State of the Debtor Union

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Economics, Money and Behavior

Some exciting stuff happening today in the worlds of buying and selling. Let Mr. ToughMoneyLove tell you about them.

First, Apple is finally going to tell us all about its latest must-have product offering. This will have gadget freaks and the Apple-brand obsessed running for their credit cards to be the one of the early adopters.

I’m a skeptic and cynic when it comes to these announcements and Apple’s overpriced products. I even resisted the siren call of the i-Phone. Can you believe it? As an engineer and patent lawyer, I admire technology and make my living protecting it. But I finally got over the need to own it all. Have you? If not, read the post I wrote on how hedonic adaptation prevents us from achieving true happiness from our gadget lust.

Anyway, if you want to follow an Apply-savvy techie as he blogs the announcement live, check out these guys at ZDNet. (P.S. There is now a rumor that the product ship date has slipped to June. OMG!)

Returning to more important matters, the Federal Open Market Committee meets today and will likely have an announcement early this afternoon about interest rates and related matters. Check any financial site for that news and watch the stock and bond index tickers for market reaction. Or do both at once at Google Finance.

Finally, tonight our President will attempt to re-capture economic high ground with his State of the Union Address. I think the President’s intentions will be good but I don’t believe our Congress will cooperate with anything that involves serious deficit reduction. The Democrats are now living in such fear of being “Scott Browned” in the next election that they won’t easily surrender their “bring home the bacon” spending attitude. Instead, look for more “job stimulus” talk.

Here’s a little national debt monitoring gadget that you should watch before and after all of the political hot air escapes. The numbers you see are not for the faint-hearted but at least you will know how a big chunk of your tax dollars will be used for the rest of your life.

Or you could skip all of the goings-on and make some money doing your job and planning your financial future.

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30 Responses to “State of the Debtor Union”
  1. Evan says:

    I have a very hard time watching the State of the Union and political debates. I find myself screaming at the television, usually in need of a drink aftewards

  2. MasterPo says:

    Watching the liar now. I love stand up comedy! 😀

    Tax cutsfor people with low incomes anyway
    Tax credits for businesses – but only for a year or so.
    Force high risk loans to people with no track record of repayment.
    X-millions of jobs created – somewhere.

    Even Leno couldn’t make all this up!

  3. kitty says:

    Don’t have time at the moment to check out other links, so I’ll keep this comment to Apple’s new gadget.
    I don’t plan to buy the new toy and I don’t own I-Phone (though I’ll definitely consider one 2 years from now when my current contract with AT&T expires), but I see the merits of the new toy. If you are a frequent traveler, for examples, it’ll be pretty useful. There is more important use for it as commented here:

    One other thing to keep in mind is that if not for early adopters of new technology we wouldn’t have new technology. What incentive would Apple had to invent and develop new gadgets if nobody bought them? In a year or two, the price will come down for everyone. There’ll be more useful applications. Somebody has to buy them first and at a higher price, so that you and the rest of us can buy them several years from now and for less.

    Additionally, we are all different and what makes us happy is different too. For one person it is travel, for another it’s performing arts, for someone else it’s sports, and for some people it’s gadgets. As long as one can afford it…

    It’s really not the gadgets or any other form of entertainment which may be a problem. It’s living beyond one’s means. And it doesn’t really matter if one spends money on a new toy or a new car or a trip – if one cannot afford it, just as it doesn’t really matter how one amuses oneself if one can afford it. Even a one thousand dollar dessert is OK if you are Donald Trump, just as a $50 ticket may be a problem if you cannot afford it.

    • Rick Beagle says:

      I think the lack of enthusiasm from the nerds is pretty telling. Not to mention it is probably the worse name gaff in recent times.

      Seriously, this hardware needs a killer app, and thus far I see nothing to justify its price beyond some perceived “coolness” factor and possibly a niche market.

      Now make the thing with a 32″ screen or larger and the thing will fly off the shelf imho… I think consumers are more inclined to buy a smart television than this current incarnation.

      Just my two cents.

  4. dwhite2762 says:

    I am also an engineer and I used to work for Apple (Lovely company). I will not buy one right away but I may buy one eventually for my first world husband that has trouble with computers. It may be the answer for my 83 year old mother that wants to enjoy the web but fears computers. But I will wait to see how the price will drop. It does look very, very nice.

  5. David says:

    I do not consider myself a gadget freak. I do have a Dell laptop computer in my small apartment, a flat panel TV (32″), and a use a BlackBerry, which has all of the tools that I need for both personal use and for work. I don’t need, or want an I-Phone. I have nothing against Apple; they are a good company. In fact the first two computers that I owned were Apples. But, I personally do not see the need of buying their latest tablet computer product.

    That is not to say that when I get my next computer, I might look at getting one that can run both Windows and Apple OSs on it. That would be the best of both worlds. I know a couple people at my office who have Apple laptops configured that way. Anyway, no tablet computer for me thank you.

  6. MasterPo says:

    Still don’t have an iphone.

