Thursday, September 18, 2008

A return to common sense

This morning I read a surprisingly balanced article on the current financial crisis from The Washington Post. I nearly choked on my bacon. How can you write an article about the Wall Street meltdown without painting thousands of indebted consumers as the victims of greedy corporate barons? Aren't we all just helplessly having consumer credit stuffed down our throats? Didn't we all have risky mortgages forced upon us and now we can't pay them, what with our two car payments and maxed out credit cards?

Apparently, consumers are just as greedy as corporate executives when it comes to abusing credit. Imagine that. The article's headline was what grabbed me: "Crisis signals end to cheap credit." More display text explained: With foreigners no longer willing to back lavish U.S. lifestyle, American households may finally have to stop spending. That would mean recession."

The article explains, according to an economist, that absent a total U.S. government bailout to keep the system afloat, the only other choice is for Americans to finally put their spending in line with their incomes and their need for long-term savings.

Wow. Let that sink in.

Seems so simple. Spend less than you earn, save what you can. Sounds boring, I know. But really, it's afforded my husband and I a peace of mind that no amount of money can buy. Even staring down possible unemployment or eight to 10 weeks away from work after a new baby, we're not worried. (Of course, I'm wondering when we should grab our money from the banks and start stuffing it under the mattress.)

Now I don't expect our fine politicians running for office to hand voters this same line. God forbid they insult the voter.

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