We live in a simple house. Our walls aren’t decorated with paintings – they’re not even painted, to tell the truth. We don’t have sculptures from local galleries all over our house, either, and we haven’t filled the house with a bunch of trendy furniture. We lived with basically the same cheap furniture we got when we got married nine years ago – until recently, when we finally got rid of the couches we realized long ago were a mistake and replaced them with my parents’ leather couches, and those were free. We just now finally bought a legitimate dining table after years with, frankly, a very ugly table we bought cheaply off of one of Alissa’s relatives. Our extravagances are simple – they are things well-thought out and probably overly considered, rarely anything “spur of the moment.” And I am usually behind their purchases – and they are typically things that make my life easier in some way: an Ipod, Iphone, Garmin GPS thingie.
For years I felt like maybe we were really out of touch, living hopelessly simplistic, grossly out of touch with today’s extravagant fashions. We have a relatively small house. It’s too small for our needs – when we moved in 8 years ago, we couldn’t imagine filling it up, and now we can’t find enough places to put things, and so stuff piles up here and there. We need a new house. We’ve got a baby on the way and, well, we’re not quite sure where she’s going to fit. It’ll work out – babies are small, and they don’t move much, luckily. But we will move as soon as it becomes feasible, that’s for sure.
Over the years, we have watched as people bought bigger and bigger houses, filling them with more and more ridiculous stuff that Alissa and I could not figure out uses for nor could we understand how they could afford it all. And then something happened. For-sale and foreclosure signs started popping up, people started moving, losing their homes, and it all made sense. Of course they could afford all that crap – they had deceptive loans that made them believe they somehow were living in mini-mansions for the price of a tiny apartment, so they spent and spent, and then their loan rates changed – something they all neglected to remember would happen after a few years – and suddenly they couldn’t afford it anymore. Any of it.
That’s where we are today. Lots and lots of people decided not to pay for all this stuff they bought on credit of some kind. You can blame the banks if you want. At the most basic, the banks are to blame because they’re the ones pushing the loans, but the greed of people is really to blame. If it wasn’t for all these self-absorbed, greedy, stupid people who failed to actually read the terms of their damned loans, we wouldn’t be nervously waiting to see what the government is going to do to bail us out of this impending financial doom. What infuriates me most is that the very same people who are shaking their fists and yelling that it’s not their responsibility to pay for these mistakes are the same people who caused them in the first place. It’s just another example of how they don’t want to take the blame for their own stupidity. More than ever, this proves that we desperately need to teach people general economics – not the classes we took in high school that showed us how the stock market works, but classes that show us how to handle our own money, teach us about loans, and how not to make the stupid moves these home buyers made.
We will have to pay for this. It doesn’t work any other way. The money has to come from somewhere. If it doesn’t, everything falls apart (and more) and then what? Taxpayers are complaining to their Congressmen/women that they don’t want to pay for this and, being a mere five weeks away from elections, they’re listening and responding by voting against the bailout bill. That’s not good. This is one of those rare times we need Congress to step up and do what’s right for the country despite what the people thinks is right for itself, and put aside worries about their jobs, as they’ve been saying they’re so concerned about. That’s what we vote for these people to do – make the right decision. They’re supposed to know more than we do about stuff like this and vote to make our country better. Most of the time, that means voting for what the people want. Sometimes it means risking it all and doing what they know is better for the country despite it going against the wishes of their constituents.
And when it comes time for me to vote in five weeks, I will probably make the most informed decision I have ever made. I decided that if Arizona’s Representatives and Senators continue to vote down the bailout, I will vote for whoever their opponents are. It is clear that these people are not working to shore up their country’s economy but to pad their own vote count, and I can’t support that. In this case, I will vote against candidates, rather than for.