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… Money …

So on the way home from work I decide to do something really daring and start punching around the “terrestrial” radio stations on the old-fashioned radio in the Jeep. Traditional radio doesn’t offer much to a guy like me these days, what with all the merging and divesting and changing of the formats going on. There’s my old station that went to outright Top 40 and became very less gay, they play Britney Spears’ “Circus” 24/7. Sometimes they throw in a commercial or two to keep it interesting. There’s the “Good Times Rock ‘n Roll” station called “Oldiez” that plays that car cruisin’ music like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls. Then they play “The Twist” followed by “The Lord’s Prayer” by Sister Janet Mead. I think they should change their name from “Oldiez” to “Sybil”, as it would be much more apropro.

Four of the ten or so primary stations in this area have gone to an all religious format. Sometimes I get a kick out of hearing what they have to say on these stations because quite frankly I find them exceedingly absurd. One of my favorites, “Faith and Hope for the New World” or something like that was offering financial advice to callers. The call I listened to was from a man who was over his head in debt and didn’t know how to deal with it.

The man was living under the following circumstances. He and his new bride had four children in five years. They lived in a small house in the country that they absolutely adored but it was a little small and far from the city where their church was. So instead of selling the house and relocating, they decided to rent the house out and then buy a new house in the process, something newer, bigger and located in the city (he didn’t say which, I’m guessing Paducah). Due to their financial considerations, owning a house, having four toddlers, etc., they were unable to come up with a downpayment for their new house, so they got an 80/20 mortgage to cover that. After a couple of years they realised that they couldn’t afford the bigger, newer house that was located in the city so they decided to sell it.

O.k., they have two houses, one presumably being paid for by the rent they are collecting from their tenant in the small house in the country and another house that they have two mortgages on and can’t really afford. They decide to sell the second house. So what do they do?

They rent an apartment.

That’s right, they rented an apartment so they could sell the new house, because they didn’t know that you could be living in the house when it was being looked at by prospective buyers.

So they are paying roughly three mortgages and rent on an apartment that is presumably big enough to handle two adults and four toddlers.

They were curious as to where they went wrong with their finances.

The kind gentleman on the “Faith and Hope for the New World” gently told them that they didn’t need to move out of their house until it was actually sold and that they should bag the apartment and move back into the house to save a little money.

He was way too kind, I would have just called them a dumb ass.

And I wonder why the United States is in such financial disarray today. Just think, this brainiac has made four more just like him for the next generation to enjoy.

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The more I read about these government bailouts and stimulus packages and such the angrier I get. I am no economics whiz by any stretch of the imagination, and the universe knows I like to spend money, but it seems like the U.S. government is throwing billions and billions of dollars out like some weird, demented lawn sprinkler. The automakers need more, more, more; banks need more, more, more, big businesses that have apparently made bad business decisions needs more, more, more. All of this is the from the fear that if one large bank or auto manufacturer or other large company closes down then the whole big stack of Jenga blocks are going to come crashing down with them.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have built our economy using big Jenga blocks. Sometimes little Lego blocks stick together better.

Now I don’t want to see the U.S. go into a depression. I don’t want people losing their homes, their jobs or everything their life savings as they try to weather out this economic mess. But this money that the government is flinging out all over the place is going to the very people the created the mess in the first place. And where is it coming from? I have always suggested that we just print more money when things got bad, because I obviously have no handle on economics, but when I say that I’m told that you can’t do that because you’re flooding the economy with too much money.

Isn’t that what we are doing with these stimulus packages?

I know we are a big modern society now that thrives on big business and conglomerates and a Wal*Mart (Always White Trash, Always) on every corner. And I know that as a gay man I wouldn’t have the relative freedoms I have to be an outspoken gay man if I didn’t live here and now, but sometimes I really think that the small businesses from yesterday: the mom and pop stores, the small car lot in the village, the neighborhood bank, was a safer investment in our future.

Perhaps if we had stayed within that mindset, we wouldn’t be rewarding the greedy by bailing them out of their own mess.

Now excuse me while I go sock away more money in my mattress.