Homeowners Hit the Lottery

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Of all the government measures to right the economy, President Obama's plan to aid homeowners seems like the most irresponsible to date.

Why? Not because it helps individuals rather than big banks. Given the choice, I'd much rather help average Joe nine-to-fivers than, say, Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) or Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) . Anyone would. No one doubts that losing your home is a personal tragedy. I have a heart, thank you very much.

Nonetheless, the proposal to spend $75 billion refinancing mortgages that wouldn't otherwise be given the time of day is quite literally the epitome of subsidizing failure, without asking for anything in return.

Here's a brief overview of the plan:

  • Homeowners with high loan-to-value (LTV) ratios (more than 80%) will be able to refinance, provided their loans ended up at Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE  ) or Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM  ) . This assistance will be offered even if borrowers aren't having problems paying their mortgage payments. Under any sensible lending rules, most banks wouldn't refinance with such high LTVs -- it's too risky, for obvious reasons.
  • Homeowners who are at risk of defaulting on their loans -- we'll politely call them "people who can't afford their homes" -- will be eligible for refinancing aid, funded by taxpayers. As the Obama plan put it: "Millions of hard-working families have seen their mortgage payments rise to 40 or even 50 percent of their monthly income -- particularly those who received subprime and exotic loans with exploding terms and hidden fees. The Homeowner Stability Initiative helps those who commit to make reasonable monthly mortgage payments to stay in their homes -- providing families with security and neighborhoods with stability."

The plan then attempts to address a key problem we've all become sensitive to: "This initiative," it says, "will go solely to helping homeowners who commit to make payments to stay in their home -- it will not aid speculators or house flippers."

Oh really?
What do you call people who bought houses that exploded in value in the previous few years with a "subprime and exotic loans with exploding terms?" I'd call them speculators. What do you call people who bought homes without setting aside enough savings to cover an economic downturn? I'd call them speculators. What do you call people who bought homes that didn't fit their income profile? By golly, I'd call them speculators.

No matter. We've been aiding Wall Street speculators for months now. But -- and this is an important but -- every dime of taxpayer money injected into failing banks, be it Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) or Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) or AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) , is money demanded to be repaid to the best of their ability, and it came with equity warrants that offer taxpayers upside potential if and when markets recover.

This homeowner aid package has no such clause. Home prices fell after a period of undeniable gluttony (like they do in all markets) and now taxpayers are bailing out speculators (yes, I'm calling them that). Yet if home prices rise in the future (and they will), the bailed-out homeowner keeps the upside. Heads, they win, tails, you lose.

I'd feel considerably better if a homeowner bailout plan came with warrants on the upside, providing taxpayers the potential to profit for the risk they're taking by injecting tens of billions of dollars into home ownership gone awry. Makes sense, right?

Enough ranting; I'd like your take. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm insensitive. Maybe you see it in a different way. Take a second to weigh in with your thoughts in the Fool poll below. Add your feelings in the comment section as well if you feel so inclined.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:28 PM, rike101 wrote:

    The America I grew up in is gone. The guy's only been in office a month, and he's changing the fabric of this country with record speed. God help us all.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:34 PM, g328 wrote:

    Wow, great idea. Unfortunately I have a house and mortgage that I can afford. I'm going to go out tonight and max out all my credit cards so I can qualify for this aid. What was I thinking actually living within my salary? Don't get me started about actually having a savings acount that I used prior to 2008!

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:41 PM, linuxman4001 wrote:

    Um, last I checked it was the republicans that doubled the national debt in 8 years? It was the republicans that wanted to deregulate everything that caused this mess? It was the republicans that initiated the TARP bailout program? The only thing irresponsible was their leadership and this article.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:42 PM, Homeowner1 wrote:

    I bought a home in 2003. Saved my money, put down as much as I could. Got a 30 year fixed. Paid my mortgage on time every month.

    My neighbors did the opposite. They put as little money down. Got a loan which ballooned to a payment they could not afford...and went into default.

    So why is it that this 'stimulus' plan does not benefit my responsible actions in any way?

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:44 PM, j1rose wrote:

    boy are you wrong - plenty of people got hit by unemployment or bad economy..

    Why not give us LITTLE people something ?

    The senate and house always go to the extremes of only helping BIG business..

    IE the 787 BILLION dollar bailout express.

    That was $ 15,000 per family - a gluttony of excess they are salivating over .. about 20 years of earmarks in one day spent.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:47 PM, j1rose wrote:

    ps clinton DID do away with glass steagal legislation - - so that other guy above in comments is WRONG .


    The dems are as much as fault as anybody -- blame our last guy before bernke for not colling things down 3 -4 years ago...

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:47 PM, Homeowner1 wrote:

    I AM one of the LITTLE people. That's what makes this so enraging.

    You work hard and you save your money, and you try to be financially responsible.

    If the goal is a vibrant and healthy economy, why are the folks who are doing it right getting a break?

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:47 PM, j1rose wrote:


  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:49 PM, Em777787 wrote:

    Excuse me, but who is foolish enough to think that this is a tax payer bail out. So far all money is borrowed and created money, if we the tax payers were to actually put the bill for by INCREASE taxes I can assure you none of this "bail outs" would pass. By the way that implies that each household in America would have to come up with $11,666 each for the two bail outs. Bottom line is that we are borrowing money to pay for borrowed money how more foolish can it get.

    An don't get me going with the Iraq war another trillion of borrowed money that we the tax payer did not pay a dime, the foolishness have come home to roost

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 4:54 PM, fatbilly005 wrote:

    This is just the end result of what happens when "elites" are bailed out.

    Before you know it everyone with a problem also want's a bail-out and now feels entitled.

    This is "crony" capitalism at its best.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 5:14 PM, ThnkDeep9 wrote:

    Wish the cause of the problem was that simple. Deregulation and Greed are the core contributors of this transformation we are going through. This "old" blame game "and pure white collar crime" are also at the bottom of this. It's the men in Amarni suits that repackaged all these mortgages with other securities and sold them off to unsuspecting investors all over the world have done us in. These criminals have already taken their cut (commissions, options, bonuses) and let the gov't to deal with this grave mess! The "old" American thinking would be to let these institutions fail for the terrible decisions they have made. The trouble is that, institutions have saved American dream; financial, politics, justice, and on and on and some cannot be allowed to fail, not because of the money risky investors lost but the lost of trust that will go with it. Read on Russian when banks failed, or other 3rd world countries financial system. We are just caught between a rock and a hard place, and doing nothing is not an option. Remember, that's what was done the last 8 years which accelerate this whole problem. Politicians, banks and economists alike took great pride in the country with the number of people "owning" their homes. It was mentioned in the state of the union address several times - Well, we are here, and we need to work together in support of this Transformation. Yes, it i snot going to be like it has ever been. Remember, there is a country called China...the next Empire rising. That, my friends is reality.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 5:55 PM, eric082474 wrote:

    OBAMA has no sense of responsibility. He is rewarding irresponsibility. A year and a half ago when I paid off my mortgage early with money I SAVE because I was RESPONSIBLE and bought I house I could afford. Lately, everyday I have regretted that decision. What I should have done was to do a 110% refinance, paid the minimum monthly so today I could walk away and get bailed out. How is this FAIR. We who have been RESPONSIBLE should be rewarded instead we are being punished. I can't stand OBAMA. He is dummer than Bush.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 5:59 PM, ThnkDeep9 wrote:

    Hey...I have a solution. The gov't should not bail-out anybody or any company; be it a bank, pension fund, hard working people who have been taken for a ride by crooks like Madoff and this new Bank CD scam purported by Stanford Bank, bankers who gave deposits from hard working Americans to their buddies for real estate development and investments now worth less than a Denny's grand slam. Then what happens? Survival of the fittest, jungle life! That will be our path to the "Fourth World"

    People, we are in a Transformational period, and it ain't the same anymore...That, my friends, is reality.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 6:02 PM, IIcx wrote:

    I agree to the extent of penalties but keep an eye out for the 40 year fixed and rental approaches that Fannie and Freddie are proposing.

    A lot of people have been really hurt by the layoffs. Fannie and Freddie are refinancing but their not buying toxic assets. The program is sound short term but should be phased out as soon as possible.

    They aren't proposing or implementing handouts.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 6:06 PM, anon9009 wrote:

    This bailout is absurd!

    If you bought a house you couldnt afford -- sorry, but you should lose your house. Then house prices will fall to a point where buyers find them at a good value.

    This is just screw/ng all the people who were responsible. I agree with you 100% those of you who are saying "I'm going to max out my credit cards so I can qualify for a bailout".

    Myself, I was thinking about buying a house I can't afford, a new mercedes, home theater, etc... and then stand in the bail out line and complain that I can't afford it.

    I do understand that some of this is being affected by job losses, so I would support additional support for unemployment benefits.

