Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Death to the Poor

Barbara Ehrenreich explains the current economic turmoil much more clearly than I could:

Somewhere in the Hamptons a high-roller is cursing his cleaning lady and shaking his fists at the lawn guys. The American poor, who are usually tactful enough to remain invisible to the multi-millionaire class, suddenly leaped onto the scene and started smashing the global financial system. Incredibly enough, this may be the first case in history in which the downtrodden manage to bring down an unfair economic system without going to the trouble of a revolution.

First they stopped paying their mortgages, a move in which they were joined by many financially stretched middle class folks, though the poor definitely led the way. All right, these were trick mortgages, many of them designed to be unaffordable within two years of signing the contract. There were “NINJA” loans, for example, awarded to people with “no income, no job or assets.” Conservative columnist Niall Fergusen laments the low levels of “economic literacy” that allowed people to be exploited by sub-prime loans. Why didn’t these low-income folks get lawyers to go over the fine print? And don’t they have personal financial advisors anyway?

Then, in a diabolically clever move, the poor – a category which now roughly coincides with the working class – stopped shopping. Both Wal-Mart and Home Depot announced disappointing second quarter performances, plunging the market
into another Arctic-style meltdown. H. Lee Scott, CEO of the low-wage Wal-Mart empire, admitted with admirable sensitivity, that “it’s no secret that many customers are running out of money at the end of the month.”


(BTW, does anybody have a link to the "Bedlam Rovers" doing the song "Objectivity"? I can't seem to find one).

Spoke too soon (or didn't search well enough). Here's a sample:Objectivity


Suzy said...

There are so many foreclosures in my area, it's unreal.

I need to remember to visit Barbara's blog more often. Reading her, I'm a little less lonesome for Molly Ivins.

pygalgia said...

Yeah, she's good. But 'ol Molly was unique, and will never be replaced.

FranIAm said...

Molly will never be replaced, tis true.

Barbara's blog is good and like Suzy, I must remember that I need to stop by more frequently.

These are such mind bending times. These are some great posts today.