Email and reply

From my uncle:

The financial crisis explained in simple terms:
Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin. In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers – most of whom are unemployed alcoholics – to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi’s bar.

Taking advantage of her customers’ freedom from immediate payment constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi’s borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These
securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager (subsequently of course fired due his negativity) of the bank decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi’s bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfil her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80%.

The suppliers of Heidi’s bar, having granted her generous payment due dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties.

The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on the non-drinkers.

Finally an explanation I understand …

My reply:

This is the second email I have received comparing people who are having their homes foreclosed on to alcoholics. This is after 8 years of our country spending money like a drunken sailor. If my husband, a sober schoolteacher, gets laid off this year as threatened, we will most likely have to default on our home loan. The stimulus package is giving 8 billion to the school districts in our state, and his job may be saved. I am very grateful. Teachers have already been laid off at my mother’s school. My older brother worked for Lehman Brothers, and his position closing out that company will end soon. The stimulus package has provisions so he can get help paying COBRA payments to keep health insurance for his family, including his son with a health condition. This kind of hostile email is only serving to divide our nation even more. With unemployment rates rising to 10% and more, it’s getting pretty pathetic to continue pretending this is an us and them world. The unemployed alcoholics you non drinkers complain about may be your own family members.

Please take me off of your email list.

I also got an email from my cousin (from the other side of my entitled, privileged, conservative family) comparing income taxes to a rich guy coming and buying drinks for a bunch of unemployed drunks every night. The moral twist: What if he doesn’t show up to buy them drinks the next night? Then who will pay for them?

I wrote a similar reply.


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9 responses to “Email and reply

  1. jendajen

    Ohhh! Mistah Kottah! Ohh! Ovah Heah!

    Hi. I’m, by the numbers; comfortably upper middle class, though I never think of myself that way. I shop in thrift stores and co-ops, bake as much as I can at home.

    I drive an 11 year old car. I’ve never been on a proper vacation. I patch up our clothing when it starts to wear out rather than buying new as much as it makes sense to.

    My husband was laid off in December from his job as a software engineer at a biomedical company. As we have a disabled child; we decided years ago that we would not put him in daycare; and between running our household, caring for our son and volunteering at his school; it doesn’t make sense for me to work a paying job. Things can go south for him at any moment; I have to be available at all times to get to him.

    We tightened our already tight belts. The pressure is on. Soon unemployment will run out and the severance package will be gone. Interviews keep happening, but there have been no job offers, even when my husband applied for jobs well below his skill level and with a huge pay cut. The nets, they have been cast wide.

    Financially; we did it all “the right way”. We have no debt other than our mortgage – we don’t carry a balance anywhere else. Even our mortgage was about half the amount we were prequalified for! We could have gone with a fancier house, but we are responsible with our money. I hear people asking, “well, where’s MY bailout from the government?”. I don’t want a bailout. We want jobs. Something that will cover our bills!

    The fact that we’re facing losing our house right now… It makes me sad. Not for me. It makes me sad for my son and my husband. I worry that my son will be upset and scared and bothered by the change. I worry about my husband because I’m scared that he feels like his worth as a man is measured by what he provides for his family. I don’t see it that way, it’s just a house. Plaster and wood and wires. Also, it’s just not fair. We didn’t cause this mess. We made good choices. Now it feels like we’re getting shit on. I’m trying not to take it personally.

  2. Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…

    What’s worse than being unemployed? Being unemployed and having people make you feel like shit about it.

    Up his nose with a rubber hose.

  3. Ah the priviledged and entitled? Do you live in my Town? Sounds like you do. I have a high tolerance for arrogance due to the fact of where I was raised. But I like your post. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says “Hey I think I will be a huge drain on society! That sound like fun.” Just like nobody wakes up and says, “Well I could go to Harvard Medical school but instead I think I will become a crack whore.” A little understanding and kindness goes a long way with folks. My Mother used to say “But for the Grace of God, their go I.”

