I was already planning to write this before I saw the most sickening thing I've seen in a while.
What is that, you ask?
I saw a Mercedes CL class being driven with a spare tire in place of the right rear tire. The driver seemed to be blissfully ignorant to the fact that she's driving an almost $100,000 vehicle but treating it with the respect afforded a $2,500 used car. (I say almost because I couldn't make out the exact year or model of the vehicle. The late model CL500s based over $100,000.) The impunity with which she was engaged in this act was utterly repulsive.
How could someone dare to disrespect such a beautiful vehicle by treating it the way one treats a rental car, or a secondhand Hyundai.
Now, why am I so ashamed to witness such a vulgar and vile mistreatment of a beautiful automobile (besides the fact that a Brabus tuned 2001 - 2006 CL600 is my dream car)? I am so offended by this because it proves what has been apparent for a while. There is entirely too much money sloshing around. I imagine the driver of this CL (probably a CL500, since that seems to be what all the wannabes drive) was able to refinance her house and take out the $95,000 or so required to buy the car. I wonder if she considered the almost $10,000 per year required to insure it. (The CL is the most expensive non-exotic auto to insure in the US.) I wonder if she takes the car in for the massively expensive required maintenance, or if she's struggling to pay for the 93 octane fuel required by the car, which I've seen at $3.50/gallon in the recent past.
Basically, just as certain people who had no business buying a house, there were (are) people who have no business buying certain cars. The fact that CLs have become sooo popular speaks to the general debasement of the dollar that the last few years have borne witness to. I've seen CLs with all manners of body damage and other indications that the owners have no respect for those vehicles.
A lot of people are renters for a reason. They don't make enough to afford a house, or they don't know how to respect their property (both house and money). The same goes for an automobile.
Or maybe I'm just an elitist.
The fact remains that there is far too much money floating around out there. This is just one particular example of too much credit being available that irritates me. We've seen this in other markets; just a little bit of thought and I'm sure most of my readers will notice other areas in which they've said similar things. These things didn't and don't make sense because of the issue of moral hazard. This has been on my mind for a while, because for a long time I couldn't figure out why I was seeing so many CLs on the road. The same dynamics which created the housing boom (a credit boom, really) were behind the escalation in the number of CLs. The CL is not an easy vehicle to acquire or own, and with good reason; for that many to be in private hands, there had to be excess money available for purchasing them.
I wonder how long it will take to start seeing serious resales of CLs. I await, nervously, the day I see one with a "For Sale" sign in the windshield.