    If you couldnt afford your house before, either pay up or get out of the house. You shouldnt have bought it in the first place and the govt shouldnt support the prices to keep you in them!

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 6:33 PM, cashiness wrote:

    I am shocked at the number of people who played responsibly are upset they too don't get a "bailout". Since when does a clean conscience and self-respect not count as a reward!? It sounds like some of you are just mad that you didn't get in on the scams! Our generation's ethics are laughable.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 7:01 PM, nerd1951 wrote:

    I had a rough time over the last couple of years. I was out of work for a while and was not responsible enough to save for hard times. Then when I got a job I took a pretty significant pay cut. I struggled to pay my bills and keep my house. It took me two years but now I'm up to date on everything and saving money; even putting some in an IRA. I did it without government help and I sleep better now.

    I don't begrudge the people who bought the decadent 21st. century version of the American Dream. It's been shoved at us by media 24/7 for years. People without the education and foresight got caught up in something they didn't understand. Now some of them get a do-over.

    The upside for us tax-payers is that it helps stabilize the economy. The people who get a break on their Mortgages stay in their homes and have a little money left over to save, pay down their other debt, or buy stuff. Believe me almost losing your house will change your habits; at least most people.

    Sometimes it's not about what's fair but what is good for the country as a whole. That's not a very popular notion these days when patriotism is defined by what wars you support and the only honorable sacrifice is putting your life on the line in the military. Yes the tax payers are going to be asked to pay for a lot of things that help the country that aren't fair. But sometimes paying taxes is part of being a citizen. I guess that makes me a socialist.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 7:02 PM, plantoretire1day wrote:

    My blood is running cold with all of this negativity. It seems that no matter which direction the government goes, whether it is the past elected officials and CEOs, current or future, some people will benefit, most will not. Our present situation is the result of many past bad decisions or lack thereof. No doubt future decisions will be made that will both help and harm. In times like these, Matthew 6:9, 10 and Revelation 11:18 gives me the comfort I need and at the right time.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 7:15 PM, ThnkDeep9 wrote:

    I was a "socialist" when I was in college, and rode the bus to two jobs with no health insurance. I am now a "capitalist" because I am employed with great benefits,, and hate paying taxes to support the students who have no insurance, and ride the bus to two jobs!! That's the American way!

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 7:32 PM, Bensquire wrote:

    Ok. Ok. Everybody is ripping on the people who purchases more house than they could afford and maybe they deserve it. But how about the thousands of people like me.

    I purchased my house ($315K) with approximately 17% down in March 2000. I have watched my home devalue to the point now where I am about $40K upside down. Can I afford the payment? Yes, I can. Am I current on my payments? Yes, I pay faithfully every month. So, what do I do? Where's my bailout?

    If you ask me, I am stick. I have to ride out the economic downturn. If I want to move or take that new job in another state, I have no choice but to walk away. I know I am not the only one in this situation. It is when people like me let there houses go to foreclosure because there is no other choice, then that will be the other shoe dropping on the economic downturn. God help us all when that happens!

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 7:49 PM, azcrutch wrote:

    in checking my wells fargo online account this morning I discovered that my platium wellsfargo card had been reduced from 11,800 to 600, I also had 8,000 in my checking and saving accounts. I called and their response was that my credit score had changed a lot and they suggested I pay for their identify theft program, my reply was wait a minute, and I went on line and payed for the scores and credit change 702 and a 718, so I called back and cancelled my credit card and closed my saving accounts and am in the process of moving my direct deposit and closing out my checking. please! please! do not give wellsfargo any more taxpayer money, they do not tell the truth, there was no change in my credit, reports/score. Now I am out the cost of the credit reports. WHY!

    Do not Trust the @##$%@# at WELLsFARGO, their misuse of taxpayers money ie the lavish party they planned in LasVegas for their gang of crooks.

    Do a web search on their name and you will read that they have been screwing their customers for a long time.

    Their actions will bankrupt a lot of people, and then they will request more of your money from the government

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 8:25 PM, WakeUpAmerica wrote:

    A house is NOT investment; its place to live......its a liability even if you pay off the mortgage you are liable to pay real estate taxes and homeowner insurance annually.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:05 PM, wolfrun5 wrote:

    While my our houses increased in value at an unsustainable level, I drove my late model car and went camping with my family instead of taking expensive vacations, My neighbor cashed out his "equity" and bought a new car and took expensive vacations. Today his LTV is in the red zone and we the responsible citizens pick up the tab for his unsustainable lifestyle. WHAT!

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:12 PM, dogpaws wrote:

    I am another person that bought a small duplex that I could afford, even in the bad times I think I could still make the payment. I have money in savings and can afford to care for 3 large labs. I have very very minimal on my credit card and thats it. No cell phone, no great tv channels. Just little things to feel like I have something. Yet, I am going to have to pay more now for my cigs. because as of April first,, they are going up again with more added taxes. I have no kids, and in good health.. Why am I paying for a bunch of losers, and not even a tax break comming my way.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:20 PM, CObiobabe wrote:

    Let me get this straight? People who didn't do their legwork - "After the introductory period, your interest rate will be the greater of Libor +5% or 12% ... " WHO CARES!!? It's a great big house!!! GIMME!!

    The people who LAUGHED at me for investing in the stock market; cause you know ... housing goes up 20% a year forever; why are you buying an index fund chump?

    The people who traded in their SUV's when gas hit $4 and have since rebought them once gas came back down....

    THESE people deserve to get a bailout on my dime?? OK, I guess it'll be my 4 year old daughter's dime, or maybe her kids:(

    Of course, there's a gun pointed at all us responsible peoples heads: It we let our neighbors go under, it'll take OUR home prices down too, and that sure won't feel good.

    And for all the folks who are clamoring for "financial education" in the schools. Please NO. I teach math in a public high school. My student's can't reliably do long division or multiply. This is in Algebra 2!! You think we should discuss amortization and interest rate risk? Heck, we can't agree to teach evolution as a country; I'm not touching personal finance with a 10' pole. Yes Johnny, your parents signed up for a 50% debt to income ratio negative amortization ARM; they're boneheads and losing their house is an inevitable consequence; time to trade down. Talk about an unpopular message.

    Time to print some more money; maybe we can have some rampant hyper-inflation like Zimbabwe or Weimar Germany.

    Rant done; time to go back to reading about OctoMom....that's so much more soothing.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:21 PM, lilwarrenbuffet wrote:

    Not much being said about deadbeat homeowners lying on their applications about their incomes to get into these homes...I have a big problem with the victim mentality...Responsible citizens that act their wage are the real victims...These banks were pressured to make these loans by the Clinton admin that would otherwise not even be considered(fannie mae and freddie mac - run by Clinton's operatives who mandated the pressure). By the way, can anyone name one thing the government does efficiently or well?(besides steal the wealth of future generations?) The mental illness called liberalism is the root cause of this economic disaster...we must cut our budgets and about the government do the same...does Pelosi need to run up 400,000 a month for plane expenses? wake up people...your getting the okey doke...

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:23 PM, SteveTheInvestor wrote:

    This action will plainly create a hole in the government budget that will take many, many years to recover from. The truly pathetic part is that mostly the irresponsible will benefit and the responsible will foot the bill in the form of higher taxes.

    At minimum, the loan agreement should be written so that when the house is sold, the government gets half the gains, if any. Don't like that deal? Too bad.... don't take the government loan. In fact, a special lien should be placed on the title to insure the government gets its cut. Without such an arrangement, this package amounts to nothing more than a giveaway of taxpayer money, rewarding those who made a poor financial decision.

    I'm in favor of helping where we can but I'm opposed to blatant giveaways.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:32 PM, lilwarrenbuffet wrote:

    and one more thing...It is treasonous to pass this legislation without one senator or representative being able to read this...but it had to be passed quickly...but President Obama didn't sign it until Tuesday, several days later...He could have signed it immediately...what was the real reason? Perhaps Americans would have really found out what was in it and it would infuriate us...I voted for President Obama, based on my belief that maybe he was genuine, hope, change, etc... but he is like or worse than all the rest...I'm sorry Amerika...

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:38 PM, vriguy wrote:

    Reduce loan interest rates - sure, but increase the term, and impose a prepayment penalty so that the irresponsible will not be bailed out at the expense of the responsible.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:51 PM, omnious wrote:

    Yes, I save money and have a home I can afford.

    Sorry everyone, because if you guys truly understood the way of things then you would know nothing in life is fair. Also, deserve has nothing to do with it. Truly jacked up stuff happens to good people and the do whatever I feel like doing group always walk away fine with good people having to pull the load.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 9:56 PM, dadoosdabom wrote:

    Its unfortunate that responsible citizens are footing the bill for those 'less fortunate' who weren't able to understand their mortgage conditions, were 'preyed' upon by those darn lenders, and now are struggling due to increases in monthly payments.

