The following contains my completely uneducated and largely uninformed views of the current financial crisis facing our country.
It's mostly made up.
There are some stupid things happening financially, and people are beginning to panic, and the gubmint is considering giving some $150 billion to people in tax breaks and rebate checks for taxes that we may or may not have paid.
That doesn't seem smart to me, and someone with more financial acumen can feel free to explain it to me. I understand that a lot of people are feeling a big pinch right now, and a lot of people are in a shitload of trouble because they bought more house than they could afford on mortgages that had adjustable rates that adjusted the fuck out of them last year. So a bunch of people ended up getting their asses foreclosed upon, and they're fucked.
That sucks, no question. BUT, nobody held a gun to anyone's head forcing them to buy a big house that they couldn't afford, and nobody made them sign on for an adjustable rate mortgage that then blew up on them. I understand the appeal - we've been told forever to buy more house than we can afford, and I certainly did the same thing. It's only been in the past two years that I could really afford my house payment, and I've been in my house for over 8 years. But I struggled through it, made my house payments, and moved right along.
But the folks that couldn't, got foreclosed on, and that led to banks, who wrote thousands and thousands of these silly loans, losing billions of dollars. But listening to a bank cry about losing billions of dollars feels a lot like listening to oil companies whine about tough times while booking record profits in 2007. These companies are still profitable, maybe just not as insanely profitable as they appeared to be a year ago. But there must still be a pile of money to be made in mortgages, because Bank of America is in the process of buying Countrywide right in the middle of this mess. Not the kind of move you'd expect a company to make if there wasn't a good chance for a pile of profit, it it?
So a bunch of people lost their houses, and that sucks. But it's (at least partially) their fault for buying more house than they could afford with payments that seemed too good to be true. That led to developers building fewer houses, and that leads to less work for people who build houses for a living. Now those guys really do have a legitimate whine. They build things. That's it. When people aren't buying all the things that have already been built, there's no need to build more things. And people that have lost their homes don't typically buy a lot of other shit, so folks that build things to be sold, or sell things might not have as much to do, either.
Except people are still buying things. I haven't seen any tumbleweeds blowing around car lots lately, and the registers at Best Buy are still ringing merrily along. And there's practically nothing in that store that could be considered a necessity, with the exception of a few appliances.
So what am I saying? I'm saying that unless you own a big pile of Countrywide stock and are planning to retire this year, or are in a similar situation with another company that took it on the chin in this housing debacle, you're probably not in terrible shape. Yeah, my 401(k) took a shit the past couple of months, but that's money I'm not touching for a couple of DECADES. I think that regardless of any current issues, there will still be a lot more money in there in 25 years than there is right now.
So why the panic? Why is this issue the front page of so many newspapers and news websites? Because there's nothing more interesting going on. The race for who will be the next leader of the free fucking WORLD is taking a backseat to market hysteria, which the media is doing nothing but fueling. Joe Six-Pack doesn't know fuckall about the stock market, and only knows that it's bad that the Dow dropped below 12,000 because somebody told him it was a bad thing. If CNN and the other major news media didn't feel it necessary to pull a Chicken Little every time some big company didn't make as many bajillion dollars as they initially thought they would, most people with a little bit of money invested would just sit back and say "if I wanted safe, I'd have bought a CD."
Now I could be completely ignorant, not that that's ever stopped me before, but I really feel like the shallow ledes in most news articles on this shit is a big contributing factor in the hysteria. If they'd start off articles with something like - "Really, it sucks today, but it'll be okay in six months," then people would be less concerned. Of course, they'd sell far fewer papers and get less hits that way. It's interesting that at this point troop casualties are buried, if even reported, while the Dow dropping to 12,000 is front page news. In a year, the Dow will be over 15,000. But those kids will still be dead.
Financial markets fluctuate. As long as people are still working, and there are plenty of jobs in NC if you're willing to live here to take them, there is a decent economy. What I don't like is the idea of mortgaging our country's future to bail out the current pile of shit. $150 billion economic stimulus package is what's being touted by liars from both parties and the administration. See, I'm being all even-handed here, they're all fuckwits, not just W. I understand the concept of heading off a bigger crisis, but if they're not willing to raise taxes or cut spending somewhere to pay for that $150 billion, then it's just bad business. No, I don't want to pay any more taxes than I already do. But if you're going to spend the money, it's gotta come from somewhere. And if we want our government to spend money on 'economic stimulus,' that money has to come from somewhere.
So in typically long-winded fashion, I'm saying that I don't think there's nearly the financial crisis that the media is claiming there is, and if they'd all just shut up for a day or so, that a lot of stability would come around after a week or so. But they won't say that, because that's not interesting. I'm also saying that as much as I'd like a $1600 check from the gubmint, I'd rather they not send out $150 billion to all us folks if that's money that doesn't really exist.
Think I'm an idiot? It's entirely possible. Use the comment field to tell me so.