This is My Country (question mark)

this is my countryWhen did we become a nation that abandoned the audacity of hope and instead, embraced the arrogance of entitlement? Maybe it’s been here all along and I’ve been too blind to see it.

You see, I began college on a pre-law track. All I ever wanted to be was a lawyer. Ribbon after trophy in extemporaneous speaking and debate, Mock Congressional Hearing competitions and history fair projects that left me sleepless for three days straight, all in pursuit of perfection. Justice. The American Way.

And then…I discovered that Theatre majors were doing the same thing – putting on performances fueled by facts (scripts)…and having a whole lot more fun doing it than my cohorts in social sciences. So I walked into the Theatre department and never left. In the process, I became politically apathetic, as there has not been a single federal law passed during my lifetime that has had a significant effect on the way I live except Roe vs. Wade.

I’m not ashamed that I voted for Barack Obama in the past election. Nor am I ashamed to admit I’m more liberal on the social side and more conservative on fiscal matters. What I’m ashamed of is that we’re a nation more ready to place blame than accept responsibility.

I’m torn on so many issues that have come across the wires this week. I’ll share my thoughts on all three, as each of you has your own thoughts. What shames me is that THIS is my country.

Burn, baby, burn: I’m no fan of Glenn Beck and I’m confident that if he even found me consequential, he’d be no fan of mine. Which is cool. We’re not one another’s target demographic. But he and his producer opened their mouths this week and I couldn’t help but be mortified. Erin Kotecki-Vest (@QueenOfSpain) turned me on to this story and I turned it over to my community on Facebook. The jist? A rural fire department serving Obion, Tennessee let a family’s home burn to the ground with their three dogs and cat inside because they hadn’t paid a $75 fee for subscription to the fire department’s services. On one hand, I GET the “no free rides” contingency – why should we help you if you haven’t paid? But I also sit here as a pet owner and human being and ask: how do you simply watch a home burn to the ground and burn to death a family’s pets that are trapped inside? The Coast Guard will rescue you from sea if your boat capsizes – and they’ll send you a bill. The paramedics don’t dig through your pockets at the scene of a car accident to find your insurance card before deciding if they’ll offer you medical assistance – they send you a bill. While the firefighters are stuck in a rock/hard place, it’s disheartening to know that $75 has been the price assigned to compassion. We can’t legislate compassion, but can’t we practice it anyway? The conversation on my Facebook page got interesting. (You’ll have to “like” the page to view, I think.)

Fed up with the federal bailout: Here’s where I know I’ll be unpopular (don’t care, thanks for asking). It is not the government’s responsibility to ensure that you are employed. Owning a home is not an inalienable right. In a conversation on Twitter this morning, a colleague shared a no-BS thought: “That’s what credit is about: not yours yet.” That was in response to this link that I posted from CNN Money, announcing that homeowners (in certain states and meeting certain criteria, blah-blah-blah) can soon apply for loans up to $50,000 to pay for mortgage payments and expenses in arrears. And the hoot of it all? If you stay in the home for five years, the loan’s forgiven! Well, slap me and call me Myrna. How ’bout I buy a house, don’t save any money, lose my job, have no money to pay for my house and the government gives me $50,000 for my troubles? That’s bullshit, folks. If you buy things on credit, they’re NOT YOURS YET. You don’t get to buy a car and not pay for it (hello, repossession).

Now, before you call me a hypocrite, here’s the rub: I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2008. I had perfect credit. Two homes that I remodeled with my own hands – no contractors (though it was never supposed to be that way). And I bled every ounce of my savings dry to keep up with 2 house payments after an ex-fiance “decided” he wasn’t going to buy one of the houses as he’d promised. It was the toughest decision I ever made and I’m going to live with it – and pay for it – until 2015. So yeah, I know what I’m talking about. I was the best decision for me: to walk away from two homes that were $250,000 upside down in a matter of six months time. To get my life back. And I’ll tell you – I don’t live on credit anymore – screw that if it’s the American Way. I pay cash. Maybe more people need to learn this lesson. And the learning process sucks. Why does my country’s government want to reward people for bad decisions? I’d like my $50,000 check if they’re handing them out. Especially since this next year, I’m going to buy a home once again. I’m looking forward to it – me and my long-saved downpayment and cash in the bank are quite excited.

Apparently it’s okay for “religions” to preach hate: The 2nd highest official in the Mormon Church has issued a condemnation of the gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual community. All this in the wake of multiple gay teen suicides. I blogged about the topic over on ToyWithMe this past Monday. I’m appalled at the audacity that this church displays. My family’s best friends since 1979 have been a loving Mormon family – they are our neighbors and share in each and every one of our family’s joys and struggles. They’re kind. While it’s no secret that I’ve never been able to come to terms with organized religion, I find this statement malicious, especially in light of the recent challenges facing the gay community. I think Ellen DeGeneres got it right when she said that teens have enough of a problem figuring out who they are without bullying and hate coming their way. And this is the worst kind of bullying: by a 500 pound gorilla using religion as justification for word of hate

Man, these colors sure don’t run…but what are WE running from? I’ve been on the ass end of bad financial decisions and I’d like to think that I’m not the only one with a conscience about it. I’m penalized by the IRS each year on my taxes because I own my own business. I pay for my own health insurance. I pay contractors – and on time. I take care of my business. I take care of myself. I take care of my money. And this is the type of news I tune into when I choose to tune in?

