Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Lot of Fine Print

Congress passed a bill to help distressed homeowners who would otherwise be victims of their own greed.

"I know that people have been attracted to subprime mortgages but they have a lot of fine print," ( Mark ) Udall said.

Udall said a United Airlines employee he met at an airport asked him for help because the 5 percent interest rate on her mortgage was about to nearly double to about 9 percent.

You haven't lived until you have seen mortgages at 13% as happened in 1978. How did this airline employee's parents survive back then? Simple, they bought a house within their means. Those who couldn't live by that rule lost their homes.

At some point people have to take responsibility for their own actions. They made a bet that they could make big money on the appreciation of a house they couldn't afford. They lost the bet, and now Udall wants to rescue them.

OK, so we rescue them. Without pain, what keeps them from making the same bet five years from now? Do we rescue them again when the next bet goes bad? Does this turn into another Federal flood insurance program where every few years the government replaces the same house on the same property?

Is this a bill that has safeguards for the taxpayer, or is it just another big give away? It is a complex issue, but safeguards need to be built in or we will pay and pay and pay and no one will learn.

Today, someone noted that all three Colorado Republicans voted against the bill. They were gleefully rubbing their hands in the expectation that it could be made into a campaign issue. Maybe personal responsibility should be a campaign issue. It would be long overdue.

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