The American Way of Responsibility


What about the bank? “I don’t care about the bank. That’s their problem they are the ones who gave me the loan I couldn’t afford.” So says a woman being interviewed on a morning TV news show as she was stripping and attempted to sell everything including the toilet bowl from “her”  house that was in foreclosure.  Other parts of the interview showed other homes similarly stripped and in several cases trashed.

I am sure it must be depressing, discouraging even devastating to have what you felt was your home taken away, but hey, while very unfortunate things happen to nice people that is not the case in many instances today. We hear a great deal about people up to their eyeballs in credit card debt and then we hear that many such bills are caused by medical care, we hear that people can’t pay their mortgage and then we also hear it is because of predatory lending practices.  Of course, that all happens, but using a home as an ATM, and simply living beyond one’s means happens all too often, and so does taking the risk of not having health insurance even when you can get it.

In the final analysis, it is mostly due to the decision people make, don’t make or ignore.  Twenty-five years ago we were in a similar situation, unemployment was over 10%, interest rates were soaring and home prices dropped.  I bought a house in 1987 that was not worth what I paid for it for nearly ten years, the mortgage rate was 9.5% and I couldn’t re-mortgage because I had no equity even though my down-payment was 15% of the purchase price.  Tough luck for me, I paid the mortgage until I could re-mortgage and then I still paid the mortgage.   The screw it, I’ll just walk away attitude of today was rarely a consideration in the “good ole days.”

Sorry, I don't see anything about a right to a house or much else except a fair chance
Sorry, I don't see anything about a right to a house or much else except a fair chance

What is different about the 21st century?  How can a person take a mortgage with a payment that is equal to their total take home income and then cry on TV when the home goes into foreclosure?  Are Americans simply becoming dumber, I doubt it.  Perhaps they misread the Declaration of Independence, it’s Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  On the other hand, they did get the pursuit (on credit) part down pretty good.

One could easily make the case to blame institutions and others or that what these people do is their business and not ours.  Unfortunately that is not the case, we are all in this together.  Our country’s debt obligations are soaring, the future is less bright for our children and grandchildren, taxes are going up, government is expanding and the very status of the US is diminished. 

All this and Congress wants to continue giving $8,000 to new home buyers.  There is even a proposal that has been floating around for awhile to give newborns $500 to start them saving.  $500 of federal government money, your tax money, to start an infant saving, imagine that.  Too bad we can’t stimulate common sense as easily as we stimulate spending.  Poor Richard where are you when we need you?

Somebody should be taking personal responsibility for something don’t ya think?

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