Ravings From The Bog

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

I listened to a fascinating podcast on This American Life yesterday evening while driving home. A joint investigative effort by TAL and NPR to explain the housing crisis. Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or incomes? Ever heard of a NINA? It’s a No-Income, No-Asset loan!!! The Great Pool of Money podcast is available on iTunes. It’s worth a listen.

I read somewhere yesterday that there has been a 36% increase in sales of plastic lunchboxes since the start of this much-hyped economic downturn. I have to assume that this is because many people feel that it is (much!) cheaper to prepare a sandwich or something similar at home, than pay Pret-A-Manger silly money for one of their concoctions and a cup of that muck that passes for coffee. In the same newspaper article, two other interesting statistics – 9152 houses have been repossessed this year so far in the UK, and there has been a 25% increase in sales of tents. A coincidence? I don’t think so!

One of the serious downsides of this situation is the 2000000 more McDonalds meals sold each month this year than last year in the UK. How many more children will be pushed indirectly towards early-onset obesity by the greed of the sub-prime mortgage idiots. Talking of idiots, only one British bank boss has lost his job over this farce. In fact, what is even more reprehensible is the $42M pay off to former Citigroup boss, Charles “Chuck” Prince, given the thousands of ex-home-owners who will face years of penury. It boggles the mind to start to imagine the number and range of impacts on every socio-economic group in every Western nation as a result of Wall St avarice.

As usual, we in the UK and Ireland are caught downwind of the stink that is American economic policy. Let’s get it over with and get registered as the fifty-first and second US states. The UK has been an US aircraft-carrier for years. Britain through the years has always existed in an illusion of independence from it’s younger progeny – we’re only fooling ourselves. If we’re going to be poor suddenly, perhaps we can join the 28 million Americans already receiving food-stamps!

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