    I was brought up with the understanding that you had to make it on your own two feet - that you live within or below your means and don't expect a handout or bailout.

    This is truly a historic moment in American history, not because we have a black president, but because we are witnessing a Socialist transformation, where Equal Opportunity is being replaced by Equal Outcome!

    Those homeowners who should lose their homes because they simply are over their head and shouldn't have been given the loans in the first-place are now the "unfortunate" who should be given money to keep them in their homes - what has become of this nation?

    All of you "little people" out there - I am waiting to hear a resounding "Thank you" to the rest of us propping up your house value and paying your mortgage.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 10:01 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Don't like what Obama is doing? Blame voters. They voted for the socialist. A country is only as strong as the intelligence level of its voters.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 10:08 PM, kstoltz wrote:

    If this helps create a bottom in the housing market, all I can say is "To hell with moral hazard".

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 10:42 PM, cougar651 wrote:

    The article is exactly right. The boss is using taxpayer money (MY MONEY) to bailout those who signed speculative mortgages. Maybe I'm insensitive, but I bought a house that has also gone down significantly in value. The difference is I'm still responsibly paying my mortgage, and won't qualify for any help from the current proposal. This hurts responsible home owners.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 10:49 PM, SurfinCitizen wrote:

    Just another soundbite...the Government (I don't care whether it's Obama, his predecessor or Congress) missed the boat again. This program is going to fail because of too few takers (both by banks and by borrowers). It's also going to be contested by lawsuits filed by investors because the banks and government CANNOT legally alter the terms of the notes (except in BK) without the investors' approval. The ONLY way to solve the mortgage crisis is to address borrowers, banks and investors all at once - ALL of them need to accept the new economy and accept the haircut...otherwise = gridlock.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 11:16 PM, FoolKMP wrote:

    Plantoretire1day who mentioned scripture above has it right. Stop for a moment. Think. Rome fell from within, right? Has there been ANY time, ANY where on this ball of Earth where the poor have actually got richer and the rich have actually got poorer? No. Madoff in jail...oops, no, he's in his penthouse. Many of the same people are still in Congress that got us into this mess, many of the same people are still CEO's or CFO's and still collecting their big bucks. Until the people of this country get mad enough to THROW THESE BUMS IN JAIL (or start shooting at some of them) nothing will change. No lessons will be learned. The poor (ok, middle class) will get screwed again, same as always, forever and ever.

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 11:22 PM, JustAmerican wrote:

    Bought NEW House in 2000 with 25% down on $178,000 in newer development.

    Today value at Bank for my Equity Line went down $30,000 in 8 Months.

    Have 10 Yr. ARM ( 2% cap), so in 2 years will have to have made added payments to Qualify again to refi!

    Lost Job after 14 Years ( Company went Bankrupt) and now make 25% Less but can just stay ahead of game!

    Used most of savings over 8 Months looking for work!

    Can't take any Job as I would drop what little Unemployment I got.

    My Unemployment almost made my Health payment under COBRA ( $ 725/Mo) also Food/Gas/Electric

    and most of my Mortgage. Also had to pay TAX as income first half of Year made me too high.

    Was VP Engineering and R&D, Now Head Maintenance Mechanic for Production Plastic Injection Press Company.

    No Good Engineering jobs for older person!

    Most Engineering Jobs in area are slowly dying!

    That's right the Goverment has said that we need more Education! WHY when Engineering Jobs are gone!

    Hope that in 2010 we can requalify for House Loan!

    Oh I also have a 1996 Ranger (Paid for @ 223,000 Mi.) and a 1999 Pontiac Grand AM ( Paid for @ 126,000 MI)

    So if my Car/Truck hold out and I get some kind of raise I could be OK!

    PROBLEM was with any home loan that was 3 or 5 Year ARM.

    Have worked Hard for 35 Years, never had hand-out even with 3 Companies going Bankrupt.

    1st long term for 12 Years then gone 1987 including ESOP and Retirement with no penalty to Owners.

    ( Tire Manufacturing Equipment Design )

    2nd long term for 11 Years then gone 1999 (Steel Equipment Design)

    3rd long term for 8 Years then gone 2008

    ( Plastic/Rubber Equipment Design)

    NO ONE will now work for the same Big/Small Company longer then 20 Years unless Goverment/Education

    ANY Foreign Country or Product can freely Buy Stock in US Company or have product sold in the USA.

    WE CAN'T freely BUY Foreign stocks or easily sell US product without some type of BIG Customs/Import Duty charges.

    Thinking of selling or cash-in everything (NO HARD ASSETS)----THEN!

    But small trailer in country, go on welfare as I can't (NOT WILLING TO WORK) find work in speciality!



    USE S/S and Welfare payments to buy food and pay land tax on my small 1/4 Acre lot in country on side of some hill! WIFE and I will enjoy time together as we have had little due to raising Responsiable Kids and then taking care of Much older 88/92 parents

    FREE HEALTH CARE will even be in same room as some Paying sucker if it's ever needed.

    They (Goverment) won't let you die without medical care!

    Taxpayers just Paid 1.2 Million for the some Lady with NO JOB so she could have 8 KIDS. Oh that's right she has not had SEX for a long time so she had Artifical (FREE) Medicare pay for it all!

    You know what, she is correct as she was not the one that got screwed.


  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2009, at 11:45 PM, sciencedave wrote:

    What is the difference between being "upside down" in your house or having huge losses in a stock? A house purchase is like one big stock purchase. Everyone should realize it can go up in value or even down sometimes. No one has considered bailing out the investors who lost all their 401k money in the last few months. Upside down homeowners need to sit it out or sell at a loss if they can't afford to stay. No bailout unless taxpayers get some benefit from agreements. That is fair for all.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 12:45 AM, jav521 wrote:

    two points:

    These people are not homeowners. Please stop calling them that, A homeowner is one who has paid for his home.

    Why are you saying that this program is a risk. It is a sure thing. to buy more votes for the democretins and to shaft the taxpayers of the future.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 12:50 AM, Brimstone3 wrote:

    The difference is you have to live somewhere, but have to invest in the market.

    For years I did not buy a house because they have become tools of speculation and thus stupidly expensive. I knew that the bubble would burst and prices would fall. I'm sitting here with money in the bank ready to buy.

    Now all these STUPID, GREEDY little people that chose to overpay instead of rent are gonna get bailed out...and that is going to prevent house prices from dropping to where they should be. That will directly hurt responsible people that refused to partake in the housing Ponzi scheme and overpay.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 4:30 AM, hawk08 wrote:

    People in this country need to learn "how to responsible for something they have done and don't blame to others". My house lost so much value and I still pay for my mortgage. Who is bailing me out when I just barely able to pay for all my bills? Banks asked for more bailout money and those crooks (CEOs) paid themselves with good bonuses (TARP money) when they didn't make a penny profit. Where the bonuses money came from? How come don't see any those crooks in jail? The middle class always get suffer or screw.

    Oil ripoff hard working Americans = problems as well. Tax payers always bailout those scambags. No wonder rich gets richer and poor gets poorer and middle class gets kill. People need to understand "buying something only if you can afford it".

    If they sell their properties, they need to pay back the difference when the houses get recover if they want to live in that house. For example: $400K home, refinance (gov't helps) for $300K. If selling for $500K, $500K - $300K = $200K profits which they cannot keep (need to pay back to the tax payers). How those people plan to pay for their home insurances and property taxes?

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 5:58 AM, GUSMAN1 wrote:

    This won't work.(period)

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 9:00 AM, smersche wrote:

    Who cares? It's $75B. What is that? 5% of the total bailouts handed out so far? Where is the outrage at the other 95% of bailout money? At least I can see that this bailout is actually helping Americans. It helps the people that lost their jobs and can't afford their mortgages. It helps the ignorant, and yes, it helps the irresponsible. I know a lot of these people probably don't "deserve" the help. But it helps me, because I assume there are a few unemployed and/or irresponsible people on my block. And if they go under, my house takes a 10% chop in value.

    So pretty much, this portion of the bailout provides real, tangible value to all Americans that own a home or hold a mortgage. Is it fair? Of course not.

    But I can assure you, as unfair as it is, I would not trade places with any of the people that are benefiting from this bailout. I'm thankful that I still have my job, and I can comfortably pay my mortgage. I'm thankful that the value of my home hasn't fallen because of the area I live in. I realize there is a lot of chance in this world, and in this current economy, and I just as easily could have been one of the millions laid off. I have safety nets for myself, but because of circumstances, I'm sure there are many people that don't.

