The Credit Crunch Taking a Toll on the Great & Small

I got a call from my credit card company today. For the first time ever, I missed a payment and I’ve had this card for years. I had incurred a late fee, along with the monthly billing cycle payment that was due last month, actually a few days ago.

A reduction in available money has resulted in my paying certain bills late and incurring late fees from several accounts I have.

While working-out a payment plan, I asked the help center’s caller if they had been making a lot of call like this one lately. She sighed and told me that, in fact, they were making more calls to people whose accounts hadn’t been paid for that cycle than at any time she could remember.

Not just to people like me. But, also to lawyers and doctors, whose clients hadn’t paid them yet. Business owners and people who, otherwise, would have easily been able to make their monthly payments on-time. From people of modest means to people who have large incomes, credit card company customers are making late payments or no payments at all these days.

There’s a feeling of hopelessness in Society today. People are scared. Deathly scared. And there are many people wondering if we can ever pull ourselves out of this. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt offered the New Deal in an attempt to save America from the economic downturn and the general feeling that the End of America was nigh. In fact, it was during the Depression of 1929 that more people emigrated from America than immigrated into it for the first time in its history. I have no idea what those figures might look like now. But, as with the Great Depression, the economic downturn was not only felt in the USA, but in Eurpoe as well and it led directly to the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, which also led to World War Two in Europe.

I fear that if President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress  cannot do something soon to help turn things around, my fear is that a new political leader may rise-up in this country or in Europe who will make grandiose promises of “saving our country”, while fixing the blame of our troubles upon a particular group or several groups and bring forward  an environment in this country and overseas that the world hasn’t seen since the 1930s.

I’ve been reading about people committing suicide due to the emotional strain of the current economic downturn, Several executives of large companies were reported to have committed suicide just in the past few months. These were wealthy people with excellent educations who had reached the end of their ropes – both financially and emotionally – and came to the horrible decision to take their own lives as a result.

Veterans of our two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been committing suicide in such alarming numbers that the military has become very concerned about it and has taken steps to monitor the mental health of returning soldiers more closely. Even on the battlefront, clergy have been enlisted to attempt to curb the suicide rate among our soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors. It doesn’t help matters when the majority of the American people believe that the war in Iraq is on the wrong path, our Administration has been shown to have used outright deception to get us into the war and there appears to be no end in sight for either conflict. It isn’t just veterans from our current wars that are raising the suicide rate among veterans, but also veterans from World War 2 have been committing suicide in alarming numbers.

The current financial crisis has been blamed for much of the rise in suicides. People are joining our military when their other options appear to be non-exisistant and military personnel are re-enlisting, due to perceived lack of opportunities in civilian life.

For those of us too old to join the military, the choices are few and far between, especially for those who are now out-of-work or working reduced hours as companies attempt to stem the outflow of money by cutting labor costs. Bankruptcy rates are higher, home purchases are at a low point and suicides are going up.

Needless to say, things look pretty bleak.

What I think America needs is some one in power to assure the populace that things will be alright and that we can struggle through these hards times to emerge stronger than ever. But, all we’re hearing are doom and gloom predictions while news reports bludgeon us with reports that major American corporations are cutting staff.

I wonder what Hunter S. Thompson would be writing about, if he were still alive. G-d knows there’s no lack of material and some have mourned that fact that he left us, just when it seemed like we needed him the most.



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One Response to “The Credit Crunch Taking a Toll on the Great & Small”

  1. stukish Says:

    Indeed… That is a very helpful blog entry. My company thanks you for your contribution to the betterment of the legal blog stratosphere!

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