Putting (Fire Sale) on the Ritz.

1 10 2008

Okay, so… I guess I’m just going to come right out and say it, I’m broke.

That’s right, every body’s favourite power dyke in training does not have a pot to piss in. I’ve got maybe a shot glass at best. But now I’ve got the image of a urine filled shot glass in my mind and I’m very very uncomfortable.

Anyhoods, after a losing an epic battle with credit cards (that I lived off of when I was 20 and in NYC and subsisting on one bagel with butter, a cup of tea and a packet of ramen noodles a day [but at least I paid rent {after I moved out of hostels}! And my phone bill!]), about six months ago I put myself into a debt management program. I felt completely irresponsible about the debt situation I was in and walked around feeling shamed for the first few months. I felt guilty about the sorry state that I’d gotten myself in and I felt that, as it was my own dumb fault, I needed to get my shit together and take the steps to set shit right so that I could have the future that I wanted to have.

And the thing about that future is that it’s a future for and with my Girl and our future kid (who I will refer to a Theo -because that’s what I want to name her. Ideally I’d name her Theo Rudith… but that’s getting into my Cosby Show obsession and I think that that’s a post for another time.).
It’s nice when I think about framing it as a desire to do right for my chosen family. It’s also pretty sweet when I think about framing it as a desire not to have creditors calling my ass at all times. Like when Rachel Maddow is on. Or when I’m at work wondering what Rachel Maddow will say on that evening’s show. Or when I’m in the shower racking my brain for ways to make Tina Fey my friend. These are all inconvenient times for me.

So I’ve got no credit. I’m with a great program that has reduced my ARPs and taken over the negotiations with my creditors. I pay a set monthly amount and in five years I’ll be debt free. It will take me more than five years to repair the initial damage that I did to my credit but I am in it for the long hall.

So what, then, do I think about the current financial crisis?

I dunno.

That’s the real and true answer. I go back and forth several times daily about whether or not I’m indifferent or smug or scared.
Mostly I just feel like, Damn! I was beating myself up over less than $20K of debt (and not even the shoes to show for it) and these fuckers at these hugeHUGE institutions were turning the whole market into a charnel house and they are totally uncowed/bowed/repentant.

They’re not.
They’re pissed.
The bigbig guys at the very top of the chain are throwing their hands up in the air, shrugging and saying, “MarciaMarciaMaria, little people! I mean, I’m going to have to pass on that little island that I’ve had my eye on this year. Do you know how crappy it’s going to be to have to go to the villa again this year? Italian villas are so last quarter. I wanted my island!”

Rachel Maddow has been working out this charming metaphor about Halloween and candy and kid barf for the past week or so.


Senator Judd Gregg has likened the whole thing to a massive wreck on a highway.

I like to think of it as chickens coming home to roost. And you know what happens when chickens come home to roost: shit. And lots of it.

Indifferent BPD thinks:
Well, this is how the market works. We have bull times. We have bear times. We haven’t had a real game-shaking dip since my grandma was a white-girl knifer in the backwoods of Tennessee. The market needs these generation shaping dramatic swings to self-clean/adjust. Everything will be fine. In six months we’ll be a more manageable place and in 10 years from now the market will be much healthier. Oh well.

Smug BPD thinks:
I’ll be in a better financial state long before Wall Street will. Serves ‘em right. Haha!

Scared BPD thinks:
People have lost their homes. There is no credit available to restructuring these toxic mortgages.
If the GOP succeeds and disqualifying voters who’ve lost their homes to foreclosure what’s that going to do to votes for Barack Obama.
Our dependency on foreign oil is soon to be replaced by our dependency on foreign currency and then what’ve we got?
Do we have enough money to make sure that this doesn’t adversely affect the troops getting the materials that they need to stay safe?
Oh shit!

These conflicting BPDs leave me unable to come up with a definitive vote for or against the idea of a “bail out.”

First of all, “bail out” is the wrong thing to say to try and get the support of most Americans. Most Americans have anywhere between a thimble and a bowl to piss in and aren’t spilling any of that by trying their fortunes (heh!) on Wall Street.
You’ll be hard pressed to gain the support of your constituents, many of whom have lost their homes, are in the process of trying not to lose their homes or know someone who has or is in the process of trying not to lose their homes by packaging this as a “bail out” for Wall Street.
You’ll be hard pressed to gain support of constituents whose sons or daughters or mothers or fathers or brothers or sisters or aunts or uncles or nieces or nephews are fighting on the front lines in shoddy armor supporting a “bail out” amounting to billions of dollars for assflakes on Wall Street.
The same goes for constituents who can’t afford health insurance and have been told that universal (or hell, even just wide-range and widely accessible) health insurance is bad because of the damage that socializing industry poses on the market supporting a government welfare package for that same market.
And don’t even get me started about the people on welfare who’ve been treated as pariahs by this Administration.

So what I’m saying is I totally get why people are fucking pissed off about the idea of the average taxpayers being told that the bill is ours to foot.