    A twist on Churchill's quote, the homeowners bailout is the worst bailout, with the exception of all the others.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 9:24 AM, larrymddg wrote:

    Now we have a liberal president with a liberal congress (lapdogs) that will socialize this country as much as they can.It is stupid to bail out homeowners that should never have been approved for ownership to begin with.We have a minority in this country that will bring this country to its' knees by the time we are able to vote these idiots back out of office. We already cloth, feed,free medical care, and now free home ownership to groups of society that won't work or who insist on staying uneducated.6 children by 5 different fathers is an occupation in some classes of society.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 9:32 AM, UnderDegun wrote:

    "It was the republicans that initiated the TARP bail-out program?"

    Well whoopdedoo. It was the Congress - who is supposed to be the watch-dog for the people - who allowed that fiasco to happen. It was the Congress who has made fact the 'disaster for the generations' in this "stimulus" law. It is the Congress who will screw all of us to the floor - regardless of what the people want.

    Interesting that one of the definitions for the word congress in the dictionary is " coitus; sexual intercourse". How appropriate.

    The United States Congress - in and of itself - is a cancer on the free peoples of the United States of America when it acts in any fashion to mold those peoples to a form of their (the congresses) choosing.

    And while I am at it - the most abhorrent words in the English language are SACRIFICE and ALTRUISM.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 10:08 AM, catoismymotor wrote:

    One of the beacons that shine brightest of all with the light of individual liberty and free markets is the Cato Institute. They stand for these core values that made this country great. It is time to put the energy you are using to whine and moan about this and re-focus it into doing something productive. Do yourself a favor by spending five minutes at their site to learn more. Do this for yourself, for the next generation.

    Thank you.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 10:41 AM, KeitaiOtaku wrote:

    Nothing in this particular article says that people won't have to repay what they owe on a mortgage. They don't "owe" the interest, they "owe" the principle. Interest is negotiable. This country has allowed banks to rape the public, enticing ignorant people into very risky mortgages, downplaying the associated risk. It's all well and good to say "I'm an average guy, and I thought of it, so forget anyone who didn't!" Well that's just wrong. It's not even Christian. If we're really going to do this right, lets forget the thousands of people without jobs and health insurance. Let's close off our emergency rooms to the needy, and lets forget Social Security. And finally, finally, let's shut our doors, keep out our neighbors, hang on to our guns, and wait for the rapture... but I don't think we'll be going to heaven.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 10:57 AM, smersche wrote:

    There are irresponsible people we are "taking care of" in many different facets of life.

    I want to know how many of you self-righteous people that have your financial house in order have other parts of your life in order? I wouldn't be surprised if many of you are out of shape fatasses that are causing my medical insurance premiums to go up. I've been paying the medical insurance bailout for the unhealthy for years. And it keeps going up. Good God, get your fat sons and daughters to eat less and exercise more before they bankrupt the country.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 10:57 AM, ettringermedia wrote:

    It's funny how "Fool" refers to people who bought a house during a ten year period of rising house prices as "speculators." Suddenly, home buyers, who didn't have enough savings set aside to buy their whole house, if the market dropped, are "speculators."

    What would "Fool" have suggested? That they refrain from buying homes until home prices someday drop to match their true value?

    It's interesting how banks have engaged in some of the most deceitful lending practices our country has ever known, then receive several hundred billion dollars of taxpayer bailout money, and Fool says nothing about that boondoggle. Go ahead, Google "Motley Fool Bank Bailout." No commentary exists that vilifies the banks nearly as much as Fool is trying to vilify regular people, here.

    Fool is truly a Fool if it thinks that Goldman, et al will "repay bailout money to the best of their ability" or if the taxpayer will ever benefit from any "upside" equity warrants when banks recover. How absurd. There is no requirement for them to do so and no way to enforce it if they don't.

    Homeowners didn't cause the greed Fool now blames them for. Banks caused it in their lust to package ANY kind of mortgage they could lure people into and repackage them as alluring hedge funds with ridiculous, unregulated earnings expectations. (Greedily making money on BOTH sides of the mortgage transaction). If banks weren't frothing at the mouth in a frenzy of greed, they would be satisfied with interest and fees, based on deposits. But banks weren't luring people in to SAVE, were they? They were luring people in to BORROW. So I'm not sure why Fool thinks people would have a stash of savings to ride them through this crisis. No bank in the country offered any incentive to save. They moved all investment incentives into home values.

    This columnist is an idiot and a Fool.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 11:00 AM, mdtopper wrote:

    How about an addendum to the plan:

    For each homeowner requesting assistance from the government, that homeowner be required to give the government a % of the value of the house when sold. For example, of a house was worth 300,000 when bought with a $250,000 mortgage and is now worth $225,000 with a $240,000 remaining balance (negative equity), the homowner should be offerred a bailout.

    Refinance the bank debt to 75% of the $225,000 current value or $169,000 with government kicking in $71,000 to make the bank whole. The government gets a note for $71,000 to be paid from the proceeds of the sale of this house. Give the homeowner taxable income of $71,000 which he can either pay tax on or reduce his mortgage interest deduction by. The tax can be paid over 10 years (if the taxpayers so elects), or reduce mortgage deduction.

    If the homeowner doesnt like this offer, then no help is goiven.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 11:47 AM, TopperHarley99 wrote:

    Well I guess I should apologize to everyone upset with homeowners needing a little relief for losing my job in the last year and being out of work for 4 months.

    So sorry my misfortune has caused so much angst for all you ivory tower dwellers. As if $75 billion is even a drop in the bucket compared to $700 billion.

    Thanks for all the empathy!

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 12:50 PM, Usbek wrote:

    Free money for some!!

    I remain above water, albeit up to my neck. My interest rate is low, and while I have taken advantage of inflated equity, I haven't overdone it. So for the rest of us there will be no benefit. It suddenly looks like a little risky spending might just pay off.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 1:10 PM, KWT8011 wrote:

    "But I can assure you, as unfair as it is, I would not trade places with any of the people that are benefiting from this bailout. I'm thankful that I still have my job, and I can comfortably pay my mortgage. I'm thankful that the value of my home hasn't fallen because of the area I live in. I realize there is a lot of chance in this world, and in this current economy, and I just as easily could have been one of the millions laid off. I have safety nets for myself, but because of circumstances, I'm sure there are many people that don't. " -smersche

    I couldn't have put this any better. Thank you. Yes people were speculators, yes people went through with deals, then walked out of their brokers office thinking "What the hell did I just sign on for?" But there were plenty of people (like the guy above me) who were victims of the economy, and the majority of the comments here say "What about me?"

    To all the self-proclaimed "responsible" people, here's your bailout:

    1.) The gov't will help absorb losses written off by banks and issue incentives to companies willing to refinance, improving balance sheets

    2.) Improving balance sheets leads to banks being more comfortable in offering credit to you and businesses, who in turn...

    3.) Spend and Hire to resuscitate our economy as we measure it.

    4.) Meanwhile people can stay in their homes, preventing firesales and deriding the value of your asset.

    I also believe we should have accountability on all sides, people who participate in the program shouldn't be taking advantage of it, but does anyone know for certain that there won't stipulations in place like this?

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 1:36 PM, deidreeast wrote:

    It's the new era of responsibility folks! Obama promised this! Of course, that responsibility is ZERO responsibility, but when his campaign gurus tested that phrase with focus groups, they decided to drop the "ZERO" part of the sound byte.

    I called my lender and said I wanted my loan to be reconfigured to lower my principle. Why not? I just heard an Obama speech! Thank you Lord!

    I continued to speak with this rep for 20 minutes letting her know that I was be facetious and trying to convince her to stand up to this nonsense.

    I have programmed all of my senators and my rep's office numbers in my cell phone speed dial settings. Look up their local offices--you are much more likely to get through. Oddly enough, Chuck Schummer's office, Sherrod Brown's office, etc. have full voicemail boxes.


    We, who make this country prosper, should be REWARDED for our responsible behavior, not punished by watching the fruits of our labor stolen from us and squandered by GAMBLERS--both in corporations and in our neighborhoods.

    In the free market, you can fire the trader who gives you a bad product or bad service. You can't really fire the government (except to vote, which few of us do from an informed perspective)...and they know that.

    I am joining any protests to these abuses of government power. One that seems to be popular is to email

    Wake up, silent majority and be silent no more!

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 1:51 PM, TufCookie wrote:

    Who is going to bail me out on my rent? I have been renting for 9 years; a direct result of the very speculators that Mr Obama wants to bail out right now. They and the mortgage companies raised house prices to levels that were clearly NOT sustainable and I and many people like me made the call to rent instead of buying based on this fact. Is the president going to bail us out on our rents paid for the last decade? and now he wants house prices to stop falling! why not let them fall? isn't that the free market, that's what I and many others have been paying rent and waiting for. So I agree 100% with the author, Heads THEY win, Tails I loose. How about Mr Obama return 50% of my rent money paid over a decade and I will go buy a house. That will create some demand on housing wouldn't it? and it will put a floor on house prices, but this time, people who have been responsible will get rewarded NOT SPECULATORS!!

