Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Economic Crisis 2008 - Call To Action

In the previous post (below) I provide a simplified version of what happened to the Stock Markets and Financial Industry. The reason everyone needs to understand this now is because the same thing is happening in governments. In order to stave off the problems this has brought to the markets, and thereby every major company that relies on these markets, governments are incurring large debts with no thought of their future ability to pay.

Pretend that you have credit card and car loan balances totaling $50,000. Also pretend that your house is worth $200,000, and you only owe $100,000. As long as you are paying your bills, you are a good credit rating and can get credit if you need it. You know you can refinance your house, if necessary, for money to pay off your obligations. But, what happens to you if the value of your home drops to $100,000? Now your ability to pay is reduced through no fault of your own, even if your income is the same.

Let's assume that you don't currently rely on debt for the day to day business of your home. But, if your car breaks down or you have a non-routine medical expense you no longer have the ability to get the cash you need to meet your obligations. You can ask your boss for a raise, but this minor increase in your income cannot help you to pay off the large obligations that are dragging down your credit rating. With this new obligation, your ability to pay your other existing obligations is further diminished. Due to your diminished ability to pay, your credit cards are closed by the banks and your interest rate goes up. You no longer have access to any funds other than the income from your job. As long as your income holds, and you don't have any unplanned expenses, you may be able to hold on. But, consider that the change has affected many others. This could easily impact your employer, and your income.

Now, simply assume that you are the government. It works exactly the same. When the ability of your government to acquire capital is reduced, all of the existing debt becomes a greater burden. The government can raise taxes, but there is not enough money in the system to pay off the debt enough to improve our credit rating. It will have to reduce its expenses. Not only that, in a recession, overall income is reduced. This means that less tax money will be collected, even if the rate is increased.

Every person in America needs to reduce their expenses now. You can stop spending on discretionary purchases and obligations (cell phones, cable, etc) while it is still an option. You cannot stop spending on debt. You don't want that to be all that you can afford. Everybody needs to speak up so that Congress and The Fed stop spending money while it is still discretionary. They will refuse to listen until a large section of the electorate speaks out.