Sunday, September 28, 2008

Be a Man: Burst Your Own Bubble

The politicians have it wrong, and purposely so. They tell us it is the bank executives and the Wall Street hotshots who have created this financial mess. Of course, these high-end muckety-mucks are complicit in this sordid affair. But the biggest culprit is the average consumer, and his utter determination to get something for nothing.

Even now, the politicians are setting the stage for more of the same. They are about to create a "magic bank" wherein much of our bad debt will fit. What will be left, theoretically, is good debt - debt that represents the true value, not only of our actual transactions, but interestingly, of what we can afford.

Yes, what we cannot afford goes into the "magic bank." No penalty for our sins? Well, yes, there will be a penalty - we hear about it all of the time - "the taxpayer will pay." Okay. But what does that mean? It means money each of us has paid in taxes will be used to sop up that bad debt. Funny, how ambivalent it all feels - we believe them, and we resent the notion that "the taxpayer (me) will pay," but we don't feel it - not really. It doesn't hurt.

In fact, we are released, as it were, from our sins, and then are told to get out there and sin some more - i.e., spend, spend, spend - as though nothing has happened; all in order to perpetuate the illusion of prosperity. People will be encouraged to buy more homes, more cars, more furs and diamonds, and more plane tickets to anywhere, simply because that is what makes us rich - spending. What?

Stop it! This is not simply a mortgage mess; it is a credit mess. We have bought too much of what we do not need and cannot afford. Buying things we cannot afford - even holding a credit card - gives us the illusion of success. "Success" is really what we all want. Many of us, failing at financial success," settle for the illusion of success, which is credit.

The politicians and other so called "leaders" need to be telling us, "If you don't need to go to Chicago, don't go. If you can't afford dinner at Andre's, go to Popeye's; better yet, cook. If you don't have it don't spend it!"

Why won't they tell us this? They don't have the hearts to burst our pretty little bubbles. So I say to you what I say to my beloved sons and daughters; Burst your own bubble. You're man enough; you're woman enough. Burst it. You will not die. You will simply begin to live like real men and women.

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