I don’t have an answer. For any of it. But I’ll stand by my beliefs that people who spew misogynistic garbage are dbags, that those who have enough time to crusade against those who are not like them need to get a new hobby, and that sometimes, charity costs less than you think.

We’re responsible for ourselves and our families. Those who are different don’t pose threats, but we don’t have to tolerate their words of hate, either. We’re a nation of people who each need one another…and if you think you don’t need anyone else, you might want to think again. That gay person you hate just might have decided to be a paramedic or a doctor for a living. Might be important if you find yourself fighting for your life.

68 replies
  1. Bill W
    Bill W says:

    And to add my own little icing on your cake Erika, let’s not forget the religious whacks from Topeka who feel the need to picket and protest at the funerals of our service men and women to highlight their belief that the war and a soldier’s death is God’s vengeance for America’s immorality and tolerance for homosexuality. Makes me so proud to call myself an American sometimes (sarcasm fully intended)…

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Coming from a family of veterans (mom AND dad – they met in the Air Force), yes. I agree. I would like to see the picketers on the front lines for their own little “understanding” of the issue.

    • nancmcp
      nancmcp says:

      Have you heard of Patriot Guard ( They basically run interference and shield grieving families from those asshole protesters, in a peaceful way.

      While you could argue they shouldn’t have to exist, I”m glad they do.

  2. Ike Pigott
    Ike Pigott says:

    Let me shed some light on that fire issue.

    I lived for many years in an area served by a volunteer fire department, that was completely funded through donations and through the yearly fee. You paid the fee, and in helping the fire district meet minimum standards, you ended up getting a discount on your homeowners insurance that is MUCH more than what you paid in a fee. It’s a win/win.

    On those occasions when we had a fire where someone didn’t pay, they’d go ahead and put the fire out, then send the homeowner a bill. Sometimes they sheepishly paid it, often they didn’t… but it was written off as a good training exercise if nothing else.

    Now, no disrespect meant to Erin or any of the others who are spinning this thing. But I am fed up with the bullshit argument that this is “capitalism run amok,” or “this is what happens when you outsource your essential services” as Keith Olbermann has put it. I’m a lowercase-L libertarian, and this case has been waved in my face as “proof” that I am a heartless, greedy bastard.

    In the Obion, TN case, it was not a rural volunteer fire department. It was an incorporated city fire department.

    In the past, this department would only run on calls within the strict city limits. Those outside of the town clamored to be included within the fire coverage, and that’s a fair thing to ask for. After all, paying a yearly fee for extension of the fire district would be a better deal for them than creating a completely new department with all of the attendant expense for infrastructure.

    The municipality agreed to cover those within a certain radius of the town limits, for a $75 yearly fee.

    So, in this case, the man who lost his home to the fire was not the victim of an evil libertarian mercenary organization… it was the city that instituted the law that forbade those firefighters from acting. Had the firefighters engaged that fire and been injured, there is a rather large question about whether the city’s insurance would have covered them.

    This isn’t a case of private business, outsourcing, or a “Tea Party dream” where Patriots get to screw the free riders for being mooches. This is a tragedy of government and inflexible rules.

    It’s a tragedy, period. But it’s compounded by the bullshit manner in which some (Huffington Post, et al) are trying to weasel a political gain out of this.

    Thanks for allowing me to rant on your space.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      You’re always welcome to rant here, Ike. As I said – I don’t know the answer. But it’s great that my readers feel comfortable enough to come on board and share their insights 🙂

      • Ike Pigott
        Ike Pigott says:

        Thanks… you know me well enough to know that I don’t just fling expletives for comic effect.

        The only bullshit bigger than the lack of response is the post-tragedy spin (and how eagerly some are willing to buy it.)

  3. will
    will says:

    The banking system and the automotive industry had to bailed out to stabilize the economy. That had to be done. In addition, coming up with ways to help people stay in their homes is needed to stabilize communities. The fact is too many foreclosed homes in an area or a state kills the housing market there and ruins the local economy.

    Should the government give people money? No! But, I do understand the reasons why the government is involved. It is better for the economy as well as the long viability of the housing market for people to stay in their homes. I say the banks and mortgage companies should create rental programs for individuals until they are able to take on a mortgage. That way, neither the banks nor the market takes a huge hit.

    By the why, all but 90 billion of the bailout has been repaid and that will be repaid soon.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Wow. I’m really going to need some substantiation that there’s going to be $90 BILLION repaid soon. Care to drop some knowledge on the general public?

      And guess what – they DIDN’T have to bail out the automotive industry. Those are companies that should have died long ago, hate to tell you.

      I’ll look forward to the proof that someone’s got $90B stashed in their mattresses. And it sure shit ain’t AIG.

      And with regard to your “rental programs” idea – it’s not the government’s job to provide housing. I’ll argue this to the ends of the earth with you and anyone else. I’m a renter – and I did that by my own accord. The government’s job isn’t to make sure people can buy houses, for all that’s holy!

      • Ike Pigott
        Ike Pigott says:

        Ford didn’t take a bailout.

        And neither did Mercedes, Honda or Hyundai — each of whom employs several thousand people within 90 miles of my house.

