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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 1442

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac,

Not meant to be mean-spirited, just that some hard lessons learned may pay off in the long run.

Many didn't have control over their destiny when the economy went bust, but many did, even when they lost jobs.

Of course, there were many that did everything right given their education, history, conservative lifestyle and still got hit with layoffs and hard times. They had little to fall back on, but these are not the folks I am talking about. I feel for these families.

The ones I don't feel too sorry for are those that lived far beyond their means, too many kids, mortgages they can't afford, no or little equity, fancy cars, every electronic item on the market, designer clothes, huge credit card debt, no savings, etc. These are the people that hopefully learned a lesson from this crisis.

These folks made choices, many of them bad and they are now paying the price for their chosen lifestyle. I doubt that they will make the same mistake again, so this is where I was coming from when I said that "the down economy has been a good thing". I think most readers would have figured this out.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4952

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know the bible says judge not lest ye be judged. I have been fortunate, as well as conservative in my expenses; my house is paid off an I have relatively little debt. And as they say, I spend my money on windsurfing gear and good wine, the rest I waste. But I know people who were scrambling to make ends meet before the downturn, and they have been hammered. These are not lazy people. A whole generation of college graduates that weren't at the tops of their engineering classes are struggling to make ends meet working as barristas and nannies.

I accumulated my luck, and money, over 30 years. I also never believed that housing prices would go up for ever. But I will try to not make judgements about those who were victims to the housing bubble, and keep my judgements, with their karmic costs, for those who created the housing bubble in the first place. Start with Texas Senator Phil Gramm who not merely de-regulated financial instruments, did it in a way so that it is almost impossible to prosecute financial firms for fraud now. Sub-prime loans went from an $8 billion/year business to an $80 billion/year business the next year.

Congress, both parties, went along with the Ponzi scheme and Clinton signed the bill. Next are the firms that peddled these loans to people without checking their capacity to pay. Perhaps most egregious were the bond underwriters, who told purchasers (many of them public pension funds) that these were safe investments. Something like $12 trillion in perceived value disappeared, and it still isn't over, and banks are still breaking the law with their foreclosure practices.

Republican juice was behind most of this, businesses made fortunes, Bush and Obama found themselves in a situation where if they didn't bail out Wall Street the economy would lose even more. And you want to hate on the unemployed and say it isn't mean spirited? Blame the guilty for crying out loud!
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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 1305

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This discussion is too political, and full of hate!

Nobody forces people to take on huge debts because they feel deprived at missing out on a higher standard of living. That is THEIR choice, and to blame big business for manipulating them because they know no better is ridiculous.

Older generations lived within their means. If they couldn't afford something, they did without. I was brought up during the war when we faced real hardship. Food was rationed and often scarce, and such things as cars and the trappings of modern life (including water sports) were non existant for the masses. Unemployment was rife. (The Jarrow hunger marches down to London, in the 1930's.) To equate todays society to real hardship is ridiculous! If anyone wants to see real hardship try Somalia, where famine is raging and starving children are dying all over!

Freedom of choice brings responsibility. Many who are poorly off money wise still do exercise that responsibility, as people had to in the past, but the modern notion is to claim to be a victim, and blame all your ills on the system. The concept of just having to make do is rapidly disappearing. I agree with Techno. A reality check is long overdue!
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DanWeiss



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1924
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way too much generalization going on about irresponsibility. Many people made decisions to purchase homes during the bubble simply because they needed to buy a house at that time. You may recall that rents also were flying high and sometimes life's requirements make the timing of a purchase more urgent. My wife and I decided to purchase at the market's apex because our net carrying costs were lower with a purchase than our monthly rent. That, and the addition of a baby made our small apt. untenable. We paid 10% more than the asking price and are just about staying even with what we paid six years ago (hopefully).

The timing of a market correction is quite hard to predict, even those who consider themselves very well educated and experienced in the real estate market. How can any person have known that when purchasing a house in 2005 that same house might become upside down in 2008? Heck, even the Fed didn't catch the looming credit crash three years before it happened.

The economy was on fire, perhaps falsely, and many sophisticated people used credit to advance their wealth building in the most conventional and ordinary ways. That's not foolish or irresponsible, it's measured risk taking. What occurred is that the risk shifting by a few investment banks shoved the potential losses so far out to the universal edge as to become invisible to most people who used conventional analysis to quantify the risk.

What home buyer in 2005 had then heard of a credit default swap? It's simply wrong to lump everyone together who happen to struggle in this horrible economy when their situations are so diverse. Yes, we all agree that the hypothetical spendthrift can be critiqued, but it's very hard to justify a fiscal policy argument based on only one end of the spectrum represented by the spendthrift.

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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13785

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most notorious recent example in the news is the welfare queen whining from her recently renovated, rent-free apartment that she can't pay her heating bill ... yet in the background we see a 60" flat screen TV, a top-drawer X-Box, and piles of merchandise. My primary TV is flat-screened -- finally -- but it's a 19 incher, not a freaking drive-in movie screen, and the last game console I owned had little stainless steel balls rolling around clowns' faces.

Quitcherbitchin', lady.
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coyotewindsurf



Joined: 03 Apr 2006
Posts: 1268
Location: SF Bay

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most notorious recent example in this forum is the entitlement leech whining from his digital pulpit about his measly 19' flat screen TV and lack of an X-Box game console, all while slashing and burning from dawn to dusk (often 6 to 10 hours at a time on the big river) then returning home to cash his government issued disability check.

