Once Upon A Time, A Fractured Fairy Tale
No, not this time. This is not a tale about some Shrek like character or any other Rocky and Bulwinklel short story. This is a story of reality, of being an American in the 21 century. It could happen to you.
Timothy Bottoms was just arriving at his ever so humble abode after a long arduous day working as as apprentice under the tutelage of Tom Hardwood, the manager of the nearest Walmart some ten blocks away when he noticed something sticking out from his front door. Weary from all the hassles of trying to please Tom Hardwood only to be ridiculed at every thing he did Timothy found that piece of paper was the foreclosure notice he thought he never get. It was just two years ago that he managed to save enough for the down payment on what he thought would be his own piece of stability. Little did he know that after all the paperwork was signed keys were handed over six months latter he was laid off as the production manager of a major manufacture of electrical components. It turns out that the company was moving all it's operations to China were cheaper more skilled labor would make more profits for top management and share holders.
Upon learning of his fate and those of all his fellow co-workers Timothy managed to squeeze into that lofty of all positions, as a store stocker at the local Walmart, third shift. For $8.75 an hour was quite a sticker shock after making $55,000 per year as manager. He was the fortunate one, for so many of his coworkers their only consolation was the unemployment checks that doesn't even come close to keeping up their mortgages, rent or buying food, let alone upkeep on their car. As the weeks wore on third shift became second shift and then an opening for an assistant supervisor position opened up. Now, Timothy's pay skyrocketed to an astounding $10.75 per hour. Still with all the hard work day after day first to go was cable, next was the car, even after scrimping on just the necessities only to find out that as an assistant supervisor with his $10.75 per hour wage is over the limit for food stamps or any other state or federal assistance program. Electric bills, water bills, homeowners insurance, and of course his mortgage were all being shuffled. Robbing Peter to pay Paul were Timothy's only options.
When the bank called a few months back to inform Timothy that he was two months behind in his mortgage he tried to negotiate a re modification of his mortgage. Only to find out a little later that his credit score doesn't qualify for any type of re modification. It turns out that just one late payment on any utility bill drops ones credit score by as much as 100 points. The harsh reality of loosing his one place where he thought he was secure. His little place of solitude and respite after enduring the tyrannical rule of Tom Hardwood would be soon striped away, began to sink in.
For Timothy Bottoms the realization of why his company uprooted and relocated overseas is fundamental to what has transpired to the landscape of the U.S. economy for the past 25 years. Fundemental yes, because as a manager Timothy had to spend countless hours training workers on how to do their respected jobs. That training, a job that should have been done by our educational system. Not only did this drastically reduce the companies profits but all the wasted time lost from actual production that went into training cost even more.
To fully understand the Timothy's of America dilemma is to understand what has happened over the course of 50 years in the economy of the United States. Following World War II America led the world in manufacturing. General Motors, ATT&T, Ford, General Electric, and U.S. Steel were the predominant employers. Today, where we have replaced our manufacturing base economy with service providers, sales, and temporary staffing firms now make up six of every seven available jobs now. The largest private employers now are Walmart, Kelly, IBM, UPS and McDonalds. for Timothy Bottoms had finally realized business is business. When his company relocated because of the number of skilled workers already trained to meet production quotas existed in China and not in the United States the question on how all could this have happened materialized. Like so many Timothy Bottoms all around the United States are faced with the realization that being a homeowner is no longer plausible, no longer affordable, and no longer conceivable. When home ownership is striped away by so many unscrupulous banks with their Robo signing or inflated credit scores to purposely deny any re modification while companies uproot and transfer operations overseas continue to strip away the stability of a nation. The banking industry is treading on very thin ice when they operate knowing full well of what their intentions are doing to the general public. When they continue their onslaught of greed and manipulation by foreclosing on properties when they could very well afford to work out to keep homeowners in their homes is testament to what our society has become.
Meanwhile half a world away a global consequence that will likely unfold where economies around the world will face a catastrophe of epic proportions is already unfolding in Greece and in the Mid East. In Greece having failed to ignite a spark that would move their economy forward after their first bail out from the World Bank and the IMF now is poised again after receiving a second windfall of funding from again the IMF and the World Bank to fall even further into the abyss of economic deprivation. As it turns out Greece needs to come up with at least 19 Billion dollars by March 20th of this year for payment on their outstanding debt. With an over 20% unemployment rate with very low wages for those employed Greece is indeed in a financial and economic firestorm. The grave concern for all European nations first is that Greece doesn't have the money. Sound familiar! It should because the United States borrowed billions of dollars to bail out the very same industries that caused the most notorious financial debacle in U.S. history. For Greece this is after the original billions of dollars in the first bailout they received. What all this means is that the future of all credit default sways and credit markets remain in serious jeopardy.
When banks that hold Greek bonds don't get their money back these banks will have to write down Greece's debt to zero and when that happens a tsunami affect will be triggered. This tidal wave of economic doom sort of speaking, brings all other European nations to the point of defaulting on their financial obligations as well. Remember the Stock market crash of 1929 when shortly after the public panicked and started a run on banks to take what was left of their money out. That same type of scenario will happen again only with a greater devastating impact on the global economy. A global panic is very much a real possibility.
In the Mid East where in the Strait Of Hormuz where 20% of the worlds crude oil passes through daily tensions remain almost at crisis level. Any deviation or disruption in the flow of crude being now passed thru the Strait Of Hormuz will disrupt an even already tenuous global economy. Here in the United States where the price of fuel is climbing to all time highs, driving the cost of living even higher, which would bring about a global economic catastrophe if their remains an impasse in resolving the nuclear capabilities of Iran.
For Timothy Bottoms the eminent foreclosure of his home, the unscrupulousness of the banks in the United States, the Greek bailout payback, and the crisis in the Strait of Hormuz are all related and connected to the continued policies of a government that seems oblivious to the plight of so many Timothy's Bottoms of America.