I’m not really sick and tired, fellow bloggers. Rather, I’m sick and fucking tired, but if I used fucking in the title I would probably be de-bloggered. Perhaps I should use the Irish pronunciation, fooking, but I haven’t time to fook around with it right now.
No, I’m more concerned with current media buzzwords like “financial crisis,” “bailout,” and the winner, “700 billion dollars.”
Allow me to tell you a story (geeze, I can hear the snoring already!).
Five years ago August, Martha and I bought our little home, Casa la Dumpa, for $135,000. We qualified for a larger and more expensive house, but we didn’t need a larger and more expensive house: This one had plenty of closet space for Martha’s shoes, so it was just the right fit (a little footwear humor there).
For financing, I insisted on a conventional mortgage: That is, we made a $10,000 down payment from money we had saved while renting for six years, and in return we got a fixed percentage rate and a fixed payment amount for 30 years from a reputable lender. The rate was a little high, but our payment was still $300 less a month than our rent had been.
Our real estate agent, however, told me he could have arranged a better financing deal—something along the lines of almost no money down, a ridiculously low payment of $300 or $400 a month for five years, at the end of which both the rate and payment would change. What he was talking about was an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and the “sub-prime mortgage market”—another current buzzword.
“No fucking way,” I told the agent, who thought I was an asshole for going conventional. The whole deal smelled bad to me, a public accountant who’d smelled bad business deals for thirty years. “What’s going to happen in five years when $300 payments turn into $1,800 or $2,000?” I asked.
Well, we all know what happened, don’t we. I could sit here and gloat about my extreme smartivity, but I won’t: As a result of the sub-prime market, the entire global economy is in the dumper with little or no relief in sight. We still have our little house on the desert with the fixed rate and payment, but Martha has lost ALL of the gains in her two retirement accounts and, as of yesterday, $20,000 of hard-earned principal—and we are helpless to do anything but watch it go up in smoke.
This “financial crisis” may have started with sub-primes and peoples’ greed for expensive houses they neither needed nor saved for, but beyond that I think we’re deep in the middle of a scam again—remember the Saddam and his WMDs scam seven years ago?
I will not, and I cannot, believe that banks, investment houses, and insurance companies need a taxpayer bailout. Like the oil companies, they are all so filthy rich that it is mind-boggling. Talk about greed, shylocking, and usury—banks make millions of dollars a day on credit cards alone, and some credit card rates are as high as 29.9% if ONE payment is missed (JPMorgan/Chase Bank, to be exact).
What makes me skeptical about the aforementioned industries (including oil) is that they have the most powerful lobbyists and PACS (political action committees, which actually write portions of bills for Congress). Isn’t it coincidental, or at the least odd, that the same industries who finance the Republican Party and political campaigns are about to lose their golden-haired boy?
I know that all of you are in the same boat as we are, perhaps much worse, so this rant is for all of us.
[I’ll save my rant on the economy, job losses, outsourcing, free trade agreements, and cheap Chinese-made shit for another time]