Sunday, October 12, 2008

Main Street as guilty as Wall Street?

One small advantage of the financial tremors may be fewer animated ads online with dancing rabbis or svelte coeds hawking mortgage refinancing. Downtown L.A. having lost 700,000 jobs, you'd figure there'd be not as many panini purveyors opening, but au contraire. Still, there's hope; with more of the latte-toting crowd downsized, I'm anticipating a drop in Range Rovers blocking my view ahead on the road. Unless you're on the Westside or the exurbs. Finally, shows like "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" may ebb. On the other hand, the Depression brought those MGM musical galas and RKO's comedies about Fred & Ginger.

Stephany Yablow's letter to the Los Angeles Times on October 11, 2008, along with all other submissions, doesn't appear on the paper's website. I checked today, the day after, and the day it was published yesterday. No idea why, but her comments echoed my own populist if unpopular reactions, and I transcribe them the old-fashioned way for posterity and for the Net. I'll even overlook the Valley-ish spelling of her first name.

The Main Streeters are just as guilty as the Wall Streeters. When every Tom, Dick and Harry signed up for a 401(k) and invested his paltry paycheck in the stock market, every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted stock values to go up, up and up.

He didn't care how. He didn't care what the CEO got paid, he didn't care that illegal immigrants or Chinese slave labor were providing cheap labor, he didn't care that somewhere in America a child was hungry or had no healthcare because his dad lost his job.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry was bombarded with images of the lush life of the rich and famous and came to believe that he too deserved to live that life-- on borrowed money. Every Tom, Dick and Harry was told he deserved to own a house, so regulations were discarded, interest rates were kept low and lenders were pushed to throw out loan underwriting guidelines. And when the whole scheme imploded, there was Uncle Sam.

Yes, the romance of Main Street is alive and well, but everyone has come to believe that they are entitled to live on Park Avenue. Stephany Yablow, North Hollywood. [Opinion section, A-18.]

Photo courtesy of Katherine Boyer via my wife's blog. Not sure of its provenance. But it's appropriate.

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