Talk to the hand

Inauguration Day has come and gone, and now we have a new chief executive: President Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America. Each of us will be waiting for him to fix the economic crisis, solve the real estate crisis, solve the auto industry crisis, find an answer to the Middle East conflict, end crime in the streets, stop global warming and end corruption within the government. But while we are waiting for President Obama to do all these things, life will go on as it has before. The world around us is still in turmoil, and no one knows when we will be able to get off this ride.

While we hold our breath waiting for President Obama to fix everything, many will continue to point their fingers at someone else when they try to find someone to blame for our country’s slump. Many fingers are pointed at President Bush, not because he is actually to blame, but because he is the easiest target. What people neglect to see is that while they point their index finger outward, they have three pointing back at themselves.

Look at the world a few years ago. The economy was great, the best it has ever been. Money was circulating as it should, and the United States was sitting on top of the world. People were spending money and buying houses. Life couldn’t get any better than it was in that moment. Only, there were several problems.

When one went to the mall to buy new shoes or a new shirt, too often there was no money in the wallet. What to do about this? Well, charge those items, of course. Get a new credit card, go to any store, and shop until you drop. It was of little to no concern that there was no money because if a shopper didn’t have cash, there was always time to pay it back later. Many will say, “Oh, that wasn’t me,” but from my perspective, the scenario describes almost everyone. Individuals and businesses were spending outside their means.

Many red flags should have been raised. The economy was great because so much money was traveling through the system. But those who kept buying and buying beyond their income eventually reached the point where it was impossible to pay their debts.

The same situation went for the housing market crash.

The interest rates were great, and banks were lending money, so people were buying. Many bought homes they couldn’t afford, and they were doing so with adjustable rate mortgages. And people couldn’t see the crash coming? I find that in and of itself amazing, but the threat obviously wasn’t a huge concern because people kept buying and buying. What they didn’t expect was for the bottom to fall out of the market. Their adjustable rate mortgages ballooned their monthly payment, and suddenly those McMansion owners were unable to pay and foreclosed upon. This is a common theme, just look at the foreclosure rates in Nevada and across the nation.

So while everyone continues to point their fingers as President Bush, even though he is out of office, many should look at those three fingers that are pointing back at them. I am not saying that the government had nothing to do with our sorry state of affairs—I think Congress has really made a mess of things in the last two years—but our country’s main problem is that we are full of arrogant people who spend carelessly. So now all we can do is sit here and wait and hope President Obama will fix the entire world—as he promised.