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America Now (2007 'debt prosperity') and Then (2011 Depression)
  (April 3, 2007)

Now 2007 Then 2011
Trade in 2-year old SUV for a new model Drive SUV to wrecking yard and pay them $50 to take it off your hands
Dish TV with 200 channels small TV found on curb, make antenna out of coat hanger, 4 channels
cellphone plan for entire family, talk to your friend for hours ride your bike over to see your friend in person
pick fruit for fun on weekends pick fruit for cash weekdays
Hire nanny, gardener, personal trainer, seamstress, cleaning service distribute flyers around last wealthy enclave seeking work as nanny, gardener, seamstress or maid
4 cars, one for each family member one car shared by three families
long commutes and late hours no commute, because no one in the house has a job
pay an expensive tax attorney and accountant to do your taxes file no taxes because you have no income
download 20 iTunes and 5 ringtones a month download 5 iTunes a year when Grandma gives you $5 gift certificate for your birthday
buy a $4 coffee at Starbucks every day to treat yourself make yourself a cup of coffee with two spoons of coffee instead of one because you found a half-used can in the dumpster
Treat your dog Fifi to "baked fresh dog biscuits" for $12, after paying for her shampoo and grooming ($40), teeth cleaning ($50) and nailcare $($30) Let Fifi lick the cornbread batter bowl
buy $60 designer jeans with holes and tears in them spend 60 cents on thread to patch old jeans with holes and tears in them
go to the Mall and blow $20 on nothing special go to the Mall and look at all the spooky closed shops
buy expensive nutritional supplements and organic produce grow organic produce in your own backyard
donate money to groups and politicians agitated about Gay Marriage no longer care about Gay Marriage or any "issue" except keeping the electricity on and getting enough to eat
buy $100 tickets to your kids' favorite pop/hip-hop music band's concert tell kids to form jug band and beg on corner for spare change
ride your stationary bike for exercise while watching Oprah ride your bike to the "free peanut butter" distribution office
Spend $500 on a "get rich quick in real estate" seminar curse the day you fell for that "invest in real estate" frenzy
decide which of your 12 credit cards you're going to use today try to remember what having credit was like
Buy new PC every two years, upgrade to new version of Windows and Office Shout for joy when old Windows98 PC you found when squatters next door moved away actually boots up
look at your mutual funds every weekend to see how much they went up wonder how much money you'd have made if you'd shorted the market in 2007
go to zillow.com for fun and see how much your house has risen in value since you looked 3 months ago go to zillow.com on the library PC and see how much your old house has dropped
complain about high taxes feel nostalgic for making so much money you owed taxes
plan to retire at your lakeside property you bought with no money down consider squatting in an abandoned lakeside McMansion when you qualify for Social Security
get angry at scammers getting "crazy money" from SSI/Social Security check out applying for "crazy money" from SSI/Social Security
pity the poor old people who are living on Social Security try to hang on until you turn 62 and can start collecting that HUGE Social Security check
Increase auto insurance to cover teens drive with no insurance
Deposit $3,000 in your IRA every April 1 withdraw last $500 of IRA for groceries
Unlimited DVD rentals with Netflix share one DVD among extended family
Go to the game a few times a year, spend $300 on tickets, $100 on parking, hot dogs and beer Watch the game on your cousin's big-screen TV; he's a cop and still drawing a paycheck
Visit the doctor for a $5 co-pay, company plan picks up the rest use library PC to log onto WebMD
Expensive vacations to Greek Islands and China borrow library book on Greek islands and eat Chinese take-out twice a year
Eat twice a month at fancy restaurants, and twice a week at fast-food/pizza places Split one steak among whole family for Christmas, make meatless pizza at home
Go to gym three times a week, still can't lose weight Dig ditches and plant trees in government workfare program, lose 50 pounds without even trying
Go to doctor for sniffles, aches, etc., get all drugs for free go to library and use PC to log onto WebMD, take "miracle drug" aspirin
Go to friends' house to play Playstation 3, XBox, World of Warcraft, etc. got to empty lot to play stickball, made-up games with cardboard boxes, boards, etc.

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copyright © 2007 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

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