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Has America learned from the economic collapse?

  • Yes. This has been a wakeup call to the nation

    Votes: 3 5.4%
  • Short-term, maybe. But in 5 years, greed will be back.

    Votes: 43 76.8%
  • Nah. The minute things ease up, I'm buying a BMW

    Votes: 7 12.5%
  • Pent-up demand will have us spending by Easter

    Votes: 3 5.4%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Note to mods: I'm putting this here instead of PO because I don't want a political answer. It's a sociological question).

Saw a story today speculating about whether America (consumers, business, government, whomever) has learned anything from the economic collapse. The premise was that there's lots of blame to go around: financial industry greed, Bush admin reluctance to regulate, borrowers getting loans they couldn't possibly pay back (wtf are you thinking when you take out a loan you can barely swing now, and the payment will triple in three years?)
.What it came down to was a question: Have we learned anything, or will people go back to their old habits as soon as things ease up?
FWIW, I think people will be cautious for awhile, maybe as long as three or so years, depending on how long it takes to get straightened out, but that our drive to have a bigger house and more Jet Skis than the guy next door will reassert itself pretty quickly. We just don't do self-denial in America, though we might adopt a weak form of delayed gratification.
So what do you think?
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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We've learned nothing. Case in point: we've tasked the same people who got us into this mess with getting us out. Stupid is as stupid does.
 

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KenB said:
We've learned nothing. Case in point: we've tasked the same people who got us into this mess with getting us out. Stupid is as stupid does.

It's staggering really. There is no "recovering" from this one. We're just full steam ahead to a different sort of economy. A whole different animal and on a worldwide scale. Imho, only of course.

Interesting. I'm hearing over and over people in the middle and low middle class saying, "Why bother?" The vibe I'm getting from people is that of futility and a lack of desire to push ahead, or further their education as the mood (note I say mood, as moods change) seems to be that of a "they're just going to take it away anyhow."

Not saying it's right, but that's what I'm hearing.

For me, after I sell this place (if, I sell this place) I'll be paring down. I don't need a lot of crap, or a big house.

I recently tallied up all the "stupid crap" I buy, including a latte there, a bottle of vino there, and such. It comes out to around $300 a month in needless spending.
That's stopping.

I'd rather work less, and live more.
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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i've personally learned quite a bit.

trying to live below my means (it's tough, i'm dirt poor) and trying for a job that will never go away.
 

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Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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I think more people have changed things up than they did post 9/11. But learned? No. As soon as we have the same opportunity to bury ourselves we'll be the first ones reaching for the shovel.
 

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Frog Whisperer
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instant gratification has become the norm......"we want the world and we want it NOW"......

I should not say WE, but THEY have learned nothing.
I already knew... I learned form the master.

My dad has always lived above his means and it has never worked.
 

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Frog Whisperer
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Creakyknees said:
human nature is unchanging, padawan.
yet interestingly enough, the balance of nature changes constantly to meet demands and requirements....
 

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Anti-Hero
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Funny yu should bring this up- Mr. 138 downloaded a few episodes from one of those reality Realtor shows from about 3 years ago. In two of the episodes, people are taking on interest only loans in order to be able to get into a bigger house than they could afford otherwise- you can see all facets of the housing-end of the problem in this one show:
-The buyers: generally, they want to get something they can't afford
-The Realtor: wants to make a sell, and a) won't tell the buyers that they need to reconsider their price range; b) will show the buyers houses that are a good 50K over their price range; c) justify this by telling them that there are some "financing options" that can help them get "more house"
-The bank: the way the loan officer explains interest only and 80/20 mortgages (at least in this show I'm watching) makes them sound too good to be true. They briefly mention that the interest rate is adjustable, but that part of the conversation is literally a few seconds long.
 

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Frog Whisperer
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Andrea138 said:
-The buyers: generally, they want to get something they can't afford
.... afford or have.....isn't that a summary of several of the 7 deadly sins?
 

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One thing that I have come to realize is that for the last 30 years our (the US) economy is totally reliant on spending beyond ones means. Now that the individual is tapped out the government is filling that role. The question is who will bail out the government when all the debt they are wracking up becomes viewed by our creditors as nothing more than a bad sub-prime mortgage and shut off the tap?

We all need to wake up to a new reality and accept a lower standard of living. It is here.
 

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Blue CheeseHead said:
We all need to wake up to a new reality and accept a lower standard of living. It is here.
This, my friend, is something that should have happened long ago. To exacerbate the situation, we have spread or philosophy all around the world. The problem is not ours alone, it is global.
I am comfortable with my standard of living. We managed to raise 4 kids, put them all through college and watch them grow with the understanding of the value of patience and a dollar.
My wife and kids and I did without a LOT, we built our house as we could afford it, we borrowed against a house we were selling to buy and own the land we live on now free and clear. That was 27 years ago. None of this is new, it has been escalating since our founding fathers came here because they couldn't have what they wanted in Europe.

We never buy anything we can't afford, if the money isn't in the bank, we wait. Money lenders are in it for THEIR welfare, not ours. In my mind, it just seems foolish to pay interest on "stuff" having a depreciating value. (and that does indeed include homes if purchased at an INFLATED value)

I was watching the news the other night and a major bank executive was being interviewed and stated that, and I paraphrase, "If they would just let us asses and loan money for houses based on what they SHOULD be worth, this problem would go away"

OMG.......has he got his head in the sand or what?
 

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Non non normal
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When the proposed solution, was the cause of the problem ........

spending more than you have
 

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Quiet, daddy's drinking
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Have we learned anything? Nope. We dumb, dumb as hell.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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History would say that the generation experiencing tough economic times, for the most part, are the ones that learn the lessons........the following generations, not so much.

Len
 

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Eddy 53:11
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1. Americans have short memories and therefore learn very little.
2. Americans also have an sensational thirst to have what we can't afford. /= fail.
3. Americans think we're experiencing hard times but, is it REALLY that hard?
Is this as hard as it gets? If so, great!
 

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Premium Member
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I'm a firm believer in personal responsibility however, as much as I hate to say it, there are a lot of stupid people,and banks, out there..

During the housing boom, there were people getting, and banks were lending, three mortgages just to buy one house... They were getting a mortgage for the house, down payment, and closing costs.....

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that bubble was going to burst eventually...
 

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Super Moderator
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I learned that "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" is still a very timely book.
 

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I don't think so - seems like we failed to learn from the last economic collapse, as well as how other countries have done the same. I still hear people talking about credit cards and financing cars/boats/2nd houses. Personally, I prefer the old "cash is king" theory - pay off all debt (including the mortgage - the tax write off is NOT worth the debt) and only buy what I can afford to pay for. No lay-away or credit card/financing for big purchases. Not how everyone can/will live, but I sleep well at night knowing I owe nothing.
 
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