Sunday, April 13, 2008

Clueless but incensed over matching yellow t-shirts......

Hey all. I am posting to hopefully get all of your insights regarding a topic that is sort of fuzzy to me: the US economy. I have to begin by confessing that I don’t know a lot (probably the main reason for writing to you guys). I tend to leave financial “issues” (like where to invest our money) to my husband, and my part is basically just to make sure the bills get paid on time.
Although I like to think of myself as a fairly well educated woman, I confess that I lack good knowledge about economics, and what sort of things drive the market to go up and down. But I CAN say, that I am feeling the pinch at the grocery store, which of course is concerning. And all this news regarding the state of affairs of the housing market was sort of background noise to me for a while, but as I paid more and more attention to it, I found myself feeling strangely angry about it all. That festering sort of came to a peak after the Bear-Stearns fallout. I was watching the news one afternoon and they were showing a bunch of people in matching yellow t-shirts picketing inside the Bear-Stearns building. The picketers were angry that the government had bailed out Bear-Stearns instead of bailing them out…….these were individuals who were knee deep in the mortgage crisis, and wanted to be bailed out.
Now I may not know much, and again, I underscore that I REALLY don’t understand a lot about money and finances, but I was really upset at these picketers! Putting aside the government’s $30 billion bail-out of Bear-Stearns……my thought was, if these people have the time to get matching t-shirts made and make signs and plan to put together that sort of “rally,” don’t they have the time to go out and WORK to try to help themselves out of their situation somehow?
And of course, in the midst of this all, it is an election year. There is a good chance that Senator Obama may be the next president. Hearing his plans for what he would do about the housing crisis upsets me too! Is it selfish and mean-spirited that I don’t want my (or rather, my husband’s) hard earned dollars (tax money) to go toward bailing out those yellow-t-shirted picketers and others who chose to live beyond their means?
Anyway, I’d really like to hear all of your opinions, especially since I’ve probably over simplified the whole situation based the little knowledge I have. Maybe I don’t know enough, so I shouldn’t be upset? Maybe all of these thoughts are so obvious and you all are sort of thinking, “so what?” I don’t know. What have you all been thinking or asking or questioning about the state of economics these days? Please comment, or write a new post so I can learn more!


Eric Lim said...

I think what got these picketers all upset is that the Government bailed out the so-called rich corporate big-wigs but ignored the little guys. While that may seem true, sometimes bailing out the large corporation may indirectly help out the folks in the grassroots level. This housing mess, or specifically the mortgage mess, seems to affect a lot of people, and it's sad to hear about people losing their homes to foreclosure. But in hindsight, giving people mortgages with no money down and interest only plans did seem too good to be true. Owning a home is great, and should be encouraged, but it is something to be earned and not simply given, and I think this got a lot of people in trouble. My only issue with the picketers is this fine line between asking for help and demanding it. I think those who really are struggling and need assistance, there should be no shame to ask for it. But getting mad because the government gave the money to Bear Stearns and not to them seems a bit bitter. Besides, the government is giving the American people some money back in these rebates.

Oh, and Stacey, your husband's "hard earned money" is indeed your hard earned money as well. There's this invisible line on his paystub that says "home and child care" where a large portion goes toward. Believe me, I don't know any guy who would trade his job for taking care of the kids full-time or even part-time. The sooner we guys realize this, the happier our marriages will be.

Sunny said...

Hi Stacey,
Since my most consistent news source is “The Daily News” with Jon Stewart, my comments won’t be from an economic perspective…:) but I suspect that these picketers pull together, yellow shirts and all to become a collective voice in the hopes that someone in the government will hear them. I’m sure they are panicked, angry and frustrated and maybe this is the only way they know how to deal with it—to feel empowered in the midst of feeling utterly helpless otherwise. Finding a job to cover a family’s expenses isn’t easy—especially if you feel that you have been trained and spent years working with specific skills sets. Maybe these picketers who are there are sending out resumes via email, who knows? As for the mortgage crisis: Of course we could focus on the vices of people living outside their means, but I can’t help but think about the folks who have always wished and dreamed of owning a home for their kids, their families, but always felt it was beyond their reach. Understandable then that they would risk to own even if it wasn’t the wisest financial decision---Some would say that the irresponsible lenders (okay, unscrupulous) and the foolish decision of the government which allowed the low interest rates in the first place exploited that need/desire—maybe Obama’s plans to aid some of these families is to take some responsibility for the government’s blunders—or maybe it’s to get more primary votes from the socio-economic class this might benefit—maybe it’s a little bit of both.  Just some thoughts of my own—as for feeling the pinch at the grocery store—I hear you sister, but so much of that has to do with the price of gas, which people can gripe is our dependence on foreign oil, etc, but I think is also about our consumption and how we frequently define our desires as a “need.” Sort of brings it back full circle to picketers, government and folks who want to live outside their means—which in many ways can be ME. And don’t worry, my main source of fake news is The Daily Show, but also try to spread my exposure to “news” through Newsweek, BBC ,Times magazine and occasionally CNN—though until they give people like Wolf Blitzer or Lou Dobbs less air time, I will settle for entertainment with Larry King Live.

Stacey said...

Hey, thanks guys for posting your thoughts and opinions. I really appreciate it, especially since people often avoid talking about social and political issues with each other. And yes, while it can become sort of a touchy topic, depending on our viewpoints, I am thankful that we have a sort of forum to share with each other.

Both of you guys have made me think even deeper, and consider why I felt so strongly about those things in the first place......Sunny, you are right; over-consumption and my selfish perspective of feeling "entitled" in life definitely plays a role. It's a delicate balance: working hard with a grateful heart for what we have and also lovingly giving with that same grateful heart. But I still do feel some frustration let's say, when I think, "Man, my parents work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and wouldn't it be nice if I could lend them some financial support from time to time, rather than the money be taken from me and given to others that perhaps I don't feel deserve it as much........"
I wind up going in circles and circles.......
It will be very interesting to see how the election plays out and how the new president will make his or her mark......
Thanks again you guys!