I’m still sick, but stick with me here;
I find the concept of reverse mortgages pretty depressing.
A reverse mortgage (or lifetime mortgage) is a loan available to seniors aged 62 or older, per HUD, and is used to release the home equity in the property as one lump sum or multiple payments. The homeowner’s obligation to repay the loan is deferred until the owner dies, the home is sold, or the owner leaves, they can be out of the home for up to 364 consecutive days.
This is essentially selling your house, cheap, so that you can afford to live in it – it’s gambling against the fact that you’re going to die before you can spend it all.
I don’t bring it up to curmudgeon-on about financial instruments available to the elderly, however. I wanted to mention it because Fred Thompson, former presidential candidate, and ex-Law & Order actor, stands as a fantastic example of the odd blurring of celebrity that we’ve found ourselves in.
Ten or twenty years ago it was a novelty to have someone well known in the entertainment industry make the jump to politics, (President Reagan, or Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura, come to mind,) but we’re now at a point where there’s a porous exchange – barely an eyebrow is raised when Sarah Palin embarks on a reality show, or former RNC Chairman Michael Steele guest-hosts a talk radio show.
Political junkies always point to the televised Nixon/Kennedy debate as the birth of “modern politics”, with sweaty Nixon losing out to a crisp young Kennedy, but I’d argue that the incestuous union between the political machine and the mass media is an ongoing affair, one that has yet to settle into its final format.
Consider: if winning votes is just a matter of winning hearts & minds, then there was a time when David Schwimmer might have been a valid candidate for the executive office.
There will come a day when, like Justin Bieber, a leader of the free world will be selected based on their youtube videos. This person, having run for the position largely for the associated fame, will complete the bread & circuses cycle – they will, in fact, be the circus.
Unfortunately, it’ll likely be a grandchild of Keyboard Cat, and she’ll soon turn around and attempt to sell us Whiskas.