Toby's Issues: The Financial Crisis

Times are tough. Banks are collapsing, asking for bailouts of their bailouts. People are saddled with bad debt: houses worth less than their mortgages, mountains of credit card debt for crap they didn't need but were encouraged to buy, job uncertainty, an economy contracting, fuel prices on an adult-sized roller coaster ride. Some have lost their jobs already, and in this economy, they're not sure where or when the next job coming from. Let's face it, New York, we are at war.

The times indeed are tough, but we need to be tougher and we can. As George Bush stood on the rubble Ground Zero and announced that “the people who knocked these buildings down would hear from us soon.” Not literally, of course, because the guys who knocked the buildings down were already dead....unless Bush meant we'd all be dead soon. Actually, I don't know what he meant. Anyway the point is, when war is involved, America always rises to the occasion: whether it's The War to End All Wars (World War I), or The New War to End All Wars (World War II), or Korea, or Vietnam, or the War on Drugs, or the War on Terrorism, America is always ready, and always will be ready.

That's why it's time to say it: there's a new war in town. It's called The War on the Financial Crisis to End All Wars on All Financial Crises Forever, and requires our immediate support. Now, like any war there are a number of steps that need to be taken. They're pretty easy:

  1. Identify the Enemy

  2. Make a Strategy for Victory

  3. Mobilize Resources

  4. Kick Some Tail

1. Identify the Enemy:

There are a lot of enemies on this one. Remember those ads from Citigroup, “Live Richly”? They're on the list. All mortgage brokers, so-called professionals, with zero ethics and zero education, working purely on commissions and quarterly bonuses, double-talking little old ladies on fixed incomes to take on $500,000 mortages, they're on the list. All sleazeball financiers making money off of trading abstract values on computer screens, working in things like derivatives, and special-purpose entities, as if capital wasn't related to real things, they're on the list.

Also on the list: people who listen to the credit card companies, the technology companies, the advertising companies, the real estate companies, who kept saying, “go ahead, you deserve it!” People who bought too much. People who think more stuff will make them happy. I got a buddy who got swindled out of lot of money at a poker game in Thailand and you know what he says? “Only greedy people get scammed.”

Now that we have identified the enemy, I think it is pretty obvious that the enemy is at least, in part, us.

2. Make a Strategy for Victory:

This comes in two parts. For that part of the enemy that is NOT us, all we need to do is convince a sizeable portion of the American populace that these financial scumbags are hiding weapons of mass destruction. The rest should follow like clockwork.

For the enemy that is us, however, this is more difficult. I think we need to use this experience to grow wiser. There is an old Russian proverb that says, “It is a wise man who learns from the mistakes of others. It is a fool who can only learn from his own.” Well, we obviously haven't learned anything from the mistakes of the Great Depression, which means we're basically a bunch of fools. I think we all deserve a big spanking for getting a little too greedy and big for our britches.

This brings be to 3. Mobilize resources: We oughtta suffer a little. Not too much, though. No one should lose their homes and be out on the street. No one should be backed up against the wall with creditors so bad they can't afford food. The government should step in, and make laws the require credit companies to work with you to pay off your debts without screwining you for ten years on your credit rating. After all, they're a little culpable for the predatory lending, and if they can't be counted on the lend responsibly, then the government should make sure they collect responsibly. However, if it isn't a primary residence, a primary means of transportation, a suit fot work, education or healthcare-realted, or food, I say they got a right to take it back and you gotta give it up: Give up the flat screen, the gas guzzling SUV you shouldn't've had in the first place, all the extra clothes and shoes, the stupid collection of garden gnomes you've wasted a life away on ebay trying to complete. Find satisfaction in yourself, in being alive, cuz in the end, all you got is you. There will always be more stuff, but there will never be another you. Together will be stronger when we ALL come out the other side of the big mess. (minus the people on the list.) How are we gonna do this? You're gonna elect me. I will have a mandate. With me, we will start the biggest set of demonstrations, consumer advocacy and letter-writing campaings the world has ever seen.

All the will enable to 4. Kick Some Tail. Nuff said.