My grandparents, who came of age during the Depression, used to warn me about buying stuff “on time.”
That’s what credit was called back then: buying something on time. Until the idea of credit came along, people had to save to pay in full for whatever they wanted to purchase. Buying on time offered instant gratification with weekly or monthly payments, usually with interest attached.
My grandparents found “time payments” immoral. They found the whole idea of instant gratification and anything that came too easy immoral. But what they found intolerable was paying interest. The idea horrified them. They had worked too hard on that small farm to give money away to bankers and corporations just because they couldn’t wait to save for the full price.
They were not hypocrites; I’ll tell you that. Whether it was — a car, a tractor, or acres of farmland — they paid in full.
We’re way beyond paying on time now, and what they would think of America’s increasingly insane subscription culture is not hard to guess.
At least when you purchase something on time, when it’s over, you have something, you own something.
This is not so in our growing subscription culture.
You will own nothing, and you’ll be happy about it…That’s the goal of the Davos — the Switzerland town where the World Economic Forum meets annually — fascists.
Don’t fall for it.
Here’s how real life works…You are a slave to the size of the nut you have to crack, and your nut is the monthly amount of money you need to keep from going under. Add up your rent/mortgage payment(s), car payment(s), groceries, insurance, taxes, electric, cable, gasoline, credit cards, etc. That’s your nut, pal—and the size of your nut is how enslaved you are.
Now imagine if the Davos Vampires get their way and willingly bamboozle us into accepting a society where we own nothing. In that world, the nut never goes away or even decreases to a manageable level. You’re a slave until you die. You can’t decrease your nut by paying off your house because Blackrock won and annihilated the housing market. And so, for 50 working years, for every one of those 600 months, you throw thousands of dollars into the black hole of rent payments. Imagine the home you could have paid off with half that money. Imagine the money you could’ve saved for retirement with the other half.
Then there are these predatory, godforsaken subscriptions…
For $9.99 a month (well, for the first month), you can get all the car washes you want. For $49.99 a month, you’ll never have a vet bill. For $14.99 a month, you can stream our movies and TV shows. For $12.99 a month, you can listen to all the music you want. For $7.99 a month, we’ll back up your computer and store your data. For $99 a year, you can use our computer programs. For $13.99 a month, you can play all the video games you want. For $19.99 a month, we’ll monitor your home security. For $4.99 a month, we’ll store the video from your home security system. For $10.99 a month, you can listen to all the books you want. For $5.99 a month, you will get discounts at our retail store. For $18.99 a month, you can listen to satellite radio. For $21.99 a month, you can see all the movies you want. For $14.99 a month, we’ll deliver water to your home. For $24.99 a month, we’ll deliver beauty products. For $17.99 a month, we’ll send you coffee. For $399 a month, we’ll send all your meals. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg…
And in that world, what do you have when you turn 65? Nothing. You got zip. You don’t own your home. You’re still leasing a car. You have no book, movie, videogame, or music collections. You don’t own a computer program. You’re paying out the nose for things that used to be free or practically free: TV, water, radio…Worse still, you’ve squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars on meals and car washes you could’ve done yourself.
Is this what people want? To get on a Davos treadmill with no off-ramp? To go through a full life spending millions and, in the end, have nothing to show for it, nothing to pass on? No home. No car. No nothing.
My new laptop tipped me off to how Big Business is tightening the subscription screws. There are only two thumb drive inputs. Why? Microsoft doesn’t want me to store my own data. It prefers to charge me $4.99 a month to store it so it can store it (and share it with the FBI). There’s no CD drive. Why? So I can’t transfer my MS Office program—the one I paid for—to the new laptop. Instead, I’ll need to pay $99 a year to subscribe to the new version. Oh, I can purchase the new version outright and download it, but the price is over $400. It will only operate on a single computer, and I will not receive updates. In other words, you are discouraged from owning.
Sure, you’ll always have some monthly expenses, but the more you save, the quicker you can get off the treadmill. Once you own something, you no longer have to pay for it. And it’s the beauty of ownership that lowers your nut. Ownership is how you save. Ownership is the only way to stop being a Davos slave.
My grandparents were right: buying on time is dumb.
But buying nothing on time….?
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