Our economy is failing. That’s the buzz from all the newsmedia. Major national banks are failing, home values are plummeting, foreclosures are skyrocketing. The price of gas has doubled in the past year, the price of groceries has tripled.
Why? The blame seems to be placed squarely on the housing market, more specifically on financiers allowing unqualified borrowers to borrow — and borrow big — and buy not just houses, but outlandishly lavish homes that nobody would ever expect to be able to pay for…if they had any common sense at all.
I only blame these home-buyers a little, and I blame the mortgage lenders a lot. The average pipe-fitter, or appliance repairman, or (insert high-school-education-qualified occupation here) simply hasn’t spent time researching mortgages. That’s what they trust the banks to do. When a bank tells them that they can get a $50,000 shack with Mortgage A, or a $250,000 Tudor with Mortgage B, and their payment will be the same…they’re going to choose Morgage B. Nevermind phrases like “ARM,” or “interest only,” or “balloon payment.”
So the mortgage lenders have been handing out mortgages by the truckload to people who frankly don’t understand what they’re getting themselves into. Now that the various clauses and terms are coming to fruition, and these people’s mortgage payments are doubling or tripling…these banks are getting a sharp dose of reality:
“You mean, these people aren’t paying the doubled and tripled payments they signed for? They’re letting us have our house back? What? Where’s our $250,000?”
Now our president wants to take $700,000,000,000 of our money and hand it to the very institutions that have caused this problem. That’s what $700 billion looks like — that looks like a lot of zeroes to me. That’s over $2,300 in taxes for each and every one of us 300 million Americans. I have six Americans in my house, four of them under the age of ten, and that puts me on the hook for $14,000 to bail out greedy banks that have already gotten rich from the money of people like me.
That’s my argument. These banks have already gotten our money once, and now that they’ve mismanaged it or, quite frankly, squandered it, they want our money again. I’ve looked at this story on the websites of several news sources, and seen it on my local news, and what interests me is the public’s reaction. It matches mine. Every website poll shows 90% of citizens against this bailout. Every person interviewed says “no, don’t use my tax money for this. I don’t want this.”
Yet I’m sure that this bailout plan is going to pass, despite the overwhelming opposition from American citizens, and our taxes are going to go up. We threw tea into Boston Harbor for this kind of thing. It’s called Taxation Without Representation. When the people say no, lawmakers are supposed to REPRESENT us, and carry our our wishes. Our elected officials are NOT supposed to tell us “you people don’t know what you’re talking about…we’re going to do what we want.”
I saw the tail end of our president’s address last night. I found myself looking at his face and thinking that eight years of presidency hadn’t aged him a bit. He still looks the same as when he was appointed eight years ago. Bill Clinton, say what you will about his dalliances, looked like hell when he stepped down. He looked like he had been carrying the weight of the free world’s worries on his shoulders. He looked like he had spent eight years worrying about the U.S. and caring what happened.
George Dubya Bush doesn’t look like he’s worried about a damn thing in the past eight years other than his Halliburton stocks. He had the same blank, vacant, “nobody-home” stare as he did in 2000. This is a man who simply doesn’t care; a man who is NOT being affected by this economy. This president has run this country into the ground, and is going to retire to a life of leisure while the rest of us pay for it.