Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Yes, as the name implies, the new American super segment to target is the Budgeteers. Much like Disney's original Mouseketeers these current financial American innocents are adults in age only when it comes to managing money. And what would you expect? Since the invention of the credit card in 1958 these financial innocents have been encourage to constantly indulge and dip their hand in the financial cookie jar (it's irresistible) to live far beyond their means so the credit pimp (finance industry) could live well. Hence, America's current financial crisis.

To put a positive spin on Budgeteers would be to think that they are frugal people and manage money well, reading Money Magazine and always putting their money in the accounts that pay the most interest and employ credit cards with the lowest interest rates. But that's not true. That is the minority. The Budgeteers are a much larger vaster segment..."Cornucopia Kids" bred by campaigns like "Life Takes Visa" (and decades of similar before) to consume more than they bring in. They live at the intersection of "can just barely get a credit card" and "I'll never be able to pay all this back." Hooked by the purchase pimp these finance-children, with their hands in the credit and finance cookie jar take out jumbo loans with no doc or easy doc applications, they lease vehicles to have more than they can actually afford, and when they turn leased vehicles in, (more than 70% of the vehicles on the road are leased) the auto industry finds it difficult to dispose of them, which hurts the auto industry. And these are the people who came from the homes that run our finance and mortgage industry today! No wonder it finally got all fouled up. The day of reckoning arrived and it's time to go to the woodshed. It's all illusionary wealth and we blanket ourselves each night in the illusion of financial security while the simmering financial stress drives us to seek Tylenol PM and therapy for attention deficit disorder children unhinged by little more than watching their parents create a daily atmosphere of monetary paranoia and financial misery. That's insecurity. It would be hard for me to pay attention in such a household too.

The smart Budgeteers will learn from this experience and adjust their priorities advancing to middle school. They are the minority. The rest of America's Budgeteers, captured by the financial pimp will continue to be held back in financial elementary school earning their C- and D+ on their report cards. We're a long way from Ray Bradbury's blissful 24th Century Star Trek utopia where human-kind no longer needs money and lives in pursuit of improvement.
We would have a much kinder, gentler and more fiscally responsive America if retailers did away with credit cards and loyalty programs. Just offer good products and friendly service. That would be an incentive for management to get back in touch with employees. Would these businesses, like Home Depot shrink? Of course they would. Down to their "reality" size rather than their credit inflated illusionary bottom lines.

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