Monday, July 28, 2008

Mortgage bail out bothers me as a matter of fairness as well as legality

I have written about this before and I probably will again. I am tremendously bothered by the idea that the federal government is about to bail out mortgage lenders and mortgage payers. I busted my tail to get good enough credit and income to be able to have a house. I did not buy more house than I could afford. I settled for a house that was within my desired price range and within the quality, size, and comfort levels I desired. Overall, I have been happy with that decision and I have never failed to be able to pay my mortgage as a result. As with any older home, there are things I have needed to dump money into for repairs and improvements. I would obviously prefer not to have to pay the money for such, but that is part of home ownership.

Neal Boortz wrote about this very concept this morning on his news page. It echoes my sentiments.

This one could cost $25 billion, but what the hell. Actually ... that's a minimum estimate. Some analysts think the mortgage bail-out that Bush is oh-so-eagerly going to sign this week could cost $300 billion. The politicians who curry favor and buy votes with this money don't have to worry about where the money comes from. They're going to be long-gone when the bill comes due. They only have to worry about doing what they need to do to buy votes so they can enjoy the prestige and privileges of power until that time.

Who are these people who are going to be bailed out?

* People who knew they were buying more house than they could afford, and who thought that they would be bailed out by rising equity.
* People who got home loans in spite of bad credit ratings ... loans spurred by media and government anguish over the unavailability of home loans to bad credit risks.
* People who bought the house, took out the loan, and moved on in knowing full well that they wouldn't be able to make the payments when the interest rates went up. But what the hell .. they would just ride the cheap rates until then, and throw in the keys.

Yes...I know that there were some bad actors in the mortgage business. There are bad actors in every business. Me, for instance. But I can remember a dozen or so years ago when almost every major newspaper in the country was running investigative reports on the evils of the mortgage business. These reports told us that these evil mortgage companies were not doing enough to bring the American dream of home ownership to poorer people. The nasty mortgage lenders were actually using criteria such as income, job stability, credit ratings, loan-to-value ratio and other anti-inclusive measurements to intentionally keep minorities, single women and other poor, poor pitiful victims out of the home market. So --- before the feds stepped in and made them do it – the evil mortgage lenders started lending to people that should be renting. And here we are.

Remember...over 95% of the people in this country with home loans are making those payments each and every month. So what kind of crisis is this really? Can't it be said we're weeding out the chaff here?
It is NOT the job of the taxpayers of this nation to bail out those who have taken bad financial decisions in life. It is not my fault that others have taken loans they can not repay. It is not my fault that some people were stupid enough to take variable interest rate loans and are now paying the price for that stupidity. It is not my fault that people got mortgages that they had no intention of being able to repay over the long haul. It is not my fault or the fault of the rest of the tax payers who are or have been faithful in paying for our homes. Not only that, I do not recall any provision in the Constitution that would allow Congress or the President to spend taxpayer money on any such thing.

This is just another boondoggle in which we are getting screwed by our elected officials so that they can look like the knight in shining armor that came to the defense of the average citizen. No, they are the thieves who took from the average citizen and gave the collective wealth to corporations that should never have undertaken such bad business decisions and to other citizens who should never have been allowed to get such risky loans to begin with. Were it not for threats of government action to begin with, the mortgage companies probably would never have underwritten such loans.

We have the largest budget in world history. We have an unfathomable amount of national debt. We have spending on special interest projects that do not benefit the public good. We waste more money than some nations have as a GDP. We have confiscatory taxation levels that would cause a tea party and disgust the Founding Fathers. Quite frankly, I am sick of it all. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight. The world's system is corrupting our government and bankrupting our nation.

Here is a news article on the pending bail out. Bend over, grab ankles.
The measure, regarded as the most significant housing legislation in decades, lets homeowners who cannot afford their payments refinance into more affordable government-backed loans rather than losing their homes.

It offers a temporary financial lifeline to troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- pillars of the home loan market whose losses have sparked investor fears -- and tightens controls over the two government-sponsored businesses.
Furthermore, the article states:
The legislation overhauls the Depression-era FHA. It requires lenders to show how high a borrower's payment could get under the terms of his mortgage. It provides $180 million in pre-foreclosure counseling for struggling homeowners.

The Treasury Department gains unlimited power, until the end of 2009, to lend money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or buy their stock should they need it. The Federal Reserve takes on a new "consultative" role overseeing the companies.

The measure includes $15 billion in tax cuts, including a significant expansion of the low-income housing tax credit and a credit of up to $7,500 for first-time home buyers for houses purchased between April 9, 2008, and July 1, 2009.
This is just unfair to others who have been faithful in their mortgage payments and the tax payers who have to foot the bill. This sucks royally.

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