May 16, 2009

"My Personal Credit Crisis"

The New York Times Magazine features a long article, My Personal Credit Crisis, by Edmund L. Andrews about America's least sympathetic-sounding deadbeat, himself:
If there was anybody who should have avoided the mortgage catastrophe, it was I. As an economics reporter for The New York Times, I have been the paper’s chief eyes and ears on the Federal Reserve for the past six years. I watched Alan Greenspan and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, at close range. I wrote several early-warning articles in 2004 about the spike in go-go mortgages. Before that, I had a hand in covering the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Russia meltdown in 1998 and the dot-com collapse in 2000. I know a lot about the curveballs that the economy can throw at us.

But in 2004, I joined millions of otherwise-sane Americans in what we now know was a catastrophic binge on overpriced real estate and reckless mortgages. Nobody duped or hypnotized me. Like so many others — borrowers, lenders and the Wall Street dealmakers behind them — I just thought I could beat the odds. We all had our reasons. The brokers and dealmakers were scoring huge commissions. Ordinary homebuyers were stretching to get into first houses, or bigger houses, or better neighborhoods. Some were greedy, some were desperate and some were deceived.

Divorce, second marriage, a passel of kids, $4k per month alimony/child support, a big brick house in upscale Silver Spring, MD (conveniently located right on the northern border of DC, next to Chevy Chase), Alt-A mortgage, $50k in credit card debt, beach house rental, new wife loses her silly job as an editor for a foundation, subprime refi, default.

There's no mention of them even thinking about, as an alternative to refinancing, selling the fancy house after it goes up 10% and moving some place less Silver Springy.

One detail caught my eye: Andrews' says his base salary is $120k, but also "I was earning extra money working overtime at The Times." You get paid overtime for reporting on the Fed for the New York Times? Like if you work 50 hours per week instead of 40, you make, what, $174k annually? Sweet!

The last time I got paid overtime was when I was an 18-year-old fry cook at Burger King. That made perfect sense because the boss could tell exactly when I was working: when I was standing over the vat of boiling oil. Since the age of 20, however, I've had jobs where I mostly tap on keyboards (starting with my HP calculator when I got a summer job in college as a research assistant to a CFO), so nobody can tell when I'm really working versus when I'm just amusing myself. It's not worth your while to try to figure out what part of the 70 hours per week I'm tapping on a keyboard is work or fun. That's the reason you hire me: because what amuses me often turns out to be what you need to know.

So, how does the New York Times tell what part of Edmunds' daily routine of surfing the Internet and talking on the phone is work and what part is fun? I guess they just take his word for it, which, having read about his financial probity, doesn't seem like a smart thing to do.

The article ends:

I was actually beginning to feel sorry for Chase. It seemed to be so flooded with defaulting borrowers that it didn’t have time to foreclose on my house. Eight months after my last payment to the bank, I am still waiting for the ax to fall.

Edmund L. Andrews is an economics reporter for The Times and the author of “Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown,” which will be published next month by W.W. Norton and from which this article is adapted.

So, this guy has been living in Silver Spring rent-free for the last eight months and he's turned his rent-free life into a book (which I have a suspicion he wrote on a paid book leave sabbatical from the Times), which he's gotten the New York Times Magazine to promote? No wonder the Times had him covering the Fed. He's financial freaking genius.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

82 comments:

Dirk said...

It's funny how the New York Times allows people to make fools of themselves. It's one of the silver linings in this economic downturn. They had AIG's Jake DeSantis write some ridiculous rant about being hounded for his overinflated salary (he was part of the incompetent team that cost taxpayers billions). Now they have another clueless privileged dude admitting incompetence and looking for sympathy.

AMac said...

As part of his book promotion tour, Mr. Andrews stopped by NPR studios yesterday for a chat. I didn't catch the All Things Considered interview--I had to get back to work, without overtime pay, fancy that--but the lead-in was pure SWPL gold.

Steve is obviously wrong to label Andrews as "America's least sympathetic-sounding deadbeat"--you could practically hear the tears of the ATC host a-welling as he made his introduction.

Article and podcast are here.Best quote from the article:

"Despite his situation, Andrews says he doesn't consider himself a victim or seek a bailout from the government or anyone else.

"'That said, I really don't think I need to apologize for my mistakes because the country was in a situation at that moment where the whole financial system was enticing and enabling and encouraging everybody to borrow as much as they could,' he says. 'And the decisions that were made at the lender level and the Wall Street level were far more cynical and reckless than anything an individual consumer could have done.'"

With hard-charging, no-fear-or-favor financial insights like that, no wonder the Slim Times pays this guy so much! Heck, he deserves a Merrill-sized bonus!

Anonymous said...