        They all loved to see the competitive advantage GM and Chrysler got, let me tell you…

        • will
          will says:

          Those foreign companies you mentioned were never going to get American money. Never! But, the reason for GM and Chrysler, which both paid back their loans, was to stop the devastation that would have happened if those companies folded – like the damage to dealership owners and suppliers. It was the right call.

          • Ike Pigott
            Ike Pigott says:

            Yet many of the vehicles made under those brands are more “American” than supposedly American automobiles.

            I just blink at the notion that the federal government “saved” the automotive industry. It bailed out two carmakers – one for the second time.

      • will
        will says:

        The rental programs idea is something the banks should create own on their own. The government shouldn’t be in the business of giving people money to stay in their homes. But, I understand the reason why the government is taking action.

        • The Redhead
          The Redhead says:

          Kinda still waiting on your proof that $90B is due for payback.

          Oh – and rental programs already exist. They’re called rental properties and they’re available in all 50 states. All you have to do is apply. With a rental application. And pay a deposit to move in. NIFTY STUFF!

          • Anonymous
            Anonymous says:

            Will is wrong, Ike is right…..

            AND Ike has pointed out the reality underlying the chain of events that have transpired in the last three years (resulting from the 8 before that:

            We didn’t enter “a culture of entitlement”; we witnessed the largest theft in the history of mankind. Goldman and Wall Street have taken, by many estimates, multiple Trillions from US (i.e. the Federal Govt, i.e. Taxpayers). As Ike pointed out, TARP is buy a tiny piece of that. I won’t go into the specifics unless asked, because for most people, numbers are tiresome, links are tiresome, but if you want those, I’ll post them.

            We did NOT enter a “culture of entitlement”. What we entered was the tossing of a few highly publicized financial crumbs thrown to the people, as the uber-rich walked away with, seriously, UNPRECEDENTED amounts of NEW WEALTH. It really is that simple.

            Virtually every public “work out” program, every public “50K forgiveness” program, every “keep homeowners in their houses” program has a component that requires the Wall St banks to, ultimately, approve the transaction. The banks are between these Federal programs and the potential recipients. And guess what? The banks are fully and completely blocking virtually every one of these “entitlements”.

            Chrysler and GM got about 34 Billion IN LOANS to keep two of the last major manufacturing companies in the US in existence. How much did AIG get from Bush to PAY OFF INDIVIDUAL BETS MADE BY WALL STREET THAT THE HOUSING MARKET WOULD CRASH, which it has said it will never repay? AIG was GIVEN over 180 BILLION to PAY OFF BETS. This money went straight into the pockets of Wall Street INDIVIDUALS and banks…where it was then put directly into the pockets of individuals in the banks as BONUSES. But 180 Billion? Chump change. Seriously.

            You are being conned by only reading headlines. There really are no “entitlement” programs that are actually putting money into average (non-millionaire) hands. Those headlines are designed to obscure the theft that happened, and is happening. Today, the same Wall St bankers that have taken SEVEN TRILLION by some counts, are allowed to borrow ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY WANT from the US Treasury discount window at zero percent interest. What is a ZERO PERCENT INTEREST LOAN actually called? “A Gift”. They then turn around and GIVE THE MONEY BACK to the Fed by buying US treasuries at 4% interest paid by you and me via the Fed. So. You and I are paying Goldman Sachs and company, every month 300 Million to 1 Billion dollars AS A GIFT.

            We are NOT in “the age of entitlement”. We are in the age of the end of the financial sustainability in the USA. The result is going to be something I call “YouFlation”. That is when everything you own is worth less and less, while everything you need costs more and more, because we import virtually everything, and the dollar is about to start being massively devalued….so it will take more dollars to buy that GE refrigerator made in China, that Maytag washing machine made in Mexico, and that gallon of gas from Oil pumped in Saudi Arabia.

            ..and meanwhile, these clever weasels that sit on Wall Street, and who own the media outlets running these headlines, have us all divided and fighting with each other about fictitious “entitlement” programs, and have us arguing about pennies while they take thousand dollar bills from all of us.

            Ike knows whereof he speaks. He lives here:

            Hang on, this is just getting started.

    • Ike Pigott
      Ike Pigott says:

      I don’t know about that, Will.

      It looks like several trillion are still outstanding.

      And where did that extra few trillion come from? Whether it is immediately printed or merely borrowed against for future printing, that money dilutes the value of the dollars we hold today. So instead of levying a 10% tax on you, the Fed just adds 10% to the money supply, and devalues everything you own.

      The banking system didn’t need bailing out. The geniuses at Goldman just ripped a page out of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” and got us all panicked about what could happen — and tricked their very good friends (and former co-workers at Treasury) into attaching a Scrooge McDuck-Richie Rich-sized vacuum hose to the Federal Reserve and sucking us drier than Andy Dick at a porn convention.

  4. Matt Bernier
    Matt Bernier says:

    I hate watching TV right now, the political spin is amazing and frustrating. Every 5 minutes some other “committee for the betterment of something you need” is pumping out garbage spun so crazy that it damn near makes me explode.

    It seems like if a candidate was caught going to lunch with friends, their opposition would say “So and so’s lunch room policy of feeding himself before his constituents has added to the degradation of the economy and raised the level of homelessness, causing health care to become more expensive which put our earth on a .05 degree tilt. This in turn is causing us to run directly into the sun in 2013. Vote for me, because I will stop this today!”

