... and that's anybody willing to admit they personally over-extended themselves.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not ignoring greed, process issues, structural and regulatory failures, or even the impact of Statist ideology on the market economy.
But somebody, somewhere out there borrowed way too much money. A lot of somebodies, I think.
I read the screeds of my liberal and progressive friends who say that for the last eight years people in the middle class have bee so squeezed by the GOP finanical policies that they've had to go to their credit cards to make it from month to month. I read about the people driven into debt by medical bills. And I'm sure both are correct--as far as they go.
But where are the people who bought SUVs every three years, rolled the old loan into the new one, and spent the last eight years driving around at twelve miles to the gallon?
Where are the people who forked out not for basic cable, but for deluxe cable with HBO and Showtime, along with unlimited text messaging, cable internet, and cell phones for all their kids, to the tune of $275/month instead of saving a few bucks every pay period?
Where are the people who didn't establish a college fund for their own kids' education, but were willing every summer to put whatever summer camp their little darlings wanted on a credit card?
Where are the people who couldn't be bothered to make their own coffee at home?
Where are the people who couldn't pass up a vacation in order to get some damn money in the bank?
I know they are out there because I used to hear them talking. They'd say, half-seriously: "After this vacation goes on the card, we're going to have to tighten our belts a little." But they never did. Or, "Look at this great refi I got: I rolled over all my bills into it, and now I've got some breathing room. We're going to be living within our means just as soon as we get that new car." But it never happened.
Instead, we fell for candidates from both parties who absolved us all from any guilt about spending too much, consuming too much, and saving too little--because it was the fault of big government, bad bankers, or the auto mechanic, or ... somebody else.
My family was part of that irresponsible credit boom. We made bad choices for what seemed to be the best of reasons at the time. And about a year ago we started working hard to get back to being responsible before the storm hit. We think we made it, but only time will tell. I've blogged about that set of painful decisions over the past year, so I can't deny it.
I say again: we were part of the problem and we waited way too long to fix it.
So apparently you can blame the recession on us.
Because, from what I'm not hearing, the rest of the country was filled with victims living responsibly until my credit card debt caused the entire f**king house of cards to collapse.
Sorry about that