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Old 05-24-2008, 10:15 AM   #41
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Ah, but with the effects of gas prices and other petroleum based products impacting the cost of doing business, it's entirely likely that one or even both of those WalMarts might close down.
I'll toss out a contrarian view to that (which may be 100% wrong), but...

Wouldn't higher fuel prices give those WalMarts an *advantage*? The alternative is the small mom-pop stores (less efficient use of fuel due to economy of scale), or, lots of people driving into town (also less efficient).

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Old 05-24-2008, 10:28 AM   #42
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Although it will vary greatly by a number of factors (hourly wage, length of commute, alternate transportation availability, etc.), I wonder at what price point it will begin to be more expensive to commute to work than to not have a job at all?
I'm curious about that myself. Locally there are more jobs than people. A lot of the manufacturing firms are begging for skilled people and many of them have contracts to keep them working at full capacity for 5 years out. Of course if the workers live on the other side of the metro area and can't afford to drive to work...it could get interesting.
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Ah, but with the effects of gas prices and other petroleum based products impacting the cost of doing business, it's entirely likely that one or even both of those WalMarts might close down. Pulling back to urban locations of high population density...
True for the case of lower density suburbs, but while I live in a suburb it is a small city with a higher population density than many of the other suburbs and nearly that of the big city next door. Plus, we actually have suburbs of our own now, where a lot of people live but their population density is only half of ours. I think they are the ones who will find their Wal Marts closed and be forced to come shop here.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out locally. My suburban city is an unusual case in that most of it was basically built from scratch in the last 20 years by private developers using a master plan. The city that eventually annexed all of it went from about 10,000 people to 60,000 overnight, and the city government has done a fantastic job so far in managing growth and development. Everything is close and easy to get to, although traffic from our suburbs is starting to be a major pain as they come to shop and work here.

A lot of my neighbors still commute to work in the big city every day, but we have two Fortune 500 companies headquarters here as well as the HQ's of several major divisions of other F500's (most recent one is just now finishing out 115,000 sq ft of office space here). I'm sure that not everyone who works at these businesses lives in this city, some even commute from the big city or other suburbs. We have commuters going both directions every day, not exactly a fuel efficient model.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:08 AM   #43
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Barbarus's words are a warning (as is his Karl Marx persona). A Robin Hood mentality will rise and our IRAs will not be safe.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:19 AM   #44
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By the way, people are already changing their behavior to reflect higher fuel costs.

Recently we drove from Bellingham, WA, to Salem, OR, on a Friday afternoon and back the next Monday. I have not seen so few cars on I-5 for many, many years! (Note that I am working in Calgary, Alberta, (an oil town) these days. No curtailment of driving here in Canadistan!)
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:09 PM   #45
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Barbarus's words are a warning (as is his Karl Marx persona). A Robin Hood mentality will rise and our IRAs will not be safe.
Edward, the avatar of Ole' Karl represents the mentality of the Republican Party, as evidenced by the current administration in Washington. I, unlike Comrade Bush, am completely against bailouts. Unlike Comrade Bernanke, I believe in fighting inflation, not saving the banks with artificially low rates. It wouldn't surprise me if tonight, Obama and McCain hopped into bed and were put to sleep by Hillary reading to them from Das Kapital.

As Comrade Chairman Mao said, "The East is red". He meant Washington DC.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:05 PM   #46
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... I wonder at what price point it will begin to be more expensive to commute to work than to not have a job at all? Especially for the second wage earner in a family and/or part time workers.
This is exactly the issue that DW and I ran into upon moving from near Wash. DC to WV. The "original plan" was that we were going to get part time jobs that would free us from dealing with the absurd traffic in the DC area, but we were careful that we were in a position that we would never have to work again if we didn't want to. Or as near certainty as one can be in such things.

What we ran into was the economics that all but a very few part time jobs here don't pay enough to justify driving to and from them. In effect, we'd be working to support the car to get there and back, the point of which is...? The heck with that, I'll stay home and watch History channel, go fishing, a bike ride, repaint FIL's house, post on the ER forum, etc.

Apparently there are a lot of people in WV who feel the same way we do. DW applied for a part time $9/hour secretary job at a nearby university where she's taking classes and they had multiple Ph.D's applying for it. DW is a pretty smart gal, but she doesn't have a Ph.D.

