Friday, February 27, 2009

Stimulating Conversation

I’ll keep this simple, in case a Republican reads it.

The American economy is like your house. When credit was loose and largely unsupervised, you bought this house, probably paid a little more than you should have. Times were good and credit was easy, so you bought a BMW for yourself and an Escalade for the wife to chauffer the kids in. Big screen HD television. Nice summer vacation and flew away for a week every Spring Break. Kids all have Wiis and iPods. Mom has a treadmill and Dad has a custom-fitted set of Calloways. The interest on the debts is an irritant, but not a deterrent. Household maintenance, never glamorous, is neglected.

Now it’s winter. The roof leaks. The furnace doesn’t work. The foundation has cracks that affect the plumbing and the toilets don’t flush. The house is rapidly becoming unlivable, due in large part to your neglect.

What do you do?

If you’re a Republican, you rummage through the attic and find your principles of fiscal conservatism. Debt is bad. These things will take care of themselves over time.

If you’re a sapient life form, you swallow hard and realize the only way to get out of the hole your profligate spending has dug for you is through more spending. Not spending on just anything. Fix the roof. Re-seal the foundation. Repair the plumbing. Get a new furnace. Pay the increased medical bills you incurred because your seven-figure house was an unhealthy hovel. Yes, it’s more debt, and you don’t have a good idea how you’ll pay it back yet, but it won’t matter if you can’t get over this current hump.

I may be a social liberal, but I’m a fiscal conservative. I don’t buy anything I don’t have the money for. My only current debt is a mortgage payment. (I’ll have a car payment again someday, but the current Honda is paid for.) I have a big screen HD TV that I saved up for before I bought it. I have well established the bona fides for my distaste for debt. Yet I am also a sapient life form, and I recognize what has to be done here. It goes against my ideology, but I live in a brick-and-mortar world, not some theoretical construct, so I will swallow hard and accept reality, because no problem can be fixed until you recognize it.

Is that simple enough, you Joe the Plumber loving, redneck, willfully ignorant motherfuckers?

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