Where’s my piece of the bailout pie?

Home sweet home
Home sweet home

So, let’s see … if I understand it correctly, I’m eligible for mortgage assistance under Obama’s new housing bailout. I bought this house two years ago and its value has been dropping ever since. That puts me “under water” on my mortgage, since almost nothing I’ve paid in these first two years has gone toward paying down the principal. Interest rates are lower now, but I can’t refinance because I still owe more on the house than it’s worth.

I guess I should be getting my stimulus money pretty soon, or a lower mortgage payment, or something. Sure I qualified for my loan and I can still make my payments, but the market keeps going down, so I’ll be glad to accept any help I can get. Never mind that you other taxpayers out there are going to end up paying for it. Of course, your home values have been dropping too, so we all may just be passing the money around in a circle.

As for the woman I saw on TV just now who was saying owning a home is a basic American right … wrong! Home ownership is not an entitlement. If you can’t afford the payments, if you can’t keep making the payment every month, and especially if you can’t qualify for a normal loan in the first place, you can’t buy a house. When you save enough money for a down payment, establish a decent credit rating, have a steady job so you can make your payment every month, and then qualify for a loan you can afford, then, maybe, you can buy a house. It’s not something you’re entitled to just because you want it, or just because you have a family, or just because you have a job. Nor is it something you’re entitled to keep just because you’ve lived there a few years. If you lose your job, if you fall behind on your payments, if your interest rate goes up and you can’t afford the higher payments — that will be sad. But it won’t entitle you to stay in the house.

moneypile1.jpgHome ownership is a privilege, a huge financial responsibility that not everyone can afford. It may be the American dream but it is not a right or an entitlement. I don’t pretend to understand the details of this latest mortgage bailout or whatever it is, but I firmly believe there are a lot of homeowners out there who had no business getting into their mortgages in the first place and who don’t deserve taxpayer-funded assistance to stay in their homes.

Maybe I’m hopelessly out of touch. I bought most of my homes in an era when you had to present all kinds of documentation and proof of income to qualify for a mortgage, and then lie awake for several nights while the mortgage company processed all the paperwork and checked out you, your docs, and your credit rating. I remember the celebration when the loan on “the perfect house” was approved; I remember the tears of disappointment and flowers of consolation from the hubby when a loan was denied.

I hope someone is minding the store, that someone understands what needs to be done to steady up our economy, and that whatever is done is more or less the right thing to do. I fear that no one understands what needs to be done and that whatever is done may well be the wrong thing.

Note: You can go here and tell the White House exactly how you feel about this or anything else.

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... and that's my two cents