    Well, first chance I get I'm moving to Europe. If it is Socialism coming, then I might as well go to where is has ruled for centuries.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 2:20 PM, greg771 wrote:

    America succeeds from the activities of RISK TAKERS. It's not easy to get rational, intelligent people to be risk takers. And to financially obliterate a huge percentage of Americans because they took a risk on owning a home will just teach everyone to "play it safe" and could ultimately cost us more in the long run.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 2:32 PM, TufCookie wrote:

    you took a risk and you lost. Accept it. It is not a risk anymore when someone bails you out.

  • Report this Comment On February 19, 2009, at 2:55 PM, TufCookie wrote:

    One more thing. A lot of people have lost their job as a result of speculators and mortgage companies. Many of them are renters by the way and can't pay their rent. Would you bail them out too? they are victims of this economic situation which, again, was brought on by, guess who, speculators and mortgage companies who ARE being bailed out now.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 12:12 AM, samsonrodriguez wrote:

    sad sad day we live in now! im still trying to make my hard working wife understand, why this is a bad idea! shes a demo by the way :(

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 5:55 AM, rm96696 wrote:

    If we're considering nationalizing the banks, why not nationalize the housing stock? Isn't it right that taxpayers should have something in return? Lets nationalize all the houses, wipe out homeowners, put all the mortgages in a "bad bank" and sell off the houses again!

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 8:56 AM, larrymddg wrote:

    Responsibility is the key word here. There have been alot of people through the years that have gone through hard times AND the government or the tax payer was and should NOT be responsible to support these losses. The causes of alot of the unemloyment in industries is Unionship.It is ignorant for an uneducated person to make $30-40 an hour to tighten a nut and bolt (example- auto industries). Unions were once a good thing to protect workers,NOW, Unions are an elephant on the backs of all tax payers.It's plain stupid for a layed off worker to receive 95% of thier pay.LET THEM GO OUT OF BUSINESS-others will startup and take thier place.Auto workers are way overpaid and a massive drain on the economy.There are alot of others, almost all in the manufacturing sector.If people were paid on the basis of thier level of education and/or trade ability, we would not be in this mess.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 9:26 AM, anzalone2 wrote:

    "I'd feel considerably better if a homeowner bailout plan came with warrants on the upside, providing taxpayers the potential to profit for the risk they're taking by injecting tens of billions of dollars into home ownership gone awry. Makes sense, right?"

    ....There was (is) such a loan plan ... did you all forget the "HOPE for homeowners plan?" It was a complicated plan but It basically took back any equity dollars that the homeowner might have profited from the sale of the home in the years to come. It is based on a tier system depending on when they sold the home. BUT .... there was GREED on the part of the government too. The LEAST amount of equity you would loose was 50%! - even if the homeowner waited 20yrs before selling their home. This program when looked at by a "real mortgage professional" was a joke, as is this new plan. The new plan focuses on Fannie and Freddie (conventional loans) both have credit score requirements for which people who are at risk of loosing their homes will most likely NOT meet combined with the fact that in the "target" areas homeowners have seen 30 -40% drops in value - (this new plan caps the loan value at 105%) it won't be helping many people. "do the math"!

    Oh yeah ... as with the "HOPE" program this new plan does not mandate that banks use it!

    So for all of you who are so concerned that we are using taxpayer $$$ to bail out undeserving people - don't worry - they won't get nothin! I suggest you pay close attention to where all that allocated money actually goes!

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 9:59 AM, DaMofo wrote:


    This is not "too harsh" of an article. Why should we be rewarding people who failed to read the fine print? Sorry but tiny micro print and failing to have your pre-paid legal guy look the mortgage paperwork over is YOUR FAULT not OURS--as in US taxpayers.

    Kudos Morgan

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 11:04 AM, deidreeast wrote:

    Let the banks fail; there are other banks out there performing well and willing to absorb the business from the idiot, irresponsible, risky banks. They can absorb the bank employees and the bank's customers.

    Let the homeowners fail; let the banks get stuck with the devalued asset. The homeowner and the bank both took huge risks. Let them fail.

    Let the responsible people buy up the houses that are in foreclosure.

    It will be painful. People will not get to keep the houses they had no business trying to buy. The banks will get stuck with the assets that they over-valued and will have to take the loss to get rid of them.

    This is the way to allow the market to right itself. If you are never able to feel pain or make mistakes, how does one EVER learn?

    We can continue to make this more complicated, more drawn out, and MORE PAINFUL, resulting in the responsible customers throwing in the towel.

    Our country does NOT need the prolonged pain of the productive refusing to produce any more. Everyone will feel that pain.

    It is immoral to spread the wealth around without the consequences of the risk. It's immoral to take from someone like me, who is working two jobs to pay for my two mortgages (because a buyer walked out on a signed legal contract), and give to someone who is not working two jobs and who made stupid decisions. I took a risk in buying my current house without a contingency on the _completed_ sale of my other home. Am I asking for help or a bailout. NO! I am working to get myself out of this bind. The only thing I REMAND is that the govenment STOP STEALING from me to pay for the wants of others--be that houses they can't afford, kids they can't afford, cars they can't afford, college they think they can't afford, etc.

    Suck it up. Pull your self up by your bootstraps. Get creative. Work hard. STOP WHINING! The only hand that will actually help you is the one at the end of your arm!

    I am tired of the govenment being in the business of social engineering through our tax system. Leave that to churches and schools. Read up on the FairTax:

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 12:04 PM, Fool1936 wrote:

    Adding to the previous contributors comments on Wells Fargo. I am a small business operator that has used Wells Fargo for over 25 years, both personal and business accounts. Through responsible financial management, I earned a "small business line of credit" of $100,000. When I received my statement last month, I noted that my line of credit had been cut to $25,000. When I called, I was given two reasons: 1.) I hadn't used the account enough, and 2.) there were too many credit inquiries on my Experian report. Forget reason #1, which is ludicrous. I checked with Experian and the only credit inquiry on my report was when I upgraded my American Express/Costco credit card.

    Because I'm a sole-owner/small business, I am the personal guarantor of the line of credit. My credit score is currently 770. I have never missed a payment with Wells Fargo.

    This is the way Wells Fargo rewards responsible customers who are helping to bail them out.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 12:09 PM, davey1990 wrote:

    I have my hand out too!!!!!

    I believe I have done everything right. I have a home that I can afford. I can pay my credit card off with ease. I live within my means. So what did I do wrong? I have a 401k that is a 200.5k now. I have 2 IRA’s that have lost 40% in value. Again what did I do wrong??? It seems that the banks are getting the money to stave off the next great depression. Bankers are not held accountable. High risk mortgage takers are getting help. Those borrowers are not held accountable. Again, what about me??? Should I kick Clinton in the pants for repealing the Glass-Steagall Act? Clinton said he was not to Blame!!!! It is Hogwash that he states he is not to blame. Should he take all the blame? No way. All the banks that lent the money should be to blame and the government that eased regulations to let them do it. Again I have my hand out. Who is going to fill it up with money? I am alone again!!!!!

    To all the good guys out there that are doing it right, I thank you. To all the bad guys out there, SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!! Cut the good guys taxes in future years and raise all the bad guys’ taxes. That would be a start. The bad guys can shine my shoes for the next 100 years as well.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 1:07 PM, 5Americans wrote:

    Why Does China have all the Money?

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 4:12 PM, abro915 wrote:

    rike101: The America you grew up in caused this problem. Spoiled, arrogant and self-serving...And seriously ignorant. The problem with drinking out of the water you pee in is that there may be some one upstream doing the same thing. The one important lesson you're daddy obviously failed to teach you is that we're all climbing the same mountain, and we're tied in together. We keep letting people fall, we'll be pulled with them. You can't be so oblivious that you haven't noticed your stocks and funds. Obama certainly didn't create this problem, but he is the best chance we have to solve it.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 5:33 PM, Proxie wrote:

    What are all the responsible Americans to do? I too am upside down on my home as the market has taken a fall for the worse. I pay my mortgage on time and have minor investments. I pay my credit cards on time and don't need to declare bankruptcy, but I will have to move within the year. How do I sell my home?? I'm better off going into foreclosure than eating the 70k in loss.

    Where is the justice here?? Where is my bailout. I'm truly scared stiff...

