Friday, October 10, 2008
We all know about the Bailout/Rescue Plan--whatever you want to call it. We all know the Dow is falling, and big banks and lenders have failed. Politicians and TV talking heads alike are raving about who's to blame. Of course one political side blames the other. I don't want to go there; I'm keeping this nonpartisan. And both sides and the media are definitely blaming the "Fat Cats on Wall Street."
Apparently it has become politically incorrect to place any blame whatsoever on the individual borrowers who signed the mortgages in the first place.
Yes, CEOs of the failed companies were greedy and irresponsible in their decisions. And certain politicians on both sides helped feed the problem. My opinion is not to take away any blame these folks deserve. It is to say that individuals were greedy as well. But we're not hearing about that. Politicians don't want "Main Street" folks mad at them so close to an election. They want to be seen as fighting for the "Little Guy." And the TV pundits don't want to lose viewers.
I've heard arguments that signers of the subprime mortgages, who later walked away from their payments, really didn't understand what they were signing. In other words, again it was the fault of mortgage companies for being fraudulent. Maybe that's true in some cases. But the print's there to read before you sign. I think many of these signers just wanted more house than they could afford. They looked at the big home and small payments and chose to overlook the fact that the payments would go up in five years. Nor did they consider that the mortgage was too large a percentage of the house's value because they were making little to no downpayment. And if the price of the house slipped, they could be upside down. Simply put, they got into too much debt. It's not that much different than overspending on your credit card.
Doesn't it sound harsh to blame the poor folks who've lost their homes? It's so much easier to put 100% of the blame on the Washington and Wall Street bigwigs. This seems to me one more slide in the downhill slope of our country. For the past two or three decades, individual culpability has diminished. This has become a real moral problem in America. When people don't take responsibility for their own wrong actions, they don't change. Which means they're apt to go out and do the same dumb thing, or something akin to it, next time. Mea culpa? Never. Theya culpa. It--whatever the problem--is always someone else's fault, or it's a disease, or the result of an abusive childhood, whatever.
Unfortunately, diseases and abusive childhoods do exist. Greed and poor decisions among corporation CEOs and politicians also do exist.
So should personal responsibility.