    I have also become extremely frustrated with the people who are saying that “Obama is a terrorist hellbent on running our country into the ground”. If this was true, and you had some hard clad facts to prove it, then impeach him. Take his ass to court, prove he’s an asshole and kick him the hell out. If you don’t like it, do something about it.

    Very few presidents (including Lincoln) were known as great Presidents until AFTER they were out of office. Many people hated Lincoln (and I believe still do – yes over a hundred years later) because he freed the slaves. But, after his presidency, he is seen as one of the best presidents we have ever had. Clinton spent his time in office putting the country in the right direction, fixing our economy, and making friends abroad. Bush came in and undid everything that Clinton spent so much time doing. Now that the system is fucked up, Obama is in office and getting blamed for everything even though he’s not the one who put us here. Its pretty convenient for one side to complain about a president because things are screwed up, let him fix it. Then, come into office while things are good, screw them up again and complain when the next guy is in office…starting it all over again.

    The money that was spent will and has taken time to get “to the people” because there are a hundred political and red-tape steps between when a bill is signed and when the money is handed out. There are applications that have to be written, committees that have to be formed to approve those applications, projects that have to be planned and ready, and then once the money is handed out … it has to be spent. These things are not immediate, they can take years! Anyone who thought that the day the stimulus bill was passed, that the economy would instantly get better has their head up their asses. IRL, nearly nobody gets paid before doing work and even if they did, they don’t turn around and spend the money they got paid right away.

    Ok, so I jumped around all over the place, but I needed to vent. Oh well..

    • Kristi
      Kristi says:

      I recently learned that even Lincoln did not believe in the segregation or equality of blacks and whites, he was pro-recolonization (sending slaves back to Liberia or elsewhere).

      Quote from Abraham Lincoln:
      “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

      Which is why I’m not liking him much anymore!

  5. E. Foley - Geek's Dream Girl
    E. Foley - Geek's Dream Girl says:

    I don’t engage in political talk much. But I do agree that we have an issue with the entitlement issues people have these days. It’s a big part of why I had to quit teaching.

    One thing about the gov’t and employment. Let’s say the gov’t started a program that would give all unemployed people a job that would pay a living wage, slightly higher than unemployment benefits. There would be people – and I’d bet lots of them – who would turn their noses up at the job if the type of work were “beneath” them. They’d CHOOSE unemployment.

    News flash – no job is beneath you when you need an income. My father lost his job when I was in middle school and worked as a janitor and a bus driver to make ends meet for us while searching for a job that could use his real talents. People these days need a bitch slap and to wake the hell up. You’re not a unique and special snowflake that deserves the best in life. You need to earn it.

    • Zohar Laor
      Zohar Laor says:

      Unfortunately I know people who chose unemployment, but that was because getting a job would make it impossible to live after they paid for health insurance for their children. Now that the new law has passed, getting health insurance for kids is almost impossible.

      On the other hand, I know those who are on welfare yet have more gadgets and video games than silly ol’ me who cannot justify getting a cell phone or afford a PS2 with unlimited data option.

  6. Pamela Fagan Hutchins
    Pamela Fagan Hutchins says:

    Holy mother of God with her hair on fire I am so glad I found your blog (thanks @cherrywoodburn). I am so pissed off at what is passed as news (all outlets) that I don’t tune in. I don’t need my thoughts packaged for me, and I am sick of the haters, especially haters waving religious banners. I have my own business, I don’t live on credit, and I want to help others, but I expect them to also help their own damn selves to the best of their ability. I could crawl into your post and wear it for a week. Thank you for articulating your thoughts; they happen to be thoughts I agree with, but above and beyond that thank you stimulating conversation and debate. I will be passing this link along.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Well, Pamela – I’m glad you found me, too! I’ll send Cherry a check promptly 🙂 And thank you for sharing with your audience. Voices need other voices to be heard and I’m glad you found something in mine that resonated.

  7. erinlynn76
    erinlynn76 says:

    Well, my dad is queer and I’m a Jew…so I feel like I’ve dealt with a lot of this on various levels. I can tell you that we have picketers outside our synagogue most Friday evenings protesting (and have had to hire policemen to hang out as a result). My younger brothers got beaten up in school because people found out about our dad, and I suffered emotional/verbal abuse.

    I loved this post. I lurk over here a lot, but am afraid to comment w/ all these intellectual people. LOL


    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Intellectuals? Oh shit…I thought I sprayed for those last month!

      Erin – you are welcome to chime in anytime. And props to your dad for sporting a life-long set of steel balls. Great to see you here again.

  8. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Erika, this country is the best. Take this from someone who has lived in a bunch of countries and visited even more. What makes it fantastic? The people. No one, no fucked-up government will ever destroy that. Is this country perfect? No. But what makes it great is people like you, who are screaming about the way people and pets you never even met are treated. And people who do something about it.

    I’m totally against the bailouts. A private company doesn’t have its act together? Let it fall on its face, don’t ask me (yes, folks, it’s your tax money!) to give them untold billions of dollars so they can, somehow, stay in business. This is all going to hurt the economy, because half-baked companies hurt the economy, and so do escalating taxes. Also, it teaches people and companies to act like spoiled brats. Hello, entitlement! Mesays, let them live with their decisions, let them learn responsibility.

