Mike Klein Online

The New Model Me, with Help from Dad

Atlanta Mike Pix_Press_Club_189_-_Version_2This morning I finally realized what is wrong with me.  There may be several opinions about that but for the moment, let’s go with this one.  I am trapped inside the Old Model Me.

Old Model Me was pretty good for its time.  It got me this far.  I remember opening my first account at Glenview Guaranty Savings and Loan.  Mom and Dad fronted $2.  When I closed the account years later it had a couple thousand.  Most of that came from mowing lawns. I mowed your lawn for $1.50, front and back.  Edging the walk was five cents extra.

Old Model Me grew up and learned to pay bills whenever the envelopes arrived and Old Model Me figured my father was right about that, too.   Dad preached, you take care of yourself.  Don’t expect anybody else to take care of you, sonny.  Save your money. There’s a rainy day coming. You won’t have anybody but yourself.  You can’t expect the government to help you.

The Old Model worked well enough for my father to survive the Depression so that he could spend several years on Pacific islands employed by the United States Marine Corps.  The Old Model worked again while my father and mother were raising our family in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and it allowed them to retire to a Florida doublewide in the early 80’s.  There they stayed until the end.

But with no disrespect to Dad, it is time for New Model Me.

New Model Me won’t pay bills because the government wants to pay them for me.  I know this is true because it’s in the news.  Just a few days ago Old General Motors left bankruptcy.  New General Motors apparently is a better idea, and it got an extra $20 million in change last week.

New Model Me wants to line up to get mine.  To all the credit card companies, utility companies, especially to those folks who overcharge every month for telephone and cable service, and to anyone else out there who wants a piece of me, I say, go tell it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  I’m not interested in bills anymore. Up in Washington, they have a better idea for everything.

Back when the auto industry worked, you bought from Detroit.  But now the auto industry doesn’t work so you buy anything else and if you buy something from Detroit, it’s probably not very good. But that did not stop Washington from saving companies that made vehicles nobody wants, companies that for decades could not control costs because they were manipulated by unions.  The New Model says they are way too important to fail, so millions were shoveled to them.

It’s the same story with the financial industry.  They are getting the New Model, too.  I suppose I should feel good about this, because government will fix everything.  People in government are way smarter than just regular people.  All I know is my first savings account began with $2 and it was still there when I needed it later.  Nobody in the government helped me mow lawns.

Then there are those fancy stimulus plans.  They are the ultimate chic New Model.  Stimulus is what they call it when government throws money around like sailors on shore leave.  Stimulus I from Bush #43 tossed in $168 billion that washed away with no apparent effect.  Stimulus II from Obama #1 tossed in $787 billion more and the effect remains a mystery.  And some folks want another one?

The problem with stimulus is nothing that I can see seems stimulated.  When I look around my cul-de-sac I see six homes.  Two homes have an unemployed primary wage earner.  One home is abandoned – one of those they left at night things – and now the bank has a sign out front, but nobody seems to care what the bank wants to sell.  One home had a recent eviction. Two homes are rented and in one of those homes, the family is going through bankruptcy.  This is our New Model.  I’m just glad these days when somebody mows the lawn.

My father was not a college educated man.  But he seemed to get a lot of things right.

Thanks, Dad.

July 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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