I've always contended that the Duggars would be debt-free even if TLC had never come a knockin'...since they were living debt-free for years before TLC showed up. But since they decided to do a 30-minute weekly program, their lifestyle has changed a little bit--more trips, visits, etc. But we are still led to believe that they are living by their same old maxim of "buy used, save the difference."
I maintain that their core value system has remained the same while they are enjoying their good fortune. I think that's possible. You don't have to turn into the Gosslins or fall into the televangelist's trap of the '80s. The Duggars maintain that they are on the air soley to encourage others by showing that you can live debt free while living a Christ-centered life. At his core, Jim Bob is a carsalesman/Politician and now a real estate agent so he is a businsessman and is always on the hunt for a new deal. They live off that income. From what I understand TLC is paying them nothing close to what they paid the Gosslins because they film them no where near as much as they filmed the Gosslins--no where near the episodes.
We have also noticed product placements in the show, some obvious (Michelle and I blieve Jana talking to the camera while lamely wiping a cabinet with Swiffer products showing--and using Swiffer floor sweepers) and others that may or may not be paid endorsements (a lot of Gap clothing has been seen lately as well as aeropostle.) There was some debate over whether Josh was wearing a Christian version saying "our apostle" that sells quite inexpensively, but in a recent episode it was quite obviously aeropostle and also american eagle.
Now he could have bought them second hand, we don't know. They also could have been provided for product placement. Another option is that this family appears in A LOT of photo shoots for magazines and a lot of TV show inteviews where clothing is provided. It's possible the clothes are a perk they get to keep. Who knows?
So, is TLC bringing this family down in their moral values, keeping them at an even keel, helping them to help others, or helping them to line their own pockets and reap the rewards of a capitalist system? Or maybe a little of each depending on the day.