Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Greed is bad

The economic downturn is taking a toll on America. People are losing their jobs and homes. The last time I remember it to be this bad was in 1981, when Reagan first took office. I was oblivious to the economic woes at the time as I was barely out of college, and didn't have any savings to begin with. This time around, I'm in the thick of it. Anybody who owns a house or 401K will know exactly what I mean.

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate after California. How did all this happen? We can lay the blame on Bush, Greenspan, the banks, the mortgage companies, the home builders, and ourselves. The bottom line is we were all greedy, and most people bought more house than they can afford. In the 80s, people had to put 10 to 20 percent down on their homes. Before the housing bust, you could have bought a house with no money down. So, is it any surprise then that when the going gets tough, the owners just walk away from their homes? What have they got to lose? What were the bankers thinking? Especially the banks that own the second mortgage or the equity line?
I could go on and on and get depressed about the whole situation. Instead, I will focus on the nice weather that recently descended on Florida. After months of cold front blowing through, the weather finally got warm enough for some beach time. This past Sunday, we went to the lovely Anna Maria Island. We got there early for some peace and quiet before the crowd of families came. It felt good to have the sun on my back, listen to the soothing ocean waves lapping against the shore, and just let my cares melt away...

That same evening, around 7:45pm, we happened to be looking out our window across the street when suddenly a bright orange ray of light shot up above the roof of our neighbor's house. We ran out the door to stare in awe at NASA's shuttle Discovery. It had lifted off a mere two minutes ago from the Kennedy Space Center, on the Atlantic side of Florida. Boaters go to that area in the hope of seeing a launch. Here, we just happened to look out the window. How lucky are we? We later learned that the seven-member crew is delivering the final set of power-generating solar array wings and a new crew member to the International Space Station.

All things considered, we are grateful to be alive and well, with family and friends, and to be living in this great country. All this pain we are feeling now will soon pass. We will be strong once again.

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