Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Cry Little Debt Baby

Oh how sweet. A little debt baby! And getting started so early too. You are going to grow up to be such a good consumer. Oh yes you are!

Welcome to the world your daddy helped to create, honey! How? Why my dear, with his eager participation of course. That and a bit of denial and a large helping of self-justification. You see, your daddy, like so many others, realized that saving was hard work. Too damn hard, in fact. And let's face it, it takes a lot of self-discipline, sacrifice, and a modicum of modesty to actually save for retirement (and your future) and oh but those granite counter tops are just so expensive! And then of course he fell for the lie (not just once, but twice) that the stock market and even our houses could do the saving for us. Your daddy thought it was a new paradigm, a brave new world, that "it was different this time" -- he thought he could spend all of his earnings on frivolous things like vacations to exotic climes, a new BMW every couple of years (for use when your daddy wasn't driving the obligatory Prius that advertises oh-so-well his "concern" for the Earth and how environmentally responsible he was), all those nights out eating the ever so trendy Asian Fusion food, etc. You know, stuff that white people like.

So your daddy, like so many other people his age, believed what he wanted to believe. He took on more and more debt, spent more and more of his "trapped" equity, and believed, because it felt so good to do so, that there would be no consequences of the adverse type because, after all, everyone was doing it. And how else could he "keep up with the Joneses"? And now that the world your daddy helped to create is crumbling, Congress and the Fed and all the other spineless men who have their thumbs so deep in the pie that it's coming out their ears have further impoverished this country in a vain attempt to artificially prop up house prices, bail out the failed financial institutions that, to a great extent, enabled this problem and basically to keep the financial orgy going just a little bit longer because your daddy will be damned if he has to actually save for what he wants, and wants now.

But guess what, sweetheart? You will still get an inheritance! That's right... an inheritance! It's just that it won't be the sort of inheritance you were counting on. And what is that wonderful inheritance? Why, what you and your generation and the generations to come will inherit is your daddy's generation's debt of course. You get to pay for their lifestyle!... a lifestyle they couldn't afford themselves. And it will only cost you your livelihood and standard of living. Sure, you might not ever be able to afford a house without first selling your children off for slavery. You might not be able to afford the luxury of getting sick. But be confident that it will all be for a good cause -- it was the debt they needed (really) and that they were entitled to. And have no fear because it's all part of your daddy's plan, it's all well thought out. Believe me. Because even though the plan was devised by the corrupt men on Wall Street and in Congress and in the investment banks and even by Mr. "Yes We Can" (and Mrs. Yes You Will) and sold to the dumbed down and overly medicated American public as "a good thing", it's still your daddy's plan because he helped let it happen. Your daddy didn't so much as lift a finger to oppose the bailing out of the people and institutions that created this mess, he didn't object to the propping up of artificially inflated property values, he looked the other way when the American people were bribed by its own government to buy new cars and new houses, and he was busy that day when our so-called "free" markets were so manipulated that even a banana republic dictator would be impressed. No, for people like your daddy, it's just not practical to tell the truth in times like these.

So try not to be too harsh on us. When you are old enough to fully understand, please don't pee on your daddy's grave no matter how much you might want to... Yes, your daddy saw this coming a long time ago, there were plenty of warning signs and plenty of nay-sayers shouting to be heard over the din of delirium, but he just chose to ignore them because he was having just too much of a good time at your expense. You don't know it yet, but you will learn soon enough that it is easy for people like your daddy to believe what they want to believe; it is easy for us to only pay attention to the things that support our preconceived notions and to believe the things we most want to be true. So we find it easy to believe that what we've done is the right thing to do and you will too. When things get tough for you, just remember we were entitled to what we wanted now, pop an Abilify or three, or whatever the drug du jour is when you are an adult, and you too will soon be a believer.

6 Comments:

Blogger marine_explorer said...

"…like so many other people his age, believed what he wanted to believe. He took on more and more debt, spent more and more of his "trapped" equity, and believed, because it felt so good to do so"

One might conclude that credit became the Ultimate Happy Pill for a culture who looked at shopping as their primary mood enhancer. It wipes away the tedium of actually doing something with your life. I mean--human stuff like talking to your neighbors, volunteering in your community, learning something new about the real world--not the latest craze spoon-fed by the media to your flat screen.

"…driving the obligatory Prius that advertises oh-so-well his "concern" for the Earth and how environmentally responsible"

I once remarked to somebody who just bought a Prius on their wise economic decision. They coldly replied "I don't need it to be economical". Wait…isn't that the whole point? I'll "save the planet"--as long as somebody is watching me.

Oct 17, 2009, 9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Marin County was mentioned today in the NYT's coverage of the RE market:

"...In California, there is strong evidence that foreclosures are beginning to migrate from the subprime inland areas to the more exclusive coastal areas. According to MDA Data Quick, Q3 2009 NODs in Santa Barbara were up 25% from 2008, up 46% in San Luis Obispo and up 66% in Marin County."

66% increase in Marin!! Given the county's unemployment is still under 10%, I can only assume this rampant increase is largely due to "judgement day" for voodoo loans. I wonder how many of these are also "strategic" walkaways.

Oct 28, 2009, 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Andy Mooers said...

Happy is not things, poor impulse control in spending. If you are grateful you are rich. If you don't owe thousands and thousands you are rich, free of debt load.
I read the average America carries a credit card balance of $17,000. Yikes.

Nov 7, 2009, 7:12:00 PM  
Blogger Chica said...

I love the blog, always have.
Have you ever heard that song by DK "Moon over Marin" its on Plastic Surgery Disasters.
While the entire Album is about the Bay Area, they song is very funny and still holds up 25 years later.

Nov 13, 2009, 7:45:00 AM  
Blogger see me said...

Brilliantly said!

Nov 20, 2009, 7:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cristine said...

Great article

Dec 8, 2009, 12:38:00 AM  

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