His wife has a nice rack. She must have been a stunner 25 years ago.

Reactionary said...

Conversely, the article also reveals why the NYT is going bankrupt. Edmund Andrews is the SWPL equivalent of a Detroit autoworker. I hope he's ready for the adjustment to apartment life. My advice: it will hurt Ed, but it won't kill you.

And since when does a professional get 'overtime?' I'd sure like that gig.

--Doug

Eddy Elfenbein said...

I have difficulty reading about this guy without thinking of submitting him as a Beta of the Month to Roissy.

Lloyd G. said...

Wow. If the smartest guy in the world can't figure out how to get by on $120k, what hope is there for the rest of us? I hope Obama comes up with a program that can help people like this.

Chief Seattle said...

I haven't read the article, but my wife told me about it. I think it makes perfect sense that TPTB put a guy in charge of covering the Fed who despite fifty-odd years of experience can't figure out how to balance his own checkbook.

And I'm not kidding or being mean here. The last thing you would want if you controlled an institution that can and does create the same money out of thin-air that the rest of the country has to work for is to have someone working for a major newspaper with curiosity or a brain. A divorced man with alimony payments and credit card debt is easily controlled.

Anonymous said...

Besides the obvious morals I would say this:

Guys, don't marry a woman who already has children. If this guy hadn't re-married, he could easily walk away and rent an apartment. Or even walk away and crash on a friend's couch.

If you re-marry a childless woman, and if she does get pregnant from you, you'll have a few years lead time in which you can live in cheap housing, plan financially, and pay down your past child support.

Marrying a woman who already has children gives you just about all of the negatives of children and few of the positives. Not only that, those negatives start immediately. Besides, as they say, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

One other thing: If you do marry a childless woman, try to live near her parents.

Anonymous said...

Leech.

Anonymous said...

Is Silver Spring really that nice of an area? According to Wikipedia it is almost 1/3 black, with a median household income of around $50,000. My guess is that it's just home to a lot of low-level federal employees. It doesn't sound much like Greenwhich Village, so maybe you could tone down the jeering.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I read that article when it came out, and I kept on thinking "why doesn't he sell the house?". Maybe he's saving that for the book.

Anonymous said...

I might have laughed more (and my cruelist Maleficent-esque laugh too) at that article than I have while enjoying the hard-earned misfortune of another in a long time (and believe me, thats saying something).

Its "all good" though (as a portion of our underclass are wont to say), Carlos Slim is paying for it (or is he? remittances from American jobs pay the people who pay his inflated phone bills, so the joke might still be on us....hmm...).

The foibles of others do make good entertainment. I know, Im mean and heartless, M

Radamanthus said...

Steve, if you haven't worked for a big daily newspaper (I have-- two in different cities) then you may not realize how editorial pay works. Most "journalists" get low pay, either a puny salary or "freelance" piecework rates. A few stars get quite high pay. And there is this weird semi-high-pay filling in the sandwich (editors' pets--I suspect Andrews is in this category) who are allowed to double-dip. Their editors can't give them higher base salaries so they give them extra freelance payments or (in unionized newsrooms) overtime for work which they probably did on straight salaried time. Practices of this sort may have faded somewhat across the industry, but if they were to persist anywhere, they would persist at the New York Times!

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Does the article mention his wife's breast enlargement? Cause those things ain't natural on a 50-something mother, and she ain't wearing a wonderbra.

Having separated from my wife of 21 years, who had physical custody of our sons, I was handing over $4,000 a month in alimony and child-support payments. That left me with take-home pay of $2,777.


Ah, being a man in modern America. Note: women have equality; have the right to work; but they are not, in the calculation of alimony payments, expected to work.

Take home pay of $33k a year? This man wasn't qualified to buy a home in West Virginia, let alone suburban D.C.

Patty had yet to even look for a job...Patty had spent much of the two previous decades as a stay-at-home mother in Los Angeles. Her last full-time job, as an editor at a political research company, was back in the early 1980s...My fantasy was that Patty would become an ambitious go-getter...Patty had a very different dream. “I feel as if I am finally at home,” she exclaimed as soon as we moved into the house. She could settle down and do the things she had always been best at: making a new home, nurturing her children and loving me....Patty spent little on herself, but she refused to scrimp on top-quality produce, Starbucks coffee, bottled juices, fresh cheeses and clothing...This chick sounds like a real winner. If times were better and it was only Ed Andrews personal crisis she'd be out the door. But the men who still have the dough aren't gunna go for a 50-something post-menopausal woman.

Anonymous said...

Silver Spring is hit or miss on the upscale part.

TomV said...

