All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tough losses

The McPaper has an article today about how the economic crisis is affecting retired athletes. These aren't the guys who blew it all on "booze, blow, bling or Bentleys." They're people who thought they were being careful and doing the right thing.

Recession hurts even the savviest of ex-athletes

...Carson has gotten calls from nervous ex-teammates and competitors who've lost their jobs. They're dealing with unemployment, unpaid bills and growing debt. With mortgage, car and tuition payments piling up, they're fearful for their future.

"You can hear the desperation in their voice," he says.

To help those in need, he forwards some of the personal appearance requests he gets on his website. His old mates are happy to get them, too, no matter how meager the pay or how modest the Pop Warner dinner.

"I've gotten two e-mails from guys who've told me flat-out: 'I need some help. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. I've been out of work for two years. I won't turn anything down. If somebody needs an autograph for $2, I'll give it to them.'"

Very sad. And I suspect there are a lot of ordinary people in the same boat...and that there will be a lot more before this is over.

The financial world is turning upside down, and people's expectations are being trashed. Boomers' retirement dreams are being downsized, if not fading away altogether. People already retired are going back to work. Those who did the right thing - buy and hold, dollar-cost averaging - are losing their shirts compared to people who just invested in CDs. I'm starting to think we were all handed a bill of goods. Those "safe" strategies don't work any more, if they ever did.

And no, I don't think those "green shoots" are for real. There's been a summer bounce in the economy, probably driven by the falling prices. Houses, stocks, vacations, clothes, etc., suddenly look cheap, because prices have fallen due to low demand. So some people are snapping up the "bargains." The same thing happened during the Great Depression. People rushed in to buy the "bargains," only to be ruined when prices dropped further. Rinse and repeat.

The problem is that the fundamentals of the economy are still terrible, and nothing has been done to fix it. The foundation is crumbling, but so far, all they've done is slap another coat of paint on the walls. Bad banks have not been forced to reveal their balance sheets and take their medicine. American consumers, responsible for 2/3 to 3/4 of the economy, have had their spending power slashed. Wages have not kept up with inflation for years; instead, we sustained our lifestyle via credit card debt, and home equity lines of credit. But now banks are cutting back on consumer credit, and falling housing prices mean people can no longer use their homes as ATMs. Wages can't rise to make up for that lack of spending power; the economy is too bad. With unemployment so high, people's earning power as well their credit lines are down. Until this reverses, the economy won't improve. Which might not be for years, if ever.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:47 PM


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