my parents left me in not the slightest doubt
that the road to happiness was paved with the pennies I saved
instead of spending them on the goodies that I craved.
Dickens’ Mr. Micawber got many a mention
as time and again it was brought to my attention
that if I kept my pennies safe and sound
they would very quickly become a dollar and even a pound.
If only I learned to save my money
I would soon be having my tea with honey.
Could I put it in a pillow under my head?
or perhaps keep in a box stashed under my bed?
No, in a local bank I should put my dough
where I could watch it steadily grow and grow.
If I left it there for quite a while
I’d wake up one day to find it had become a pile.
It was on banks, they said, I could depend
because, if they were asked for money, including mine, to lend,
they would carefully check every single reference
and only to the safest borrowers would they give preference.
I was also told that instead of banks
I could always go and join the ranks
of those who placed their hard earned cash in trust
to companies that never could go bust.
They meant, of course, the mortgage lenders
who would be my savings best defenders.
They would refuse to give out any loan
to anyone who did not collateral own.
As the building societies would look after every single cent,
I was assured that I could rest content.
So, acting on the advice of those who knew
I deposited my humble savings without more ado.
Admit, I must, that I at times regretted
not having occasionally become indebted
to buy that very special treat
that would, I thought, have made my life complete.
But my feet on the ground were firmly set
and I was glad I had not got into debt.
I pitied those who kept on spending
on a spree that seemed to be never ending.
They wanted a house of their very own
to acquire which they would need a loan.
When they told the banker they hadn’t got a dime
he said not to worry, they are what are called sub-prime.
What does that mean, one might well inquire.
That those whose finances are in straits dire
can borrow like there is no tomorrow,
a practice that can only lead to sorrow.
The day came, as expected, when they could not repay
the cash with which they had been making hay.
What I did not know, I must recognize
is that I was among the duped fall guys.
The returns to which I believed I had a right
very soon began to fade from sight.
My bank was handing on a well polished plate
my savings to the profligate.
How could that happen, one can only query.
Did not those in charge become quite leery
when it was clear things were getting out of hand,
and decide that someone would have to take a stand?
No, not at all, said Fed Chairman Bernanke,
as the lenders kept on playing hanky-panky.
He could, like his predecessor, cut interest rates even more
as our savings kept flying out the door.
So the savers who can be called meticulous
are rewarded by interest rates that are ridiculous.
When they see how the dollar continues to get thrashed
they wonder if those at the helm are constantly smashed.
Thus, the lesson to be learned by all who save
as Mr. Micawber keeps spinning in his grave,
is that to those we entrusted our cash we should give no thanks,
as Greenspan is in Europe to count his euros, pounds and, of course, Swiss francs.
You must excuse me now while I seize the chance
To buy a sturdy mattress made in France.