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Old 04-17-2009, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Montana
193 posts, read 424,676 times
Reputation: 86

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We have been constantly looking for a home in MT for a few years now and have made several trips to view. We feel we can find a place at a fair price that is with in our means. Some of the places we have been watching have came down in price and one place (bank owned) sold for what we thought was a great value. Problem is, we live in and own property that is waterfront on Lake of the Ozarks. Property in this area was on a coarse where a 10% annual appreciation was the very low end. Many homes values in 05 and 06 gained over 20% annually. Now it is payback time... Even though we have lowered the price of our homes 30% from an appraised value a year ago they still are not selling. We just hope when they do sell we have enough left of what we have worked for the last 30 years to relocate to Montana. No matter how small of a house we move into.

.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:44 PM
 
19 posts, read 55,805 times
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To speak to the OP's question: Making $9/hr, do you think you could pay rent of $600?? The result is a lot of sharing. Some other reasons:

1) college and low-income 20s/30s hang out before figuring what they want to do;
2) landlords love to chop up houses here for maximum returns;
3) heating via electricity/gas are very expensive here, basically uncontrolled (never paid >$38/month before moving to MT);
4) Montana wages are very low all over the state, i.e., capitalists are especially greedy here (and not surprisingly, politically right wing). People moving even from Spokane take 33% pay cuts for same jobs. Unions seem to be relatively weak in Bozeman;
5) the area's growth has in good part come from older adults and retirees, those who bring money but do not create jobs, which drives up prices - and attracts all their favorite national chainstores from back home.

Those are the main reasons I can fathom.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:34 PM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 553,836 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickers View Post
I don't believe that waiting for prices in Montana to go lower before buying is wise. You can already buy a place for less than you can rent it for. I am not an expert on freaking anything but If I had any extra capital laying around I would buy more property right now. Bozeman rents are only viewed as high when compaired to the other places in Montana. Good luck.
Yah, could you imagine a fire sale in Bozeman?

Last edited by Jbechtel; 04-20-2009 at 10:44 PM..
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Old 04-21-2009, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,834 posts, read 13,450,792 times
Reputation: 3370
Quote:
Originally Posted by romath View Post
4) Montana wages are very low all over the state, i.e., capitalists are especially greedy here (and not surprisingly, politically right wing). People moving even from Spokane take 33% pay cuts for same jobs. Unions seem to be relatively weak in Bozeman;
Um... if that's true, then why aren't more small business owners rich? Why are so many barely making it?? Why have so many small businesses gone under in recent years? Remember that business owner doesn't get paid until AFTER all expenses are paid, including employees' wages.

Unions' greed is one of the major causes of the loss of heavy industry in the U.S. If you don't think so, take a good look at America's rust belt. Unions were once good and necessary, but have become mini-governments of their own, whose main goal is perpetuating their income stream. You don't see any unions accepting pay cuts when the economy is bad or when faced with far cheaper foreign competition, do you?? Nope... so that leaves the unionized industry no choice but to go out of business.
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:24 PM
 
Location: West Yellowstone
28 posts, read 65,109 times
Reputation: 19
Default bozeangelas

We travel to Bozeman from West Yellowstone to shop. We perceive it to be a much better deal than shopping here and on the way home we fill up with Gas and save 25 cents per gallon. There is a walmart costco, home depot ect...Bozeangelas as some from West Yellowstone call it has good aspects as do most all places in Montana!
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:25 PM
 
19 posts, read 55,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reziac View Post
Um... if that's true, then why aren't more small business owners rich? Why are so many barely making it?? Why have so many small businesses gone under in recent years? Remember that business owner doesn't get paid until AFTER all expenses are paid, including employees' wages.

Unions' greed is one of the major causes of the loss of heavy industry in the U.S. If you don't think so, take a good look at America's rust belt. Unions were once good and necessary, but have become mini-governments of their own, whose main goal is perpetuating their income stream. You don't see any unions accepting pay cuts when the economy is bad or when faced with far cheaper foreign competition, do you?? Nope... so that leaves the unionized industry no choice but to go out of business.
Typically, 90% or so of small businesses in the U.S. go under within 7 years, I think something like 50% in the first year. So a high failure rate in Bozeman would not be unusual. But still, how can you explain the low wages paid here compared to other non-Montana cities not that far away, and/or with a comparable cost of living?