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 5:56 PM, peke2009 wrote:

    The challenge that I see is that either the government does not have a master plan or does not want to tell us. The end result is a 'drip...drip' of one big news at a time and we all have big reasons to like or dislike whatever the announcement of the day is. One day, we hear the bail out for banks, then auto, then the state/locals, then the 'irresponsible' people... in the meantime, we the people keep hearing things like raise sales and income tax (in CA). So, while I have no problem with helping others, but just like any other people, I donate my time or $ to charity within my means. I live in CA and the news that hit us is that Obama's plan may give us an extra $800 a year but it cost us an extra $1400 a year for new taxes to cover for the short fall for the state, and yet the state will get more $ from the stimulus package - it seems like we are being hit from different angles for the same reason 'people need help'. Yesterday, the state even said that the taxpayers may have to pay for the government's retirees because their retirement fund lost so much value - (huh? what about the loss in my retirement saving account). When we start to treat one group better than another group then we start to sow the seed of discontent - remember American's revolution 'taxation without representation?' ---

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 5:59 PM, Sam1022 wrote:

    Unfortunate as it is "we," the American people, have been tossed out of the frying pan and body slammed into the fire. I've read a good majority of the comments submitted here and sooner or later the frustration, anger, and exposed nerves will be healed. Once we reach this point of healing we might see that we are in a situation that is beyond, even the most educated minds of our time. Every time I turn-on the T.V. or radio someone has an opinion on what should be done, how it should be done, or how the other person's plan won't work. Lets face it folks, we are all burning in the same fire pit and the only way out of it is to work together, yes, people made uneducated, greedy, and or down right stupid decisions, but we still need each other to get past this turmoil. History can help us chart a course in this sea of confusion, anger, and hopelessness, but it won't give us the answer on how to solve this mess. As a Marine, I've seen and experienced my fair share of adversity and what helped my Marines and I make it through it all was teamwork and the desire to live the "American Dream" (Which is different for all of us).

    Our leadership, the President, is doing what a true leader does – he’s making the though decisions. Will it be the right decisions for these trying times? Unless you can see into the future, and see what the right decision is, we won’t know, only history will tell us if is.

    All Marines learn that the best laid out plan goes out the window as soon as the bullets start flying, but as long as you have a plan (a base) you can adjust the plan to accordingly to reach the objective. Our objectives today, set a plan in motion, adjust accordingly, and keep our nation from becoming ash, so get behind the President. If you don’t get behind the President you need to LEAD, FOLLOW, or get the HELL OUT THE WAY.

    Semper Fi

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 6:23 PM, secjd wrote:

    I find it astonishing that whenever people talk (or write) about the mortgage crisis, they only refer to people who bought houses they couldn't afford. CNBC aired a 2-hour documentary on the mortgage crsis called "House of Cards." In it, they interviewed a handful of home"owners" who are either in foreclosure or about to be, and almost all of them recently refinanced their mortgages at inflated home valuations, not for the purpose of buying the homes, but rather to finance the cost of upgrades and renovations.

    So, to those of you responsible consumers out there who are already outraged over the prospect of rewarding people for being irresponsible enough to buy homes with price tags they cannot afford, get even angrier: what we're really paying for is bailing them out from the debt they took on to build swimming pools in their back yards, put in new gourmet kitchens and bathrooms and renovate houses that look like they're not even 10 years old so they can live in the lap of luxury while most responsible consumers like myself who live in modest houses and (in my case) small rent-stabilized apartments pay for their gluttony. And that's not to mention the part about how they used mortgage proceeds to pay for other things; one of the brokers CNBC interviewed said he has clients who refinanace every year or two to pay off their credit cards, etc. In other words, people have been using their homes like ATM machines - I'd call that pretty speculative!

    I don't have a a major problem with most of the bail-out and stimulus plans (other than the lack of appropriate controls in the bail-out plan) but I do find the bailing out of a bunch of spendthrifts who've been living high on the hog so they can continue to live beyond their means on everyone else's tab to be worse than "irresponsible;" it's flat-out offensive to everyone who did not live beyond their means and it's disgusting.

    As a final point, we need to earmark evey dime we reasonably can to put towards stimulating the economy to get it back on its feet; squandering $75 billion on a windfall for homeowners who voluntarily over-borrowed to live beyond their means will not in any way stimulate or otherwise benefit the economy and it's the last thing we should be doing.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 7:26 PM, abbsbtgog wrote:

    I'm not angry that I don't get a bailout because I'm responsible, I'm angry that I have to pay to support irresponsible people. The logic behind the bailout is faulty as well. If a person owns a 2000 sq ft home and that home was worth $300k last year but is now worth $250k, assuming other homes in the area have fallen in value similar to this particular home, the person is technically no worse financially than they were a year ago. If they sold the home today for $250k, they could buy another 2000 sq. ft. home, whereas a year ago they may have only been able to get a 1600sq. ft. home for that $250k. The only way it hurts is if the owner has ended up owing more on the home than what it is worth and for some reason must sell the home (can't afford the payments, job transfer) and doesn't have enough savings to cover the difference between what they owe and what they can sale the house for. A responsible person in this situation would move into something they could afford, even if this meant renting or leasing something much smaller, and rent out the original house atleast until the value exceed the amount owed on the home. I am the little guy (actually gal). My husband got laid off a couple of months ago and doesn't qualify for unemployment because he's considered a contractor. Our income has been cut in half and the bailout still won't help us instead we'll end up paying for others who lived too good for too long.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 7:43 PM, ccrashcup wrote:

    Everyone gets a trophy! That's where the sense of entitlements began. Whoever told anyone "life would be fair?" Your Mother?,,,well she lied to you,

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 7:45 PM, critter88 wrote:

    Here's how dumb I am. My good friend and I have comparable salaries and, from what I can tell, comparable net worths. The difference? I made a large down payment and he did not. My buddy will be eligible for subsidized mortgage payments AND since he can turn in his keys on his upside down house, his net worth is higher. Many of my colleagues made the same "mistake" and we've learned our lesson the hard way. Horatio Alger's America has been replaced by the OctoMom's America.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 8:45 PM, baseballfanman wrote:

    Quit Crying All of You So Called Americans!!

    Go to this site and see what life is all about....Find your Souls!!! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!!!! Get a Life.........

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2009, at 11:26 PM, MadStabber wrote:

    Simplest solution was to re-amortize the loans out to 40 or 50 years at higher rates. Let their kids inherit the mortgage.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 9:16 AM, hemmi123 wrote:

    Cmon people......this country is supposed to belong to the people, isn't it? This government is supposed to protect us from other nations not ourselves and each other. That's what freedom is all about. When are we going to REVOLT against all these bast@#$% and take our own country back? I'm a regular Joe too, pay my mortgage on time along with all my other bills. But I am also hurting for money. Outstanding credit scores seem to mean nothing anymore. Credit card rates are still above 10%.....I think the overseas wars should be brought home so we can take our country back from these thieves who continue to steal our hard earned money. IT'S TIME!!!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 9:45 AM, Sridhartoronto wrote:

    What all of you are forgetting is that these loans are already guaranteed by the government. The last thing the banks or any homeowner wants to see is a glut of properties flooding the market and depressing prices further (which would benefit people who haven't yet bought their house , they are the losers in this plan) By punishing irresponsible borrowers you are actually cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    The real villains are the SELLERS of these properties who made out like bandits. They are sitting on the cash waiting maybe to buy the properties they sold for pennies on the dollar. .

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 9:55 AM, ChrisHastings131 wrote:

    I did'nt vote for Obama, but I wished him well when he won.

    However the people I know who did are really pissed off about the

    "change" he was going to bring.

    All bullship! He is Nancy Pelosi's house boy!

    What a loser!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 10:24 AM, Scaooba wrote:

    I bought my house back in 91, but knew I would probably get laid-off from the military contractor I worked for at the time sooner or later, nature of the business. My real estate agent kept trying to lure me into buying a house in more expensive parts of town even back then. I said no, I want a house I can afford if lose my job. Went thru a rough patch and trying to finish college for awhile, but kept my house. Refinanced to a 15 year loan and at the end of 2007 paid the house off early.

    During this time noticing the prices in homes, I wondered, how all these people were affording houses much bigger and pricier than mine. Where were all these people working that they could afford 300K and up house?. I'm making a good salary and can't afford those, I want their jobs. Ends up now I finally know how they afforded these houses.

    I guess my parents just taught me fiscal responsibility. I don't totally blame all the people that fell for this charade. I still think the largest amount of blame for this crisis goes to the bankers, real estate agents,... caught up in greed. I'm sure that many people were told that if you can't afford the payments later on, just sell the house and use that equity to buy something you can afford. Ya, sell to whom now. Most people probably figured that, 'Hey, these guys know the scoop and won't sell me something that will blow up in my face.' I do know one couple that built a 500K house they were going to live in for a few years, retire and sell it. Then move to Florida. I doubt they can sell now and hopefully they don't lose their jobs, cause they both work at the same place.