  4. i am one of the people who would appreciate the point that is being made in that email you got, but your point is totally valid, thank you for pointing that out. The comments here already made me think of something on a personal level: my mom was laid off the week of Christmas. A week later she was diagnosed with cancer. She needs to work but can’t yet. She starts her chemo next week. So is she to be blamed for being laid off and not being able to work? And did she chose to be in this situation??? Should she be to blame that she will likely struggle financially because of the “choices” she made? I can tell you that no one wanted this…. perhaps I am a little off the mark here but ya, I can see your point.

  5. MomTFH

    Labor nurse, what kind of point is the email making that speaks to you? Taking a health condition with a stigma, and assigning it to people you want to have a reason to blame for their suffering and not care about?

    He wrote me back with some bullshit reply about how it is “gallows humor” and saying that the stimulus plan has lots of pork in it, and I replied again.

    I have a great sense of humor, believe it or not. I love a good joke. This is an attempt to blame people who are suffering and cast them as addicts with some despicable drug addiction – alcoholism. I don’t think alcoholism is funny, I don’t think it is an insult, and I don’t think it accurately describes people who are having problems paying their home loans right now. I also don’t think people who are not in danger of having their homeloans foreclosed on, maybe because they are lucky enough to be older and have their homes paid off, are somehow non addicts and much more moral people. It’s not funny. It’s a way of painting suffering people as “others” who are guilty, lazy addicts. It makes it that much easier to not care what happens to them, until there are so many foreclosed homes in your neighborhood that your home value plunges and the crime rate skyrockets, and you wring your hands and say “what happened?”

    Also, the stimulus bill is, by nature, a spending bill. It is not “full of pork”. It may have some faults, but it is full of plenty of programs I support, along with the majority of our elected officials (including Florida’s Republican governor) and voters. It’s better than sitting with our thumbs up our butts and trying to make fun of people as the global economy goes down the drain. I believe in supporting infrastructure, education, COBRA support, expanded unemployment, health care, and wish it wasn’t so full of the same tax cuts that have failed for the last eight years.

  6. I guess that the email speaks to me in a way that if you get yourself into a mess, don’t expect others to fix it for you. That is the simple point that I would get out of an email like that. I didn’t take it literal in terms of alcoholism, but can see why that would be used to illustrate the point because alcoholism does have a huge stigma attached to it and many people think its an issue of you either drink or you don’t drink, and alcoholics should “just stop”. But what I was reminded of when I read through the rest of your post and the replies is that not everyone choses to get into such dire situations. Which is why I mentioned my mother.

    As far as the stimulus bill, I have purposely stuck my head in the sand. It’s too overwhelming!

  7. MomTFH

    I have since had to explain to him that no, I am not violating his right to free speech because I told him he is offensive and to take me off of his political forwards. And he is in Mensa. Sigh.

    His replies used a lot of sarcasm, like saying “Oh, my, dear” and using the term Liberal (with a capital L) over and over again. So, this was the reply:

    Oh, my, Uncle Don, I hate to have to explain the first amendment to you. You have the right to say and think whatever you want. I have the right to find it offensive and tell you so. I will defend to the death the right of the KKK to say what they like, but I sure as hell don’t have to subscribe to their email newsletter. I am not the government impinging on your free speech. I am an individual telling you I don’t like having these frustrating conversations.

    I suppose you’ve never heard that the first person to say their right to free speech is being infringed incorrectly just because someone criticizes the content of their speech, or the first person to compare the other person to a fascist, automatically loses the argument.

    Thanks for keeping the political forwards out of my email inbox, and please continue to enjoy your civil rights.

    He responded with a “Yes, dear.” I think that was a thinly veiled attempt to say I am a loud broad or something to that effect, but I ignored it.

  8. My grandfather forwards me things like this ALL THE TIME. The latest one was about how the “Dims” are all about deception. I was like, Thanks Grandpa, for calling me a stupid liar to my face! I haven’t had the courage to actually reply and ask him to stop sending me these things yet. I feel it would cause too much family drama and that it’s easier for me to just keep clicking the delete button.

    It’s funny that your uncle is apparently “Uncle Don,” because my grandfather’s name is Don, too. And my dad’s. And my uncle on my mom’s side. And all of them are entitled, privileged, and conservative. Maybe we should avoid people with that name in the future?

  9. Pingback: That felt like shit « Mom’s Tinfoil Hat

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