Nonetheless, check out how the MT-owned Subways in town charge most of a dollar over the going national sandwich prices (excepting the $5 deal, which is national), while still paying at the low end of the wage scale (using high school kids). Or how quickly Wal-Mart raised their wages in some positions well over the local norm for box stores when all those new boxes came a-raiding right on the floor in 2007-08.

What I should have added about low wages is that Bozeman has relatively little industry (esp. in close), while the service, tourist and retail sectors play a relatively large role. The latter generally pay lower wages everywhere, and that seems to be even more so in Montana/Bozeman. But I take it as good coin from some local accountants that Bozeman business owners doing very well also pay very poorly, often for specialized talent.

Re "greedy unions:" The reason much of major U.S. industry lost out has primarily to do with the repercussions of WWII (higher German/Japan technology, thus productive levels by the 1960s) and American capitalists' own stupidity (arrogance/greed). From a historical standpoint, American (or any other) capitalism could not have developed the technological and productive levels it has during the past ~160 years if wages had grown in proportion to - or anywhere within a hundred or maybe a thousand times of - the increase in productivity and the mass of profit. That's why the "greedy unions" claim doesn't pass the smell test. Instead of blaming workers, you might want to look to the long-term tendency of the rate of profit to fall under capitalism - and its repercussions - as the source of its problems.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:17 AM
 
540 posts, read 1,133,160 times
Reputation: 547
Quote:
Originally Posted by romath View Post
4) Montana wages are very low all over the state, i.e., capitalists are especially greedy here (and not surprisingly, politically right wing). People moving even from Spokane take 33% pay cuts for same jobs. Unions seem to be relatively weak in Bozeman;
How is this even a surprise? Bozeman, Montana, has a population of 38,000. Spokane has a population of 200,000. I'm sorry, but what you call "greed" is simply good business sense. A town of 40,000 cannot produce the capital to support the same wages as a town of 200,000, and nor does it need to. As for the weak unions, well, there's a reason they've been producing cars in Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina and not in Michigan, anymore. Toyota and Honda have figured out what Detroit hasn't, and the average consumer and the average southern worker is more than pleased.

Quote:
5) the area's growth has in good part come from older adults and retirees, those who bring money but do not create jobs, which drives up prices - and attracts all their favorite national chainstores from back home.
Okay, this actually makes a bit more sense. There's the other part about Montana relying on tourism far more than most states and increasing prices, as well. I'd have to ask, though, how those chain stores are functioning without as employees, as these new arrivals "do not create jobs."
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,834 posts, read 13,450,792 times
Reputation: 3370
Quote:
Originally Posted by romath View Post
Nonetheless, check out how the MT-owned Subways in town charge most of a dollar over the going national sandwich prices (excepting the $5 deal, which is national), while still paying at the low end of the wage scale (using high school kids). Or how quickly Wal-Mart raised their wages in some positions well over the local norm for box stores when all those new boxes came a-raiding right on the floor in 2007-08.
This neglects to note numerous points:

Subway is not a local business; it is a national chain with local franchises that are under extremely tight corporate control, and it couldn't care less how it screws over the locals. Pricing for all such national chains is somewhat regionalized or even localized, depending on what the local market will bear. Apparently Subway has determined that there is no viable competition in Bozeman, plus has to meet higher costs, so they charge more there. How does this equate to local greed?

Many costs are higher in Montana. Start with the fact that you have to heat the building half again longer than in most of the country. And you have to pay more for shipping in the ingredients (Subway does not, to my knowledge, use any locally made ingredients) simply because it's further away.

And most important -- big national chains like Subway and McDonalds are NOT in the food business. They are in the real estate and franchise rental business, with the food business being used mainly as a sort of rental income stream while the real estate appreciates in value.

The same applies to Walmart.

