I live in the Northeast. Rather than drive a Rolls, many buy a new Mercedes. I knew a gentleman with a station wagon. But he owned 6 planes. People that brag about how many zeroes are in their paycheck are suspect. It's very hard to label people. I always say if you have to explain, something is wrong.
The review on a given car on here is what it's all about. They must really like it or they would not have bought it to start with! What someone else drives, unless it's a direct equivalent, seems a waste of time.
Your methods for showing old and present standards of living aren't the most accurate. However, it is true that technology has improved things a bit. On the other hand, people today are spending a larger percentage of their income on bare necessities like gas and food; both of which have seen price hikes in recent years.
Also remember that the average American family has to work more hours and usually employ both parents to achieve the same living quality as seen in the previous decades. Not to mention the usual lack of benefits, unionization, and job security in many cases.
Honestly, I think luxury cars in general are on their way out for most people. They're not practical and they are mechanical nightmares in most cases. Basic servicing can easily run you up $1,000 a pop, and most are so over-engineered that they have huge issues as the mileage racks up. Who would want to put up with that, when there are so many better choices available that don't even cost a fraction of what a new Mercedes, Jag, BMW would cost?
PS: Just a warning to all the people talking about looking at Hyundai vehicles; stay away from them. They are impressive vehicles at first, but they shouldn't be kept after the warranty runs out. My dad and many of my friends have newer Hyundai vehicles because of their impressive value, but they quickly become unreliable. Look into Toyota and Honda instead, or even try out the hybrid Ford or GM offerings too.
Of course you don't feel sorry for the middle class when you have a good paying job that pays in the $100,000s every year. Class war is class war. By the way, our poor live so well because of our government programs that keep them afloat; something that most governments don't offer in other countries.
But the middle class is suffering and poor people are now actually starving to death in some areas; that's something you won't find out from NBC or CNN. One of my friends and his wife used to be chemists for Pfizer a couple years back until they lost their jobs due to the recession. Now they have nothing left and are stuck doing low-end odd jobs to survive. These people made about $500,000 a year combined and now they have nothing. Saying that things are better than ever is just wrong.
As for global warming, there's plenty of room for debate on both sides. Just remember though, that when an issue becomes so politicized as it has, truth will become the first casualty. Liberals or conservatives, doesn't matter, both sides have their own selfish interests vested in this matter.
About me not feeling sorry because I make 100k a year. Back up the train for just a minute. Want to know how much I made - for years? $4.25 an hour. In fact, my previous jobs included scrubbing pots and pans, mixing paint, cleaning floors, stocking shelves, and cooking food. I did that for years and eventually worked my way up. So I can most definitely tell you that I appreciate every single day that I have a job, and that I also still to this day hate to waste money, because if you're someone who knows what it's like to really have to scrape by, then money is by no means taken for granted.
BUT - I see this every single day: People who make more or less than I do, who go out and buy expensive things; big houses, toys like boats, campers, and so on, and then have the gall to whine and complain about oh-how-terrible it is that they have to spend more on gas, food, and other stuff, when they are still for the most part doing extremely well and pamper themselves with toys and luxury goods. So no - I don't feel sorry for the huge amounts of people who I seem to see who complain about their situations.
As far as we needing to do more about our transportation situation, well the Prius was one of the first vehicles to break the mold in regards to vehicle drivetrains. It has now been on the market for close to 20 years now, and has more or less become an accepted conventional vehicle. Likewise, there are now many other newer vehicles out there. For example, I was going to work one day, and was surprised to see driving next to me an electric commercial truck. This was a large, full sized truck the size of a garbage truck that was being used to deliver snack food. Also - there are now many hybrid, natural gas, and even purely electric commercial trucks being made and sold. I am starting to see more and more Nissan Leafs, Chevy Volts, and even Tesla Model S cars on the road around here. It's clear that technology is progressing rapidly and that things are being done.
Depends. Look at 1968-70. My parent's home could not be bought today on a 100k income. Yet my dad bought it on one income and raised a family. And my mom did not work.
Their development in the late 60s ranged from 24k to 39k for 2 story colonials. Income then of 18k-25k was quite decent. Now homes in there, it's over 500k, and was much more 2005-07.
You could buy a mid size car between 3-4k and pay it off with a 3 year car loan. Today a dollar does not go far, even with 2 incomes. 2 incomes, an added car, groceries, having kids, insurances etc etc. I have an older son that makes an impressive dollar amount on paper. But he has student loans and a sizable mortgage on a small home. Whatever retirement he has in the future will be from saving himself. My parents were the same way on incomes. Wondering where all our money went. The only saving grace my parents had was no daycare expenses. And money went farther.
Car wise people had nice larger cars; not one bit of concern for fuel costs. Long weekend drives.
The so called middle class is eroding away today. It's very expensive to live and have little to no debts.
How about being taken downstairs after 30 years with a group of people and let go? And having security escort you out with not ever doing anything wrong. Not even allowed upstairs to your desk. It's to avoid an incident.
My cousin, a highly paid Chemical Engineer, was also let go. A lot of experience and excellent years of service. First the ones near retirement go, and then the ones that can be replaced with lower pay and less benefits. Some have an idea from the last wave of downsizing. If you are lucky, the firm did not go bankrupt vs a takeover. So who wants a brand new luxury car afterwards?