OldVet: Jingle Mail Revisited
This one is by OldVet…
”Jingle Mail Revisited: it’s happening.”
I ran across an article today that gave me pause. It was on the subject of housing and homeowners going into foreclosure. I noticed it because it jarred with how I’d always seen my obligations to pay debts that I’d incurred, no matter what. I had watched the “60 Minutes” the night before, which was cited in the article. A key part in the television piece was between a reporter named Kroft and a real estate agent named Moran. It’s followed by a comment by Mr. Shedlock:
Kroft observes to real estate agent Kevin Moran. “There was a time, I think, when people felt really bad about not paying off a debt.”
“Yeah, I think in those days, loans were made by your local banker or building and loan associations or savings and loan,” Moran replies. “They were guys you saw in the grocery store. They were on the little league team with you, the PTA, the school. And I think as mortgages became securitized and Wall Street became involved, they became very transactional and there was no relationship built with the borrower and the lender. And I think that makes it easier for someone to see it as an anonymous party at the other end of the transaction and just walk away from it.”
“Just a business decision,” Kroft says.
Implicit in this segment is that families are not entitled to make “business decisions.” But you know who is entitled? Why, businesses of course. When businesses laid off 1.5 million workers in 2007, it was purely a “business decision.” When Wall Street banks “wrote down” more than $100 billion in losses in 2007, it was purely a “business decision.” Look for families to become more comfortable making “business decisions” of their own in 2008.
Bruised nostalgic attitudes aside, I can also note the complete disregard with which banks treat borrowers in good times, and the business environment in modern America which treats workers like disposable dishrags. The social bonds which tied businesses to communities are customers to bankers and people to their contracts are fraying rapidly. Hard times and desperation bring dormant conflicts into sharp relief. And if a business can call what it does a “business decision” then why cannot a flesh and blood American do the same?
This one was by OldVet.