The echo-chamber punduts on the Right pound the issue over and over. It was the mantra of the where-are-they-now Tea Party. National debt. There was even calls from the Right for a balanced budget ammendment. Debt is bad, we are told. We have to balance the budget to zero and never borrow a single cent ever again, especially from the godless Chinese, who are evil when it comes to owning a fraction of our debt, but good when it comes to churning out ipads and cheap Walmart crap in their sweatshops. How one comes to that belies their income level, or their level of honesty and partisanship.
I have been pondering this article for some time now. It wasn’t until I heard a friend regurgitating some Tea Party-FOX News drivel that it really came together. He was bragging how he didn’t have any debt, and that his checking account was always balanced, and what was Obama thinking running up the deficit by borrowing, especially in hard times. Interesting that he never mentioned the mortgage on his house. Of course his car was paid for, though its neary 15 years old(with an actual working cassette player) and close to 200 thousand miles a few dents and some rust here and there. Sounds a bit like our national infrastructure don’t it?
Turth is, rich people have zero debt, or balanced budgets, because they can pay cash or leverage everything. The rest of us, well, we incur debt in the form of car payments, second mortgages to put kids through decent school, or credit card debt to pay for unexpected medical bills, or to get us through hard times. An emergency investment, if you will.
That’s right, I said investment. See, I work for a company that is contracted by a bigger company. I’m good at what I do, and by the grace of god I’ve learned I will likely-not absolutely-but likely be offered a job by the big company when the contract expires at the end of the year. A month ago, well, that was a different story. With our contract up at year’s end, I was preparing for the worst.
In June I turned fifty. Listen to the news. I heard a report just today that in this economy there are a good number of 50 year olds thrown out of jobs-through no fault of their own- who may never find work close to the quality or the salary they once had. Some may never find work. Age-ism becomes a consideration. And though I am stunningly handsome, brilliant, absolutely charming and could pick up neuro-surgery with a little patience and a good weekend, it is a concern.
So I did what every practically minded middle class person does. I followed that imperative laid down by parents who struggled through the post-war recession in the 1940s and grandparents who faced the brunt of the Great Depression-I looked to borrow my way out as an investment in myself. Sort of like America investing in itself, despite its dickish Tea Party side.
I don’t have the kind of cash to throw a thousand of fifteen hundred bucks at a few new suits I’m hoping will give me an edge in an interview over a 22 year old who though far less experienced may do the job for half the pay because he doesn’t have a mortgage and isn’t saving as much as he can for retirement. And so I incresed my deficit strategically, as a means of investing in future opportunities. I put the suits, a couple of ties-shirts I got- and an interview only pair of new shoes. Exactly what the Obama Administration had to do when the economy was bleeding 700,000 jobs a month at the end of the Bush administration. Spend money to make money, isn’t that was the capitalists like to say?
At the end of the day, the cost-the true cost of living, of life is not at all compatible with the reality of market theory and economic abstracts-and money and economies are made up abstracts, fabrications and inventions. Bcause their is nothing apparent to replace the current system doesn’t mean it is the best of all systems. I could mean that humans have a fundamental deficit in concieving a better or different system, and that may be the ultimate of all deficits.