I wonder if Truth is going jump in to defend this guy the way and impugn Steve's motive the way he always does on Malcolm Gladwell's behalf. He makes more money than you, Steve! That makes him better, smarter, and righter. Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah...

Is there such a thing as the undeserving, Truth? Not even among Whities?

ben tillman said...

Luftmensch.

Bob said...

Black folks in Silver Spring are generally solid middle class gov employees or retirees, or all crowded into a few apartment buildings.

Agree 100% here about the overtime. This actually makes me think about buying NYT stock. Right now they are losing money but still have a solid cash flow and great worldwide brand.

There seems to be a ton of fat they could cut, starting with this guy. Given that a job at the NYT can make a career in publishing and has tons of prestige, there is no reason these jobs can't be filled by guys making 75K and subsidized by their family.

The big question is whether some heartless cost-cutter who will fire this guy will ever be put in charge. I try to put Nick Denton of Gawker fame in charge, who pays his writers 30K + bonus based on traffic, and still lands very productive top-tier talent.

Anonymous said...

Those poor kids. How embarrassing.

Bob said...

I think the biggest question is why is he paying well over half his income to his ex? The kids are in a public school and spend lots of time with Dad.

My first guess is she never had a career. For all the knocks you here about marrying career women on paleo sites, one thing you can say about them is if there is a divorce they get a whole lot less in alimony, if anything at all, then a woman who has been a housewife for 10+ years, who often get awarded half of their ex's income for the rest of their lives.

The other time you see these horrible divorce settlements is when the man cheaped out on his lawyer and/or was full of guilt and didn't fight. You'd be surprised at the degree of guilt some men have when they cheat. Obviously it is a bad thing, but sometimes they fall into a depression and don't even contest what the wife wants in the divorce.

Dennis Dale said...

...I was working: when I was standing over the vat of boiling oilSo was Andrews for the last decade as an economics reporter.

rast said...

What's the point of holding comments for moderation if stuff like post #3 is allowed through?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing she was out of his league back when they were in school and he's thinking he's finally won her with his NY Times gig and the upscale suburban lifestyle he thought could give her.

More evidence that Times reporters live in an alternate reality. Seriously, how bad at math are these guys?

ironrailsironweights said...

Andrews even looks like one of the Doofus Dads of television-commercial infamy. Something in his whip-me-again-master expression.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"What's the point of holding comments for moderation if stuff like post #3 is allowed through?"

I think #3 makes a decent point, if in a rough way. Why would any guy put his finances into extreme jeopardy so he can get action from a 48 year old women with 2 children from a prior marriage?

Dutch Boy said...

Divorce is expensive, y'all. Stay together (your children and your accountant will appreciate it).

steve wood said...

Is Silver Spring really that nice of an area? According to Wikipedia it is almost 1/3 black, with a median household income of around $50,000. My guess is that it's just home to a lot of low-level federal employees. It doesn't sound much like Greenwhich Village, so maybe you could tone down the jeering.Silver Spring is my hometown, and, although I don't live in DC anymore, I'm back fairly often to visit.

Parts of it are not upscale at all; they're suburban (mostly) Hispanic slums. It's very LA-like, except that they’re composed of garden apartment complexes instead of houses. Just as in LA, the slums don't look too bad from a distance. Being old, they're usually leafy with full-grown trees and are reasonably well maintained. The shopping centers that serve them look exactly like the strip malls I saw in parts of the SF Valley. This is what drags down the average household income.

The single-family housing areas of Silver Spring have remained mostly white and comfortably middle-class. A few areas are fairly upscale, although nothing like Bethesda or Chevy Chase.

Here's the thing: by Montgomery County, MD, standards, Silver Spring is a perfectly normal, not-especially-trendy place. A white-collar professional living in the Washington area would not regard it as "Silver Springy" in the way Steve means.

Most people who haven't lived in DC or spent much time there have no idea how rich the area is. Places that would seem affluent here in Philadelphia (like the Silver Spring neighborhood where I grew up) are absolutely run-of-the-mill in the Washington area.

The point being that, from Andrews' point of view, he wasn’t buying a house in a fancy suburb (although the house itself could be pretty fancy if he bought in a neighborhood like Woodside). He was buying a house in a town that’s at the bottom end of acceptable places for upper-middle-class people to live.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Wife #1 is getting $4,000 a month for 3 kids that live at least part-time with Dad. We have no idea about wife #1's professional career. OK.

Wife #2 was primarily a stay-at-home Mom for 20 years. Her 2 kids live mainly at her and Andrews's house. Where is her alimony/child support payments? Why the big difference?

Did I miss something?

Anonymous said...

Lesson here, If you can't, won't or anyhow aren't interested in the being the superdad/adoring husband, don't marry a woman who wants to be a career housewife. Don't marry at all.

