That’s the advice my father gave to me, when I first found myself in debt up to my eyeballs. I thought he simply didn’t understand. I explained, as patiently as I could, that things like cable TV and renting videos were necessities – not luxuries. I explained how I simply needed more money, and since I worked for him, it was his responsibility to pay me more so I could maintain my standard of living.
He patiently explained that “when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is to stop digging.” There’s no way to spend yourself out of debt. I learned the truth of that, unfortunately, the hard way. “Making do” became a part of my vocabulary, just as “discretionary income” and “charge it” became a thing of the past.
Here’s the problem…when it’s just you – or you, your wife, and your kids – it’s not that difficult to get everybody on board the “let’s watch every penny” train. When you’re a nation, not so much, if only because a lot of the people that are the beneficiaries of “tax and spend” policies vote. Continue reading The first thing you do, is to stop digging.
I’m a big fan of Gilbert & Sullivan. In their immortal operetta, The Gondoliers, the ingeneue’s father, the Duke of Plaza-Toro (Count Matadoro, Baron Picadoro), realizes that being a member of the nobility is at odds with his current, destitute state of affairs. His novel solution was to apply for by the public under the Limited Liability Company Act. In American terms, that means he “went public,” offering shares in his Dukedom on the stock exchange. If Gilbert & Sullivan were alive today, I’m sure they’d write The Gondoliers II – The Baratarian Pirates Strike Back, where they’d script the Duke in debt once again, applying to the government for a bailout.
First it was the mortgage companies.
Then the insurance companies.
Next it was the automobile companies.
Now the credit card companies step up for a handout.
Will somebody please tell me where this governmental largess (with OUR friggin’ money!) will end? Continue reading Where will it all end?
I got a bad feeling about this, Sundance.
Today, the market is (finally) reacting to reality, that no amount of government funny money is gonna be able to cheat the hangman on this one. The idea that the government (who by relaxing regulations and subsequently forcing lenders to grant home loans to credit-unworthy borrowers) could fix this by pumping a few billion dollars (which the government didn’t have to begin with) into the system is patently absurd. So the market does what markets do (when allowed to work as they should) – they react to reality and adjust accordingly. For those that think that the descent from 10,000 is a tragedy unheard of in modern times – get a grip. This ain’t over yet. This is simply the end of the beginning. And the more the Feds monkey with things, the worse it’s gonna get, and the longer it will take for the market to recover. In point of fact, you can argue that a DOW of over 10,000 was an illusion, and the current number is much more reflective of reality. When everyone pretends that everyone else has money, it’s no big deal. The minute somebody has the gall to call in a chit, the whole house ‘o cards comes a-tumblin’ down. Continue reading Welcome to the Mother of all Mondays.
As I write this, the bailout bill went down to defeat.
From where I sit, the bill was flawed from the get-go. To start with, the boneheads that screwed the markets up to begin with (Committee chairs Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer, et all) claiming that they know what to do to fix this mess. That’s rather like giving a fox the keys to the hen house, and a fresh supply of chickens, immediately after he’s eaten the previous stock. Not a good idea.
With taxpayers of all political persuasions screaming blue murder about this bill, I’m not surprised that it failed. While it’s amusing to see Congressmen running for cover like so many cockroaches in a kitchen during a 3AM snack binge, the results are, we have an institution that is dedicated to two propositions (getting reelected and maintining the status quo) forced to face the music with voters. Continue reading If “Pro” is the opposite of “Con”…what is opposite of “Progress”?