So due to previous experience, dogged determination, hard work, persistence, the proper alignment of the moon & stars or my baby blue eyes, I got a job (if the federal govt. doesn't lose the paperwork again) that will pay enough to write a check for a new car (Ok, it would be a Kia) every three months (were I so foolish) and is 10-15 minutes away. That pays enough to make the trip worthwhile.
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:36 AM   #47
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I'm already set up to not need much gas. I can walk to work or the grocery store. I've got restaurants nearby too. I buy about 15 gallons of gas per month. I used to live in a large city and that meant driving an average of about 100 miles per day and using 120 gallons of gas per month. People looking at retiring should consider living close to the things they need to minimize the effects of energy prices.
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:44 AM   #48
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As long as cheap beer doesn't spike above 4 dollars a gallon, I'll be quiet.
Heh. The cheapest crap at the grocery store is about $15 for a 30-can suitcase. There are about 11 cans in a gallon. So even the cheap stuff is $5.50 a gallon or so.

Where are the torches and pitchforks?
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Old 05-25-2008, 08:47 AM   #49
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Lately, I have been reading a lot about peak oil, and it's been a black cloud at the back of my mind as it pertains to retirement. With less and less oil, how will the economy grow? I think life will be harder just when I am getting older.

Personally, I will keep saving for retirement, but I will also try to learn new skills with things that are shall I say, not high on the attraction list to me, like gardening for food (permaculture, etc.) and canning and food preservation. I even thought I would "intern" in some CSA farm close by someday to learn the food-growing skills. When I get better at it, I will hook up with other food gardeners and try to be involved with community planning that promotes a healthy local food supply system.

We live in the city close to where we work, and we don't drive very much. (We get free bus passes from my city employment and BF bikes almost everywhere or does a bus-bike combo.) So, the big price increase of gasoline has not affected us much. But as ladelfina says, everything in our industrialized society is dependent on oil, so as it gets scarcer, prices will go up--food, clothing, transportation, medicine, etc.

I am also worried about my relatives abroad because life will be even harder for them. I hope the time does not come when I feel that I can't give them any more financial help.
Good point on the food. I am growing more food than in the past. This means fewer trips to the grocery store, fresher produce, and lots of fun growing my own stuff. I really want to take part of the yard and convert it from a grass growing/lawn cutting exercise to more food production. DW is not behind me in this effort though. I visited Plymouth Plantation a few years ago and remember how they showed the Pilgrims houses having gardens for vegetables all around the house, and I think that would be a good thing form more people to do. Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I just don't see much use in growing and cutting grass (unless its the wacky tobaky kind )
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:13 AM   #50
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ikubak.. I'd like to do more of this too, but our yard is very shaded.. The sunniest spot is right next to the front door and last year I ripped out a sq. of lawn (well, DH did) and planted corn!! That was a bust except for one ear but it was the most delicious thing on earth (they don't raise/sell fresh sweet corn in Italy from what I can see)!!! I also planted 2 pumpkin vines; yield one mini-pumpkin. Both kinds of plants grew fine, but there's something not going right with them getting pollinated.

I'm not discouraged entirely, though. This year, tomatoes!!
I've also had excellent luck with scallions.. it's so great to have them right there in the ground when you just want one or two.. instead of getting them at the store and they go all slimy in the fridge.

You might enjoy this video:


2 books I'd recommend:
Square Foot Gardening
Amazon.com: Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards: Sara B. Stein: Books
this second one has a lot of advice on ways to reduce lawns with plantings.. I see this author has a subsequent book as well but have not read that one. I bet reading "Noah's Garden" would win over your wife because it just makes so much sense.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:25 AM   #51
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...I really want to take part of the yard and convert it from a grass growing/lawn cutting exercise to more food production... Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I just don't see much use in growing and cutting grass (unless its the wacky tobaky kind )
I love seeing and smelling flowers but at this point, if I am going to spend sweat and time in the yard and garden, I'd rather grow something I can eat, so I agree with you.

I'll check out the stuff ladelfina recommended. In addition, here are 2 books that I've added to my reading list:
Food Not Lawns
Gaia's Garden
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:17 PM   #52
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Heh. The cheapest crap at the grocery store is about $15 for a 30-can suitcase. There are about 11 cans in a gallon. So even the cheap stuff is $5.50 a gallon or so.

