Thursday, February 12, 2009


A good friend was complaining that nobody wants to hear that we have to save money. Not Wall Street or the people on Main Street (Market if you're in Philadelphia). He aptly says " . . want to still have their toys". I agree. Having been unemployed for a while, and not a big spender i know this intimately.

I only have two credit cards, both of which are half full, and I only got those so i could build up a credit history to buy a house. So my credit history, besides student loans, is only about three years old. I haven't bought a new article of clothing in nearly a year. I don't save much however, i spend it on my three best friends: Sailor Jerry, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam.

But i realize, as my friend does, that we can't have our cake and eat it too. We can't get the economy pumping again because we have to pay off the credit debts we're already in.

The bigger problem is that now Uncle Sam is doing the same thing that got us into this mess: borrowing money. The medicine that nobody wants to swallow is that we have to cut spending drastically. We have to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. Think about it. 2.5Trillion in consumer debt. That's a monkey on our backs if there ever is one.

In the hearings, Secretary Geitner said they had to manage the sweetspot between pumping enough money into the economy to stop the hemorraging but not enough to create a bigger disaster. It's like surgery, taking a sharp instrument to cut around and extract a bullet. Consumers will have to play the same game (operation). We have to manage paying down our debts, saving money and buying at least the goods. The world of three TV's in a house, new cars and disposable clothes are over.

The problem is that nobody in Washington, Wall Street, Main STreet or Market street is realizing this in public discourse. We're silently moaning about this to themselves everytime they look at their bills.
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