of the old saw, every economist laid end-to-end still wouldn't reach a conclusion.

What actually happened during the Great Depression is still a matter of honest debate among historians (as if they know anything about economics). The divergence is far greater among economists.

To state that FDR was "too cautious" is, at best, an opinion, Gene, and should be parsed as such. At worst, it is a rote recitation of Keynesian orthodoxy... which is much kinder way of putting it than "wishful thinking." The "stimulus," as it is currently called, is little more than borrowing vast sums of money. What exactly what call of this borrowing, no one can really say except that it is going to be spent by the government. Now, when the great bailout was "necessary" (not long ago) free market economists generally did not like the idea. The "stimulus" is no more popular at least in some quarters. As Robert Higgs put it rather neatly, "This legislation entails the addition of a huge increment to the burden of debt the public must bear, directly or indirectly. It redirects resources on a grand scale from uses consumers value to uses politicians value and thereby impoverishes the general public."

Frankly, Gene, no one can say with absolute certainty what spending nearly a trillion dollars will do. The one prediction I can make with certainty is that 50 years from now, people will still be debating what happened and why. I'm inclined to agree with Russ Roberts when he said,

"Rather than spending money we don't have, I wish Obama would use his political capital to change the parts of our political system that are dysfunctional—our entitlement programs that are demographically bankrupt, our broken budget system, our Byzantine tax system, our financial system that is in disarray. These changes would be more likely to create the confidence and trust in the future that our economy needs to get healthy again rather than borrowing and spending. Borrowing and spending is how we got into this mess. Let's look in a different direction."

In the event you don't read the Roberts' piece, Gene, I'll cut-and-paste another paragraph:

"And yet there is little or no consensus for what we should do right now to get the economy going and prevent it from getting worse. I wish it were otherwise. People expect us to know the answers. And plenty of economists claim to have the answers. Yet some of the finest economists in the country, including Nobel laureates, are on opposite sides of the current debate. And each side can cherry-pick data or historical anecdotes in support of its position."

We're betting a trillion dollars (or more) on the macroeconomic roulette spin of "black." Frankly, it would be neat if you (and the Keynesians) are right, but I have the sinking feelings the ball will land on red.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:14 AM   #33
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Wow, we put the wrong guy in the White House, you guys have all the answers to say the least.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:11 AM   #34
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Wow, we put the wrong guy in the White House, you guys have all the answers to say the least.
The Right guy wasn't on the ticket. This is going to be an interesting decade.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:34 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis4x4 View Post
If you're lost in the sixties, you need a genuine 60's muscle car like this '66 Olds Toronado with 385 HP. Great carbon footprint!
SWEET RIDE...

Those day's are behind me now...

I'm not concerned how fast I get there anymore...

As long as I'm there...

"Bertha" 1953 Ford Victoria. Un-restored, original. In the Family since new,
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:41 AM   #36
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We're hearing some off-topic economic musings that are meandering wider from the original subject of this thread. Non-denominational on the political front won't cut it -- please stay away from politics altogether. Let's treat this like grownups and handle it without edits at this point. No guarantees for the next time this gets moderators' attention...
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:22 AM   #37
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As to the woes of the RV aftermarket, versus the 1930's, "campers" of whatever sort tended to be backyard-built affairs as my grandfather noted. We had a much larger population relative to the total that was skilled in carpentry, metalwork, etc than today. And women who could cook, can food, and sew.

And, as we were a nation of renters, affording a car or truck and a camper was a bit easier. Cars wore out in about 3-years, and plenty of them were cheap. Not hard to see a project involving 3 or 4 donor vehicles. Even the persistent unemployment and, more importantly, underemployment.

Also, no safety inspections for the most part. If you could get it on the road, you were good to go. As my father-in-law noted, you just needed a well-tested recipe for patching tires. His family often spent at least a day, sometimes more, on trips from South Texas to Austin (about 200 miles).

Self-reliance, and a decent hardware store, could probably fix most anything the owners didn't.

"Plastic" rvs filled with China-made junk "accessories" are less attractive than ever, now.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:36 AM   #38
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So... I opted out in Jan 2006

I sold my huge old money-pit of a house and moved into an Airstream in Jan 2006.

