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This is my effort to share my thoughts with readers about concerns facing our country today.  I believe there is a good chance my grandchildren may be the first generation in the history of this great country not to have a better standard of living than their parents. If so, our generation is to blame. The clock is running out for damage control. .

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Thursday
Feb122009

Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming

This entry was written and published in this blog on May 13,2008. While the people in the entry get less sympathy from Washington than the RV workers in Elkhart, Indiana, their chance to recover may be harder. No one in this family is prepared to go down to food stamp survival level, but they may have no other choice. The stimulus package doesn't  address this family's problems. It doesn't address the RV industry probems either, but no one asked that question at the press conference this week. How many families in America are one pink slip away from being like this family? How many are working in a company where they have dodged the last three cut backs? 

It's 2010 and the Cabots declare bankruptcy's. In 2008 Biff and Muffy and the two children Winston and Bunny had the perfect life. Biff was an investment banker and made $350,000 in 2007. Buffy was a housewife. They had a million dollar house in Winnetka, a northshore Chicago suburb. They belonged to the country club, the Sierra Club, and were involved with the PTA and the normal community groups--church, rotary, etc. The budget was a little tight. They had a cottage in Wisconsin and spent most weekends there in the summer. 

The Cabots were enchanted by Obama. They felt like his platform for change was good for them. While their lifestyle didn't reflect it, they felt very strongly about the green movement. As long as there wasn't any big sacrifice to them, they wanted to do the right thing. Obama was the man to make a difference. He would do the most for the country, the poor, and the green movement.

Biff's take home was $225,000 after deductions. Taxes took another $50,000. From the $175,000 the mortgage on the house and cottage with property tax and insurance was $75,000, leaving $100,000. Cars were his BMW and her Hummer. Car payments and insurance cost $12,000 a year. Utilities on both houses was $12,000. Club dues, vacations and other entertainment was $12,000. Household expenses including food, clothing, and the cleaning staff and landscape work was $15,000. This left roughly $50,000 for life insurance, investments, and other normal expenses.

The problems started in 2008 when the housing mortgage crunch affected Biff's pay. He took a $25,000 hit in bonus pay in 2008. Obama's tax increase in 2009 hit their taxes raising them to $70,000 on a lesser income. The economy took a hit from the Obama stimulus program and Biff lost another $25,000 in bonus money in 2009. Gas prices cut down on the trips to Wisconsin. Gasoline was now $10 a gallon with the carbon cap and the increased Federal gas tax. The utility bills went up 25% from the carbon cap program. They traded the Hummer for a Prius but got no relief from car payments, since Hummers were worthless. The ARM's on both mortgages raised payments from $75,000 to $90,000. They put the cottage on the market, but no takers since too many cottages were for sale in their area. 

In early 2009 Biff was laid off. The job market for investment bankers was nil. He took a job as a commissioned salesman for municipal bonds. His income went from $350,000 to $150,000. Take home went from $225,000 to $100,000. They dropped the country club, the private schools for Winston and Bunny and put the big house on the market. No takers. In early 2010, the Cabots filed for bankruptcy. No options. Muffy went to work as a substitute teacher. They moved to a 1,500 square foot condo. Muffy took the bus to work and Biff worked mostly from home still selling munis. Winston and Bunny were in public schools.

So what happened to the Cabots? There is no free lunch. If you have only so much wealth to go around in a country and you spend a big chunk of that on making the environment better, the government bigger, and to help the poor,  it has to come from somewhere. And, if it doesn't  produce any results and energy costs keep going up, it takes from the country's wealth and transfers it to other people and other countries. If government policies penalize investment in business and tax business, the economy suffers. If the economy suffers the families like the Cabots suffer. The more they have, the more they suffer. And, the extremely poor suffer as well, but were helped out by the government policies of Obama. Food stamps and gasoline stamps offset the two big inflationary problems. Subsidized utility costs helped. And unemployment payments went up to offset the inflation of energy and food. The very rich were impacted little. 

It was ironic, the people who played a big role in putting Obama in the White House, the upwardly mobile whites, lost the most. 

Almost a year ago, I had no cystal ball, but much of this is happening now. The Cabots have buyer remorse with their votes for President Obama. They won't vote for a democrat ever again.

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    Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming - Journal - Our grandchildren will pay the price
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    Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming - Journal - Our grandchildren will pay the price
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    Response: Dr. Patel
    Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming - Journal - Our grandchildren will pay the price
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    Response: Dr. Rashmi Patel
    Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming - Journal - Our grandchildren will pay the price
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    Biff and Muffy Trade the American Dream for Global Warming - Journal - Our grandchildren will pay the price

Reader Comments (6)

MUFFY???

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Kendzora

Biff and Muffy deserve everthing they got for Voting for Obama. Are these the kids of Thursdon Howell 3rd from Gilligan's Island?

May 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKen Dozier

Bill.... you are so prolific and I'm behind.....

<<This entry was written and published in this blog on May 13,2008. >>
Couldn't find it. There is a blog entry on 5/12 and 5/14 but no 5/13.

