Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Blissful budgets

Ever mindful that my children’s school holidays should focus on quality family time and not my battle with the banks, it is always my intention to keep my ongoing traumas to within the hours that my children are at school. I believe strictly adhering to this regime for the past three years has not only enabled me to compartmentalise “my work” at the debt fighting coal face at a safe distance from family life, but it has also preserved my sanity, my strength and secured the re-growth of my hair.

Carefully planning my tiny half term budget to attain maximum reward from an income that amounts to little more than 15% of that which we enjoyed before the demise of my husband’s property business I have,

·        Entertained friends and family on a number of occasions courtesy of the plentiful and economically helpful M & S staff waste sale

·        Arranged two cinema trips for early morning showings courtesy of pre-purchased and hugely discounted tickets financed by my mother

·        Repeatedly invited my children’s school friends to visit in an effort to breathe new life into our favourite board and card games.

Although our life style has changed dramatically since the days of the pre-credit crunch melt down of the property market, I take pride in the knowledge we have lived without discomfort and within our means since the terrifying loss of 85% of our income and 100% of our assets in 2008. Resigned to the harsh reality we are no closer to paying off the million pound deficit we were left with, I am thankful our losses have not increased and am relieved that all but a handful of our creditors have accepted pursuing us will be costly and futile.

In contrast to the satisfying peace and quiet of my modest life I am acutely aware Occupy Wall Street protesters and right wing Tea party campaigners alike are far from satisfied that the US government is taking any meaningful steps towards cutting its coat according to the available cloth.  Both factions continue to be incensed by an untenable situation created entirely by the greedy casino banker’s courtship of subprime lending. As a consequence of this flawed mortgage business together with their hoodwinking of governments and institutions alike into believing their lending books were, in fact, perfectly safe vehicles for the cautious investor, the subsequent government banking bailouts have taken the US national debt to an unprecedented fifteen trillion dollars leaving this unwieldy super power teetering on the verge of global default.

While US politicians attempt to thrash out a solution to government cash flow issues which, if put in household terms, involve expenditure of nearly twice the budget and with only 10% in cut backs to help balance the books, I have been forced to break my holiday embargo on my own credit crunch war due to one of the very banks who actively tailored their lending portfolio to suit subprime borrowers and then required a government bailout of 3.55 billion dollars in November 2008 because of their recklessness. US based Capital One have not only authorised the sending of three letters to me over this half term period but left me feeling both anxious and confused over their content.

This week alone Capital One tell me they are,

·        Happy to look into why they have been instructed to pursue us in the light of receipt of the copy letter they sent me last year stating their decision was not to pursue us. I am asked to “bare with them” while the matter is investigated.

·        Instructing immediate court action as I have repeatedly failed to communicate with them and have left them no alternative.

·        Employing the services of a doorstep collection agent, an action which I, so say, have brought on myself by making no attempt to respond to their numerous attempts to contact me.

Incensed by three such conflicting pieces of correspondence I rang Capital One’s UK agent and asked them which letter I should regard as an accurate indication of their intentions only to be told it was impossible to know as Capital One do not reply to their letters!

I can only conclude, just like their UK counterparts who also chose to romance subprime lending and create fictitious lending book valuations, Capital One are far too busy to deal with their correspondence.  I have little doubt their days are taken up with counting the benefits of privatising the gains they have secured from their government bailouts while the rest of us mere mortals are left smarting from the global fallout of their nationalised debts.

I was interested to read the words of ancient Roman lawyer and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero who said,

“The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt.”

I feel safe to say this is evidence that some things never change.

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