The View From Your Recession

A reader writes:

I'm writing you as I fill out my unemployment insurance application, online and in Michigan. Until roughly today at noon I worked in the automotive repossession industry.

Specifically my company performs the investigative leg work (thankfully behind a desk,) that tracks down seriously delinquent automotive loans and recovers the collateral for the legal owners. In short:  I found your car, and stole it back for the bank.

I've spoken to, and recovered cars from people in every state of the country who have been hit by this economic situation. There are many reasons for a person to default on a car: often health-related leading to a personal financial crisis. There are so many people who have lost homes, living with relatives and in apartments with their entire family, all throughout the country. I repoed endless pickup trucks from contractors and sub-contractors from everywhere, except ironically for New Orleans - mainly because a lot of the city still needs to be rebuilt since 2005. There is fraud in some of our cases, but most are regular people.

Business had been booming in 2007 and all throughout 2008 as the beginnings of the mortgage crisis cracked through the foundation of Wall Street and defaulted the cars of the subprime homeowners. But then somehow, an enormous bag of shit was heaved into the proverbial "Economy" fan. By the time the Big Three went before Congress, we had already lost one of them as a client a week before. A major foreign auto maker dropped the following week. Then our crown jewel client started sending less and less work. For some employees it was an almost 50% drop in business from one client.

Long story short, there were 20 of us this morning. Now, there's 18 of them.

If you've lost your job, or home, or have an anecdote that might help make this crisis more tangible to others, drop the Dish a line. I'll try to offer a smattering of real life as this depression deepens. Please keep them short and salient and concrete.