Monday, November 17, 2008

Let's Get Fiscal

I was not a happy camper. It just wasn't right that, since we lived on a corner lot, all the water washed down the gutter on our side street and left a deposit of sand as it made the turn. I mean, what's a person supposed to do? Six inches of sand spanning about five feet of curved curb -- right next to my house. Where was the City of Phoenix when you needed them, anyway?

Or, so my thinking went.

I grant you that this happened a long time ago, but I still remember my frustration. Clearly!

It was about then that a "truth" hit me. Here it is: if everyone in that city wanted the local government to clean up every mess next to his/her house, how much would it cost? AND, was I willing to pay my share of the taxes?

I began scooping up sand with a new attitude!

This lesson has implications, on both the macro and micro scales. First I heard people complaining about how our federal government planned to deploy their giant scooping machines and take care of some of the accumulated dirt on Wall Street. Now people are grousing because more behemoth scoopers are being sought out by the auto industry. That sand has sure piled up!

Don't get me wrong. I understand the disgruntlement when some politicians are telling us that they are doing us a favor by rescuing those poor people with so much dirt on their big, corner lots. Honestly, I'm disturbed because the money they are using to pay for the operation is something that we will still owe when my grandkids are old -- if the system doesn't collapse before then.

Here's where it gets interesting, though. The problem isn't just with big corporations. It's with us. You and me. Every time one individual or one family decides to live high on the hog today by borrowing (second mortgages?) against tomorrow, we have added to it.

And WE don't get a bailout!

I think it's time to buy a shovel. What do you think?


beckiwithani said...

First, *groan* on the title of this post! :)

I think the U.S. auto industry should be allowed to die like the bloated, outdated behemoth it is. But I do think that the people who are counting on pensions from the industry should get some sort of compensation. Any bailout money should go to the bankrupt pension funds of those who have been working for the auto industry, on a sliding scale determined by how long they have worked. We can't leave them in the cold.

And, if a new U.S. auto industry manages to rise from the ashes, it will be much, much different. Maybe even learn something from Japan and Korea...

C. Beth said...

Great title!

I understand the anger towards mortgage brokers/bankers, investment banks, etc. There was a lot that went on, that shouldn't have.

But I know a lot was due to individual decisions too. Honestly, the people I worked with in real estate who got those "creative" mortgages DID understand the adjustable rates. Those who didn't, needed to ask more questions. I'm not saying the blame is ALL on the consumer; I'm saying it has to be shared between consumers and unscrupulous lenders.

Really, when I sign my name on a piece of paper, what I sign is my responsibility unless I've actually been lied to. I know people would have us believe everyone was lied to, but I can testify that's not nearly the case.

Just like when we decided to put most of The Engineer's 401(k) money in some of the riskier funds, we knew it was...risky! And so we can't be mad at the 401(k) folks that we've lost a lot of money! Thankfully we're young enough we'll probably bounce back just fine. Hopefully!

Heather said...

I so had a comment about this, about the blame not being about reading the fine print or trying to hose people, but that it's about what we find acceptable and what we expect from life. In this, if our drive wasn't for more stuff and quick fixes, we wouldn't create the demand for lenders to be dodgy with their interest rates and terms and whatnot, we would create a demand for respectable dealings rather than the bottom line. But I've had very little sleep and eloquent I am not today.

C. Beth said...

Heather--Very good point.

Unfortunately there's no government bailout for our consumer mentality, is there? And I include myself in that.

Sam said...


Becki, sorry I left you groaning. Thank you for your insight. You often speak with clarity about subjects I touch on and I deeply appreciate it.

Beth, I think I can understand this from a Real Estate perspective, especially when the realtor has integrity (I know that you do). Unfortunately, not everyone does and I'm sure that many people were convinced they could buy more home than they could afford. Thank you for helping us see your point of view.

Heather, you didn't need to be eloquent. You echo the thoughts of Jeremiah (Chapter 17, Verse 9) when he said that the human heart is wicked and desperately sick. Thank you for reminding us that it starts with our own motives.

addhumorandfaith said...

I absolutely agree. I don't know how many would agree with us, but we believe there shouldn't be any bail-outs for anyone. Let the chips of free enterprise fall where they may.

I worked for Harvester when they almost went under years ago. The company went from 100,000 to 10,000employees, but, in the end, it survived. I don't think it would have if the government had stepped in with money.

I keep telling myself I'm going to read Atlas Shrugged because both of our children tell me it speaks to what is going on right now. Unfortunately, I prefer murder mysteries!

J Trout said...

Yeah!!! Lets put the money where it's deserved! I did write a post on my blog (The Water Wheel) last week touching on the responsibility of the public regarding drinking water, one of our most precious resources. Many times people forget about their own responsibility's in life, like preserving the things that are the most important to our survival. There's no bailout for a lack of clean water.

Government agencies can only provide the public with guidelines and consequences for not following their rules. The rest is up to us. Let's all stop spending and start saving....
Saving Our Earth.