Does that make me a genius? NOPE. Just lucky on the timing, and wanting to have time to live instead of spending my life working on the old barn. Do I have friends who are now trying to accomplish what I did, but can't figure out how to do it when their $400K home is now worth $275K - leaving them upside down even though they did make a decent downpayment? Yep. Actually it's ironic but many people who are upside down COULD make the switch if they can rent their homes out even at a loss. A couple of friends just realized how much they are paying in household utilities - that a tenant would take over... It would pay them to move.

I'm finding that some people have started to realize that cable TV is not a necessity, and that deadbeat adult children can be sent to the basement or garage until they start to contribute to the household expenses, and that no one has to eat out 4 or 5 times a week.

Even our local WalMarts are not so busy as they once were and I don't get agorphobia if I shop there during normal business hours. Expect to see a LOT of the "open 24/7" ones closing from midnight to 6 am.

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Old 02-16-2009, 12:55 PM   #39
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H.L. Mencken (a Baltimore guy) once wrote, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." I expect "cheap," "plastic" and "made in China" will continue to be popular, perhaps moreso given the current economic climate.

The simple fact of the matter is that RV manufacturers build lots of "same old box" RVs... and they sell far more of those than Thor sells of Airstream travel trailers. My brother loves his 26' box complete with slide-out. And I'm sure he'll think I'm a fool because by the time I'm done... I'll have spent twice as much money renovating a 42-year-old Airstream as he spent buying his travel trailer new.

I expect we'll continue to see consolidation in the RV industry where players like Thor (with cash) can buy out weaker competitors. I also expect we'll see more "niche" manufacturers, particularly if Airstream accumulates more QC baggage. As with high end car or high end boats, I expect the market for high end travel trailers is relatively small... but one where a savvy manufacturer might enjoy higher margins than on "box" travel trailers. Actions like the CW loans suggest that Thor sees its future as expansion into other RV-related markets rather than a "return to glory" for Airstream. So it goes.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:26 PM   #40
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I agree the taste for cheesy products is very, very large. Just drive along any strip development along America's highways as a good example, or watch the 20 shopping channels.

It is not the whole story and premium products and better styling are popular in certain parts of the country. For example, foreign cars sell better along the coasts (there are islands inland of course). They have generally had better engineering and more dynamic styling for decades. I wonder if Airstreams sell better in the same places? What differs, perhaps, is that some foreign manufacturers, especially Japanese, make the most reliable vehicles and Airstream has QC issues.

I think Thor sees Airstream as a brand to give the corporation caché (I hope I got that accent right). Because of the big profit margin, Airstream over time should show profit, and, also tend to carry the other lines because of the reputation factor. There could also be some sentimentality since Thor started with Airstream. They may think they don't have a QC problem because the Beatrice years were so bad, and QC in the RV world is far behind the auto/light truck world.

But, why buy into CW? It is a awkward looking conglomerate (see post #11 above) if the loan was actually to the owners, Affinity Group rather than CW as a part of the Group. This is not a good time for companies catering to RV owners, or publishing—and much of the publishing is RV oriented. I'm not sure what kind of equity is backing the loans—CW is a franchise company, isn't it? What do they really own? Franchise contracts and a small amount of inventory? All these magazines may not have much real estate behind them. Is there collateral? Without doing research, I can just ask questions. I assume Thor figures RV suppliers and magazines help support Thor's business.

Thor may have gotten some say over editorial content and what is supplied in CW stores (that could put them at odds with their dealers). Some CW franchise sell RV's—is there an intent to make some of them Airstream dealers? I would guess Thor has much more invested in their other brands and if they have a dealer play involved, it probably wouldn't be Airstreams unless there are no other Airstream dealers anywhere nearby. If those things are part of the deal, it would make more sense to me.

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Old 02-16-2009, 01:36 PM   #41
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Just came through Tucson, one of the big boxes had a ton of new AS trailers; bought from dealers that went belly-up?
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:58 PM   #42
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I'm familiar with the Affinity Group and if I were to read between the lines, I could see Thor using leverage and equity in that operation to put the fear of God into the WBCCI and replace the Blue Beret with a quality publication. After all, Thor owns the trade marks!
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