Thursday, July 24, 2008

Til Debt Do Us Part

Check out this enlightening, sobering, heartbreaking, infuriating NY Times interactive series about Americans in debt.
I, who am a Flintstone when it comes to finances, have never understood the American custom of buying stuff you can't afford. I have never understood why you want to pay interest on anything that is not a house. If you can't pay in full for it, just don't buy it.
According to the article, the average American has like 8 or 11 different credit cards. WHY?
I have never paid interest on anything and, so help me Gortz*, I never will.
I can see that there is some good in helping people have a house of their own, but helping is the operative word, not tricking people into a lifetime of debt, into foreclosure, into losing their shirts.
If you take out a loan, hopefully you understand that you will be able to pay for it on a long term basis. But even if you do, the rapacious banks will do anything in their power to suck your blood with fees and penalties and obscure transactions. Because they profit from your need. And they got you by the balls. It's your house we're talking about. The very place you live in.
The system is devised to make them rich and to fuck you up. And you are not protected. Nobody cares about your fate. The series shows that people's initial calculations are not unrealistic, for the most part, but life happens and circumstances beyond people's control (illness, sudden unemployment, divorce) can suddenly lead to a nightmare of debt. People do not think enough about savings. Or they do but they can't save. They can't save because they are buying things on credit. So they calculate they can make it to within an inch of their lives. So, for instance, without savings, and sometimes working more than one job, someone suddenly has a serious illness and they can count on going straight to hell. Even with insurance, people cannot afford their healthcare if it requires serious intervention. The government does not step in to save people from foreclosure. The government has made it harder for common people to declare bankruptcy in order to protect the banks. The government protects the insurance companies, not the patients. It does not step in to regulate the most mendacious, evil banking and financial practices, like profiting by selling the debt to investors (this I really don't understand). It actually bails out banks that loan money to people who they know could never pay it back. To the poor. How is the government bailing the banks out? With our tax money, which should be going to things like health and education and the eradication of poverty. And I agree with Barney Frank. Why does the CEO of Fannie Mae make 25 million dollars a year? W.T.F????
It's like we are serfs in the Middle Ages. Where the fuck is our revolution?
Look at the mess we're in, thanks to unchecked greed. You can freaking thank Ronald Reagan and the freaking Republicans for this state of affairs. People can't pay for their homes and they can't sell their homes. The banks are collapsing. I can't believe how the people of this country just let the government and the corporations ram them up the ass with nary a peep. Storm the freaking barricades!

When Obama comes back from his jaunt in Europe, it would behoove him to talk about what the hell he plans to do to stop this.
And I'm still waiting for the day when a bounty is put on Bush's head. I'm still waiting for the day when there is an outcry to put him in the slammer and throw away the key forever. Disgraceful son of a bitch.

*since we don't believe in God, we invoke the closest sounding syllable, Gortz.
Or we could use Joe Pesci, as per George Carlin's suggestion.

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