Newburyport Yankee Frugality

So far, fingers crossed like mad, Newburyport, MA does not appear to be as hard hit by these lousy economic times, as is so many other parts of the United States. That’s not to say we haven’t had some pain and there won’t be more pain to come. But as President Obama travels to some of the hardest hit parts of our country, so far, Newburyport, MA does not seem to have those heart wrenching stories.

And in my attempt to begin to fathom what we as a country are going through, I watch, uncharacteristically, the cable business channel. And this time instead of coming across a segment on “shapewear” (see earlier entry), I came across a segment attempting to explain all of this called (I think) “The House of Cards.” I have no idea how accurate this particular explanation is, but I watch it with fascination and horror (the “horror” part they are probably counting on).

What struck me was their emphasis on folks on either end of the foreclosure crisis facilitating the “American Dream.” I can see the American Dream not wanting to be killed in a crime ridden part of the United States. In my book this is a good thing.

But what I could not fathom, was buying, what in my book, looked like a mansion, on a $900 a week salary. Now, my guess is the folks who did this documentary, found this particular example. But what I think, as I understand it, there were a lot of folks leveraging their dwelling, for things that they could not otherwise think of ever affording– a “dream” pool, a “dream” kitchen, a “dream” vacation. A lot of dreaming, that sounded like it was not too in touch with reality. So yes, watching this documentary, when reality raises it’s little head, the impossible dream thing could go out the window.

The version of the “American Dream” that was being described was so far beyond my own definition, that with one exception, I had a hard time feeling sorry for any of the folks, Wall Street or Main Street who were depicted, whose lives were affected. (Again, the documentary could have been wildly eschewed, I don’t know enough about all of this very complicated stuff to make that call.)

But I am very glad to live in what many have referred to, often in not very flattering terms, as a frugal, Yankee community. Our community banks, are doing just fine, in part, I think because they are rooted in reality, verify folks information, don’t sell their mortgages, love and know the community, and if someone wanted an unrealistic amount of lending money to finance a possibly unrealistic “dream,” my guess would be that our community banks would have a kind but firm community chat with whoever that might be.