This is not fiction…

America. My God, the word means so much. We were a beacon of hope…a shining example to the downtrodden masses around the globe who dreamed and yearned for this land where hard work got you a house in a safe neighborhood and two working cars (and freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to shop at the mall). Then Bush came along and disgraced our country by recreating the Vietnam War in Iraq.

At the time of writing, the Iraq War costs us approximately $700 billion…which also happens to be the same price-tag Paulson put on the first bailout for his banker buddies.

‘Cause none of those greenbacks made it to the people on Main Street when the subprime jack-in-the-box sprung up on Wall Street. Those MFs had pension plans, 401ks and home values all rolled into one ball of wax, and then they bet it all on “subprime” lendees’ abilities to pay back the loans on houses they couldn’t afford.

There was also the surprise of the mortgage with the escalating interest rate that could double and even triple in value. Meaning, a 4% interest rate could become 8%, and then 12%…and that’s when the “subprime” lendees threw the keys in their mailboxes, and abandoned the homes they couldn’t afford. Banks and lending offices were taking anybody who walked through the door, literally. No proof of job, no nothing. Just sign here and off you go to your patio in the back of your new 4-bedroom house, which may in the future lose 30% of its value when the Real Estate Boom goes…Bust!

The Dow lost over half its value, from a high of roughly 14,000 in October 2007 to roughly 6,600 in March 2009. Venerable financial firms crumbled like shale being drilled for oil.

“Down goes Lehman Brothers!” (You gotta do it in Howard Cosell’s voice for the full effect. It’s more fun that way.)

“Down goes Bear Stearns…oh, oh no!…Mer-awl L’nch is-on-the…ropes. But seemingly like a Deus-ex-Machina from the heavens, Bank of Am…eric-ah…steps in to claim the wayward bank.”

I mean, we saw the biggest bank failure in United States history (WaMu) and the biggest corporate collapse (AIG). General Motors also waved the white flag when they saw all the kingdom’s drivers not being able to afford the $3-4 a gallon gas the oil companies were ransoming. We people sure as hell weren’t going to buy an SUV that got 13 miles to the gallon. So Detroit (Chrysler, too) took a handout, from us taxpayers who couldn’t afford to drive their inefficient cars anymore.

The credit markets seized up, nobody was lending. Nobody. Nobody but the Federal Reserve…lending our tax dollars to the banks who put us in this mess. It ain’t right what happened, but I sure don’t want to see the whole thing come tumbling down. Prop up the banks until they can walk on their own, but once they can they should be lending the money back to the people who bailed the banks out in the first place.

Bush did more damage than hurricane Katrina. Worse yet, he didn’t clean up his own mess. He left it all for Barack Obama to sort out.

And that’s where we begin our story…

* Pictures taken in the summer of 2008, in California.

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