You're really comparing apples and turnips here -- the giant chain that has the resources to do whatever it damn well pleases and that can afford to sometimes absorb a local loss, vs. the local shopkeeper who is very much at the mercy of local market forces and has absolutely no fallback in the event that wages and prices don't align to where he can make enough profit to survive.

Furthermore, your argument neglects to note that publicly-held companies like Walmart and Subway are required by law to first and foremost satisfy their shareholders (ie. primary lienholders). The needs of customers and employees come in a distant second to the stock market's demand for quarterly profits. Local shops are not in that position -- they must satisfy customers and employees first and foremost, but are not beholden to a faceless mass of shareholders. The flipside is that when Walmart and Subway want more working capital, they can simply issue more shares of stock. The local shopkeeper has to pull it out of his own wallet (assuming running a business has put any money in there in the first place).

Another point that makes me wonder just where you're coming from... the word I get from people in Bozeman is that the chains there actually pay $2 to $4 MORE per hour than they do here in SoCal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by romath View Post
Re "greedy unions:" The reason much of major U.S. industry lost out has primarily to do with the repercussions of WWII (higher German/Japan technology, thus productive levels by the 1960s) and American capitalists' own stupidity (arrogance/greed). From a historical standpoint, American (or any other) capitalism could not have developed the technological and productive levels it has during the past ~160 years if wages had grown in proportion to - or anywhere within a hundred or maybe a thousand times of - the increase in productivity and the mass of profit. That's why the "greedy unions" claim doesn't pass the smell test. Instead of blaming workers, you might want to look to the long-term tendency of the rate of profit to fall under capitalism - and its repercussions - as the source of its problems.
This is sheer communist-theory baloney. American industrials dominated the world market until the 1970s. Capitalism fails when the relevant forces become unbalanced, and in this case, it was primarily that the unions had disporportionate power and were taking a disproportionate share of the profits. American industry's real mistake was in not ditching the unions at the point where they had to raise prices (thus lose marketshare) to meet union demands. This unbalanced growth in costs and therefore necessarily higher prices in turn caused American industrials to become uncompetitive in the local and world markets. The subsequent flood of cheaper imported goods from growing overseas industrials further eroded American marketshare, and pretty soon they weren't selling enough product to cover union wages, let alone maintain their facilities. But did unions say "Hey, we're taking more than our fair share of the pie, we need to lower wages to meet current market forces"?? Hell no.. they demanded HIGHER wages and more benefits, for less work!

Remember that a union is not just a collective bargaining force. The union grows rich in DIRECT proportion to how high its members wages are -- so the union cares only about how much money it can suck out of business. And since the advent of the exit strategy (max out profits, then take the money and run) unions also ceased to care if paying workers $40/hour to STAY AT HOME (as some auto-worker contracts do) would eventually put the company out of business, and if the union bosses are already assured of their own golden parachutes, what do they care if their members are out of a job??

Funny how industry everywhere unions have died back or never existed is presently doing a lot better than anywhere that is still afflicted with their modern incarnation.
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Old 04-26-2009, 02:29 AM
 
19 posts, read 55,805 times
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If business costs are high and wages are low in Montana, then things can hardly be blamed on the workers, unionized or not. What's with Bozeman and its $8-9/hr wages, when official unemployment runs well lower than the national average? If you watch the ads, there are some small employers who pay well more than that; i.e., some are actually smart. A small business owner who really can't afford to pay their employees a decent (livable) wage is by definition selfish. Beyond that, they're greedy.

Excuse me, heating costs are much higher in Montana than just about all the rest of the north country not because the cold season is longer - longer than Minnesota, where heat is much cheaper? It's because the 'greedy union' of Montana capitalists and their politicians organized against the rest of the population some years back. The story of the transformation of the Montana electric and gas industry from a public utility to a monopoly broker is common knowledge.

Your argument about "imbalance" being the cause of economic problems is circular. It doesn't appear you've ever given serious thought to how (productive) profit is created in business. I'm guessing you believe it's something tacked on by producers between the door and marketplace (that's circular, too).

The main reason most capitalists don't like unions is because by their very motivation for going into business in the first place they want absolute control over their own operations, including the ability to dictate the terms of employment at will, without responsibility to anyone -including any government they can't control. That's why they gravitate to lilly white, highly religious places like distant suburbs, rural towns and the rural South, away from all those city folks, especially the dark-skinned ones, who are better able to see through what's going on. What goes around comes around eventually, though...

