Buy Now, Pay And Pay And Pay Later

When I’m not plotting to turn America into a Socialist nation, I tend to spend time thinking about where we are as a country, and a little less time worrying about how we got here.  There is ample evidence that we are financially illiterate. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we tend to be stunningly uninformed about a great many things.  Ask the average person walking down the street who their Senators are, and you will be shocked by how many wouldn’t know.  In 04, I asked people at a flea market a series of basic civics questions, and, well, applied for my passport after hearing the answers.  Its pretty bad out there. I read the articles linked above, but I was a little frustrated with how easy the authors seemed to let everyone off the hook…parents, teachers, politicians, churches, and, of course, the individuals themselves.  Yes, I omitted the banks , because I’m reminded of the story of the scorpion and the frog.  Banks can’t help themselves, its their nature.

Not long ago, a friend of mine, struggling with a mountain of revolving debt, asked me, “what do you think would happen if everyone just stopped paying?”  I remember answering him by explaining that one of the greatest swindles of all time was extending unsecured credit to people, then, after they borrow their limit, getting them to by some time by “consolidating” that debt by securing it with real property.  But, that didn’t answer his question, it just let me rant a little.  Today, I saw this:

So, I hope he sees this, though I don’t recommend this course of action.  The lady in the video says her credit score may no longer matter since “the banks aren’t lending money anyway”, and while that may be true, among the consequences of a poor credit score not having access to loans isn’t one of them.  You can borrow, only at rates that would make a street-level loan shark blush.  You won’t be able to easily take advantage of cell phone plans, satellite TV, car insurance, and, more and more, employment.  Everyone preys upon those without the financial clout to fight back.  Its an almost impossible mountain to climb, (getting back your credit score) that you would probably be better off back-packing across Europe for around 7 years, then just starting over.

This article makes an important point.  The global economy has largely been fueled by consumer debt, at least in the last 70 years.  Our grandparents knew better, didn’t they?  Didn’t those that survived the Great Depression have a fear of debt?  Did your grandparents pay cash for everything, or do without?  Mine did.  Hell, my parents did, for that matter.  The article goes on to say that if this new consumer model is the now the norm, it will take five years or more of this economy to absorb those laid off in the process.  That sounds too good to be true.  Yes, millions of folks will suffer for those 60 months, but anyone who has financed a car for that long without a down-payment knows all about suffering anyway, right?  I kid, but 60 months isn’t a lifetime.  Its roughly the amount of time I spent getting a Community College degree. 😉

Seriously, a five year long job drought will wreak havoc on this country, and probably usher in another Republican administration, but, in the end, if it stops this ridiculous race to acquire more and more junk we can’t afford and forces us to conserve, and save….I’m in.

Hey y’all, disc golf is free.  You exercise, and get to spend time with friends and/or family outside. A perfect sport for the new economy.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Buy Now, Pay And Pay And Pay Later

  1. I myself pay cash for everything except my mortgage and (sadly) my car. I move in a circle of other folks who do the same.

    And while this recession has been hard in a lot of ways, none of us have really felt it all that much–even those who have been without work.

    Because we’ve all lived AT or UNDER our means for so long, having the ability to live above our means taken away really had very little direct effect on us.

    I’m not saying that I don’t hate the way the recession has treated folks. But I am saying that it’s been a lot easier to handle for those folks I know not crippled by debt.

  2. Absolutely, Kat. But “those folks” are far and few between, I fear. Most people are a paycheck away from disaster.

  3. Pingback: Crises Precipitate Change : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  4. woody

    Our parents weren’t deluged with ads and tv shows and movies, commercials, etc. that showed us wonderful things and new inventions that would change our lives. Things that would make us “belong”. They make us believe we are outsiders if we don’t have these “things”. A teenager without a cell phone today is an alien to other teenagers, even our government is encouraging us to get rid of our old gas guzzling paid for cars to buy shiny new “green” ones. On credit of course. The world is shooting ahead at full speed and no one wants to be left behind even if it means selling our souls to the new devil, corporate greed.

  5. Yup. I had my share of problems with that program as well.

  6. Spending by us consumers has been the main engine of the economy for decades. With unemployment still high – and it won’t go a lot lower for a few years – this little engine ain’t going to make it up the hill very easily.

    We buy, and use plastic to do it, but we’re strictly in it for the bonus points and pay the bill off when it comes in – or at least we do as long as I’ve got a job.

  7. The age of marketing is an excuse, not a reason. I’m young enough to remember outrageously prices jeans and sneakers as being “absolute essentials”. Those of us with working brains said “That’s stupid” and lived within our means.

    There are a few of us out there. The only debt is the mortgage (30 year fixed rate). The credit cards are paid off generally weekly (thank you internet banking).

    Sure, times are tough, but chance favors the prepared mind.

  8. Yes, EX, thats why I said the individual must take some responsibility…but, we do little to prepare those behind us.

  9. Forgive me a little schadenfreude after watching so many of my coworkers overs these past ten years buying McMansions and Escalades, and wondering “how can they afford that?” Then seeing them go belly up when things went sucky.

    And you wonder why I’m against bankruptcy forgiveness. Screw ’em.

  10. Did you know that the chick in your video is preparing for the “End of Days”?

    If I believed that the world was about to end any day now, I’d default on my credit cards too.

  11. One more thing: The link above points out that mosts people do not have any adequate preparation for their retirement.

    How much is that going to screw us? The extended family ain’t what it used to be. Who’s going to take care of the hoards of bozos who didn’t plan for retirement, don’t have any family to take them in, and are too old to work at Walmart.

  12. democommie

    Exador:

    “Who’s going to take care of the hoards of bozos who didn’t plan for retirement, don’t have any family to take them in, and are too old to work at Walmart”

    Mack gave us your address. Look out your window!

  13. democommie

    Mack:

    I have oodles of free exercise equipment (shovels, rakes, pickaxes, hammers, hoes–garden and cement–large pieces of plywood, sheetrock and lumber. It’s all free to use, but it has to stay on site.

    People are not only financially illiterate, they LIKE being that way–until, of course, the itshay hits the anfay.

  14. Demo,

    If we put them on ice floes, at least global warming should speed up the process.

    Wait a minute…I’m seeing a solution to the polar bear problem…

  15. democommie

    Only if you make a recipe. One idiot from each end of the spectrum, plus one polar bear, per ice floe.

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