by Henry “Mack Truck” Harvey
Mom, Dad, listen: I know times have been tough. I know you’ve lost money in the stock market and had big chunks taken out of your 401Ks. I know all that, and I feel for you; I really do. But The Time Has Come. The time has come to get this household economy moving again. And the only way we’re going to be able to do that is if you guys start lending. Because as it is, this economy is at a standstill. I’m not buying anything. And that can’t be allowed to continue.
This parent-child economy only works if there is lending from the parent to the child. For the child has no money of his own, so without the parents’ help, he can’t go out and purchase a stereo, a laptop or even a pair of sneakers. What this means, Mom and Dad, is that everybody loses. Not just me, your child, but everybody. The whole country. The store selling the stereo doesn’t make the the sale they would have made if I had been able to buy the stereo. Maybe that’s one more worker who’ll have to be laid off this week. The laptop manufacturer moves one less unit. And we all know how important the manufacturing sector is to the overall economic health of the United States. What about the sneaker salesman? Well, without me being able to purchase a new pair of sneakers, he’s just standing at the entrance to the Foot Locker, staring out at the empty shopping mall, with nothing but his silly referee uniform to keep him company.
All of this misfortune, Mom and Dad, could be reversed if you could muster the courage and the foresight to restart the age-old practice of lending money to your children (one child in particular). What might this mean for you, specifically? Well, it could begin with an act such as handing over $120 in cash to your child. A gesture like that would go a long way to restoring confidence and faith in our household economy.
Now, I already hear your protestations. Especially you, Mom. “What is this ‘lending?’ It’s only lending if there’s some hope of getting paid back.” This is true, and in the strict sense, you won’t be paid back, at least not in the form of cash, and certainly not any time within the next several decades. But I ask you, what is “repayment?” Does it always come in the form of a return of the money you lent out? Or can it mean something else?
Isn’t it true, Mom, that someday you and Dad will both will be very old? Isn’t that, in fact, a fact? Won’t you need someone to take care of you at that point? Who do you think that might be? Your son, Billy? His dog starved to death because he forgot to feed him. I didn’t want to tell you that, but I feel the urgency of this situation requires you to be in possession of all the relevant facts. Do you really want to put your well being in the hands of someone as irresponsible as Billy? These will be, after all, your Golden Years. So isn’t it wiser, when all things are considered, to consider this $120 as a down payment? A down payment on your future? I think it is. And if I do say so myself, I’m offering quite a return on your investment. Not starving is worth an almost incalculable sum.
Mom and Dad, now that I have demonstrated how vital a return to your former lending practices is for our economy’s health, let me stress that there isn’t time to waste. One thing we don’t have in this current crisis is extra time to think, to ponder, to ruminate. Plus, the stereo sale at Best Buy ends tomorrow.