Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are homeowners entitled to a bailout?

According to Sheila in this Fox News article, you bet taxpayers should bailout homeowners facing the possibility of not paying their bills.

Do I agree? Heck no. Here's Sheila's letter (emphasis added by me):

We were shocked to learn that our mortgage is going up nearly $500 a month. We knew that buying this house a couple of years ago would stretch our finances to the limit, but we really wanted our kids to attend this school district so we decided to bite the bullet and keep to a very strict budget in order to make this work.

We both have jobs, but there’s no way we can come up with another $500. And home prices have really come down since we bought our house, so if we have to sell, we’d probably take a loss.

I’m just sick over this. I heard that President Bush has announced a program to help people like us. What can you tell us?
They "bit the bullet" and stretched their finances to the max with a home they could not afford by signing a loan with an introductory interest rate so their angel could attend a particular school. I sympathize with the feeling; you want your kids to grow up in a good school district. The problem is that if your two jobs can't afford for you to accomplish that goal, why exactly should government (taxpayer) funds subsidize your income?

That's exactly what this is for people like Sheila. They want the government to subsidize their income so they can live in a neighborhood with a good school.

Further, should people really be given tax free debt forgiveness because they paid too much for their house and now owe more than it is worth, and have a loan payment they can no longer afford? Hey, if the government wants to get rid of the forgiven debt tax, I might take a look and stand behind it - but not when it is exclusive to people who made bad choices when buying a house.

There are some people out there who are victims of mortgage fraud. Sheila sure doesn't sound like one of them. She just bought a house in a neighborhood she wanted, regardless of the terms or cost, and now finds herself in a financial hole. The consequences of the "have it now" mentality caught up with her, and she feels like a victim.

She is a victim. Of her own irresponsibility. I sympathize, and I wish her best. My advice to Sheila? Rather than standing on the street corner of Congress with your hand out, sell your house at a loss, take out a personal loan for the difference and start paying it off, and start living a lifestyle you can actually afford. Last time I checked, accountability and responsibility were in the dictionary, so she should have no problem looking them up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is the quantity of people with similar stories. We wanted to live in this good neighborhood, so we stretched the budget to buy there. Has anyone heard of renting? Why do people feel that they must become homeowners as soon as possible without consideration of recent ridiculous price increases?

When we were living in SoCal, we couldn't afford to buy in the nice neighborhoods (or even the bad ones, I should add), so we chose to continue renting in a nice area that we could afford until the prices got reasonable again. It didn't happen in a good timeframe, so we moved on. There's no excuse for buying more than you can afford...