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Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Bank

In England, the 99 cent store beat out the Pound (that's a Brit's dollar) store...people crossed the street - closed 'um down for a savings of one cent. That's not funny "ha ha" - it sure is odd! Pinching pennies takes on a new meaning...

...until April 1, when according to a Barack Obama statement, we will feel the tax breaks and it's three months to an easier access to credit from the banks. I'm gonna' shop with cash and look for the store that saves my pennies.

Credit card shopping is too shaky with banks lending to each other and tightening credit more and more as the unemployment rate increases. Banks and unemployment are closely tied. Credit card companies used the same system of "securitizations" (that's bundling-credit card loans into-one mutual fund or bond with no risk disclosure, for us penny-pincher's) as was used by the mortgage lenders that created the present crisis. Today, credit card companies are gearing for defaults and no matter how much the government gives them, they are still lending to each other.

So, in a few weeks, we're gonna' see "Stress Tests" for major banks in order to separate the weak from the strong...which banks should get bigger chunks of government money in case we go into a deeper depression - oops, intended to say, "recession." Must be my frame of mind that slipped into the "D' word.

Depression aside...there are facts. Banks can't raise private capitol and nationalization of troubled big banks is possible....some say, "not probable" and some say, "inevitable". For now, there's only April's quick tax cuts to look forward to as we watch tonight's glitzed-down-Red-Carpet and dandier entertainment, 81st Academy Awards Ceremonies on our no-cost-to-us-for-the-show home TV.

During the 1930's, in 1932, when Roosevelt became president, it was a "recession= feels like depression" people flocked to the escapism and crowd warmth of movie theaters. Movies were priced for the times at 35 cents and "misery loves company." I spite pinching-pennies by eating at home and competition from home TV, video games and internet-wandering escapist entertainment , will getting out of the house - to escape our disciplines, mundane choices and financial reality - bring a 2009 serious and spoiled-rotten-culture back to 1930's be-grateful-for-any-and every-little-laugh society?

While checking out the movie theater marquees for a comedy, a funny thing happened on my way to the bank to get cash: Passed a resale shop window, loved the sweater, pulled out my credit card, shopped and probably will laugh-at-my-all-too-human-self all the way to the poor house.

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