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cinephile

The Humbling of America

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cinephile

I just found a great blog post on Subprime JD (a blog dedicated to getting the word out about how much of a scam law schools can be, as well as higher ed in general) in which he catalogs what went wrong in the economic meltdown and the idiotic mistakes we made (and the idiotic mistakes we're still making!). Of particular interest to me was reading his eyewitness accounts of the rampant greed and utter insanity of the housing bubble. Really amazing stuff. In fact, this bit was so good I have to copy it here:

 

Growing up in Southern California I lived firsthand through the housing mania. And let me tell you that those who were infected with the mania truly went mad. I saw numerous people leave decent respectable careers to become real estate brokers and get into the "loan" business. I saw these people upgrading from Honda Accords to S Class Mercedes Benz. Oh the arrogance that was floating in the air. Watching the Ford Expeditions cruise down the street with the 25 inch rims and the TV's behind each head rest, with the $2,000.00 sound system blasting. One of my good friends began his career selling car stereo products such as amps and subwoofers, and let me tell you that business was booming. Of course, most of the purchases were made on credit. I wonder how many of these cars were repossessed by the banks.

As I read more about the housing crisis and the greed and corruption inherent in it, the more I realize that it has a lot in common with the corruption of health care (and psychiatry of course). It just seems more and more that selfishness, materialism and sociopathic greed is the common denominator in this country. And it's killing us.

 

I found only one glaring omission: our disastrous health care system (and, of course, psychiatry), which is also draining our economy. I posted a response about that.

 

I hope people find this blog post interesting!

 

http://subprimejd.blogspot.com/2011/07/humbling-of-america.html

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cinephile

Just found two great quotes on a message board thread about what it feels like to be young, unemployed, and underwater in student loans. I think they sum it up nicely!

 

I was forced to use this bank to take out a loan because it was the only one besides federal that were offered by the school. I took out $2500 and in just 2 years $900 in interest has accrued!

 

Today they had the nerve to send me an offer for a Sallie Mae/BoA credit card with a 24% IR!! How stupid do they think I am? This is predatory lending at its finest. I'm only employed part time at a sh---- job and am barely surviving even with living with my parents.

 

My question is, how the hell are they allowed to do this? Since they were bailed out by the FED, why do they still exist? How are they allowed to take billions from taxpayers AND keep taking money from the poor saps that bank with them? Where the f--- is all the money going?

 

How much blood can they keep squeezing from the proles at the bottom of the pyramid? When is this all going to end? I don't own a home or a car. What can they take from me if I stop paying? Will they go after my parents?

 

Since its not possible for student loans to be absolved through bankruptcy, can I transfer the loans to a credit card and then declare bankruptcy? I don't care anymore. I already know I'll never be able to afford to have a family or a home so I might as well go bankrupt now and become a drifter. Anything is better than being squeezed into a corner by the banks.

 

I got my degree last May just in time for the worst job market since the great depression. I am at the end of my rope. The value of the dollar is going down and people can barely afford to buy food. I am close to just saying f--- it and riding my bike across the country. I'm tired of these monolithic organizations/corporations controlling my life and i'm sick of working my a-- off just to hand 75% of my paycheck to billionaires.

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alexjuice

I read the post you linked to as well as the comments.

 

The US has been humbled, for sure. In the past this country has responded to economic challenges. We'll see how leadership handles things and what the outcome will be. Are we in the early innings? Middle? Late? Do things get worse before they get better or have they already bottomed? I don't know.

 

The thing about our current predicament is that there is stark divison, unparalleled since the 1850s IMO.

 

But, one thing for crises is that they reveal greatness. FDR and Lincoln certainly benefited from Hoover and Buchanan's setting of the table. Great leaders need great problems to solve. Great problems follow incompetent leadership. I think more or less everyone, at this point, sees the leadership of the US in the first decade of the 2000s as failed. And a big part of the problem.

 

I feel ya, cine. Our parents and grandparents could provide for themselves far easier than our generation. All we got is better TVs and phones that take pictures. Oh, and we got SSRIs and Atypical Antipsychotics and so on...

 

The system needs fixing desperately.

 

Alex.i

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cinephile

Alexjice --

 

I really appreciate your historical insight and your ultimate optimism!

 

I also liked this line:

 

I feel ya, cine. Our parents and grandparents could provide for themselves far easier than our generation. All we got is better TVs and phones that take pictures. Oh, and we got SSRIs and Atypical Antipsychotics and so on...

While I don't think it's THAT bad (for one, we have the internet which, while one huge double-edged sword, at least allows us to get the word out about psychiatric corruption and connect with fellow activists and psych survivors and rally for change), I completely feel what you're saying. We may be the first generation in America that isn't more prosperous -- or even AS prosperous -- as the previous one.

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alexjuice

While I don't think it's THAT bad (for one, we have the internet which, while one huge double-edged sword, at least allows us to get the word out about psychiatric corruption and connect with fellow activists and psych survivors and rally for change), I completely feel what you're saying. We may be the first generation in America that isn't more prosperous -- or even AS prosperous -- as the previous one.

 

Ha! Yes, our parents DID have to walk to school in the snow both ways, uphill!

 

I totally agree about the internet BTW. I think the internet is the best thing humanity has done so far, at least in regards to technology. I hope it stays the same.

 

Also, you are so right about the 'law school scam' meme... I wonder if you've read the post by a law professor Brian Tamanaha basically calling out his own profession. It had all the buzz last year. It's here -- >

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/06/wake-up-fellow-law-professors-to.html

 

alex

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cinephile

Thanks so much for that law post alex! It must have given many indebted and unemployed law students at least some solace.

 

Now, the obvious question: when are the psychiatrists going to step up and tell it like it is about psychiatry, especially what it has done to generations of kids?

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