Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday's Musings

I've been trying to talk myself out of this since yesterday, but I just can't and so I'm going on a rant. I hope I don't offend anyone reading this post. I will say up front that I hope this doesn't apply to any of you. Having said that, here goes:

The Rant

There appeared on the front page of the Las Vegas Journal yesterday an article about, of all things, foreclosures. The accompanying picture was of a woman, perhaps in her late 50's, leaving her home with her heart medicine, her dog and her young grandson. Another picture showed some family friends loading their cockatoos onto a truck to take them away from the foreclosed property.

The poor woman (according to the article) didn't blame the constable who was just doing his job. No, the villains in this story were the unscrupulous lenders who talked these people into buying a $500,000 home when they (the buyers) kept telling them they couldn't afford it.

For just one moment, my sympathies were turned toward this woman. "But wait a minute." I said to myself "is there more to this story?" And, of course, there was. This woman, with a heart condition who wasn't employed, and her husband who earned $39,000 a year bought a $500,000 home on which mortgage payments were $4,500 per month. Now, I'm not a math genius, but it didn't take me but a minute to see that there was something wrong with this picture. When the buyers said they couldn't make that kind of payment, the lenders said not to worry that in six months they could refinance and the payments at 10.5% interest would be lowered. And the payments were lowered, to $3,800 per month. Oh! Oh!

The constables said that when they came to evict the family from this five bedroom, three and one half bath home, they found lovely plush carpeting, like new furniture and the family firmly ensconced in their lair.

When my husband made $39,000 a year we lived in a four bedroom cape cod ( and, oh yes, we still do) that cost us $23,000 and we didn't have anything new in our home. This morning as I washed my hands with liquid soap from the dispenser, I recalled how I wanted to buy liquid soap for my bathroom like some of my friends, but decided we couldn't afford it.

So here I am ranting. This woman in the newspaper thinks, that by some miracle, their home will be saved. She really thinks they are going to move back into their home and live happily ever after. And I say, "I don't want to pay for this." Sure there are unscrupulous lenders, no one denies that. Sure, people were led astray and the housing market is largely responsible for the economic problems of today. And, sure there are some people who legitimately should be helped to stay in their homes. But I ask you, "Where were their brains? Where was the common sense that should tell you that if you make $39,000 a year, have only $50,000 in savings (which you plunk down as a down payment), you cannot afford a house that is valued at half a million dollars?" It totally baffles me.

End of Rant!!

On a lighter and happier note, only two more sleeps until Linda and Jason get here. We talked to them yesterday afternoon and we are all so excited. We have a long list of things we want to do which will definitely have to be pared down. Some of the things we are planning are:

We have tickets for this Cirque du Soleil show. This is the show our son in law, Brian, works for. Jim and I have seen the show twice and are awed all over again each time we see it.

Also, Jim and I drove to the strip on Saturday and went to the Pallazo to pick up tickets for Jersey Boys. Linda and I are particularly smitten with these guys (the original 4 Seasons, that is) and their music. Jim and I have adopted their You're Just Too Good To Be True as our song as it was popular the summer we got married. So, you can see, we are really looking forward to the upcoming entertainment.

I do so love being here in Henderson, enjoying seeing Brian and Gretchen, basking in the warmth and enjoying the beautiful clear skies, but I miss my gal pals from NY. Linda's coming is a real boost for me. I can hardly wait.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday and looking forward to a good week. Let's all join Cheryl in performing acts of kindness every day.

~Hippo Hugs~


Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Pam,

Well, you didn't offend me with your rant, and I feel exactly as you do! The sad thing is, there are so many people that did the exact same thing, and now have hopes of being bailed out of their situation as well. We seem to be in a never ending bail out mode, and who knows what will happen. Enough said.

Oh, I loved the original 4 Seasons as well! You and your friends will enjoy the Jersey Boys, for sure!

Dear friend, Pam, Greg doesn't let me work real hard on our clean up. But I try to help as much as I am able. We have also hired a man to come and do some cutting up with his chainsaw.

Last Sunday, I missed curch because we had 6 inches of snow on the ground in the morning, but I didn't miss it yesterday. I was thankful for our beautiful Sunday service, and then lunch with church friends. But a kind of funny thing happened, too. It seems our very young Pastor forgot to spring his clock forward, and was late for mass! He apologizedprofusely, and was so embarassed that I felt sorry for him. He is so young, and also very cute. Oh, am I allowed to say that about a Pastor? Well, he is! Hehe.