Where are the torches and pitchforks?
Even for those of us who brew our own the prices have gone up markedly for ingredients. There was already a worldwide shortage of hops starting about a year ago and since then prices for malted barley and wheat have also skyrocketed due to supply:demand issues. I'd rather they plant barley for drinking alcohol then corn to burn in my MC

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Old 05-26-2008, 09:37 AM   #53
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Here is the 3 year chart for Molson Coors. I should be buying the stock instead of the beer!
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:06 AM   #54
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I love seeing and smelling flowers but at this point, if I am going to spend sweat and time in the yard and garden, I'd rather grow something I can eat, so I agree with you.
Some types of flower plantings can help in a kitchen garden (IIRC marigolds repel some kind of pest). I haven't gotten that much into it as I have little sunny space and so no big plans... Some flowers are edible, and the smell from the flowers of our potted lemon and orange trees is awesome! Rosemary gets covered in blue flowers, squash has great huge orange ones, and the chives have very cool purple spheres right now. Roses are used around here at the end of vineyard rows because they are more susceptible to some kind of fungus, so they function as the canary in the coalmine and alert growers as to whether they need to apply fungicide, traditionally copper/sulfur.

Thanks for your other book links.. There is really so much for us to (re-)learn.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:23 AM   #55
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Consider moving to a foreign country where there is proper public transportation and the cities are pedestrian-oriented. We found Denmark to be such a place. The income tax rates were somewhere around 50%, IIRC, and they wanted to know about 'foreign assets' as I believe they taxed them, too.

Venezuela still has $0.25/gal petrol. Of course, there may be a few negatives. (Did we ever hear from the folks who were going to visit Margarita Island?)
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:29 AM   #56
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I got 30 cans of Keystone Light for $12.99 (at RiteAid), which is only slightly more than the $11.99 that I paid a few years ago.

Cost Per Dinner:

Beer (12 fl oz): 43.3 cents
Milk (12 fl oz): 25.3 cents
Wine (6.7 fl oz): 71.8 cents
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:48 AM   #57
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I got 30 cans of Keystone Light for $12.99 (at RiteAid), which is only slightly more than the $11.99 that I paid a few years ago.
Al, I cannot believe you admit to drinking Keystone Light. I suppose I need to remind you once again how Coors produces the stuff:

"Keystone is brewed by parking a tanker truck loaded with water in the brewery parking lot overnight. Contrast this with Keystone Light, which is brewed by simply driving a truckload of water through the brewery parking lot."
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #58
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Al, I cannot believe you admit to drinking Keystone Light.
You're forgetting the submarine force's motto "Run Silent Run Deep" "Cheap beer can't be all bad"...
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:06 PM   #59
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Being in spain right now I am reminded how pleasurable it is to be able to walk to almost anywhere you need to go. The supermarket is right down the street, many restaurants nearby, a big shopping mall a few blocks away, a pharmacy right around the corner. And for those days when walking gets old, a first class public transportation system that takes you anywhere you want to go for cheap. Seriously, If I ever moved back to Europe, I'd do away with cars altogether... Plus parking a car here is a nightmare.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:21 PM   #60
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[quote=Ed_The_Gypsy;661747]Consider moving to a foreign country where there is proper public transportation and the cities are pedestrian-oriented. We found Denmark to be such a place. The income tax rates were somewhere around 50%, IIRC, and they wanted to know about 'foreign assets' as I believe they taxed them, too.

[quote]

I don't think that this is a realistic alternative for most people. Most of us wouldn't want to live so far away from our families. After all, with energy costs going higher, who knows how long airline travel will be affordable? That's why I'm doing some traveling now.

There are lots of USA cities with public transportation. Think like Ha Ha, live in the city center, walk to stores, etc., entertainment, take a bus to farther places. Or living in one of the older suburbs just outside the city center that have good access to public transport.

Electric cars and taxis are in our future. In suburbs where there's not a lot of traffic, moto-taxis or even bicycle taxis like in other countries might be useful. Think about your neighbor's teenage boy with his bicycle taxi giving seniors a ride to the doctor's office as his after school job.

I noticed while driving on the freeway last weekend that no one was driving 70 mph even though that's the limit. Everyone had reduced their speed.

Growing food is probably a losing proposition in a climate with cold winters. Not many of us have the space for a big enough garden or the time and energy to cultivate it. But I have a summer garden and will enjoy the fresh produce and hope to put away some "nuts" for the winter.
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