    Love you to bits, America! 🙂

  9. nancmcp
    nancmcp says:

    Thanks for this post, saves me a rant! As for the fire dept issue, what about doing the right thing?

    A woman visitor had a heart attack in a hospital I worked in, and because we weren’t a receiving hospital (no ER), we (the nurses) had to do CPR and call 911 because we couldn’t get a doctor to respond.

    Hoe crazy is that – to have to call 911 to come to a hospital?

  10. jim
    jim says:

    On Fed Up: Careful, girl, or people are going to start thinking you’re a Conservative. (A classical Conservative, not a Glenn-Beck-Rush-Limbaugh Conservative, but still.) (And I agree with your point here 100%. But then, I’m a classical Conservative.)

    On Preaching Hate: The God of the Bible does hate some things. Immoral or grossly unfair behavior (Psalm 5:5). People who love violence (Psalm 11:5). Haughtiness, lies, shedding innocent blood, wicked plans, evil deeds, and spreading strife (Proverbs 6:16-19). Divorce (Malachi 2:16). But he hates these things because they hurt people. God hates to see us hurting each other! It’s just like parents hating to see their children fighting with each other. I think God would much rather see us reach out to others in loving ways. Besides, there isn’t a Christian alive who doesn’t also sin in some way. For one Christian to condemn any other person is contrary to the same grace God gave that Christian for his own sins.

  11. Carole
    Carole says:

    Fabulous, fabulous post. I am speechless (yeah, amazing, ain’t it?). Are you sure you’re a redhead? I could have written this – word for word, everything in it happened my life, all your opinions match mine, and my parents met in the Air Force. But I’m blonde. You bitch slap better than I do, but I’m working on it. Between you, Naomi Dunford and Mark Morford, my world is good. BTW, if you’ve never read Mark’s stuff, you haven’t lived…

  12. Alysson
    Alysson says:

    Like you, I’m a bit torn – particularly with regard to the bailout culture we seem to be living in. That said, if someone is getting bailed out, and we all know at this point someone will be, I’d prefer homeowners be helped rather than the financial/mortgage industry. Hear me out.

    In 1977 Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, designed to help people become homeowners even in low and moderate income communities. This forced banks to stop catering only to those with higher incomes and in higher income areas, which to that point had been the SOP of banks and financial institutions. Doing so led to a massive shortage of credit of low to moderate income families and was a major contributing factor to the deterioration of this nation’s cities. A great idea – in theory.

    Unfortunately subsequent changes to the law, the regulations and enforcement of those regulations in the 1990s allowed the greediest of the greedy to exploit the Community Reinvestment Act for their own selfish gain. Many in the mortgage industry began granting loans they were certain would never be repaid. Purposely. And maliciously.

    Because the value of real estate was growing at such a rapid pace, these mortgage companies knew that when people inevitably defaulted on their mortgages, the banks would experience an epic windfall – the properties being foreclosed on would be worth far more at that point than the outstanding balance of the loan.

    And then, to fly under the radar of what regulations remained, these financial geniuses started grouping together worthless and likely to default loans with good loans, selling them off as “mortgage backed securities” to lower their liability and turn an even bigger profit preying on the ignorance of investors. It’s just good business, right?

    Fast forward a decade to the collapse of the housing market. Now, instead of individual debtors paying the price as had been the case before, the financial institutions became the ones on the business end screwed. Instead of foreclosing on homes that were worth 10%…20%…50+% more than the outstanding balance on the loan, they were suddenly faced with the reality that the homes being foreclosed on were worth, in many cases, less than half of the loan’s balance. CRAP?!?! Now what are we gonna do?

    Enter the federal government to bail them out. You see, economists – in some cases the very same financial virtuosos that created and participated in the world’s largest ponzi scheme – convinced everyone that allowing financial institutions to fail and suffer the consequences of their poor decision making – as individual debtors who had faced foreclosure were forced to do – would have crippled the global economy.

    Nearly half a trillion dollars later, millions of families still lost their homes…but at least the financial institutions responsible for the catastrophe had been saved. Whew. Sure dodged a bullet there. Now banks can go back to lending and the economy will stabilize. Or…not. Wait? Why did we have to do that again? That money wasn’t given directly to homeowners facing foreclosure again because…yeah, no one really seems to have an answer for that one.

    With so many federally guaranteed loans, in economic circumstances like this someone is inevitably going to get bailed out. This is where social liberalism and fiscal conservatism really begin to butt heads.

    While some obviously disagree with the $50,000 to keep families in their homes program, the possible alternative is millions of abandoned & vacant houses and millions of homeless families lining our streets. Financial institutions are largely to blame for the state of the economy, yet they were handed hundreds of billions that changed nothing for the average American.

    The federal government bears at least some responsibility for the massive regulation failures that made it possible for financial institutions to so easily and effectively game the system. Our tax dollars will be spent. Period. I’d rather see them spent to help people who find themselves facing foreclosure due to unforeseen circumstances and/or living in a home that’s worth tens of thousands less than the outstanding balance on the loan. If the federal government’s attempt to make it right involves helping average Americans stay in their homes, rather than handing hundreds of billions over to financial institutions, I’m okay with that.

