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01/23/2012

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Brian M

Sometime in the future, and not, I think, very far in the future, we are going to enter the Age of No. During the Age of No people will regularly hear the word, "No." They will hear it when they ask for jobs, for raises, for loans, for food, and for help. They will hear it, for different reasons, from companies, banks, governments and even neighbors.

Perhaps we are already entering the Age of No, with the long-term joblessness and an unwillingness of banks to lend to anybody who actually needs money (and to few that don't). But it will get worse. The government is still providing assistance through the social safety net programs that have not been gutted. How long will that last? Fewer, but still many (most?), people are still able to get credit cards. The government is still backstopping student loans. Those with 401(k)s can still take out loans against them. For how long?

If the decline continues, and it will inevitably continue, these options will dry up as well. No, you cannot have a credit card or a student loan. No, we don't have any programs that can help retrain you, get you a job, or feed your family. No, you cannot borrow against your retirement accounts. No, you cannot even HAVE your retirement accounts... they are gone.

What will happen when we become fully immersed in the Age of No?

The word will echo throughout society and the reverberations will shake people to their core.

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