The Mortgage Crisis and our Pending Economic Collapse: Whose Fault, Who Gets Paid Twice?

Tue Jan. 22, 2008 6:08 PM PST

I'm ambivalent, trending towards punitive, towards all the supposedly hapless folks who bought ridiculously overpriced homes at dumb-ass rates that have our economy reeling from the mortgage crisis. I rent, I hate renting, and I deleted, unread, all the "no money down, fifty cents a month...for awhile" mortgage email calls, fliers, and emails I received. Too good to be true? You betcha. Yet, all the Dem candidates are weeping crocodile tears and promising to help these foolish folks who 'bought' homes they couldn't possibly afford without dealing crack and not the sensible ones like me who are still waiting for homes we can actually afford. Where's their plan for us?

I hate predatory lending and its focus on the usual suspects but c'mon! A bubble payment two years down the road twice the FULL value of the overpriced house? Who's zoomin' who? Part of me says "you made your bed, now move it back to your mama's house," part of me says, indict and jail the brokers and loan officers. Well, now we stand on the brink of recession partly due to it and—guess what—the lawsuits against the brokers and real estate agents have begun.

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Trouble is, Grandma Jones and Jose "Bedpan" Ramirez—those who could be reliably believed not to know any better—won't be hiring any of these lawyers. The million dollar homebuyers are. Had their eyesore McMansions appreciated overnight, one assumes they'd be the respondents in the suits, not the petitioners, and indignant at being expected to cough up the difference between what they paid and what the home was now worth. But they were trying to 'front,' paid the price for their hubris and are now bound and determined to pass the cost of their folly on to us.

I can't help feeling that the true victims here, the people who really need help, are those like me, like you, who desperately want to own their own homes but won't trade a perfectly good cow to 'invest' in magic beans to do so. Unsophisticated (or rapacious, greedy) buyers have the pity of the nation, enabling/greedy agents and bankers have either their commissions or promotions...what about the rest of us? Where's our advocate now that it will be a million times harder to qualify for a sensible home loan?

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