    I could comment on watching someone’s house burn down and religions preaching hate, but I think this comment is already FAR TOO LONG as it is! So I’ll spare you further ramblings. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous says:

      I read your comment…all of it, and you are one of the very few people commenting here who has taken the time to understand what has happened, and what is actually happening. You are dead on.
      The problem with trying to summarize so that the average person will get the gist of what happened is that the summary looks like a tinfoil hat conspiracy rant, so people disbelieve it. Here’s the summary:

      1. Wall Street spent 10 years, beginning in 1999, systematically changing every major financial law and guideline in US history, beginning with the repeal of laws enacted in 1933 which made “bucket shops” illegal. Bucket shops lead to the crash of 1929, and the Great Depression. “Bucket Shops” are now called “Credit Default Swaps”.
      The Senator who lead that repeal, Phil Gramm, promptly became the chairman of UBS, the largest Swiss bank:

      2. Wall Street realized around 2005 that the Ponzi scheme was going to fail, and attempted to get everyone’s Social Security taxes paid to Wall Street. Due primarily to AARP, they failed.

      3. During 2000 to, well now, Wall Street bankers have been paid record individual incomes, which now AVERAGE about $700,000 PER PERSON PER YEAR. This average includes janitors, secretaries, etc, so the ACTUAL incomes of traders and execs are multimillions PER YEAR.

      4. They made that money through fraud, pure and simple: Selling packages of bad loans to Greece, UK, Iceland, China, Japan and US Pension funds. The numbers are mind-boggling. Wall Street even set up trading desks to bet large sums that the loans would fail, WHILE SELLING THE LOANS.

      5. Loans fail, financial crisis ensues, former Goldman Sach CEO Hank Paulson, as secretary fo Treasury, along with GW Bush and Cheney, crams TARP through Congress, giving 700 Billion MORE to banks on top of the 750 Billion the Treasury can give w/o authorization.
      Hilarity ensues as Wall St begins simply giving the money to themselves as bonuses.

      6. Rest of world, as holder of bad debt sold by Wall St, has financial crisis. Iceland goes bankrupt overnight, indicts its own Prime minister for fraud. Greece goes bankrupt, Spain, Portugal, and the UK are close behind. Governments there decide that it is the CITIZENS that are the problem, not the banks, institute “austerity measures”. Riots ensue, economies tank, bankers get paid record bonuses.

      7. China, who buys literally all of the debt of the US, UK, and various EU countries, begins to understand that they will be going down with a ship that they do not sail. China stops buying as much debt. Wall Street takes zero percent loans from Fed, gets paid 4% to start buying US debt using US money.

      8. Massive devaluation of dollar becomes guaranteed. (Still to come).

      9. We are screwed.

  13. botheredpocket
    botheredpocket says:

    You may as well be talking about England there, honey cake. All the same things apply, except they’re doing austerity measures here which benefit heavily towards couples/married people and essentially screw single people, even more so single parents. But everything you’ve said above, that’s MY country too!

    • botheredpocket
      botheredpocket says:

      The most amusing (read: mindnumbing, frustrating, infuriating, ridiculous, sighworthy) thing about what’s going on in the UK at the moment is that none of us voted for this combination of government. We have a coalition of two parties (Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, hence the unwanted acronym “The ConDems”) in order to make a majority so they could govern and they’ve gone about screwing everyone in various measures. All things being equal, we’ve got another 4 1/2 years of this lot. Not a good prospect at all. You have to go a fair way in this country to be liked by no one whatsoever, but they’re giving it their best attempt.
      Oh, and I hope you like your new cheeky nickname ;P

  14. Suzanne Vara
    Suzanne Vara says:


    Always the best on issues. I love that. Ok here is my $.02.

    The fire – are you kidding me? I get that he did not pay. Ok but are you kidding me? I had a house fire so I am very sensitive to this issue. Lemme tell ya a bit about that. My house went on fire at 12:26pm. No one was home as I had just left to go back to school from lunch, my sisters were at school and my brother and mother had just left to run an errand. The house was actually on fire when we were in it but the alarms had not gone of yet. Ok, the fire department was volunteer. These men and women left their effing jobs to come and put out the fire. Left their jobs! It was a 4 alarm fire so a LOT OF PEOPLE

  15. Kevin Howard
    Kevin Howard says:

    I cannot agree with you more.

    I firmly believe “Entitlement” is at the crux of our nation in decline.

    Burn Baby:

    That is just plain awful. A fire department should never sit and watch a house burn unless it is too hazardous to enter the structure or otherwise fight the blaze for some other reason. Money should never be a part of the equation. After the fire, though, I think the fire department has every right to charge anyone who has not otherwise paid the local membership fee. In some communities in rural America, this is the only way you have these services. Firetrucks don’t shit down from Firetruck trees. How do I know this…some of my family live in a small town in Appalachia…they all have paid lifetime memberships for emergency services, like Life-Flight, because you never know when you will need it, and we all know that the insurance companies will do their best not to pay for emergency transportation other than the basic meat-wagon DOA services.