Like he said, these days the milk is free.

When it's as old as Patty, it will pay you.

dc watcher said...

I live next door to Silver Spring, in Takoma Park. A bungalo sells for 500,000. A nice Victorian gingerbread house (there are whole streets of them, and they really are charming especially during the 4th of July parade) can cost near a million. Many lawyers per square foot, and many worried souls will be glad to know that Takoma Parkers have declared their town a nuclear-free zone since the early 80s.
Silver Spring was on the skids. Wheaton shopping centre, a few miles north, was a nice place when I moved here in 1981. By the 90s it was mostly black and almost no whites. Murders, etc., began to occur. Downtown Silver Spring was heading in that trajectory, what with more blacks and hispanics. But up against the wall whites do what they must. The AFI (American Film Institute) was moved from the Kennedy Center to Silver Spring, and various trendy markets and restaurants, not to mention bookstores opened. Now, of a weekend, you can see enough non-blacks to consider the place "good." Sorry, but that's how it is.
Silver Spring is huge, and many of the residential streets are picture-book perfect. Its future depends on keeping enough whites in it. Since whites working in DC have no other place to go now, they just might. I've seen the Hispanic population explode, but they are not the disaster that the same number/percentage of blacks would be. I don't fancy going to Langley Park (adjacent to SS, and almost entirely El Salvadoran), but I can go with a fair chance of not being harrassed or murdered, even at night, though I wouldn't hang around too much.

Anonymous said...

"Where is her alimony/child support payments? Why the big difference?"

Probably the husband in LA is an alpha male / bad boy type who is charming but doesn't make a lot of money.

I wouldn't be surprised if some other alpha male / bad boy was the actual father of Mr. Andrew's putative children.

"I'm guessing she was out of his league back when they were in school and he's thinking he's finally won her"

That exact thought ocurred to me.

The real way to demonstrate his studliness would be to marry some 25-year-old hottie.

PRCalDude said...

The last time I got paid overtime was when I was an 18-year-old fry cook at Burger King. That made perfect sense because the boss could tell exactly when I was working: when I was standing over the vat of boiling oil.Something's amiss here: you're an American and that's a Job An American Won't Do.

I wonder if Truth is going jump in to defend this guy the way and impugn Steve's motive the way he always does on Malcolm Gladwell's behalf.There's no evidence Truth actually reads and/or comprehends anything Steve writes.

Anonymous said...

This is just an educated guess, but my money is on the relationship between Edmund and Patricia pre-dating either of them separating from their former spouses. This would explain the huge payments from Edmund to his ex, and the seeming lack of payments from Patricia's ex to her. My guess is they dumped their spouses for each other, and well, that has a financial impact. Poor kids.

But yeah, 4K alimony/child support--whether it's justified or not--sorry, dude, you can't just go remarry right away, especially not to someone with kids of her own. You can't afford it.

as said...

Some people have no shame.

How could he embarrass himself and his family publicly like this?

How could he let the world know that he's such a colassal irresponsible idiot with money and that his second wife is a shrew and a spendthrift?

Doesn't he worry what his ex-wife and his second wife's ex-husband will think of them?

Doesn't he worry about his children's marriage prospects? Who would let their children marry into a bad family like this?

What will the people at work think of him?

What will his children think of him? What will his children's friends and their families think of him?

Etc.

I guess it just goes to show how dire his situation is. He's reduced to humiliating himself and his wife and children for the sake of money.

It's a kind of prostitution.

Ew. Just ew.

Black Sea said...

This comment was left on the Clusterstock thread. If true, it could explain a lot about why the guy's alimony payment is so high:

"I used to know this guy. His ex was nice. He got hot for this other woman and left No. 1. Breaks up the family. So the courts hit him with alimony. So stop your bellyaching about that, Bub. . . . "

The Times writer appears to have been infatuated with his second wife since they were in high school together. I mean, come on, if he considers her "sexy" at 50, he must've been walking around with a concrete hard-on when they were both 17, as I'm sure she knew. So, after 30 years of longing, Gatsby finally gets his Daisy. Oh, and (surprise) she's ruining his life. She's probably just hanging around long enough (on her attorney's advice) to see if his book hits the best-sellers list. Then, when his income is at its lifetime peak, she'll claim the publication of this book was a violation of her privacy and a personal humiliation, and land a juicy divorce settlement.

Maybe he'll squeeze a sequel out of that.

testing99 said...

I haven't heard this guy on NPR, but what has struck me is the really, well lack of any sort of testosterone among the men in the journalist class.

I've met a few in person, and seen many on TV. Particularly the print guys seem gay, even when married. Gay and whiny and passive. It's disturbing. I see it in guys in their fifties, and guys much younger, in their twenties.

