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Pamela Anderson Caused the Debt Crisis

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The consequences of keeping up with Hollywood.

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You're probably asking yourself what a C-grade actress with a penchant for the horizontal mambo has to do with the mess the credit markets are in. Well, here's my take:

In today's world, everybody wants to be a star. And many people will do whatever it takes to feel like a star. We all want (no, we need) the big house, the nice car, the augmented body parts, the purse dog, the adopted Third World kids, the YouTube (GOOG) clip, the whole "malamenza," as my mother likes to say.

When we get this stuff, we become the local version of Paris, or Brad and Angelina, and that's where the problems start.

About six months ago, I was at a friend's house in California and we ordered a pizza from Dominos (DPZ). The delivery guy shows up in a BMW 3 Series.

We go out to pay him and my friends says, "Nice ride."

"Yeah I just got it. Took this job at night to make the payments," the guy explains.

He drives off, and we're standing there with the large pie, scratching our heads. I'm singing the second verse from Sly & the Family Stone's Everybody Is A Star.

At this point you're probably asking, "What's wrong with this guy? That's what America is all about." This is just the 21st century version of the American Dream, right?

Wrong.

Why?

Because -- and here's where the theory starts to get interesting -- while a big part of what fueled the dream was the concept of hard work and a better life (and things), another big part of the equation was more hard work, deferred gratification and shame.

We seem to have forgotten the main ingredients (hard work, deferred gratification) and begun to OD on the others (better life, better things and a total lack of shame). Here's where Pam, Paris, Britney, Lindsay and all the other posers and pretenders come in to the equation.

Want that big house? Go for it. Britney has one just like it that I saw in People (TWX). Can't afford the mortgage? Turn in the keys. You're upside down on the equity equation anyway. Let it be the bank's problem.

There used to be all kinds of names for people who walked out on debts and obligation. Today you're considered a sucker if you don't (there also used to be names for those morally bankrupt jerks who preyed on innocent people and sold them a bill of goods they couldn't afford).

It's the people who honestly and innocently got drawn into this mess that I feel sorry for, not the ones who wanted, but knew, better. The ones who weren't trying to impress the neighbors. The ones who were probably trying to follow the dream. The real dream.

There may not be a lot of them, but they're out there and they're hurting. Unlike Paris, Britney and Lindsay, they can't hop out of a limo with no pants on and flash the paparazzi an X-rated smiley face to kick start their crumbling lives.

All they got from the party was a hangover.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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