Anyway, I'd better quit now. I have enjoyed my visit with you, and am so glad you are having such a marvellous time in the desert. Have a wonderful rest of the week.



Winifred said...

I think it's the times we live in unfortunately. People don't live within their means. They want to live in the houses and have the lifestyle of films and TV personalities which costs more than they can really afford. Live now pay later, maybe never!


Have a lovely time, your pictures are lovely.

Tracy said...

I totally agree with your rant - and just think - the story about that woman is only one of many, many, many others!

pam said...

I am so glad you are enjoying your time away from home. I can't wait to hear of your visit!

Dana said...

Well said, Pam!

Monogram Queen said...

So glad you are enjoying your time in the West and looking forward to your friends arrival.

As you may (or may not) know I work in the M*rtgage B*nking business, for the Biggest Bank That Ever Failed so I know your rant is justified. I can recall a meeting I was at a few years ago where I SAID sub-prime mortgages were a BAD thing but do you think anyone listened? No......... You can blame the lenders and you can blame the borrowers. It goes both ways.
I just got a new car but I made sure my payment was at a level where i'd be comfortable paying it out of unemployment. I'm paying extra from the beginning just so I can get it paid off as quickly as possible because I don't like debt!
Okay i'll hush now!......

Diane said...

I totally agree. I fault the borrower and the lenders. So, what will happen with all of those foreclosures? There will be a gazillion!

Happy you're having fun...look forward to some pics.


camport said...

Amen. Like you said, there are some people that didn't get in over their heads on purpose, but those that did, deserve to be punished. Those that willingly lied, OUT!

I know some people were doing fine until the economy plummeted and took their jobs with it. Those people, I have no problem helping.

I heard on the new this a.m., the $ already spent by the gov't has each American household in for $18,500. The money they're PLANNING to spend...over $80,000 is being placed on each avd American family. Nice huh?

I'm anxious to see if this President keeps the promises he was spouting off during his election, specifically the one about earmarks.

$7.7 billion worth of earmarks in the stimulus bill he's supposed to sign today. Why aren't Americans more outraged that it's OUR MONEY paying for a Wooly Mammoth scenic trail in WI and Mormon cricket research to the tune of a million bucks.

I can't afford extras in my own house, why should I pay for pig odor research and frisbee courses?!?

*sigh* and I'm done. Good post!

Faye said...

I agree with your rant...we, your neighbors to the North, are going thru similar economic downfalls and let me tell you..those who were almost assuredly living beyond their means before, are now hit with the Tsunami of unpaid debt.
I am ever grateful that we were able to pay off much of ours and like you guys, Pam, we live within our means.
Soooo glad to hear you are having a wonderful time. Yes, bring me back to the tunes that we grew up on...I know I love musicals!

Midlife Mom said...

Rant On Hippochick!!!! I totally agree with you and your words were so well put. It amazes me that people want to have these things so they let someone tell them it's going to be okay. What were they thinking?!

I LOVE the Four Seasons! Are the Jersey Boys part of the original group or do they just sound like them? Either way if they are singing 4 Season songs I would be in the isle!! Can't wait to hear all about it. Or is it a show about them? Fill me in please! :o)

Cheryl Wray said...

I am SO with you! When we bought our house 12 years ago, they told us we could afford a $200,000 house. We might could do that NOW, but gotta be kidding me. We wouldn't have been able to afford a drop of food the entire month! That's what's wrong with our system today...we think we're entitled to things we can't afford and have lost the art of "waiting" for good things.

Nancy said...

Well put, Pam! I watch House Hunters on HGTV, and some of those young couples buying homes like $800,000 with unbelievable payments! I am not with this bail out stuff one bit! Get yourself in a mess, get yourself out of it! We always saved for things we wanted and didn't buy things for the house until we could pay cash for them. I remember those liquid hand soap days....but, I like you, didn't waste our money on them. Rant on, my dear friend, as I will be ranting all day in my head now while I strip some more wallpaper off! LOL

Gald you are enjoying your stay in Vegas!

((( HUGS )))