I am a BIG proponent of personal responsibility. In fact, taking personal responsibility is probably my guiding philosophy in nearly every aspect of my life.
If you’ve gone and screwed up something, gotten yourself in debt, then what are you going to do about it? That’s how I live.
The subprime mortgage mess has haunted me for a long time because of its relationship to personal responsibility. I am angered by the thousands of people who bought huge houses they couldn’t afford, all the while not reading the terms of their mortgages, and then cry like babies when their interest rates went through the roof and their homes were worth less than they owed. And I was angered by mortgage lenders who had predatory lending practices that helped (note that I said helped) create the whole mess. Everyone wants the government to take responsibility. No on wants to take the responsibility for their own mess.
But tonight, I heard a really stupid idea on ABC News …. So stupid that it made me the most mad about this issue that I have ever been.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested mortgage and other financial companies reduce the amount of people’s loans to provide relief to homeowners. “Principal reductions that restore some equity for the homeowner may be a relatively more effective means of avoiding delinquency and foreclosure,” Bernanke said in the ABC News story.
Did you catch that? Bernanke wants to allow people to get a break on their loan simply because they can’t afford it.
This is wrong, wrong, wrong. All you are doing is rewarding people who refuse to live within their means. They bought more house than they could afford, didn’t understand the terms of their loan, and got in over their heads. Why is that the federal government’s problem? Why should these people get rewarded with a reduction in their mortgages?
I pay my mortgage faithfully in fullevery month, on time, sometimes even pay a little extra on the principal…. where’s my big break? Why can’t I get the amount of my mortgage reduced? Why can’t I get rewarded for good behavior? Perhaps if I let my house go into foreclosure, I could get a chunk of the principal knocked off. That’s one way to pay off my debts faster, I guess.
The other thing that bothers me about Bernanke’s suggestion is that for some people, it won’t fix anything. These people are so much a part of the debt culture that the second they get any equity back in their homes, they will cash it out for all kinds of things – vacations, kid’s college, debt consolidation loans for their credit cards…. And in six months they’ll all be right back where they started.
It’s time people stopped whining and started doing some critical thinking. Take some responsibility, people.