It’s like when you go out to dinner with a group of friends when you’re on a budget.
The waiter comes to the table and asks, “One check for the table or separate?”
You say, “Separate checks” but other members at the table say, “No just one check, it’s okay. We’ll split it ourselves.”
And then some of those same fucking friends order expensive dish after expensive dish and like five appetizers and you have like a fucking house salad and some tap water and then some of your friends leave early and leave like, exactly the price of their entrees and omit money for the appetizers (which you didn’t eat because you couldn’t afford to pay), tax and tip.
And there you are with your fucking 40 bucks which is supposed to last you for the next three days until pay day and your 15 dollar meal (which, whatthefuck! It was a salad with wilted lettuce. I swear sometimes these New York prices are fucking unbelievable!) and you realize that these so-called friends of yours have just cost you all $40.
That kind of shit is enough to make you want to set your friends’ pants on fire.

And that’s friends.

Wall Street, is not, and has never been friends with most American taxpayers and yet here we are sitting at the fucking table looking at the money in our sweaty slowly convulsively tightening fist and knowing that those bitchnasties stiffed us again.

That makes a person want to call up the representative and, being careful not to yell at her because she still might be smarting from not winning the nomination of her party (especially when it’s obvious that her husband who, at one time, you greatly respected, can’t get over it and has better things to say about McSame than the DNC’s nominee and you kind of want to tell her to get his ass in check), tell her firmly that you are against this whole “bail out” business.

On the other hand, I’m a little nervous that without some sort of solution to increase liquidity in the market the global markets will realize that they really don’t need America at all. And that, I think, could almost be worse than what’s happening right now.

Let’s face it, the dollar is already deep in the crapper. America’s exports have fallen to their lowest in generations. Our educational system is in shambles and no one’s even stealing our technology anymore. All that we’ve got is the illusion that the world markets need the American market in order to play.

It’s like America has convinced everyone that the sandbox in the park is actually America’s very own private sandbox and the park is their very own backyard and that the other kids can only play if America is there to let them.
Right now, America is fucking grounded. Like, all summer AND a good part of Fall grounded.
For the first couple of days the rest of the kids will be totally bummed. And then one of them, (it only takes one) will swing by the sandbox and realize that it’s not America’s. It’s a fucking PARK and anyone can play at will. That kid tells the other kids and soon, it’s a free for all. Late Autumn rolls around and America’s finally free and says, “I’m back! We can play again!” and the other kids scoff and say, “Dude, it’s not your sandbox. It’s OURS now and we don’t want you to play with us. We don’t need you.”

And dudes, I know that America can totally be a bully. And know that most people don’t want to play with us anyway. But I don’t think that I’m ready for the world to know that it doesn’t NEED us.
Because then where would we be?

I guess we’re going to find out because, as you know, the bail out totally wiped out.

Dead.

It is as dead as Elvis.

And here’s where I think that it went wrong: asked for too much money. Seven hundred billion dollars is too much. Sometimes even the most trendy fashionista has to say to herself, “I cannot afford these Jimmy Choos.” (Sexy as though they may be.)

Your favourite power dyke in training OFTEN says to herself, “I just cannot afford this Slim Jim.” And I love me a Slim Jim. The point is that sometimes spending limits are necessary for the future health of our wallets.

The most recent plan was for $700B was at least $450B too much to ask for. At least.
Especially when the plan called for an initial installment of $250B. I just think that if $700B were the actual amount needed to stem the tide it wouldn’t be parsed out. The fact is that $700B is not what is needed to stem the tide; it’s the price for building a whole dam.
And what does the government’s building of the dam do for the Wall Street Execs who blew the fucker up in the first place?
Nothing.
Not a single thing. Would you give a child an exact replacement of the toy that they wantonly destroyed?
No. You would withhold the toy to teach the child a lesson. You would make the child, if he so desired, buy another toy with his own money. You wouldn’t just say, “Here Billy, here’s another fire truck for you!”

Well, not if you want a responsible respectful child.
But it seems that by offering to completely repave Wall Street instead of making it at least partially responsible for its self-inflicted pot holes the government has given up all hope (and interest) of having a responsible healthy Wall Street.

But you know what REALLY gets my goat?

That’s right, the eldest Billy Goat Gruff in the barn, John “Maverick” McCain. With the current president running around saying things like, “This sucker could go down” and freaking people out it would be really great to be able to turn somewhere comforting.

It was incredibly disappointing, more so than I anticipated, that John McCain once again showed no concern for comforting America.
His concern was for gaining points in the election.

“Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process,” Mr. McCain said, before adding in almost the same breath: “Now is not the time to fix the blame. It’s time to fix the problem.”

That’s right, “now is not the time to fix the blame” that’s because thirty-seconds ago, when he was blaming Barack Obama, was time to “fix the blame.”

This is your candidate, GOP.

This is my candidate:

“It’s important for the American public and the markets to stay calm – because things are never smooth in Congress – and to understand that it will get done,” Mr. Obama said. “We are going to make sure that an emergency package is put together, because it is required for us to stabilize the markets.”

See you at the polls bitches.