The first Television I owned was a hand-me-down from my parents. It got all the local channels, when I stood on one foot and held the antenna in my left hand.
My first apartment had cable connections that I used for a much better reception. Eventually, the television blew and I saved my pennies for a whole month to buy a new Television with a remote control. Shortly after I got married the family started to grow, so we bought a bigger model we could all watch together.
Most of the neighbors paid extra for Showtime and HBO, but we just couldn’t afford it. Later on we added the Disney channel with all those “must see” TV shows my kids wanted to watch. Naturally, we had to increase the monthly cable budget and bought a new television for the living room. The kids use the old TV in the family room.
As the children grew older, our cable service really hit its stride, offering sports channels 24/7. Eventually, the “Big Games” were too important to miss, so we purchased our first Plasma TV. The store offered a “six months, same as cash” program we couldn’t afford to pass up.
Unexpectedly, one of the kids needed braces before the six months was up. Naturally, we paid most of the orthodontist bill and put the balance on our credit card. Though the balance due on our Plasma TV wasn’t overwhelming, we got hit by the big interest fee for missing the six month payoff deadline.
Lucky for us, the housing market started to heat up and our mortgage guy told us that we had a lot of equity in our home. He even offered to refinance the mortgage at his cost. We decided to take out some of that equity and pay off those credit cards and the Plasma TV. Once the credit cards were paid off, our Credit Score was really awesome. We could afford to buy just about anything we wanted.
Commercials on the Plasma TV told us a new car dealer in town was offering one of those 0% interest rates for five years. It was another deal we just couldn’t pass up.
The Plasma TV was really starting to pay off, but it was so big that the reception was a little fuzzy. A buddy of mine told me the solution for the Plasma TV was easy, we just need to add the High Definition feature to our cable bill.
Somehow with all of this great credit, our monthly expenses began to eat up our entire monthly income. But, once again we realized the housing market was really strong, so we refinanced our home at a lower rate, taking out some more equity to pay down the credit cards and reduce our monthly payments. We even came away from the closing with enough cash to take a Caribbean vacation. We did charge some miscellaneous trip expenses to our credit cards, but there was plenty of room to spare.
Back home, the Plasma TV was still really cool. Now the kids wanted one of their own for the latest video games. A local furniture store was giving away free 50-inch models, with the purchase of furniture. My wife told me our old living room was way overdue for an upgrade, so we took advantage of the store’s “1-year same as cash promotion”. Now everybody was happy!
Our Plan was to refinance the house again, just before the 1-year was up on the furniture promotion. That time we closed with enough cash to pay off all the furniture and the credit cards.
Right about then, there was a big news story that I saw on the big Plasma TV. Some “jerks” on Wall Street were doing really stupid stuff with Mortgages and something called “Default Swaps” or “Derivatives”. Whatever they did really screwed up the whole housing market and the value of our home dropped almost overnight. We were hoping to sell our home for some big bucks and move into a newer model. Now we owed more on our Mortgage, than our house could be sold for.
At this point, there was no way we could make all our monthly payments, because after the Wall Street guys messed everything up, my wife lost her job when the economy tanked.
Then one day I’m flipping channels on the big Plasma TV and I catch a story about how the government passed something called TARP. Those bastards in Washington gave all their buddies on Wall Street a bailout! I don’t know why us taxpayers had to bail out those Wall Street thugs. Now the whole nation is paying for their mistakes. The story was on the news almost every night for weeks.
I think the public uprising from the TARP bailout was really strong. After about six months Congress passed some relief for the little guy, here on Main Street. Congress finally passed a stimulus package to help homeowners like me get a “Loan Modification”. Now, because my home is worth less than I owe on it, all I have to do is quit making the payments for six months and they’ll force the banks to modify my mortgage. They told me my new monthly payment will be cut in half! Boy that will really screw over the banks! There’s no way I was going to pay back the old mortgage, just because some guys made a mistake on Wall Street.
Now something else is going on in Washington D.C. Just last night, on my big Plasma TV, there was another news story about Congress trying to fix the “Debt Ceiling”. I don’t know what the heck a “Debt Ceiling” is, but they better not raise my taxes just to fix it. I’m tired of paying for everyone else’s screw ups.