Punchinello’s Chronicles

November 3, 2008

Jeremey and the $700-Billion Bailout Plan

Filed under: View from the Bottom — Punchinello @ 9:30 pm
Tags: , , ,

Jeremey’s a really nice guy. All his friends call him Jerry, or Jake. He’s a poor person now, living around here, but he may end up losing the apartment and living with relatives. Or maybe on the street. The problem is he’s a heroin addict.

It’s not Jeremey’s fault. It’s a disability. He can’t help it, he’s just addicted to heroin. It started when he was working as a manager for an electronics company, making $90,000 a year. Money wasn’t a problem, and he liked the feeling that he was a great guy.

Little by little, Jeremy’s heroin problem got worse. Maybe we shouldn’t call it a problem, though. He was caught in a spending trap based on his disability. Yeah, that’s better. He just wanted what everyone else has; to feel good about life and himself, to enjoy his home and family, and to live the American fantasy.

There came a point where Jeremey stared having problems at work. Nobody knows why, he was a nice guy and doing fine. He couldn’t concentrate as much, missed coming in every so often, but it probably was just stress. He forgot to go home at night, and his wife started complaining a lot.

Money seemed to disappear from the family checking accounts, and one night Jeremey’s wife discovered that their 401K had been cleaned out. She’d noticed other things missing, and wondered why there’d been so much pressure to get more credit cards. When she saw Jeremey driving home in a 15 year-old junker car, she became even more agitated.

Eventually, Jeremey broke down and told his wife that he was an addict. He said he would change, and that he’d instituted policies that would police his own behaviors. He wondered if he could borrow some money from her family.

The family wasn’t all that thrilled to lend money to Jeremey, but when they heard he was a victim of heroin addiction, they felt badly for him. They asked him how much money he needed, and he told them he was running about a $1,000 a day habit. So they all got together.

Her family felt their daughter’s welfare was too important to let fail. Then there were the children, innocent bystanders to the difficulties. They understood that she’d had no idea at all that everything was in such bad shape. She was just taking care of the house, not studying household finances, so a necessary and emergency bailout was in order.

Calculating everything out on a spreadsheet, they figured it would take $700,000 to help Jeremey out. They would buy up his debts, take over the mortgage on his house, and pay his salary for a year. Jeremey would have to leave his job (he was about to be fired anyway), and enter a rehab clinic.

So that’s what he did. He entered a clinic. His wife bought his heroin and would bring it to him in the clinic. Nobody wanted him to suffer, and in particular, it wouldn’t be good for the children to know that their father was in trouble.

Going to the local dealer, Jeremey’s wife made a deal that she would pay in advance for Jeremey’s heroin. The dealer told her it would cost her $1,500 a day, and since she had no interest in what the street prices were, she just accepted that number. She went back to the family and told them they’d need to come up with another $300,000 because the going rates on heroin had changed.

The family sold the house, sold the cars, sold the furniture, and came up with the $1,000,000.

It didn’t take long for Jeremey to complete is 4-day rehab, and when he came back to their townhouse, he liked that it wasn’t as expensive as their house. The house still wasn’t selling, what with the real estate market being what it is, but that was okay. There wasn’t a mortgage anymore, since the family bought it.

He found the family credit cards, and treated himself to a new wall-screen TV, a new laptop, and a new watch. He told his wife that if he was going to look for a new job, he had to look good. With easy access to heroin, Jeremey was now smacked out every waking hour. His habit had now become a $2,000 a day habit, but everyone felt that he was making an effort.

A year later, when the money ran out, Jeremey went to his friends. He asked them if they’d help him out. After all, he was disabled and had a disease. Nobody helped. His wife got tired of eating mashed potatoes every night, and took the kids and left.

The townhouse fell into ruin, since Jeremey was too doped up to care about cleaning anything. The bills didn’t get paid, and eventually he was evicted. After a stay with some other junkies, he eventually qualified for government-assisted living. He applied for a government bailout, and the paperwork is delayed by the coming elections.

One of the problems Jeremey is facing is that he’s too stoned to fill in any of the paperwork for certification at the housing complex. He doesn’t eat much, other than candy and instant macaroni. A caseworker made an appointment for him with a doctor, but Jeremey forgot to go. Besides, he has no car to get there, and no license to drive one if he did.

Nobody knows what happened. Everyone was sure that Jeremey would come to terms with his disability. He’d had a fine education, lived a fine life, and everyone was helping him. He’d been bailed out of his major troubles, and everyone felt sure that he would learn an important lesson.

Guess not.

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