The catch-22 is that by driving down wages they undermine the ability of average workers and, ultimately, other capitalists, to buy what they are producing. That is broadly true, and has been specifically true in the U.S. since the early 1970s. It is especially obvious in a place like Bozeman, with its highly contained labor market. People with low wages can't support local business very well, and people having to work two or three jobs can't support the recreational economy on which the area in good part depends.

The 1970s as the turning point for American business internationally? Exactly my point: technologically more advanced companies in Germany and Japan (and later S. Korea), were able to rebuild at the latest levels after WWII, the contradictory nature of inter-capitalist wars. By the very fact of their greater efficiency and volume, they could drive down average prices (hence, bigger amounts of profit while the rate of profit falls); by their focus on quality, they were able to outcompete American companies bit by bit. Blaming it on "imbalance" explains nothing.

Small business owners have to look more to their own pockets for additional capital -where'd do get that? Small or large, they most all have to look to the credit system, i.e, excess capital, be it banks, the public (stock), private investors, families, friends, etc. The difference between them is one of scale -the bigger typically get more and better and at less cost and, if reasonably well run, at better equipped to take advantage of it.

Last edited by romath; 04-26-2009 at 02:42 AM..
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:45 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,834 posts, read 13,450,792 times
Reputation: 3370
As a long-time small business owner -- I call bunkum. Greedy? Last time I looked into hiring a part time worker, I found that just what the state would make me pay over and above wages (workmans comp etc.) exceeded my net, leaving nothing to pay an employee with, plus I'd be going in the hole. Since I already live below the poverty level (on what's left after paying all my business expenses) I decided basic personal necessities, like food and heat, took precedence over hiring someone, and dropped the whole idea.

And it doesn't look like I'll get to replace my 31 year old truck any time soon, either.

But oh yeah.. I'm greedy. Right. I should have gone into debt to pay someone primo wages for an entry-level job, and given up eating to boot.

Trouble is, I'm not exceptional. I'm exactly the sort of small business, barely making it, that today's socialists are trying to suck dry. I can't take my business overseas to save it from higher costs (as larger business often can), so eventually I'll go under. And that job I might have given someone who really needs it -- that got killed by gov't mandated benefits (ie. socialism) that exceed the actual wages.

Funny how the only people who talk about businessmen's greed are those who've never actually built a business themselves.

Tellya what... let's pool our income. That way you can share in my greedy business bounty, and I can share in your Wobbly philosophy. How much do you make per hour? Minimum wage? Cool, that's way more than I made last year. After averaging min.wage vs this small business owner's salary, your wages are now halved. Isn't sharing the wealth great??

As to Montana Power's exit strategy -- people wanted "deregulation"... well, they got it. You don't set infrastructure up to fail financially, then not expect major advantage-taking when opportunity arises. And if you think it's bad there, I'll trade you power bills any day. Thanks to CA's "deregulation", tho I'm using 1/3rd less, I'm paying TEN TIMES what I was just 10 years ago. It costs me $30/month to run one lightbulb.

================

An Illustrative Tale which circulated last fall:

Yesterday on my way to lunch at Applebee's with my wife, I passed one of those homeless guys with a sign that read,"Vote Obama, I need the money!"

Once in Applebee's, my waiter had on an "Obama 08" tee shirt.

When the bill came, I decided not to tip the waiter and explained to him that, while he had given my wife and me exceptional service, his tee shirt made me feel he obviously believes in Senator Obama's plan to redistribute the wealth, so I told him I was going to redistribute his tip to someone that I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. He stood there in disbelief and angrily stormed away.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $3, and told him to thank the waiter inside, as I had decided he could use the money more than him. The homeless guy looked at me in disbelief, but seemed grateful.

As I got in my car, I realized this rather unscientific redistribution of the wealth experiment had left the homeless guy quite happy for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn.

Well, I guess this redistribution of wealth thing is going to take awhile to catch on with those actually doing the work.
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