Quitcherbitchin', lady.

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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 1305

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I am generalising apologies, but it's in response to a working lifetime subject to relentless left wing propaganda. (Education mantras .... equality above all .... even attempting to make sports non competitive with no winners to eliminate a sense of failure in the others!.... Seriously!!!!)

It wasn't irresponsible of working people in what was considered secure employment to buy houses at the height of the boom. There used to be sensible rules about borrowing. A cash deposit of a minimum 10% had first to be laid out and the monthly repayments on a 20 year mortgage (and hence the total borrowed) were limited to a fixed percentage (forget the exact figure) of a persons normal basic monthly pay. People adhering to that arrangement were being prudent.

Where the irresponsibility came in was in lenders offering 100%, and sometimes more, of the buying price and fixing the repayments in excess of the 'old' prudent rules, and people taking those terms up. That was surely recklessness all around?
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pointster



Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 197

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coyotewindsurf wrote:
The most notorious recent example in this forum is the entitlement leech whining from his digital pulpit about his measly 19' flat screen TV and lack of an X-Box game console, all while slashing and burning from dawn to dusk (often 6 to 10 hours at a time on the big river) then returning home to cash his government issued disability check.

Quitcherbitchin', lady.


I must take issue with your implication that this individual's ability to windsurf belies eleigibilty for government disability payments. It could well be a physical disability that does not impair performance in windsurfing. Or it could be some mental condition. One shouldn't make assumptions...
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5683

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's consider that our contributor from the Great Northwest has gone on hugely here about every health issue in the world that he has ever experienced, and of course, what a total animal he is on the water killing it for hours on end. Also, let's not forget his tales of high speed motorcycle riding and crashing on the desert. However, what I find curious is that he's been completely silent about the nature of his work related disability, and how it affects his life.

It should be remembered that he originally brought the subject up, yet I'm thinking that it was a mistake that he now regrets. Unfortunately for him, many of us see the hypocrisy in his rants against folks that receive some form of assistance from the government when he too receives much in government benefits. He claims to have earned everything he received, but the disability issue stands out like a sore thumb.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13785

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pointster wrote:
I must take issue with your implication that this individual's ability to windsurf belies eleigibilty for government disability payments. It could well be a physical disability that does not impair performance in windsurfing. Or it could be some mental condition. One shouldn't make assumptions...


You got that right. Getting disability ratings from the VA takes years, examinations, verifications, and occasional re-exams if there's any chance of recovery. In particular it takes persistence, because most applications are rejected, being granted only when repeated appeals convince them the applicant means business and medical support for the case is overwhelming.

I almost gagged when a beefy guy at the gym dropped his full-length gym pants in the locker room after a hard workout. His legs looked like they were fabricated from small body parts found in the vicinity of the IED explosion he barely survived ... unlike most of his 10th Mountain Division squad ... which explained why his workout emphasized mostly upper body work and limited leg work. (Anyone who doesn't choke up just reading or hearing the words "10th Mountain Division" is either ignorant of their role in our freedom or doesn't deserve to live in a free nation.)

Here's the part that really sucks: unless his disabilities are rated at 50% or more (by extremely strict medical criteria), he pays his own VA disability pension out of his own pocket, not the taxpayers'. I.e., virtually every cent the VA sends him is deducted from his Army pension. His only break is that the VA portion is not taxed. That's just beginning to change for combat injuries, but not for any other circumstances or for any disabilities rated significantly below 50%.

And, yes, there are many disabilities which don't show visually, or which affect functions not obvious to observers, or which have effects only in certain circumstances. Obvious examples include PTSD, Agent Orange systemic effects including cancer and its aftermath, missing internal organs, loss of hearing or sight, neuropathy, impaired balance with frequent falls, incontinence, intractable pain, and much more. Anyone who criticizes veterans' benefits is at the very least among the most ignorant segment of our society, at most some of the least deserving of the benefits veterans have bestowed on this society for > 230 years.

In a private face-to-face conversation with the National Director of VA Benefits, I asked her whether I should feel guilty applying for specific non-combat-related disabilities at a time when the VA was swamped with applications from battle casualties. She immediately and adamantly encouraged me to apply, because the services and the VA strongly recognize the necessity and contribution of servicemen who didn't happen to serve in combat (most, by far, never see combat.) Her boss, the national VA Director, in response to a different and more specific disability inquiry from me, encouraged me via email to re-apply a third time for one of my medical problems which has been verified via multiple medical exams, is irreparable, and affects me every day whether I'm jibing or walking across a room. In fact, until and unless my remaining inner ear also fails, I'm probably safer wearing my helmet and crashing into water than I am walking down a concrete sidewalk or flight of stairs. If my experience is any indication, many veterans lacking my persistence and my documentation skills would be up a creek without medical care except for veterans' service agency members who volunteer millions of hours of their time to support such people.

People who resent the often-meager benefits their military personnel receive should learn what the hell they're talking about, and the best way to do that is to join their ranks. Why do the people whining the loudest that veterans' benefits are excessive so often refuse to serve yet enjoy even MORE freedom than many of their veterans do? They should consider trying their whining under a totalitarian government and see how long they live, and/or try living with some of the disabilities and expenses many vets endure.

How many of these whiners would, even if they had been drafted, demand to go back into service, even into combat, minus some limbs, as so many of today's all-volunteer servicemen do? Instead, they ran to Canada and hid.


Last edited by isobars on Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:44 pm; edited 2 times in total
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