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.