What is that?

They guy's book could have had some promise if he'd been brutal and up-front about his mistakes, including yeah, getting married, not contesting his first divorce and alimony/child-support, and doing the whole suburban thing.

Renting a cheap place on his own in VA would have been smarter. Yeah the commute is hell but you can live dirt cheap.
----------
I would not give you $0.02 for the NYT. Even if Slim or Obama bail it out, it's problem is two-fold.

1. Not enough White people to make partisan newspapers profitable, particularly SWPL newspapers.
2.The NYT is solidly SWPL partisan.

There's probably room for one national Sports paper. God knows I'd buy it. There's enough room obviously for a national business paper. USA-Today is losing money due to loss of travelers/readers. Which was their main source of revenue. But a paper like it distributed at home and sold more widely could probably make money.

But overall, just like with Rock, or comic books, or TV, or movies, there just isn't enough White people anymore to sustain moderate niche markets and content. Shrug.

AllanF said...

I'm going to second the thought that the moderation threshold really needs turned up. I am loathe to tell somebody how to run their site, but in this case indulge the exception.

Steve, the quality of your posts are among the best on the internet. The comments you let through moderation are the worst of any site's in which I actually bother to read. Probably half the time I think to myself, why am I even reading this stuff. About a 1/3 of the posts I do skip reading the comments entirely, knowing it's going to be nothing but trolls and fools. Anyway, seems to be more than one man's opinion.

As for Mr. Andrews, the thing that is remarkable is his story is utterly quintessential of America today. Stop to consider there are millions of people with his EXACT SAME STORY. Divorce. Crippling alimony and child support. Re-marriage. Over-extended on the house. Racked up thousands in credit card debt. Refi. Default. If you haven't noticed, Congress and the President have made these people everyone's problem. And they are. I would wager those of Mr. Andrews' persuasion (aging, borderline upper middle-class, SWPL-er) and predicament (remarried, debt-slave) are a plurality in the blue-state, coastal metros. Think about that. In ten to fifteen years they will be of retirement age with essentially 0 in assets.

AllanF said...

One additional point. Our very president was but one crooked election away from being in Mr. Andrews' shoes: no senate seat, no six figure raise for his wife, no speech at the DNC, no 7 figure royalty check form his publisher. Instead he'd be starring down the barrel of an over-extended mortgage and an unsustainable standard of living to which his family had grown accustomed. Just as Mr. Andrews is.

Anonymous said...

"The comments you let through moderation are the worst of any site's in which I actually bother to read."

Our comments rule.
You suck h8ter!

beowulf said...

Ha ha, Steve's moderation policy (or lack therof) is fine. I like the mix of comments. Its a change of pace from most blog comment pages where the readers race to be the first to agree with the genius blogger.

Obama's low pre-Senate salary was because of his political career, not in spite of it. He's a black Harvard Law graduate, whatever state senators make in Illinois, I'm sure he could have made 10 times as much as a corporate attorney or government contractor.

And yes, this Andrews was a fool to air his dirty laundry in public, way to humiliate the kids buddy.

Reactionary said...

Reading the comments about Silver Springs, I can tell you Andrews isn't selling the house because 1) there aren't any buyers and 2) he is WAY underwater on it.

The first thing the family needs to do is rent an apartment. Because the next thing they're going to do is declare bankruptcy and it's easier to get a lease without a petition on your credit history. Then they need to clean the house, tidy up the yard, list that white elephant with a realtor, and walk away. Like I said Edmund, it will hurt--and your scheming cougar of a second-wife might bail on you--but it won't kill you. Maybe she'll finally prove her mettle after all. Work out. Go to church. Read and listen to music. Post on iSteve.

This story is going to get repeated enough in America that it will lose its stigma. Don't believe the stock market and CNBC for a minute: we have not hit bottom yet.

I really could go on. There is a seismic shift underway as the US "middle class" prepares to do the previously unthinkable.

--Doug

Anonymous said...

Silver Spring is a sprawling, low density suburb with lots of different neighborhoods. The whole DC metro area is like that actually.

AMac said...

Refreshingly sensible and unsympathetic view of All Things Considered's tongue bath of Mr. Andrews, in the comments at npr.org (considering that it's mostly listeners who register there).

"Jason Hewitt (JJ88)" added a some extra color: "A little digging on pipl.com finds that [Andrew's] new wife, who is named in his book, has two judgments against her in the Maryland state court. She has repeatedly failed to show up to court for the traffic tickets she's incurred. Sir, I think you might not feel that you have anything to apologize for, but it seems that the "love of [your] life" is having a detrimental effect on your rational thinking... You must be some kind of sociopath not to think you're at fault, because you are."

