The world sits in an economic quagmire thrust upon us by the financial uber-complex and a complicitous government. How did we arrive (or more appropriately were herded) here? It is easy to point the blame at lack of federal guidelines, this hedge fund manager or that one, or a lapse banking industry, but we sowed the seeds of our demise through our prayers for the American Dream.
The soft underbelly of our vaunted American pride has always been in our belief in the invulnerability of those things we believe to be sacred and inviolable. In the present debacle we left ourselves exposed by one of the oldest of American dreams – home ownership. Before our declaration of independence, people sailed here for a chance at success, to have their own homestead, to use that to make their own mark on the world. This desire has grown to the point where we think that to own a home is not only the American promise, but an inalienable right. As such, it took only the proper greed to allow the economic power entities to rob us blind with the help of our dream turned to lust.
It has taken a long time for the financial industry to maneuver us into position with all the skill of a gifted maestro. We were first guided to the point that buying a home was something that you earned. We were encouraged to work hard and save our pennies and someday we could have a place of our own. This goal, available to some and tantalizingly out of the reach of others, fired our imagination and gave an emblem to our concept of success. Next we were shown that our homes were building equity which we could use to finance other hopes and desires. It wasn’t long before we were convinced that the equity could fuel not only the special hopes of life, but could fuel our lifestyle as well. This is when we really turned into a credit economy, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul without realizing that they were apostles of the same god of greed and usury.
We had bitten the forbidden fruit and were granted obscene false knowledge. No longer did we want a home to establish our clans, provide us security, and give us safe refuge when our hearts were heavy and spirits weak. We now craved bigger and better to prop us up on false pedestals of our own grandeur because we were told by financial institutions that it was our right and destiny, and they were only there to help.
We were blinded by the glaring smiles that offered us the world and told us not to worry about the price. They developed new financial instruments that allowed people to reach well beyond their means for a rotted carrot on a stick dangled before us. One hand doled out money, the other artificially raised prices, and all was good with the world. And why not share the wealth, why not put some lipstick on this pig and bundle bad loans with good ones and sell them to the world as grade A quality bacon.?
Untold amounts of money were reaped by the time the bubble burst. American markets crumbled, European purchasers of the rancid packages suffered as well. People of every economic strata lost homes and hopes, crying in the street. The government leapt into action and instead of helping the people, they saved the banks and Wall Street by pumping more money from our pockets into theirs. Hands were slapped, some cards shuffled, and we were left on the island of misfit housing with upside down mortgages, and payments that our income cannot support.
So here we sit, in an economy that will still take years to recover just in terms of job creation much less return of lost wealth. Why? It is because we dared to dream. We were so sure of the sanctity of this dream we cried of it from the hilltops. We let the predators in on our greatest weakness, rolled over and exposed our bellies. It will be difficult enough to establish any kind of accountability, and little hope shaking the government into substantive action. But we cannot remain silent. We have been raped. It is just that simple and we cannot afford to hide in shame, we have to face our attackers. If we don’t, they will fatten us with more dreams then feed on our bloated carcasses. We must be strong and unrelenting because if we are not, whether we resurrect this American Dream or call forth a new one, down the road it will just be twisted and used to profit others and crush our souls again. Cherish your dreams, share them sparingly, and above all else protect them.