Bob Herbert says Stop Being Stupid:
….(Bernie) Madoff summed up his activities with devastating simplicity. He is said to have told the F.B.I. that he “paid investors with money that wasn’t there.”
Somehow, over the past few decades, that has become the American way: to pay for things — from wars to Wall Street bonuses to flat-screen TVs to video games — with money that wasn’t there.
Something for nothing became the order of the day. You want to invade Iraq? Convince yourself that oil revenues out of Baghdad will pay for it. (Meanwhile, carve out another deficit channel in the federal budget.) You want to pump up profits in the financial sector? End the oversight and let the lunatics in the asylum run wild.
For those who wanted a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood, there were mortgages with absurdly easy terms. Credit-card offers came in the mail like confetti, and we used them like there was no tomorrow. For students stunned by the skyrocketing cost of tuition, there were college loans that could last a lifetime.
Money that wasn’t there.
The other day upon the stair, I spent some money that wasn’t there … then I woke up to find it really wasn’t there. Of course it wasn’t. Now all of us – even the ones who managed their money well – have to spend even more money that isn’t there. Herbert says we have tremendous choices as to how we use that debt and thinks:
We should use it to invest in the U.S. — in a world-class infrastructure (in its broadest sense) to serve as the platform for a world-class, 21st-century economy, and in a system of education that actually prepares American youngsters to deal successfully with the real world they will be encountering.
I think he’s right.
The photo is Leonard and Ova years later by anyjazz65, whose immensely entertaining account begins:
Leonard had emptied that case of Michelob he’d carefully hidden in the lawnmower shack at the corner of the back garden. Now while lying in his driveway counting stars and got fascinated by the light bulb at the top of the flag pole in his front yard. He became convinced it was an alien space ship and that he was about to be abducted and experimented on in ways he mostly wouldn’t like.
Leonard jumped up (always a mistake) and ran for his life. In just three strides he ran full face into the steel garage door which he’d left rolled half open. (Or half closed, depending on your point of view.) Leonard’s face stopped running while the rest of Leonard continued on toward the Studebaker.
When Leonard came around again, he stood up catching the top of his head on the garage door, which understandably was still there. He reeled and tumbled again this time striking the back of his head on the Studebaker’s back bumper.