Anonymous said...

Probably the husband in LA is an alpha male / bad boy type who is charming but doesn't make a lot of money.


Whatever the commenters here may believe, an "alpha male" is not a "bad boy" and by definition he does make a lot of money. You guys seem to be in the habit of calling street thugs "alphas".

Lucius Vorenus said...

testing99: But overall, just like with Rock, or comic books, or TV, or movies, there just isn't enough White people anymore to sustain moderate niche markets and content. Shrug.

Yeah, I've seen people making the point that there just aren't enough white folk in greater Los Angeles, with IQs in the 105+ or 110+ range, to keep the paper in business.

And given what I believe to be true about their IQs, I just don't see there being enough literate folk in the aboriginal hispanic community to keep any newspaper afloat, Spanish-language or otherwise [my guess is that the IQ necessary for reading (or, maybe more importantly, wanting to read) a newspaper is getting out towards two standard deviations above the aboriginal hispanic average].

But even nationally, it's really disturbing to me to see what is happening with television - there ought to be enough young white kids in the Red States to keep up demand for good television, but I keep seeing series after series after series getting cancelled for reasons that I just can't fathom.

For instance, it is beyond my comprehension that Fox is cancelling The Sarah Connor Chronicles - I can't for the life of me understand why that show shouldn't be at least as popular as The Six Million Dollar Man.

PS: I had forgotten just how awesome the opening credits were.

It's amazing how much masculinity our culture has lost in just thirty years - nowadays, you'd have to watch fake wrasslin' on SciFi or USA Network to see that much testosterone on the boob tube.

You do almost have to wonder whether the Hollyweird <EDITED> & gheys have some sort of a Star Chamber where they meet to plan strategy and make decisions about these meta-cultural phenomena.

just the facts ma'am said...

chief seattle said

"A divorced man with alimony payments and credit card debt is easily controlled."

Stay out of debt. It's possible WW2 was started because of the personal debts of Winston Churchill.

Who bailed him out? Bernard Baruch, Sir Henry Strakosch and Bernard Whaley-Cohen. (Strakosch saved Churchill's estate in '38.) Particularly after Strakosch's unselfish benevolence toward him, Churchill turned against his own pacifist party and brayed for German blood thereafter. In Pat Buchanan's book "The Unnecessary War," you can read about the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Its funny how most people who read this story got the real story behind it. A big need to sell books to keep the new wife happy who has a past history of overspending and sending husbands to the cleaners. The article was highly untruthful, many blatant lies...about their personal life and how happy all the kids are, etc.
it reeks of phoniness and self pity and narcisism which is the real story behind this couple and the damage they have left in their wake...
it is Daisy and Gatsby in so many ways, the real story is far more tragic than a credit crisis, it's a crisis of conscience and responsibility and carelessness, being in love doesn't excuse wreaking havoc on childrens lives...and then selling books on it to keep yourself afloat

Anonymous said...

Just to comment on how this article fits the Times agenda:

It's a middle-class white male saying "Look! People like me caused the mortgage meltdown!"

wonder woman said...

"Cause those things ain't natural on a 50-something mother, and she ain't wearing a wonderbra."

I must take issue here. I look like that (actually better) and I have had no "work" done and I am older than she. In fact, Mrs. Economic-Downturn-formerspoiledYuppie-Zeitgeist appears to be entirely au naturel to me.

chic noir said...

$50k in credit card debtWow just wow. How in the hell could someone charge that much on credit cards and continue to spend.
SMH
I would be to embarrassed to admit to charging that much. Now if it was education loans, that's a different story.

chic noir said...

The decent thing to do would be for him to make some type of payment to Chase even if it's only 50% of his mortgage.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Is there a Mr Wonder Woman in your life right now, or are you single?

wonder woman said...

Whatever the commenters here may believe, an "alpha male" is not a "bad boy" and by definition he does make a lot of money."

Yeah. Creeps me out. Street thugs are distinctly low rent and dead ends. The idea of them as "alpha" anything except undertaker fodder, is laughable.

But you have to understand about certain commenters here.
Look at their misplaced snark about Mrs. Zeitgeist's age. Both Mr. & Mrs. have done their reproductive work, thank god, and are not casting creepy glances on the younger and fitter.
A couger, btw, is a lady of a certain age who chases men significantly younger than herself. Mr. Zeitgeist does not qualify. Indeed, to me that's the one redeeming thing about him.

Anonymous said...

oh, wife has had face work done as well...lips plumped and lots of Restylane injections...
maybe that's where the $1200 for the son's teeth that were never fixed went...

