Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Are you broke enough?


In the 1982 “downturn” (as opposed to “freefall"), I wrote an article for Savvy magazine (now long gone) about a talk show I saw about how people were faring in the recession. One man mentioned his truck—and they were on him like crazed harpies. If he had a TRUCK, he could sell that and until then, he could shut up.

I see a lot of eyeballing and judging going on—did so-and-so take a vacation last year and buy a new car? Well, the have THEIR nerve declaring bankruptcy (which costs thousands to do, by the way)!

You still have cable and DSL? Well, don’t come crying to the NYT if you can still get online, some people have to go to the library.

Everyone who ever re-fied a house must have partied hearty with that dough—not paid off a persistent hospital or gotten dentures or anything.

Speaking of parties, the wonks are now fond of calling themselves “grownups” and saying, “The party’s over.”

This wasn’t a party—this was life! We lived our lives. We worked hard, we got a few bucks ahead or could get credit, we got something we needed or wanted. Life is short, death is long.

Now…since bazillions of so-called taxpayer dollars (really Chinese dollars) are at stake, everyone thinks they can critique everyone else.

I have been guilty of this, too. I wondered about those no-paper loans. I had some. Would they require people filing now to show income? Then, I thought—I am not going to get into that. It’s not REALLY my money, even though it is my shared pain.

You can do whatever you want, but I am going to try to lay off peeking into everyone’s life and trying to decide if they are doing what I do or what I think they should do.

Don’t want to pay for someone else’s mortgage? They probably have other gigantic problems.

Anyway, there are so many things in these proposed wads of spending I don’t want to pay for, I would have time to do nothing else if I fretted over all of them. Remember, it’s not really your money—you are just going to have to pay it all back, or someone is.

Judging? Just raises the blood pressure and you may not have all the facts, anyhow.

Agree? Disagree?

Want to see some fatcats perp-walked? No, Star, no, no.

2 comments:

Star Lawrence said...

Don't forget--everyone tunes in on this mess at different points. A friend told me about a woman who had never said anything about the economy and finally my friend asked her about it. She went to her broker and THEN said, OMG, we have to cancel our trips, etc. I see so mnany blog comments about don't have kids, if you can't afford them and so on. We never really planned on the economic system being completely trashed, you see. Kind of never occurred to us.

Star Lawrence said...

The following letter was in the paper and the righteous hopped all over her, of course.
Someone even looked up her house, when she had refinanced... Is it me or is this country really going over the Creepy Cliff?


OK, you paid your bills - so what?
11 commentsMar. 5, 2009 12:00 AM

OK, we all get the point. All of you who lived your life the noble way and saved your money, paid with no credit and didn't overextend yourselves, you deserve congratulations.

Your amount of wisdom in early life is apparently as great as in your later life.

You have managed to defy the normal process of life - with age grows wisdom.

There will be a special place in heaven for your efforts.

I also think we should reward you with special gold stars attached to all future obituaries to highlight your special place in society.