<<In 2008 Biff and Muffy and the two children Winston and Bunny had the perfect life. Biff was an investment banker and made $350,000 in 2007. Buffy was a housewife. They had a million dollar house in Winnetka, a northshore Chicago suburb. They belonged to the country club, the Sierra Club, and were involved with the PTA and the normal community groups--church, rotary, etc. The budget was a little tight. They had a cottage in Wisconsin and spent most weekends there in the summer.>>
Hey... I live in Winnetka! I don't know Biff and Muffy tho. Million dollar house, country club and a summer home. Sounds typical if overextended for a guy making $350K.

<<Biff's take home was $225,000 after deductions. Taxes took another $50,000. From the $175,000 the mortgage on the house and cottage with property tax and insurance was $75,000, leaving $100,000. Cars were his BMW and her Hummer. Car payments and insurance cost $12,000 a year. Utilities on both houses was $12,000. Club dues, vacations and other entertainment was $12,000. Household expenses including food, clothing, and the cleaning staff and landscape work was $15,000. This left roughly $50,000 for life insurance, investments, and other normal expenses.>>
- So, Biff is paying $175K in federal taxes, Illinois taxes and other "deductions" - presumably company provided health care for his family, life insurance, perhaps 401(k) and other stuff like that. Steep estimates there.
- Only $12K per year for 2 luxury cars and their insurance? Cheap!
- I like how you got the cleaning staff & landscaping in there.... always gotta keep up with the Jones when you live in Winnetka! Always an easy dig.

<<The problems started in 2008 when the housing mortgage crunch affected Biff's pay. He took a $25,000 hit in bonus pay in 2008. Obama's tax increase in 2009 hit their taxes raising them to $70,000 on a lesser income. The economy took a hit from the Obama stimulus program and Biff lost another $25,000 in bonus money in 2009. Gas prices cut down on the trips to Wisconsin. Gasoline was now $10 a gallon with the carbon cap and the increased Federal gas tax. The utility bills went up 25% from the carbon cap program. They traded the Hummer for a Prius but got no relief from car payments, since Hummers were worthless. The ARM's on both mortgages raised payments from $75,000 to $90,000. They put the cottage on the market, but no takers since too many cottages were for sale in their area.>>
No doubt that 2009 will be a little tougher for the Biff-ster. But you are just making stuff up out of thin air now and misleading your readers:
- Obama does not have plans for tax increases... in fact the stimulus plan just passed has tax cuts for most (tho Biff probably still makes too much to benefit from them). So, contrary to what you write, Biff's tax bill will likely go down since his income has gone down.
- I agree that Biff might face another bonus haircut in 2009 but that is far from certain.
- Gas prices are $10 a gallon??? Come on. Altho I would fully support an increase in the federal gas tax in order to create a kind of floor under the price of gas, $10 is a ridiculous suggestion that you (as well as anyone given your background) know is simply not going to happen.
- Utilties up by 25% cuz of the "carbon cap"? What "carbon cap"? Nothing like that on the horizon as far as I can see. Misleading your readers again.
- If nobody wants to buy a Hummer or a summer cottage... who's fault is that? It's Biff's... not Obama's.
- ARM mortgages for his house and his summer home... who's fault is that? If Biff is an investment banker, he (presumably) knew what he was doing. No one to blame but himself.

<<In early 2009 Biff was laid off. The job market for investment bankers was nil. He took a job as a commissioned salesman for municipal bonds. His income went from $350,000 to $150,000. Take home went from $225,000 to $100,000. They dropped the country club, the private schools for Winston and Bunny and put the big house on the market. No takers. In early 2010, the Cabots filed for bankruptcy. No options. Muffy went to work as a substitute teacher. They moved to a 1,500 square foot condo. Muffy took the bus to work and Biff worked mostly from home still selling munis. Winston and Bunny were in public schools.>>
- Biff getting laid off in early '09 doesn't jive with your earlier paragraph detailing their phantom tax and carbon cap woes in '09. Which is it?
- I don't think you are going to get many to shed too many tears for a guy that is still making a $150K salary. Nor will you get many to cry for the fact that a spouse has to take a job to make ends met. It happens everywhere, all over the country and it has nothing to do with Obama.
- You forgot to mention the private schools in your initial description which would be another big nut to cover (tho it's another nice populist dig). Don't worry Winston & Bunny.... Winnetka's public schools are some of the best in the country.

Once again... I find myself disappointed by your misleading fairy tales.

Try as republicans might to blame this crisis on democrats who have held power for less than a month, the American people know that is a steaming pile of crap. W pushed "the ownership society" for 8 years.... even wanted us to put social security, the bedrock of millions of American's retirements, into the stock market... into the hands of the same unregulated bankers that got us into this mess.

We have had 8 years (and 20 of the last 28) of republican ideas which have pretty much centered on tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts. Look where that got us. We are in the deepest economic hole that we have faced since the Great Depression because of FAILED REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP.

February 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChris Johnson

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July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbagonhand

I have visited lot of post.but yours is very different.Thank you for your nice comments.Good job keep it up..

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August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

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