Anonymous said...

did a little checking on pipl.com and wife has four judgments against her and two failure to appear in court. theres more sociopathy here than originally suspected.

Anonymous said...

"Daddy, mommy says we have to move out of our house and it's all your fault."

Anonymous said...

"There's no evidence Truth actually reads and/or comprehends anything Steve writes."

Yeah, he does come across as a provacateur sometimes.

Ronduck said...

Reactionary said...

I really could go on. There is a seismic shift underway as the US "middle class" prepares to do the previously unthinkable.

And to think I have spent my entire adult life debt free, and yet these people are held up as models for me to copy.

David Davenport said...

Dutch Boy said...
Divorce is expensive, y'all. Stay together (your children and your accountant will appreciate it).
A real estate sales lady remarked to me that divorce is good for the real estate sales business.

Divorce: -> often, a house goes on the market -> former householders looking for two different residences.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

It's a middle-class white male saying "Look! People like me caused the mortgage meltdown!"


Could a member of one of the other groups write such an article?


It's amazing how much masculinity our culture has lost in just thirty yearsAnyone else here think the state of horse-racing is God's commentary on our own society? A eunuch wins the Derby and a chick wins the Preakness (and the eunuch finishes second). Where are all the studs? In the back of the pack, getting mud on their faces.


Yeah, I've seen people making the point that there just aren't enough white folk in greater Los Angeles, with IQs in the 105+ or 110+ range, to keep the paper in business.


Methinks it may be the middle of the bell curve that IS keeping the newspapers in business. Any smart conservative would cancel their subscription post-haste. I have.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah. Creeps me out. Street thugs are distinctly low rent and dead ends."

Call them what you want, but a lot of them are not dead ends in a genetic sense.

Jerry said...

This article caught my eye in the Herald Tribune while I was in Hong Kong over the weekend, and I thought, "How many Chinese government officials are reading this and finding out where their national savings went...?"

I was disgusted by the utter shamelessness of this article, the shameless admission that this loser is writing finance articles for the NYT! And they expect people to pay for this!

Anonymous said...

"It's possible WW2 was started because of the personal debts of Winston Churchill."

What a truly moronic comment. WW2 was started because of Hitler's aggressive desire to smash the Treaty of Versailles system (duuh). Churchill and THE JOOOOZ did not force Hitler to militarize the Rhineland, absorb Austria, annex the Sudetenland, occupy the rest of Czechoslovakia, or attack Poland.

wonder woman said...

There is a Mr. Wonder Woman, but I don't know where he is now. He used to be a bra salesman. That's how we met.

However, that is neither here nor there.

Anonymous said...

---Where are all the studs? In the back of the pack, getting mud on their faces.---


Maybe they're not even at the track anymore.

Anonymous said...

I really could go on. There is a seismic shift underway as the US "middle class" prepares to do the previously unthinkable.


What, pray tell?! Don't leave me hanging like that Lucius Vorenus guy!

Anonymous said...

Check out Megan McArdle's short review of the guy's book.

He and his second wife apparently had some kind of an affair which broke up their marriages.

Nice.

The description of their finances is even more amazing.

He was besotted with this Latin siren.

I'm glad their marriage turned out rotten. It would have been very unfair had everything turned out great.

Anonymous said...

Link to Megan McArdle's article:

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/05/busted.php

Reactionary said...

I really could go on. There is a seismic shift underway as the US "middle class" prepares to do the previously unthinkable.


What, pray tell?! Don't leave me hanging like that Lucius Vorenus guy!
__________________


I already suggested it. In sum, bankruptcy and foreclosure is going to lose its stigma among the middle class. People will look at their 30-year, $200K/400K/600K mortgages and conclude that the math just doesn't work. So they'll walk, and go off to lick their wounds in an apartment. Housing prices, construction, retail, and their related financial instruments (of which there are very, very many) all have further to drop.

Can you imagine being an executive at HGTV, now that the boobs are realizing that it makes no sense to install granite countertops in what is actually just a durable consumer good? Or at The Travel Channel, now that people don't have all these big, fat home-equity lines of credit to finance vacations in Costa Rica?

--Doug

Anonymous said...

My ex-husband ran up $60,000 in credit card debt in the late 80s when he was earning about $60,000 per year. We had an amazingly high credit score, because he paid every bill on time. I had to take the bus to work (in Los Angeles!) while he drove a brand new Mercedes, wear old clothes to work, while he shopped only at exclusive men's stores and every week when I deposited my paycheck in our joint account, the ATM would refuse to allow me to have grocery money, because the maximum withdrawal had already been made that day.

As soon as hubby's income was about to take off, he filed for divorce, while claiming that he wasn't earning enough to pay any alimony or child support as well, because he was just getting his new business started. He missed child support payments for over six years, finally paying a little once the children were finishing up high school.