    Hey Ricky!

    Didn’t you like the way your Messiah *insulted* the entire Supreme Court to their faces, in front of the whole Congress, on live TV for the world to see, and they couldn’t respond without fear of being labeled “racists”?

    Nice job Barry!!

    • dwhite2762 says:

      Actually, I really enjoyed the speech and I am not embarrassed for supporting the president. The Supreme Court made a big mistake with this decision that left huge loopholes that will allow the real crooks in this country to continue to run roughshod over us all.

  7. Rick Beagle says:

    “Didn’t you like the way your Messiah *insulted* the entire Supreme Court to their faces, in front of the whole Congress, on live TV for the world to see, and they couldn’t respond without fear of being labeled “racists”?

    Nice job Barry!!”

    Actually, the comments were directed to only five of them. Selling out our democracy to big business, and foreign interests deserved a smack down from a Harvard trained constitutional scholar/lawyer err President.

    Wasn’t it the Repubs who were worried about activist judges? The Bush Legacy, the gift that just keeps giving.

    Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot, nothing is the fair haired Bush’s fault.

    Rick Beagle

    • MasterPo says:


      So when Obama, Reid, Pelosi et. al. refered to those who protest Obamacare as “thugs” and “racists” and compared them to Nazis, they only meant the people attending the protests? Not the rest of us who also oppose it but didn’t attend?

      Insult one, insult all.

      • Rick Beagle says:

        I see you have mastered circle logic and falsehoods. Show me a link where President Obama called those who protested the public option racists, thugs, and nazis? I sure as heck can link a YouTube that shows “some” of them to mimic all of those traits though…

        But let me indulge your mental ineptitude for a second, so if I call a person -with a shaved head, swastika on his arm, carrying racist literature – a racist neo-nazi, I am somehow implying that tag to the entire protest group? While I do think much of the hateful opposition to Obama anything is based in racism (think Rush, and Beck), no one but right wing fools believe it universally true.

        However, you are straying again, the SCOTUS deserved the tongue lashing they got, and hopefully, laws will be passed to correct their blatant attempt at corrupt activism. And yes, Bush clearly is the regime that keeps on giving….

        Rick Beagle

  8. MasterPo says:

    How about this one Ricky:

    In his opening comment he said the CONSTITUTION embodies that all men are created equal.

    That is *NOT* in the Constitution!!

    It’s in the Decloration of Independence!

    So much for the Harvard Law graduate. 😉

    • Rick Beagle says:

      “constitution embodies that all me are created equal….”

      ROFL. You need to look up the definition of “embodies”…. (shakes head). So much for the University of Insert Third World Country(?) degree you have. 😉

      Rick Beagle

  9. MasterPo says:

    dwhite – You want to talk substance, let’s talk.

    Obama’s college tuition plan.

    Suppose you go to MIT. Accordint to an undergrad program will run $37,000/yr (rounded) and room&board another $11,000/yr. So that’s approximately $192,000 at a MINIMUM for a 4-year degree at MIT. Let’s make it an even $200,000.

    So you go to MIT and take out a student loan for $200,000.

    According to Obama you only have to pay 10% of your post-graduation salary each year to pay back your student loan. So let’s say you get a starting salary of $50,000 (MIT grads get paid better than most – hopefully). That’s a max of $5,000/yr.

    Now if you work for Uncle Obama for 10 years the rest of your debt is forgiven!

    IOW, you pay $5,000/yr for 10 years = $50,000 total repaid. The remaining $150,000 magically disappears!

    Explain the economics of that to an old MasterPo!

    How is the bank going to get back the other $150,000 (never mind the interest income!) they loaned you?

    And if by then Uncle Obama is handing out the student loans how will the gov (that means the TAX PAYER!) get back the other $150,000!!!

    ps- Even if you don’t work for the gov, that translates to only $100,000 paid back after 20 years. So what about the other $100,000?!

    • Rick Beagle says:


      You pick one of the most expensive schools in the country for your argument, and then provide a job scenario to support your foolishness.

      I’m going to make this simple for you, cause lord knows you are simple, college graduates (on average) pay more in taxes over their lives than high school graduate. Actually they pay a HELLUVA lot more.

      Investing in America and Americans has historically been a boon for our country, at what point to you pointy head idiots come to grips with that? And just for the record, the money we are tossing toward the military, and their contractors… you still think thats a good idea right? Just want to make sure you have a chance to review you fiscal stupidity one more time….

      Rick Beagle

  10. dwhite2762 says:

    MasterPo, I don’t know how long it has been since you took out a college loan but there is no way that they will let you get by with 5000.00 per year when you owe 200K. Your loan repayment is closer to 20K per year. So a graduate needs to be secure a job that will make ends meet and pay back the loan. So a degree with MIT muscle should be able to do that. I did not go to MIT but I did get an engineering degree and I paid off my student loans within 10 years. I have associates that are struggling with student loans because of layoffs. Some of these people have advanced degrees but engineering jobs left my area in droves to India under the last administration!! If you want to see student loans paid off, then we need to bring jobs back to the US. Stop giving breaks to HP, Agilent and others for shipping the jobs overseas. Dwhite

  11. MasterPo says:

    Ricky – Fine.

