It´s a wonderful mess

É esta a verdade, de facto: a actual crise norte-americana resulta de o estilo de vida americano, dado com adquirido pelos que o usufruiam e como sendo a aspiração de todos aqueles que ainda não o haviam alcançado – ser homeowner de uma casa nos subúrbios, com um relvado à frente e dois SUVs na garagem -, é demasiado caro no presente comparativamente ao que estava a ser pago. Este ‘sonho americano’ foi incentivado por todos os presidentes – pela razão óbvia de ser intrínseco à ‘ideia americana’ e, em consequência, dar votos – e, reconheçamos, com resultados surpreendentes a maior parte do tempo. Contudo, chegou a vez de pagar e convinha que não se acusasse disso só quem enviou a cartinha a avisar do data futura de pagamento.

“Not So Wonderful Now

Looking for someone to blame in the worsening crisis? Let’s go back to Bedford Falls.

If the global economy survives the autumn and our cable-TV companies are still in business come Christmas, Americans surfing the channels for classic Yuletide movies may finally figure out exactly whom they have to blame for the housing bubble and everything that has followed. Forget the predatory lenders, Wall Street sharks and their government enablers: It all started with George Bailey.

Yes, that George Bailey — the hero of Frank Capra‘s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the most popular man in Bedford Falls, the man so indispensable that he earned a private visitation from a guardian angel just to show him how dreadful a world without him would have been. It’s easy to forget, so potent is the supernaturally charged final act of Capra’s classic, that before he was visiting looking-glass worlds where he’d never been born or scampering through the snow and shouting “Merry Christmas!” till his lungs burst, Jimmy Stewart‘s George Bailey was actually a pretty savvy businessman. And it’s even easier to forget the precise nature of his business: putting the downscale families of Bedford Falls into homes they couldn’t quite afford to buy.

This is the substance of the great war between Bailey and Lionel Barrymore’s Mr. Potter, the richest, meanest man in Bedford Falls. Potter is against easy credit and the suburban dream, against the rabble moving out of his tenements and buying homes, while the Bailey Building and Loan exists to make suburbia possible.

The Bailey vision is economic and moral all at once. In a mid-movie peroration, the hero lectures Potter and a gaggle of local entrepreneurs on the virtues of democratizing homeownership: “You’re all businessmen here,” he presses them, sounding for all the world like a politician defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac against their critics in 2004 or so. “Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? . . . What’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? . . . Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars?”

In the movie, George Bailey has God on his side, but a real-life Bailey would have had Uncle Sam. “It’s a Wonderful Life” debuted in 1946, more than a decade after Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s National Housing Act kicked off a half-century of federal policymaking aimed at making it dramatically easier for working-class Americans to buy and keep their homes.”

E continua.

Roos Douthat, no Washington Post.

Eu devia dizer que faço parte dos fans de Frank Capra (até lhe tolero as ideias esquerdistas), de Jimmy Stewart (um dos gigantes do sec. XX e, sobretudo, um bom homem) e, inevitavelmente, do It´s a Wonderful Life (talvez escreva sobre ele por alturas do Natal, que é mais adequado).

Esta entrada foi publicada em Genéricos. ligação permanente.

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