I felt unable to divorce him for religious reasons, but I have to admit that it was a relief when he decided to divorce me. He was a total sociopath. He has since messed up the lives of several other women. He THINKS he is an alpha male, and certainly dresses like one and lives like one, but he will die broke, and will have trouble scraping through his retirement years once he burns through whatever his parents leave him when they die.

Invaded Poland, Squawk said...

Lucius,

Once, somewhere in Africa, a French girl was trying to explain an American television show she thought was odd. She kept saying, frustratedly, "The Man Who Is Worth Nearly One Billion Francs".

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to can call up the ethics hotline for the NY Times and put in a complaint about this guy anonymously. I can't believe they will keep him on the payroll much longer considering his admission of such unethical/immoral conduct re: his loan and his failure to accept reality as we know it.

wonder woman said...

"Call them what you want, but a lot of them are not dead ends in a genetic sense."

You may be right there, considering that we the taxpayers pay for everyone born from cradle to grave. They are not so much genetic dead ends as empty but lethal frauds.

Anonymous said...

"I can't believe they will keep him on the payroll much longer considering his admission of such unethical/immoral conduct re: his loan and his failure to accept reality as we know it.

As that old IT joke used to go, that (his failure to accept reality as we know it) isn't a bug, it's a feature.

The Slim Pickin's is full of people who can't accept reality as we know it. That's why they keep insisting that we can import a huge disfunctional underclass and still maintain first-world schools, jobs, environment, communities, economy, etc.

They are idiots!

Steve Trevor said...

Wonder Woman -

If the bra salesman doesn't come home soon, then drop me a line.

steve_trevor_2009
AT
yahoo
DOT
com

none of the above said...

Captain Aubrey:

Well, the thing is, people like him really *did* cause the mortgage meltdown. Many of the people like him apparently were hispanic or black, and lived in California instead of Maryland, but running up scary debts and rolling them into some kind of gimmicky mortgage to put off the day of reckoning for another few months is *exactly* the sort of crap that got us here.

Doug:

If bankruptcy loses much of its social stigma (especially for future employers), this country is in for one hell of a ride, because I believe there are now quite a number of people who are underwater on their mortgages, deep in credit card debt, and with no savings other than whatever's in the retirement accounts. If a substantial fraction of those people decide to go bankrupt, the losses in the credit markets until now will seem too small to really worry about.

none of the above said...

Megan McArdle's take is obviously correct: He simply couldn't afford to get married and live the suburban life he wanted to live with her, given his large alimony and child support payments, and her meager child support coming in.

At a guess, an honest discussion or two about this, early on in the relationship, would probably have scuttled it. Leaving your comfortable but boring life and marriage for a new, exciting one sounds pretty good. Leaving it for a new life of tight budgets and Hamburger Helper every night--you might just decide that maybe your old wife or husband wasn't so boring and unlovable after all.

wonder woman said...

Thank you Mr. Trevor. My goodness--the possibilities of hbd blogging. One never expects such a merely exhiliarating experience to be so physical.

Anonymous said...

Sad story about this Mr. Andrews. It reminds me of the song "I'm Busted" by Aunt Effy...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HSu00C2CO8

-Uncle Fred

Anonymous said...

"Well, the thing is, people like him really *did* cause the mortgage meltdown. Many of the people like him apparently were hispanic or black, and lived in California instead of Maryland, but running up scary debts and rolling them into some kind of gimmicky mortgage to put off the day of reckoning for another few months is *exactly* the sort of crap that got us here."

The point of my comment was that he is taking the heat as a white, educated, middle-class man. In this most mainstream of news outlets, that is the image being portrayed of those "irresponsible borrowers."

When white people buy houses they can't afford and rack up credit card debt, it's their fault. When NAMs buy houses they can't afford and rack up credit card debt, it's the fault of "predatory (white) lenders" and greedy (white) credit card companies. Heads whites lose, tails whites lose.

Anonymous said...

I knew the wife when she lived near me in L.A. She was a notorious spendthrift who caused first husband to file for bankruptcy. Always had a big car while house went to pieces. She owed money all over the city and they finally had to cart away the car from her and put house up for distress sale. I heard she filed for bankruptcy right before she got married again so husband #2 wouldn't be liable for all her debts.
Why would he write an article like this when he knows deep down she is the cause of all the probelms?! Maybe he's ready to lose her.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for Steve to rechristen this blog The Lonelyhearts Site.

Hi, I'm Gerald. I'm 43, handsome, kind, generous, and I've got a great sense of humor. I like art and music and animals and candle-light dinners and holding hands while walking on the beach at sunset. Call me.