    Let’s go with Bard College in NY. A good though not Ivy League school (MasterPo has a cousin going there now). According to annual cost if $50,000yr including tuition, room&board, books, fees etc.

    So there too a 4 year degree is $200,000.

    Same difference.

    ps- So what’s wrong with aiming high? I sure hope for my kids to go to a top school! And it’s that the goal of liberals – to open the higher levels of education to the “poor” and “under classes” by making it afford able?!

  12. MasterPo says:

    Dwhite – Did you see the Messiah’s speech? That is what HE said! Obama, not MasterPo, said that **BY LAW** you would only have to pay a max of 10% of your pay in student loan repayments.

    Yell at him, not yours truly if you don’t like it. Just giving an example based on Obama’s stated policy and asking “What if…?”

    ps- Even MIT, CMU, Haravard etc grads don’t all start at $100k. Wish they did but they don’t. And gov jobs (the ones where Obama says your debt is forgiven after just 10 years!) certainly don’t!

    • dwhite2762 says:

      What is it with you guys that call the president “Messiah”? I still don’t get it! I guess the fact that we finally have an intelligent, articulate, well educated person in the white house is an insult to the previous administration. I only mention this because other people from the right use the same term so it must be some sort of talking point from one of your other blogs….I heard in the speech that if you still have debt after 10 years of making payments, you would have some debt relief. That would encourage people to go to the more expensive schools and pursue degrees that will take more than 4 years to get a degree. It took me 6 years to get my degree. Someone else mentioned that you weren’t guaranteed 100K with an MIT degree. That is true if you teach. He also said that this would require major universities to lower their tuition costs (maybe at the expense of sports). Of all of the things that gets your panties in a twist!!!

      • Evan says:

        He also said that this would require major universities to lower their tuition costs (maybe at the expense of sports).

        WOAH you think that the federal executive branch should be able to lower private university tuitions? Or alternatively be allowed to alter STATE univeristy costs?

        Come on!

  13. MasterPo says:

    pps- What on Earth does it matter anyway if you have a student loan for $30,000 or $300,000? (the latter is VERY possible for medical students!)

    The fact remains that under the Obama plan as he described you would be capped by law at a max payment per year regardless of the loan’s amortization, and after 10 or 20 years whatever you owe just disappears!

    Is that fair to who ever loaned you the money?!

    • dwhite2762 says:

      My own daughter graduated and got grants for 2 years of student loans paid for by donating 2 years of her life for community service. And this was before Obama was president. This is not a new concept.

      • MasterPo says:

        Good for your daughter.

        MasterPo’s daughter won’t be donating any time – she’ll be WORKING!

        So in 2 years time your daughter will have no hands-on experience to show an employer while MasterPo’s will be 2 years well into her career.

        Please don’t cry when MasterPo’s daughter is making more than yours.

        ps- Is that the future of America? Basically being an indetured servant to the Federal Gov to pay back student loans?!

        pps- Dwhite – It wasn’t *some* relief. It was a total relief! Here’s the exact quote from speech via NY Times website: “And let’s tell another 1 million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be FORGIVEN after 20 years — and FORGIVEN after 10 years if they choose a career in public service,”

        • dwhite2762 says:

          I like it! My daughter graduated several years ago and is now working for a non-profit. No doubt that your daughter will make more money than mine. But I am not embarrassed that my daughter has kept a job through the recession and has made all of her house payments and is slowly, slowly paying off student loans. Both of my daughters have contributed a good deal to making this planet a better place and I love them for it. Now, back to student loans…teachers and some doctors get this benefit now. I would like to see it continued to others that kept paying and never can quite pay it off even after 20 years.

  14. MasterPo says:

    Dwhite – So now the government will cherry pick what fields of study to promote via debt forgiveness and which will get screwed?!

    You still haven’t answered the question: What happens the thosands of dollars$$ forgiven??

    Even when a teach or doctor does similar the debt isn’t just magically erased! It’s paid back, just by someone else. But not just erased.

    MasterPo’s brother-in-law is a MD and got much of his medical school loans REPAID (not erased!) through such programs. But that was all voluntary while he provided a valuable service to others AND was paid a real wage too.

    Glad to hear for your daughter.

    Just imagine if people like Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Charles Drew, etc etc etc all went to work for non-profs instead of doing what they wanted to do.

    BTW, in case you didn’t know:

    Thomas Edison – Light bulb, etc.
    (Dr.) Jonas Salk – Polio vaccine and major work on AIDS research
    Steve Jobs – Apple computer, etc.
    Henry Ford – Assembly line manufacturing
    (Dr.) Charles Drew – Developed the method of blood seperation that made blood banking possible.

    ps- Out of curiosity: What did your daughter study in school?

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