    Regarding the bailout:

    Since when was it ever fair to get something for nothing? My parents and their parents, were taught a simple lesson. You work for what you get. Free is never free. So, why is it that people bitch and complain when they over-extend theirselves when all they had to do was engage in simple math to figure out: “Hey, if I borrow all this money, the bank might want it back” -or- “Geez, what happens if I borrow all this money, and something bad happens, like the car needs work?”. I understand that shit happens in some cases, but when the Mortgage industry went tits up, everyone wanted to blame the government for lack of industry controls, when it was their own bad decisions, like going with some shady, balloon payment weilding, predatory lender. THIS IS WHERE I CALL BULLSHIT!! If it seems to good to be true…it’s a duck. So now, not only do we have people expecting a free handout, on my tax-payer dime, we also have a whole bunch of people who are taking advantage of the backlog of foreclosures. Oh yes…this all gets even better. There are people out there who up and decided: “I can’t afford my mortgage, so I’m going to stop paying it”. “When the bank comes, they come”. Yes, you heard it right, these people are squatting in these properties for months and years, taking advantage of the backlog of foreclosures. So, not only are they causing a burden on a tax-payer funded system used to take actions on this shit, they are actually bragging about how they can NOW afford to go to Outback. See the New York Times article dated 6/1/10 : “Some homeowners just stop paying mortgages”. Oh, and guess who pays for all the extra paperwork we have to accomplish to get loans nowadays? You guessed it…WE ALL DO!!

    Religions preaching hate:

    It really is a sad state of affairs when some idiot at the highest levels of a religious sect decides discrimination is ok, and then decides to evangelize it. But, people don’t have to be sheep. I don’t care if your family has been Mormon, Catholic, Shia, Sunni, or SBC through the generations from the beginnings of your faith…hatred is hatred!! Some say…oh it’s just a few people who don’t speak for us all. Wrong…when the second in command says fucked up shit, it’s time to find a different path. That doesn’t mean leaving your religion…perhaps seek out a group of like minded people, and break off, or even better yet, think for yourself and realize religion is from within…not from without. Do you really need to follow someone who preaches hate to interpret “The Word”? No, there are plenty of infomed religious people out there who can talk about faith without inject fear and hate.

    So, back to “Entitlement”…you know why other economies are flourishing, and ours is faltering? Take a good look at the kids who are growing up, throwing fits when they don’t get a toy, and then when it comes to their 18th birthday, think the world owes them a living. Not every kid is like this, but too many are. If I had a fucking dime for every time I heard: “I don’t wanna work at: (insert beginner job here).” …well, I wouldn’t be working in Afghanistan to pay off my house and have a nestegg for my son’s education.


    I’d like to give a shout out to: “Shit My Dad Says”, and Penn & Teller’s: BULLSHIT! — without these two fine things, I might have not commented at all.

  16. Billy Delaney
    Billy Delaney says:

    Thanks for this particular post.
    Everything you pointed out is on the money.
    Most newsletters and posts are exercises in wasted effort to get me to do something-eventually!
    But you said what a lot of people felt, and that’s the point of a blog or post or newsletter to some degree.
    I follow you not because your PG rated, I follow you because you have something worth listening to that deals with the human condition or lack of it!
    Thanks again
    Billy Delaney

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Billy, and I’m glad you found something that you find of value in my content. Appreciated your mention over on Twitter as well – welcome to the neighborhood!

  17. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks
    Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks says:

    Amen amen amen. I couldn’t have written this post better myself. Along the lines of our country has embraced the arrogance of entitlement … what about the leaders of our country. Why on earth has Congress been unable to pass any policy that’s worth a damn? Because they bicker and blame and do everything other than get down to work to pass meaningful legislation. I absolutely hate this time of year when the TV spews malicious and misaligned campaign ads trying to turn the competition into the bad guy. Why don’t you worry about yourself, proving to me why you should be in office, instead of disproving why the other guy deserves it more. And while I tend to favor communities helping individuals in need, I couldn’t agree with you more about this housing crisis we’re in … no one is entitled to own a house and if you get into a situation where you can’t afford it any more, then it’s time to find a living situation you can afford. End of story.

    • The Redhead
      The Redhead says:

      Nilsa – welcome the blog! Politics is politics. I don’t see it changing, not in our country or any other. It gets some stuff done but prevents even more from getting done. I think some of that’s good, especially with the way they tack crap onto sure-to-pass bills to slide it under our noses. But I’m with you 100% – live within your means or end up like me: 7 years of credit hell, all because you THOUGHT you were living the American Dream.

      The beauty? Knowing better. And I even partially like how I learned the lesson.

  18. Jim Raffel
    Jim Raffel says:

    Shut the front door! You want me to be responsible for myself? I don’t get a job, a house and healthcare…..just ’cause? Oh wait, that is what I signed up for. 🙂

  19. Shireen Gonzaga
    Shireen Gonzaga says:

    Good rant. I’m much more left to you; I identify strongly with Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. The problem is MONEY and GREED. Until we take corporate influence out of the political process, we’ll never be a true democracy.

    Regarding entitlements, it’s a broad term that people use (misuse) to prove whatever point they’re trying to make. As a society, there have to be safety nets for people who fall on hard times. That includes free first responder services (fire/ambulance), free healthcare, and unemployment benefits for some reasonable length of time. Even, in some cases, filing bankruptcy. Think of it as a foundation, the minimum we need to pick ourselves up when we fall. Those are not entitlements, as some would call it, but the basic humanity of a society. There will always be some abuse of any system in place, but granting people some measure of security will help minimize that abuse, and in the big scheme of things, these safety nets will have a net positive for society. (BTW, my definition of net positive isn’t just financial, it’s also the intangibles that a person does to strengthen society, like helping out a neighbor, volunteering, supporting others in hard times, etc.)

