Monday, November 17, 2008

Bad Home Loans, Anger, and Barrack Obama

Earlier this evening I had the opportunity to listen to one of my favorite talk shows hosted by a man who arguably is one of the smartest men in talk radio today. His name is Gene Burns and he hosts the evening show on KGO-AM out of San Francisco. Mr. Burns is a self described Libertarian turned Democrat, who most of the time falls back on his Libertarian leanings as the basis viewpoints and commentary. This approach has made him very popular and well respected among his audience and his peers. While I disagree with him most of the time, I enjoy his show and respect his talent because, whether I agree with him or not, he always give me reason to stop and think...sometimes even re-evalutaing my position on certain topics.

However, his comments during the first part of this evening show left me somewhat perplexed. The topic was home ownership and the proposed government intervention on behalf of some homeowners who find themselves in the unenviable position of having to make payments on mortgage agreements that they can't afford and should have never been allowed to enter into to begin with.

Conversation about this topic on this day had begun earlier in the day on another show. Tonight Gene started his show with an excerpt from that earlier program in which a caller was voicing displeasure over the government intervention, characterizing the intervention as unfair to all the homeowners who worked hard pay their mortgages and improve the value of their investment while a next door neighbor looked to the government to intercede on their behalf. The type of intervention spoken of, in it's most basic terms, consisted a devaluation of the property to a level where the struggling homeowner could then afford the mortgage payments. When that occurs, the value of everyone's home goes down as well. That, to many homeowners, is just plain unacceptable.

Then there was Gene's first caller who was angry about a situation similar to the one above combined with a homeowner who didn't even have a job because, according to the caller, they chose not to work. For her part, the caller and her husband works a total of five jobs between them to pay the mortgage and their other bills. Needless to say she was angry and even though she didn't express herself very well, I got where she was coming from. Unfortunately, Gene didn't. He characterized both callers as self centered, greedy and part of the problem, saying that both callers would be much better off if there neighbors received the help from the government and were able stay in their homes. How someone, that is as smart as Gene is, could have that viewpoint is just incomprehensible.

If my understanding of the Libertarian Party philosophy is correct, this seems be quite the contradiction. All that aside, the anger Gene dealt with tonight is very real and very justified. You see, many Americans are growing rather tired of watching their hard work and success marginalized by a part of our society that, in many cases assisted by our government, is looking for nothing more than a free ride. This has been going on for decades and perpetuated by a government bureaucracy that provides social benefits without the kind of vetting required to truly ensure that a system designed to help people in need isn't being abused. Now that some homeowners are seeing that value of their investments devalued because of greed in some cases and laziness in others, that anger is boiling to the surface. It isn't just homeowners upset over loan bailouts that are angry either. Middle Class Americans, who are not homeowners, are fed up too. I have experienced this myself in the form of a neighbor who refuses to work and receives welfare and food stamps from the county. This month she decided she was fed up with paying rent, so she goes and applies for subsidized housing. Then I hear her bragging to her friends about how she can now afford that fancy car she wants and a big screen tv and all other kinds of cool toys. How much is her subsidized rent costing taxpayers......214 dollars a month. When you add in the welfare, medical insurance, and food stamps, the bill becomes much higher. That is just one small example from my incredibly small part of this world.

Then when you see these same type of people going for home loans that have no business getting and then getting "relief" from the government.......well, it's not really that hard to understand where all the anger is coming from. With the leadership we have in store for us the next four years, don't look for it to go away anytime soon. Hopefully, wiser minds will prevail, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Til Next time................
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