Obama proposes solving the housing crisis with the very policies and attitudes which caused the crisis in the first place
Four long months ago, as America stared in the face perhaps the most crucial election in Her history, Americans were just then coming to grips with the housing and credit crisis facing a nation which had just a year prior been in the middle of a real estate boom. As Congress prepared to solve a problem caused by an overreaching federal government with more government involvement, I saw a sign in downtown Philadelphia and wrote this:
A Bright Idea From the Streets of Philadelphia
America’s Right – September 26, 2008
I saw this man about ten minutes ago as I walked past City Hall in
. Only through the miracle of modern technology could I get it from my phone to the Internet to this Web site, and I’m glad I could. Philadelphia
When I walked past this gentleman and said, simply, “I love it,” he mentioned without hesitation that
was the heart of the Revolution, and it is about time we have another one. Philadelphia
I cannot say I disagree.
When my wife and I bought our first house a few years ago, both of us were working full-time, she as a nurse and me as a professional writer. Long story short, we’ve since had our first kid, she’s downgraded to part-time, I’ve taken on school-related expenses, and my job hasn’t adjusted for inflation. Long story short, we now have too much house.
Our payments are too large for my liking, and it was due to our own short-sightedness when we bought the house in the first place. Truth be told, we struggle each and every month to pay our bills and maybe put a tiny bit–if even that–into savings. Now, my wife could go back to full-time surgical nursing work but the part-time nursing care work she does now makes her happy, and if I’ve learned anything in my almost five years of marriage, it’s that a happy wife equals a stress-free life.
Because of the nature of the market, however, we’re stuck in our house for the foreseeable future. However, I have never asked–nor would I ever ask–for anybody to be accountable for our mistakes besides us. Never. If we fail, we learn, we get back up and then, knowing what we didn’t before, we prevail. As it stands now, we’ve already learned quite a bit even though we’ve managed to dodge complete failure–barely, I may add–on more than one occasion, and I firmly believe that God intends for us to struggle, to stress, to cry a little every once in a while, for good reason.
It angers me to no end that we will now be forced to take some of our tax money–money which comes out of our paychecks and bank accounts and bottom lines and kitchen pantry and Christmas presents and diaper budget–and bail out those who refuse to be held personally accountable for their own mistakes. It angers me to no end that we’re on the hook for illegal immigrants who are breaking the law by simply being here in the first place and have defaulted on loans they should never have been granted, loans which they were able to procure without income verification, without identification, because our federal government forced banking institutions to relax lending standards in the name of political correctness, diversity, “social engineering” and my personal favorite, “economic justice.”
You know, if a short little Wall Street man with an Armani suit and a Napoleon complex knocked on my front door and asked me, point-blank, for $2300 to help his failing business and ailing bottom line, I’d tell him exactly where he could put his gold watch and trendy eyewear. We cannot allow for the privatization of gains and the socialization of losses, and we cannot permit this behavior to go unchecked and unpunished. My wife and I have had to trim back our budget at every single exposed spot, to the point that I feel bad for my child because, on the rare occasion when we do go clothes shopping for her as she grows, I immediately go to the “clearance” section first. When my wife asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday this coming month, I asked that she take whatever she wanted to spend and just put it in our paltry savings account which, at the time of this writing, has about seven dollars in it. We’ve paid for a half-gallon of milk with quarters, we’ve laid awake at night wondering how we’ll manage to pay our mortgage and our electric bill, we’ve been shopping at the “discount” supermarket — if we have to make sacrifices, why shouldn’t these people do the same?
Likewise, if Barney Frank or Chuck Schumer or Christopher Dodd were to try to explain, to me, the merits of using my earnings to pay for somebody else’s poor judgment, I’d ask them if they knew just how humiliating it is to take money from a two-year-old’s piggy bank to put gasoline in the car, promising under your breath that, somehow, daddy will make it up to her over time. I’d show them the barren shelves of our refrigerator and the dwindling stack of Wal-Mart brand diapers on my daughter’s changing table. These people have no business whatsoever in the mortgage business, and I have no reason to believe that their current involvement won’t be just as successful as the previous meddling which put us in this situation in the first place. I’m meeting my obligations, no matter how difficult and stressful and trying it is to do so — why shouldn’t others have to do the same?