    I also blame the government big time. They had to have known something just wasn't right with this picture. At least they are suppose to know! Ordinary people don't have access to all the IRS data, but they should have known that 'most' people can't afford these houses. And that a lot of people will never be able to afford a house, especially at these prices. But they did nothing.

    Now what is happening is that a lot of people who could afford their houses are losing their jobs as a result of the credit crunch,... So for a lot of them it depends on how long this thing last. Even fiscally responsible people cannot go on for years. Then they got things like car breaks down, family member needs operation,....

    Yes, I am with a lot of you responsible people, who have bought the house you can afford. Maybe wanted a boat or new car, but figured you will save a large chunk of the cash for it first. Both my vehicles are 94 & 96. Watched my stocks go way down in price, dividends being slashed, price of food seems up also,... So when I watch the government handing out all this cash to the people that caused this, no matter how much they contributed, it does make me wonder where is my reward for not having a helping hand in bringing this to a crisis. For being fiscally responsible. Oh, I forgot, they added a little thing for real estate taxes of up to $500 for people that can't itemize or do but not over the standard deduction. Ya, that saved me $125 after it was all said and done on my taxes.

    What's it boil down to? That until your problem is big enough to be felt by the people that can 'try' to do something about it, you get... NOTHING!!! You LOSE!! GOOD DAY, SIR!! (Wonka quote). I wish there was some kind of reward for us, but don't hold your breath waiting. You and I will have to help bail these people out, very few people are going to jail over it and a lot of people will be able to keep the houses they couldn't afford as a prize. While you can continue to live in the reasonable house you bought and trying to recover as much of the retirement savings you had.

    I know, it sucks!! We all know there isn't anything we can do to change it either. The few, the proud, the fiscally responsible and just like the marines, they are going to send us up that hill to save the country and hopefully not get slaughtered. Your reward in the end will just be that you lived.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 10:44 AM, dpags wrote:

    In my opinion, a smarter solution to many of the issues today would have been to FREEZE INTEREST RATES across the board for a while. This would give the economy a moment to figure out how to deal with each issue rather than needing to pour buckets of money [that the country simply doesn't have] over the fires that burn out of control.

    The country was built on credit - that's a fact. Irresponsible or not, credit is and will always be a necessary evil.

    Corporate and personal greed is what got us into this mess - not the use of credit. Corporate greed is what is causing this to spiral out of control.

    Raising rates and forcing default helps no one and hurts everyone, including the corporations raising the rates. This goes for credit cards too. Duh.

    I'm still not sure what I think about the comment that someone made to me the other day that the Gov't should buy up all the negative equity in everyone's homes so they could refinance. I'd like to hear YOUR opinions on that!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 10:47 AM, Jiggs34 wrote:

    I purchased a home, took out a second mortgage, added an addition and speculated the home would sell for more money. However it will not. People are in denial if the purpose of purchasing a home is not speculating. Why would someone purchase a home if they felt that it would decrease in value.

    I should not be bailed out for my speculating when I am unable to pay my mortgage or have to sell my home at a lose. This is not how it works rewarding me for my mistake.

    The banks should have to deal with their loses, they were irresponsible for loaning money to individuals who could not and would not pay.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 10:55 AM, Jiggs34 wrote:

    Did you see the 20/20 show where Bank of America Executives were buying sex (Prostitutes) for thousands a night. Its good to see they were using the money (expensing to the company) they received from issueing adjustable rate mortgages and alt A's for legitimate purposes.

    They should be fired and have to pay for these expenses (expensed to Bank of America) or prosecuted.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 11:05 AM, dpags wrote:

    To Jiggs34

    "I purchased a home, took out a second mortgage, added an addition and speculated the home would sell for more money. However it will not. People are in denial if the purpose of purchasing a home is not speculating. Why would someone purchase a home if they felt that it would decrease in value. "

    The answer to your question is: the same people who buy cars, fancy cars, expensive cars, that decrease in value. People buy crap all the time that decreases in value. What do you think your $1,000 computer is worth right now?

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 11:11 AM, dpags wrote:

    ....sorry, I clicked "post" before I was finished....

    The purpose of buying a home, or car, or computer, should be for your personal enjoyment, use, to serve a need, a purpose. In my opinion, increased value is a bonus, and shouldn't be an expectation. People kept banking on the idea that homes would "double in value" continuously - but I always found it hard to believe that my 30-yr-old $200k home could EVER be worth $400k yet at one point it was (within 5 years of purchasing)! Not anymore, and that's ok. I never would have bought my house at $400k. And those who ever thought that $400k would double again in 5 years would have to have been smoking crack. Seriously.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2009, at 1:20 PM, faneur wrote:

    The devil is in the details. Your article uses words like "bailout" but what does that mean? Will eligible mortgages have interest rates lowered? Principle lowered? Terms extended? Will the "bailout" pay the mortgagee the difference? Just the facts please.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2009, at 12:41 AM, happyashell wrote:

    The President has released his plan to improve the economy. As usual it is complicated and does not reflect the real world. Please read the enclosed copy of the telegram I sent him on 2-15-09. I do not believe he has read it yet, since he has been out of the White House for the last 3 days. I need yours and the banking industries support to have my Alternative Stimulus Plan enacted. Please read it and have it analyzed. Your opinion and help would be greatly appreciated. The Alternative Stimulus Plan is much simpler and I believe it to be more helpful to solving the banking industries problems of falling collateral prices and economic contraction.

    My name is Leonard C. Tekaat. I am a retired Economic Analyst, Financier, Businessman, investor, author and former candidate for California Congress. I have over forty years in the financial and business world. For 28yrs I have been saying that there is a major flaw in our economic policies. The currant economic crisis could have been prevented if the changes I have been proposing would have been enacted 28yrs ago. That is not to say that we cannot correct the currant crisis. I would like to share a copy of a telegram I sent to President Obama and Treasurer Geithner.


    To President Obama and Treasurer Geithner:

    There is a major flaw in our economic theories. I want you to ask yourself three questions. 1.What is the first thing the Fed does to stimulate the economy? answer: Lower interest rates, this permits people and businesses to refinance their debt at a lower rate of interest, which in turn lowers their monthly payments, freeing up monthly income, which increases their disposable income. 2.Why did it not work this time? answer: Collateral prices were going down; banks or investors cannot refinance people’s loans, until the price of the collateral stabilizes. 3.How do we solve this problem? answer: We have the US Treasury, which is a not for profit organization, borrow the money from the Fed, just like the banks do and fund the refinanced mortgages, at near cost, until the collateral’s price stops decreasing. The Treasury would receive the cash flow and turn around and fund more mortgages, just like the banks do. When the economy is up and running again the Treasury would sell the mortgages to investors. The bank and the other financial institutions would arrange these new loans and mortgages or modification agreements. It has always been the 90% of the population who spend their money and pay their bills that brings the economy out of the recession. More details at www.American Read articles and comments by "happyashell" Sincerely, Leonard C. Tekaat author Inflation the Economy Killer

    News Release

    Economic Committee Petitions U.S. Congress

    The Committee for Economic Reform and a Better Economic Future petitioned the U.S. Congress today to hold open meetings to discuss and debate their Alternative Economic Stimulus Plan. Chairman Leonard C. Tekaat states the economic stimulus plan does not rely on a trillion dollar Jobs Program. In fact Mr.Tekaat

    states the stimulus plan they are proposing will not cost the American people anything over time. He said, “ Their plan relies on a few policy changes to lower mortgage rates by 2 to 3%, which will reduce most people’s monthly mortgage payments by 50% when they refinance their mortgages. There-by increasing their disposal income an average by $700.00 per month! That’s like receiving a stimulus check every month for 30yrs. With safe guards included in the plan the chance of another housing bubble is nil." He said, "Their stimulus plan also includes a policy that will help those homeowners that owe more on their mortgages than what the house will sell for.”

    For more information go to www.American articles and comments by happyashell

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2009, at 12:48 PM, parkallee wrote:

    The stipulation for any family receiving a government bail-out for their home mortgage needs to be the following: Every Weekend, for the entire length of the mortgage time, at least one family member has to devote an entire day on a community service activity, such as taking care of old people, handicapped people, young people, sick people, taking care of animal shelters,maintaining our roads, our public places, or any other activity that benefits society, in exchange for receiving tax payer money.

    Write to every politician!

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2009, at 2:17 PM, Rasbold wrote:

    Crikeys, Mate!

    I have lost two businesses and have ripped my credit score, but never once late on my mortgage. I think I'll stop paying for a few months and then see if I qualify to be bailed out. No shame in taking advantage of what is going to screw us anyway!

    I think I won't pay my taxes, either.I was not asked if I wanted to pay Wall St and banks their salaries. I would have said no!

