Monday, March 16, 2009

Designer Handbags, Expensive Coffee & Personal Reponsibility -- Or How Obama Got Elected!

Dear All: I realize that it has been a long time since my first post, and for that you have my apologies. I have had to deal with some personal issues that used up most of my time and brain power. Also in my defense, it has taken me awhile to narrow down several tangents into something readable. But I’m back now, and just as bitter -- if not more so -- than I was when I posted Part One. So thank you again to Watch Dog for allowing me to post another long-winded rant , and I hope you enjoy. ~Lindsey

Designer Handbags, Expensive Coffee and Personal Responsibility – Or, How Obama Got Elected.

The American public has turned against “Octomom” for a lot of very good reasons, including, but is not limited to, her ridiculously irresponsible spending habits. Her parents’ house is on the brink of foreclosure, and she currently gets by on student loans and the disability payments for three of her children. In the meantime, she is looking at million-dollar homes and spending more than $1,000 on cosmetics in a single trip. While there is no denying that Octomom needs to spend money on a good psychiatrist more than anything else, what most Americans don’t realize is that they are more like her than they want to believe.

I was riding up an escalator in a department store, and I noticed that the woman in front of me had a Coach handbag. Coach, for those of you who don’t know, is a designer brand, and most bags that hold more than your cell phone are $300+. It struck me that I have seen more and more women with these handbags, and I couldn’t help but wonder how in the world they can afford them. And then it hit me – they haven’t been paid for yet, thanks to the magic of credit cards.

The Coach realization brought back the memory of a scene that I had witnessed while I was in college only a few years ago. I was in the supermarket in a less-than-affluent area and the woman in front of me, surrounded by four children, was paying for her groceries. I happened to notice that she was paying with WIC, but this is nothing that I hadn’t seen before. So she finishes, and then I pay for my groceries. I go out to my car and notice that the other woman had parked right across from me. She was in a car that had to be 15 years old, and the front bumper was tied on with twine. She finished loading the last of the children into the back seat (4, when I’m sure that there were only seat belts for three) and then got into the driver’s seat, where she and the other adult in the car both proceeded to drink out of their Starbucks coffee cups. At the time, this struck me as offensive on two levels. First of all, how do you justify the most expensive cup of coffee that you can buy when your children are packed into an economy-sized sedan and your bumper is tied on with twine? How is that safe? And second, how is it fair that she could drink Starbucks coffee and accept money from the government at the same, because she reportedly can’t properly nourish her children?!

One of my history professors once remarked on the spending trends of the past few generations. My grandparents -- the "greatest generation" -- experienced the Great Depression, and then the economic rebound after WWII. They gave their kids what they couldn't have during the depression. The 1950's brought the first widespread use of credit. Those spending habits were passed to my parents' generation, and then to my generation (I turned 27 about a month ago). But somewhere along the way, the concepts of responsible spending habits and saving money were thrown out the window. And here we are.

A few weeks ago, I learned that the APR on my Citibank credit card had been raised by 5%. When I emailed them to ask them what they had done wrong, they said that they had been forced to raise my rates to cover the losses that they had suffered because of other delinquent customers. I have not been so furious in a very long time. I have never -- not even once -- been late for a payment on this card, and now I get to pay the late fees of others. You can imagine how elated I am at this concept. After twenty minutes of ranting at a Citibank customer service representative, I got them to reduce my APR by 4% so that my net raise was only 1%. I don't generally carry a balance, but it was the principle of the whole thing.

You can blame the banks and the mortgage companies all you want for the housing crisis, but what happened to the American consumer in this? I won’t sign a gym membership without reading ALL of the fine print. Why on EARTH would you buy a HOUSE without doing so?!? These people bought houses that they could clearly not afford, and now they want the American taxpayer to help bail them out.

And I’m not going to blame this solely on those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. There is plenty of blame to go around for those who were greedy and took advantage of consumers. But I fail to see how they could have taken advantage of people on such a mass scale if people hadn’t been looking to get rich quick, or get something for nothing.

It reminds me of the people that stay in their homes during hurricanes. They hear on the news that there is a mandatory evacuation for their area. They hear on the radio that there is a mandatory evacuation for their area. Police officers and others come to their door and tell them that evacuation is mandatory, and offer them a free ride. Yet the residents stubbornly insist on weathering the storm in their own homes. Seven feet of water later, the residents are on top of their roofs begging to be rescued, and then get angry when the rescuers don't come right away. Because see, you were told MULTIPLE times to get out of your house, and YOU chose not to. And now you claim that the fault lies with the government or the rescue teams for not getting to you?!?!?!?!

Possibly the worst part, as far as I'm concerned, is that the vast majority of Americans will never admit that they have done anything wrong. Why? Because that is the American way. When I was in elementary school, one of the second grade teachers was fired for using red pen to grade her students' work. According to the principal, red pen was stigmatizing and led the student to believe that they had failed. Really? Because the last time I checked, 2+2=5 IS wrong, and if you answered fewer than 60% of the questions correctly, you DID fail. So if you can do simple math problems, not get them wrong, and be led to believe that you didn't "fail," how are you supposed to learn to take responsibility for wrongdoings when the "correct" answer is not quite as black and white? Of course it wasn't wrong for you to buy your Coach purse when you can't pay your mortgage, or for you to get some Starbucks when you can't feed your children or take your car to a mechanic, and I know that for me to say so would unfairly stigmatize you. I'm so sorry.

Am I the only one who doesn’t see this “recession” as a bad thing? If it takes a recession to get the Mr. or Ms. American Consumer to have some sense knocked into them, then maybe it isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Granted, I still have my job, so it’s easy for me to say this, but digging out of this recession REEKS of being a massive clean-up job for the fiscally irresponsible. And don't even get me started on the fact that they call it an economic "cycle" for a reason.

Obama got elected because he is the presidential version of the Ponzi scheme. He promised huge changes for the disadvantaged -- fast changes -- if they would elect him. He offered to help people keep their houses (you know, the ones they couldn't afford in the first place). He will fill up your gas tank and pay your taxes, and allow you to keep your purses and your expensive coffee too. With him as president, no one has to take responsibility for their actions -- except for the rich, who get to pay for everything. Their tax dollars go directly to pay for all of these little promises, and none of the existing issues get touched. The only difference between Madoff and Obama is that Madoff sleeps in a federal prison, and Obama sleeps in the White House.

I really hope that someday it will become apparent that Obama, like all other get-rich-quick schemes, is too good to be true.

Posted by Lindsey

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Fox Lady said...

Very Good, Lindsey!

I have been bugging Watch Dog about your follow-up.

I accused him of keeping you under wraps to avoid completion.

From my point of view, you are on the money.

Jane E. said...

Well done!

Even better than the fiirst!!!!!

RightWingDog said...


Back and bitter, seems like a good combination!

Your second to last paragraph is a classic, RIGHT on the money! The rest of the article is very well done and I think you must have been crusing the ghetto areas of Chicago when you wrote the articles about the lady with the $300 handbag and the drinking of Starbucks when she couldn't feed her children. I have seen it all many times and in close, I would add that Barack Hussein Obama has done irreparable damage to the welfare system in this country and because of his actions he has set back the poor, whether they be white, black or hispanic, decades.


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