The key word in David Brooks’ Bobos in Paradise title is a portmanteau combining bourgeois and bohemian; like Will Wilkinson’s “liberaltarian” formulation, it doesn’t take much to see the distance between the two mindsets create an enormous amount of cognitive dissonance.
Take for example this rant from MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, as spotted by Tim Graham of Newsbusters: “MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Urges Homeowners to Stop Paying Mortgages As a Leftist Protest.” Graham writes:
MSNBC afternoon host Dylan Ratigan took to the ramparts of The Huffington Post on Thursday and urged home owners to stop paying their mortgages as a leftist protest against a government too cozy with the bankers. The title was “They Keep Stealing — Why Keep Paying?” The crisis was all Wall Street’s fault, and now they’re back to paying themselves bonuses after a federal bailout. So stop paying them. (Notice Ratigan doesn’t suggest you protest Washington and TARP by refusing to pay your taxes.) This piece sounds like a direct-mail letter:
You didn’t cause this mess. They did.
Now you are struggling to make the same payments on this mortgage on your now overpriced home even in light of a crashing economy and massive deflation, all while the government does everything in its power to help Wall St. keep the bonuses coming.
Well, it is becoming time to take matters into your own hands… I suggest that you call your lender and tell them if they don’t lower you mortgage by at least 20%, you are walking away. And if they don’t agree, you need to consider walking away.
It probably doesn’t feel right to you.
That is because you probably are a good person. But your mortgage is a business deal, and it is not immoral to walk away from a business deal unless you went in to the deal with the intention of defaulting.
GE co-owns both MSNBC, and a wide network of consumer and commercial loans, with such names of GE Capital, GE Money, and GE Consumer Finance. As part of that package, they also offer business property financing and, I believe they still offer residential mortgages, particularly in Europe, but perhaps in the US as well.
If so, oh to be a fly on the wall if someone walks away from a mortgage with GE with a “jingle mail” to his banker — the keys to his house and a note that reads, “Hey, the MSNBC commentator told me that ‘my mortgage was a business deal, and it is not immoral to walk away from a business deal.’ I’m just taking his advice; here’s the keys to my $250,000 house. See ya!”
(Elsewhere at MSNBC, Janeane Garofalo expresses disappointment with President Obama. Since Garofalo blurted on MSNBC last year that the cause of all such frustration boils down to “hating a black man in the White House” and “racism straight up,” surely such “logic” applies to herself as well.)