    The middle class is the foundation of any thriving society. Take that foundation away and the top crumbles. That point seems to be lost on the rich greedy fools who are bleeding us dry.

    Good luck, Erika. You come across as a good person. There’s no shame in filing bankruptcy, you had no choice. In the long run, I’m sure you will be a net positive to our society.

  20. Gretchen Noelle
    Gretchen Noelle says:

    I want to kiss you. Great post.

    It makes me grit my teeth when I hear those damn radio and TV ads, “if you owe over $58395638232 you HAVE A RIGHT to settle for pennies on the dollar!” BS. No you don’t.

    And conservative hate-preachers are going to populate a level in my own personally developed Dante’s Inferno when I write it.

    If anyone let my pets burn I would likely end up burning going in after them. That’s ridiculous. I would probably go in for my NEIGHBOR’S pets if the firefighers were standing there with their thumbs up their butts. Then I’d put sugar in the FF’s gastanks. Or dog food.

  21. Dennis Higgins
    Dennis Higgins says:

    I’ve spent the last nine years fighting wars. Nine years in the Army with seven deployments, I’ve been defending the country pretty actively and only lately have I been asking myself the same questions you pose in this blog. There were times where I seriously thought about emigrating this year.

    There was post on a friend’s Facebook page about the Ground Zero mosque which degenerated into an “I Hate Muslims” rant. (I’d like to point out that it was a friend of my friend who hated the Muslims, and not my friend) What blew my mind about this argument, or the Prop 8 arguments, or the Koran burning, is that so many arguments are being made out of ignorance. On both sides. So many Americans are forming their opinions based upon what Glenn Beck or Kieth Olbermann say and doing NO independent research into the topics at hand. What burns my britches is when people ignore research or first hand experience just to parrot what their TV Messiahs tell them.

    I’ve read the Koran. I’ve discussed it with Islamic Scholars. I know the historical and cultural basis for the Shi’a/Sunni divide. I know I’m no expert on Islam, but I know far more than the idiots on TV who say Islam is a religion of hate. What kills me is when I give my credentials, I get a “Thanks for your service, but you’re wrong. Muslims are terrorists.”

    I’ve served with gay soldiers, men and women. While some were less than stellar soldiers, the majority of gays I’ve served with were above and beyond the standard. When you are doctrinally not wanted, you have to really want to be there to live the lie. When I tell people this, I get a “Thanks for your service, but you’re wrong. Gays are an abomination.”

    I know it’s a bit arrogant, but I believe I am what a True American is supposed to be. I believe if you want something, you should be able to work hard and get it. I believe that it’s what you contribute to the group, not what you look like or what you do in your bedroom that determines your worth to society. I think you are entitled to what the Constitution says you are entitled to and should work for the rest.

  22. Zohar Laor
    Zohar Laor says:

    I used to be a volunteer firefirghter, what most people don’t realize is that the fire department is NOT there to save the burning house – it’s already on fire for Christ sake. We come to put out the fire and make sure nothing else burns (like your neighbor’s house) – a failure in the Tennessee story by the way.

    This whole “pay-per-service” mentality is idiotic and a failure of leadership all around the country.

    As a community it is beneficial for us to take care of our neighbors and for them to take care of us.
    What does that mean?
    It means that we pay a few extra cents for garbage pick up even though we only have two bags a week but your neighbors have four.
    It means that we all share the cost of keeping the town clean.
    It means that when our neighbors get sick we mow their lawn.
    It means that we share the cost of police protection.
    It means that we help subsidize the cost of ambulance service to our fellow human beings.

    And yes, it means that we help upkeep a fire department.

    This whole $75 voluntary tax (because that’s what it is) is a sign of weak leadership of politicians with no backbone.

    I also served in the military with gay folks and guess what?
    No one cared.
    I find it ironic that the biggest opponents of gays serving in the military are chicken hawks. Granted, at one time there was a semi-valid reason (blackmail) but if they serve openly that is no longer true.

    We have it and the upper/political class likes to keep people’s entitlements, that way it buys them votes and power (will you vote for someone who will cut your pay check?). They are buying our votes with our money and like a bunch of idiots – we eat that up.

  23. Stephen Conley
    Stephen Conley says:

    Redhead, sounds like your fiscal thoughts are too conservative to have voted for Obama I’d say. Much of what he preaches and attempts to enact are in direct opposition to your views. But, I know, with kooks like Palin, O’Donnell etc. mixed up on the other side, it’s tough to vote that way too.

    This country needs a strong third party- one based on smaller government, less entitlement and more social common sense.

  24. Steven
    Steven says:

    “Nor am I ashamed to admit I’m more liberal on the social side and more conservative on fiscal matters.”

    Reading your post, you should look into libertarianism and free market socialism. I think they may be up your ally.

  25. The Redhead
    The Redhead says:

    See, here’s the thing: I don’t really need a label for my political affiliations. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if we stopped categorizing ourselves and started actually thinking about making this a better place to live – dang. What kinda progress would we make THEN!? 🙂


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