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Transcript: When You Ain't Got Nothin', You Got Nothin' To Lose


Voices from the front lines of the scariest crisis in generations.


Announcer: Minyanville Radio presents: Episode 1.

Cory Bortnicker: Are you worried about the current economic crisis?

Greg: No.

Cory Bortnicker: Well, why not?

Greg: I don't have any money to invest anyway.

Cory Bortnicker: That's my friend Greg. Like me, he's 26 years old and lives in New York City.

For most people in college, or just out of college, this is our first taste of an economic crisis. I wanted to find out if people in their early twenties knew what was going on and, if they did, how they thought it would affect their lives. When I asked most people if they were worried, almost everyone had the same response.

Mary: Personally, I have very little debt and very little money, so I don't really have anything to lose.

Cory Bortnicker: That's Mary. She's 25 years old. We talked outside of the Black Sheep Pub in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was October 15th, the night of the last presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. About 20 minutes after this conversation, a guy by the name of "Joe the Plumber" would make his way onto the national stage. He was sort of a -- came to represent America's American working class.

Were you born in Moscow?

Mary: Yes, I was.

Cory Bortnicker: And when did you come to America?

Mary: When I was 11, and that was 1994.

Cory Bortnicker: Mary went to Boston University, and now she works at a photography licensing archive. Mary's lucky. She's got a job. But still she's worried.

Mary: My job security at my own company, I don't really worry about, you know, knock on the fence here. But I think, in general, it's going to be harder to find a job probably within the next five years.

Cory Bortnicker: In the month of September, more than 80 percent of states reported jobs disappearing. Michigan's been hit the hardest. A new estimate says that 165,000 jobs will disappear from New York City in the next two years.

And it's not just people who work in the financial sector who are feeling the pinch. Businesses that rely on the big banks for business, from delis around the corner to paper shredding companies, are equally at risk for layoffs.

Mary: But if I were, for example, to go -- you know, I'm thinking about going back to graduate school. I know I won't be able to do that now for at least a couple of years because I won't be able to get a loan. So it affects me in a very real way. It's very real.

Cory Bortnicker: Do you think that the crisis is going to sort of force you to become more --
Mary: Conscious? Yes.

Cory Bortnicker: So I wanted to find out, once and for all, what this all came down to. I talked to Minyanville Executive Editor, Kevin Depew. Here's what he had to say.

Kevin Depew: In a nutshell, the economic crisis is really about the fact that there's too much debt overly-leveraged with too little real income supporting it. And so that's why we have all of these problems right now. It's a debt crisis. It's not a lack of liquidity and inability to access cash right now, it's just the fact that there's too much debt
overleveraged and too little real income supporting it.

Cory Bortnicker: And as for people in their early twenties?

Kevin Depew: Well, they're going to find jobs harder to get. They're going to find the income that they expected is probably going to be lower than what they expected. It's going to affect all aspects of their lives.

Click here to listen to the podcast

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