If I had the time, if I wasn’t working my tail off to pay the bills we currently have and to make up for my previous mistakes and ensure that I won’t make similar ones in the future, if I wasn’t working all day and going to school at night so I can better provide for my family in years down the road — I’d likely be out there, in front of City Hall, holding a sign as well.
If the federal government is to do anything with regard to this crisis, it should encourage policies which foster increased flow of private capital, not public tax money. However, should it come to a decision between failure and socialism, let these entities fail. I’ll gladly sacrifice my way through two, five, ten, fifteen years of recession and depression in order to preserve a free market and the freedom it brings for my children and for yours in the years and decades to come.
I wrote those words on the eve of what has now come to be known as the TARP bailout, out of such frustration and anger that I could no longer bear it. My God, I wondered, what has become of my country? Common sense had been replaced with political expediency, fiscal sanity with “social engineering,” personal responsibility with a penchant for shifting blame and a culture content in merely waiting for the next handout.
Sadly, I felt the exact same way today when, during a stop outside of Phoenix, President Barack Obama disclosed a $75 billion plan to further reward irresponsibility with regard to lending and homeownership. Today, it became apparent not only that the president and the Democrats have forgotten just how the American housing and credit crisis came about, and not only that they continue to shirk all responsibility, but that they are so arrogant as to actually believe that the very cause of the crisis in the first place is somehow also the solution.
When I was a child, I remember distinctly peering up over the edge of the old electric stove in my mother’s house, mesmerized by the bright red glow of the burner as she boiled water for pasta. She had left the kitchen for a moment, perhaps to take our standard poodle for a walk, perhaps to get groceries from the back end of our diesel Volvo station wagon. I don’t know. I was small, after all, but I was big enough to drag a wooden kitchen chair from the table to a spot in front of that stove, big enough to climb up, and big enough to see for myself just what made that heating element glow with such a bright red color.
That kind of burn doesn’t heal quickly. That kind of pain is the kind of pain I hope my own daughter has the sense never to experience. Water doesn’t help. Ice doesn’t help. It was only the passage of time which finally allowed for my hand to quit throbbing, to quit being so painful to the touch. Even with the passage of time, however, even after the swelling had subsided and the blisters had receded, I remembered for sure never to touch the red hot burner again.
President Obama’s plan to revitalize the housing market and stem the rising tide of home foreclosures by using the power and expanding the scope of the federal government so as to pressure lenders to suspend foreclosure proceedings and to provide reduced monthly payments for borrowers unable to meet current obligations reeks of the same kind of government involvement which led to the housing and credit crisis in the first place. This is just another thinly-veiled dose of the very same failing policies, featuring the very same lead players. Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac. Christopher Dodd. Barney Frank.
That’s right. The gang’s all here and, once again, we’re back to characterizing homeownership as a right and artificially propping up people who simply cannot stay afloat — only, this time, instead of forcing banks to lend money to borrowers who are obviously incapable of paying back the loans, the government is pumping money into the market and forcing banks to maintain those bad loans and abandon any hope for remedy.
We never learn. We allow ourselves to make the same costly mistakes over and over and over again because nobody will take responsibility for the errors which have already presented themselves. We continue to defy common sense by rewarding irresponsibility and sheer stupidity in America while simultaneously vilifying responsibility and success.
Once again, the people hurt the most are those like you and I, people who live and die by their budgets, who constantly are forced to make endless, unthinkable sacrifices in order to remain responsible and meet their own obligations. You and I will be the ones paying more in insurance rates, in interest rates, in fees and related costs. You and I will be the ones hurt when, six months down the road, the proverbial can being kicked by the Obama administration comes to a grinding halt and the inevitable becomes reality.
One of these days, it must stop, it will stop, and it will either stop naturally when the money dries up, when our currency is worth barely more than the paper it’s printed on, when countries like China and the United Arab Emirates explain that, gosh, our credit and our money just isn’t good anymore, or it will stop artificially when Americans finally wake up and smell the malfeasance, the socialism, and the “change” we so quickly will want to forget.