As this housing bubble has burst and the financial crisis played out over the last weeks and, really, year, my wife and I have regularly discussed the affair. It is now a hackneyed dialogue, because we are in fundamental agreement and we both have been seeing it coming for many years. Those who claim that this crisis was unexpected, or unforeseen–like McCain who a couple months ago, I think, said that this meltdown took him by surprise–were either willfully ignorant or are lying to the public.

Over the last ten years my wife and I would take our annual or biannual pilgrimages to the homeland of southern Idaho for holidays, and watch how the valley, which when we were growing up was mostly farmland and sparsely populated, was being devoured by rampant over-development. The new signs of sprawl were always eye-popping, first the malls and box stores and then more recently the overbuilding of houses, most of them oversized even in the low price end. It was clear to us for years, just looking at it, that this was unsustainable. It was clear from speaking with friends and family that 1) housing virtually WAS the economy from the top down, and 2) people, including people we knew and loved, were getting in over their head. For example, buying or building 3000+ sq.ft. houses with ARM mortgages with the intent to flip them in two or three years. It was sheer nuts and we knew it. Since our career paths had forced us to remain transient during these years, we were never able to settle down as we would have liked, instead having to rent throughout this time (as we stil are, alas). But neither did we get sucked into the madness maelstrom. For that I guess we’re lucky.

I wrote and recorded a song as far back as early 2004, called “Before the Fall,” in which one verse reflected on this trend:

“I see revolutionaries everywhere / in business coats

Turning farmland into feudal states / surrounding them with moats

To keep some out / keep others in

So much debt they’ll never pay it / or even know where to begin

And it’s the wave of the future / Stand up proud and tall

Things are better than they’ve ever been

Even better than before the fall.

Apparently the revolution is now being televised, and the future is now. And we can stand up proud and tall, say America First!, and sign up the line of out-of-work Wall Street accountants to oversee and distribute amongst themselves the $700+ billion in bailout cash.

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