Maxed out 

Scared of the future? Not these guys

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Let us pause, momentarily, and take stock of the world around us as we segue into summer. Let us walk a mile in the moccasins of our brothers and sisters south of the border.

If you lived in the USofA right now chances are you’d be just a little bit scared. Of course, if you live on this side of the border chances are you’re a little scared too but for different reasons. You’d think after nearly eight years of an administration that’s built its house on scaring the pants off the populace our southern friends would be more or less inured to fright and worry. But it’s one thing to be scared of the boogie man half a world away; it’s another thing entirely to have the boogie man move in with you.

If you live in the U.S. right now you see your way of life slipping away from you, hand in hand with your grand mythology of being the world’s invulnerable superpower. Your neighbour on one side just lost his home to foreclosure because he — quite possibly like you — spent much of the last decade mistaking it for an ATM and regularly sucking the equity out of it to finance an unsustainable, but patriotic, lifestyle of consumption. You’ve still got a year before your own indecipherable mortgage, the one you didn’t understand but whose details you didn’t really care about because rising values would mean you could trade up before you had to worry about them, resets and new, crushing monthly payments kick in… on a house that’s now worth less than the note you’re carrying on it.

Your neighbour on the other side is operating what looks suspiciously like a used car lot. His SUV, pickup truck, boat, ATVs and motorhome are all festooned with FOR SALE signs because he can swing neither the payments nor the gas to run them. He’s been reduced to driving a 23-year-old Datsun minicar an hour-and-a-half each way to work because he can just afford the gas to keep it running — since it managed way back then to get about the same gas mileage as a Prius does now — a balancing act he’ll be able to stop worrying about when he gets his pink slip at the end of this week because his white-collar job has been outsourced to India.

The celebration you threw earlier this spring when your kid got accepted to the college of her choice has been dampened by the realization there’s no way in the world you can swing the costs to send her there absent winning the lottery, discovering new unknown scholarships or starting her out on the road to life with a debt almost as big as your own.

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