April 13, 2011

A modern fairy tale

Let's say you have a home equity line of credit. You are a good person, you care about your fellow man.  You donate to NPR and PBS.  You give to worthwhile charities.  But you just feel like you should do more. You help the family down the street with some groceries. You help the neighbor pay his mortgage. You co-sign an education loan for your nephew. A friend of your daughter needs an abortion. You give money to the arts council. You help pay to put on a local play.

You wake up one day and find you have used all of your pay and have somehow maxed out your line of credit. You have borrowed money to pay other people's bills. Now you do not have the cash to pay your own.

So you go to your boss and tell him you need a raise. You explain he should give you more money because you gave a grant to the Boys Club to help out the Midnight Basketball League. You gave to the Police Union and you are paying the doctor bills for the kid across the street. You are sending money to the UN, to UNICEF and to The Sierra Club.

Surprisingly, he turns you down.  This cannot be so.

Next you go to the bank.  You explain that you are out of credit and yet you still need to donate cash to the starving kids in Africa you saw on that TV commercial. You explain that another of your daughter's friends may be pregnant and you need to protect her health. You explain that may mean paying for an abortion, or buying vitamins or maybe paying for the whole pregnancy. You tell the loan guy it is not the girls fault she got knocked up for the third time. You explain that you still have other families wanting help with their bills, and you want to help a neighbor buy a new car with green technology because it will be good for the environment.

You threaten the bank will be in severe trouble if they fail to increase your credit limit (or you could call it a debt ceiling). You explain that you will default on your loan and your neighbors might too.

When the bank and your employer told you perhaps you should reduce your spending, you replied that they just wanted to kill the elderly you were helping support.  You accused them of wanting to kill the pregnant girls. You labeled them as heartless.  You said the banker wanted your grandmother to eat dog food. You told your employer he had a moral obligation to pay you more, he could afford it.

You shouted you needed the money for the children, the environment, the elderly.

That fantasy could never happen. Could it?

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