Posted by voolavex in Politics & Religion, Uncategorized.
Tags: bailout, bankrupt, Bean pies, broker, Brownie, Bush, CEO's, Detroit, drving smug, granite counters, Hank Paulson, hedge funds, HGTV, houses, Hummers, hybrid, Katrina, Middle Class, Ratan Tata, Shabazz Bakery, the bailout, Three Card Monte, Wall Street
We all have watched with a sort of sickening amazement as the economy hit bottom in the last few months (years?). I keep thinking of things that shouldn’t be surprising and yet people can’t seem to get a grip on some of them.
Houses. Back when house loans were being hawked like bean pies on every corner* – why on earth did anyone imagine a person with no money, no credit history, no ability to read the fine print (and in fact – who does?) should get a house? How did that concept become a good idea? I didn’t think it was a good idea but I have never wanted to own a house – nonetheless, uncounted numbers did and do and so they sold their soul to the devil, signed the ARM and got a chance to live in their car. Didn’t a little bell go off and say – this cannot be right? And people didn’t just go for little sheds – they wanted those big ugly tract homes with the wrong proportions and the wrong doors for their family of 4 or 5. I blame HGTV for that part. Flip That House, Flop This House, granite counters, work islands, hardwood floors. THE GREAT ROOM. Get real. Bigger and uglier is not always the way to go. Which came first – the big, ugly house, or the features that go with? Those dream houses are bad dreams and aftermath is a nightmare. It is hard to weep for folks too thick to say – whoa – too good to be true - but maybe it isn’t. It could have been me no matter what I believe inside.
And Detroit. Didn’t they see it coming? I did. I drive a really great used car. One owner; pristine, cheap and good on gas. I can even fit a baby seat should I need one and a dog crate – which I won’t. And this is L.A. – no one has sneered at me yet – but I have been pushed off the street frequently by morons in SUV’s texting and talking. The SUV’s are gas guzzlers and the phone use is just dangerous – I love the phones but if you’re going to text while driving – why can’t I do the NY Sunday Times crossword when I drive? Car lots are overflowing with unsold cars. How many can you drive at once. And why does the Miami-Dade CSI team need those Hummers? Maybe if the Big Three and their minions had worked harder at making cars and and less time patting each other the back we might actually know someone who’s driven a Ford lately.
Hybrid cars. I really want one for the obvious reason. I can’t afford one but it hasn’t stopped me from wanting one. People who do have them however have not been elevated to the Communion of Saints for their purchase. Driving smug is as dumb as the texting thing – you can’t really do it well. Hybrid owners drive smug. It totally negates the good thing the car represents. I am growing to hate the drivers while still loving the cars – that is some sort of Christian thing I do not understand.
Wall Street. Didn’t anyone read The Bonfire of the Vanities. Watched Wall Street? Yes you did. Three Card Monte artists in power ties and striped shirts. Short sales, puts, calls, brokerage, pork bellies, metals, in-is-der trading? I knew about this years before there were computers. We had separate phone just for the broker – at home. When every call to your broker was a chance to buy more dog stocks because the broker’s pitch was so alluring. Hedge funds (I still am not sure what they are but it cannot be legal). And while you bought – they bought and they spent and you paid and they lived large and you spent and they did not regulate themselves (as Alan imagined they would ) and now you may see them in front of Bloomingdale’s (Lex Ave doors) playing Three Card Monte for real. Your pension plan. Don’t even go there. You do not want to see it.
Bankrupt stores. Stores that sell cheap crap at inflated prices. Too many stores that sell cheap crap at inflated prices. Too many folks who are going broke trying to lure underpaid, overworked humans in to buy the cheap stuff. I want to blame China. It’s hard not to blame China but it’s not all China’s fault -in fact I should blame the vendors not the makers because we order it and they create it and we palm it off as “collectible” or “hot and “must have”. So while I am distraught for the many “Big Box” stores that are biting the big dust – didn’t they suspect something? In many cases I would say good riddance to cheap rubbish but the loss of jobs is what keeps me from too much Schadenfreude. I don’t think the loss of the giants will actually be so bad though – we may stop the imports from the outsources and try to make it here.
The Middle Class. Somewhere along the line the term “middle class” has become a filthy thing to be called. But it’s about the same as being a real person – and real is good. But no one wants to be middle class. Why not. Because you can’t be middle class and be a celebrity? You can be no class and be a star (No talent too). You lack importance? To whom? Here’s a clue – it’s not that important. You don’t want to be the underclass (which is actually the lower class in terms of income – most people do try to escape that) but why not middle class? Because in terms of cash flow you are just an Earth tad above the working poor and Space tad below the Very Rich. Yet you can have a high functioning brain and skills and be middle class. A real person. We pretend there is no class stratification in this country but it’s a lie. But in this country we confuse money with class. So we have a term for it – Nouveau Riche. Class is a state of mind that is okay. Politeness, good manners, speaking well (but not pontificating) and having a sense of style and taste gives you a classless sort of class – even dead broke. People who read for pleasure have class. Informed people have class. Black folks use a perfect term for it: ”the way you carry yourself”. That is real class – middle class – and it’s not a bad thing. I would rather be known for the way I carry myself than for my bank account and what it buys. At this point in time – we, of the middle class have been around enough to be old money. One does not have to be to the manner born – it’s just a good idea to know what the manner is and learn from it. And enjoy being middle class. Real. We are the engine that runs the world. Even the president-elect says so.
Ratan Tata- If you don’t recognize the name – check Wikipedia. He shows us how the concept “Good thoughts Good Words Good Deeds” has actually worked for hundreds of years in a still developing country. He is very wealthy. I do believe he did not set aside his beliefs to get that way.
The Bailout. Hank Paulson should change his name to Brownie. His handling of the so-called Bailout is being handled about the same way Brownie handled Katrina. Someone please take the money away from Hank..
There’s more – but this is enough today What do you think?.
*The sale of bean pies by well dressed, polite young men on street corners still exists and I respect it greatly. That it exists only in certain areas is a statement about many other things. If you have a chance, though, buy one. Can’t find a corner – try a Shabazz Bakery.