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The rest of us, along with our children, and grandchildren, will pay, and pay, and pay.

This classified ad in the Smoky Mountain News (September 23-29, 2009, Vol, 11, Issue 17) caught my eye this morning (I have removed the phone number):

"Recession Proof!": classified advertisement

Let’s see, if a “similar lot” was $70k “not more than 9 months ago,” but now worth $24,900 (assuming enough similarity to be considered a comparable in a real estate appraisal), then the loss was $45,100 ($5011 per month).

Thank goodness, in these days of economic turmoil (with credit card companies doing all that they can to bully consumers and strangle small businesses), there are “RECESSION PROOF!” safe havens where those who have the financial wherewithal can invest!

Oh well, not to worry, with the “real estate professionals” working the market here in Murfreesboro, TN, it will probably be a while before our present home sells and we can move on to NC, anyway.  Yep, yesterday, one of those “professionals” called from our driveway to show a (local) “looker,” who wanted to see our home.  Forget the one hour notice request on the MLS, “we’re here to see your house!”

It’s days like those that make me want to give up.  But I don’t.  I make the drive.  305 miles, each way, every week, to work (plus the “in-town” mileage, when I am in NC).

I have a deadline to meet this weekend.  I’m working on a conference paper (on credit cards and small businesses).  You see, if I did “give up” on selling our home (by walking out like so many others have done), then I would not have much of an argument any more, when I try to speak out on behalf of struggling entrepreneurs (who are being squeezed — mercilessly — by credit card companies).

I have paid my bills and met my obligations, no matter what.  (As I drive during the treacherous trips through the mountains on I-40 eastbound in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, I at least know that if something happens to me, I’ll go with a clean conscience; I’m guessing that an apt description of “hell” is being a credit card account holder for eternity, so I definitely want to avoid going there.)

The FED (which is — unbeknown by most citizens — “owned” by the national banks and not “Federal”) and all of the bailouts have done nothing but enrich executives, who have enjoyed the parties, trips, perks, bonuses, and salaries of corporate big-wigs while they have had the same time, engaged in a reckless campaign against ordinary citizens (worldwide).  Meanwhile, homeowners, small businesses, and middle class consumers at large are slowly having the life sucked out of their wallets.

Just imagine: What if we invested $750 billion in bail out funds on the 21.7* million very small businesses in the United States?

The numbers are so staggering, they’ll make you dizzy (especially if you wear eyeglasses):

$1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) x 750 = $750,000,000,000

$750,000,000,000 / 21,700,000 (very small businesses) = $34,562.21 (each)

I’d certainly bet that if the first round of bail out funds had been invested in small rather than big businesses, we would have stimulated the economy.  But no, we bailed out big banks and car companies, where a handful of executives (each typically earning in excess of a million dollars in salary, so you do the math) became even richer in bad times, on the backs of all of us.  I know that these executives are about the only ones who can afford scooping up deals on lakefront property right now.  Further, as I have previously written, we could have averted the worst of the mortgage and foreclosure crisis as well.

By the way, regarding one of biggest problems, unemployment (which as you recall, came next in our downward spiral — while we bailed out “big” businesses and executives), and much of the pain that has come from that, could have been avoided if we had invested in small businesses.  Also according to the SBA Office of Advocacy, small businesses: “Employ just over half of all private sector employees”; “pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll”; and, “have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.”

Want to know why we’re suffocating, despite ever-so-slight signs of recovery?  A relatively small number of big businesses and their executives have prospered, and the rest of us, along with our children, and grandchildren, will pay, and pay, and pay.

* Those so small that they have no employees; number taken from SBA Office of Advocacy 2009 FAQs — out of 29.6 million total U.S. businesses.  Yes, the vast majority of all businesses are small businesses.  The vast majority of start-ups “bootstrap,” and many of these use personal and business credit cards as a source of capital.

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