    If I am not going to be represented, you don't get my money anymore!

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2009, at 2:24 PM, rcontos wrote:

    While we are all venting about undeserving people getting government money; I hate the benefits, tax, social and otherwise, that parents and families receive. I managed not to have any little brats, but draw a decent salary, and I get stuck subsidizing public schools, childcare tax credits, family health insurance and the like. While we're all being idiots, why not abolish public schools, no tax credits for children; in fact we should get rid of exemptions for dependents while we're at it. Jebus people, if you can't afford your progeny keep your legs together.

    Now in seriousness, all government benefits/bailouts et al benefit some groups more than others but often these benefits have a broader social consequence that helps society generally. So yes, some irresponsible people are going to get a free-ish ride, but free riding is as old a societies. The last thing we need is a bunch of now broke boomers crying about "fairness."

    As a 27 y/o with a recession resistant job and a large savings; I think we should abolish SS. Your 401(k) shat the bed, house is worthless, want to retire? Tough; keep working or find a nice spot under an overpass. After all, that's the only fair thing to do.

    The thing that all the commenters yelling "unfair" fail to realize is that on this tiny rock we call home, we often succeed and fail together; maybe we should find a way to share the upside the same as the downside; perhaps prevent some of these "downturns." Eh, better not, someone'll call us socialists.

  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2009, at 6:42 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    Hey rcontos, you can keep your social security pyramid scheme. I am saving for retirement instead of expecting young people to support me. Try saving sometime.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2009, at 6:09 AM, hawk08 wrote:

    Looks like the people who is overspending win and the one who is responsibled = loser! My question is "Are we created euqal?"

    The Declaration of Independence


  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2009, at 7:54 PM, pjazz2 wrote:

    Well said rcontos. I guess instead of keeping people in these homes we'd rather see the banks forclose on them. Mind you these are homes in your neighborhood bringing your own home value down.

    I can't believe people would rather let the house next to them be sold for a quarter of what there own house is worth. So instead of keeping a person in a home who will take reasonably good care of it you would rather choose another speculator who'll buy the house and maybe rent it out to someone who could care less about maintaining it. Better yet an vacant vandalized eye sore across the street.

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2009, at 8:24 PM, JohnG25 wrote:

    Who is John Galt?

  • Report this Comment On February 25, 2009, at 10:47 PM, Play2k wrote:

    This is a social engineering bill. Complete with all the corruption that inevitabely follows politicians with Billions in their pocket!

    There is nothing in the "stimulus" that cannot be better served with the following!

    1. Money back into communities via "Payroll Tax Reduction" - Primarily it shores up the local and state tax base IMMEDIATELY! It also Salvage EVERY single Mortgage that has a chance of being saved!

    2. A Genuine Authentic Infrastructure stimulus in the $400 Billion range - overseen by "state comptrollers" (because they will have to answer for success and failure AND ethical execution).

    3. GIVE the $1000 "stimulus" check/rebate to every working American (BECAUSE it's not that much and it's not worth arguing about and it will get either spent of banked as will ALL that which Consumers choose to Save)\

    Result: Transparency and accountability without some cockamamee website that will never succeed in tracking BILLIONS and thousands of dispersals - Who's going to verify?? the webmaster or some politician? GET REAL!

    Out of this a community Bank stands to gorge on deposits and they are the ones that service OUR OWN communities. They also should be well equipped to buy shares of the huge megabanks - SO There is the big bank bailout - OR NOT!

    Contingency for megabanks: Loans up to ONLY 15% of Toxic assets, using Toxic Bundles as security! With the above plan the toxicity of these assets will dissipate relatively quick!

    The NET influx of cash to every corner of America would be in the neighborhood of 1000/per Taxpayer + 200/mo/per. A community of 10,000 is looking at Immediate $10,000,000 Million + 2 Million/mo.

    This would cost less than 1/2 what this unverifiable Government corrupting Porkulus package and WOULD ACTUALLY WORK!

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 11:09 AM, artstuff wrote:

    After years of the NAR promoting houses as the best "investment" you'll make - now we have the chance to have tax payers subsidize our investment losses. Maybe I should lobby to have lower fees assessed to my mutual funds. Perhaps the USA could absorb some of the losses on my brokerage account. If this seems absurd, perhaps we shouldn't treat houses as investments. If a home is not an investment, then tell me why is a loan on this type of PURCHASE given such a special treatment? And I want new terms for my rent, maybe I can't afford it anymore!

  • Report this Comment On July 02, 2009, at 7:04 PM, Sunshyne43 wrote:

    I had an opportunity to personally ask (face to face) my main question regarding reworking of underwater mortgages of representatives of bothFreddie and Fannie. Both of them stated unequivocably that their companies would not be writing down the principal of mortgages to make them in line with current house prices. Of course, that was back before Obama and his buddies took over Freddie and Fannie. I wish I could again ask those two what they are doing today. It was my contention from the beginning that most of the people who took on an ARM that would eventually have a mortgage payment that they could not make were simply speculating that they would be able to sell the house for more than they paid so they would have windfall profits from the transaction. Now that it didn't materialize, they are either walking away from a bad "investment", or expecting us to fix their mortgage so they can stay in their house and make a profit later. You have no idea how this has impacted my blood pressure over the past six or seven months. When the "takers" from the government outweigh the "providers" to the government, the whole system will fail and no one will have anything. And right now there are way too many standing around with their hands out. No one is willing to bail me out of my lost retirement except me. I am working beyond normal retirement age so I can continue to take care of myself. I don't intend to ever expect my government to take care of me. That is not what our Constitution says -- it gives each of us the right to pursue our own dreams, it doesn't contemplate that our dream will be a government handout so we can live the lifestyle we would like to become accustomed to. When we make mistakes, we need to take responsibility for them, and pick ourselves up and move on to the best of our ability.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2009, at 6:53 PM, dcorley wrote:


    I just saw a house that is in foreclosure that would have sold for $25 million before the "troubles". It is offered at $600K. I wouldn't be surprised to be able to get it for $300K. It even has "butler" facilities. I can't afford a butler, but I can afford $300K. The only thing keeping me from buying it...

    It is too big to clean by myself and my wife.

  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2009, at 8:24 PM, cdcbuzz wrote:

    I have a very simple plan. Anyone who wants to foreclose must go the the Govt who will buy their mortgage for the current value of the house. This will allow the financial institution to recover instantly what they could get by foreclosing without the associated expense. The Govt would go to the homeowner (provided he lives in the home) and find out how much he could reasonably pay per month on his mortgage. That amount would be applied as the interest payment on his loan. He would be allowed to stay in his home. He would still owe whatever his mortgage was originally. In 5 years +/- when the house had regained value he could sell it or refinance or perhaps be in condition to resume normal payments.

    This would take toxic houses off the market stopping or slowing the price decline. It would give banks capital while making them responsible for their idiocy. It would use any taxpayer loses to aid the little homeowner. It would provide income (1 to 3 %+/-)to the Govt while holding the loan. It would avoid some homeless people needing other public assistance. The Govt is subsidising housing now thru section 8. So what if some poor bloke gets to live in a nice house for $500 a month. If he still defaults, the Govt can sell the house for what it paid for the mortgage or current value. If the house sells for more than the mortgage, the homeowner gets the difference.

    Every one gains a little. Even the taxpayer.

  • Report this Comment On July 11, 2009, at 7:08 PM, GetMeTheBigKnife wrote:

    Well, I don't believe that a single political party carries the blame. I think we are experiencing the downside of capitalism gone too far... deregulated capitalism. Like spoiled children let loose in a store. Now, we're doing the cleanup and repairs.

    I'd like our country to take the best values of capitalism (individual rights & freedom to reach goals of prosperity and happiness) and socialism (government support for basic human needs), and find a nice balance somewhere between them. Can you imagine a world without the insurance industry? Canada has it, so does France, Cuba, and others.

    I'm no dem or rep or anything, actually. I wish people in our country and all over the world could be so respectful of others that it would be possible to have a free Libertarian society, but that is a dream.

    I like what Smerche wrote on Feb 19 @ 10:57am:

    "There are irresponsible people we are "taking care of" in many different facets of life. I want to know how many of you self-righteous people that have your financial house in order have other parts of your life in order? I wouldn't be surprised if many of you are out of shape fatasses that are causing my medical insurance premiums to go up. I've been paying the medical insurance bailout for the unhealthy for years. And it keeps going up. Good God, get your fat sons and daughters to eat less and exercise more before they bankrupt the country. "

    Hah! Thanks everyone...

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2009, at 7:08 PM, GetMeTheBigKnife wrote:

    Here's an eye opener: Check out this month's article in the Rolling Stone:

    We all must turn our attention to the role that Goldman Sachs plays in our govt and economy, including this financial/housing crisis. Google it!

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