All of what you say is true. I am sorry if I came across that way. What irks me are institutions who lend money to people who shouldn't be borrowing it. Yeah, I know it's their choice, but the whole sub-prime thing, just to pick an example, is as much the fault of the banks as it is the people who borrowed past their means. When I say "over-priced houses and cars" I mean, "clearly beyond your ability to afford it, yet some Wall Street type readily lent you the money knowing, or at least betting, that you will default." I am talking about those crying the blues because of it, one side or the other. "At what point should people be protected from their own stupidity (or greed)?" is a tricky question indeed, but I think it behooves those who are in a position to take advantage, not to. Ethics are hazy here, I know. Likewise, I don't think we should be too hard on people who buy (say trumpets for example) off shore because they cannot afford one otherwise or whatever the reason. (I have never been a proponent of the "Hungry? Eat your import" idealology.) It's not just "their fault" that we are in the mess we're in. It's a bit of a double edged sword. I would never begrudge an "Arturo" for buying the most expensive trumpet in the world. I do have some trouble believing that the specialty trumpet market really justifies the prices charged. Charging what the market will bear doesn't mean that you are providing the best bang for the buck. But then, if you CAN afford it, who cares? Not my call. I just don't like being scolded and called "ignorant" for calling a spade a spade. We are in a big mess because too many fools have been parted with their money too easily and the whole thing has collapsed like a house of cards. And what was that whole "American" thing that was thrown at me, like somehow I took a shot over the border? I thought it best not to take the bait on that one! Save for a few luckily timed and placed fiscal policies we'd be going down at the same time too. We probably still are, just later. This whole Canadian banking system being the "envy of the world" (I don't know if that stuff makes your news) is just hokem. Anyway, I sincerely do apologize for opening this can of worms. I am home on holidays and really need to get back to work.