Housing Policy

Anti-Deadbeatism: Not Just For Heartless Libertarians Anymore!


We will gladly pay you Tuesday…

USA Today, with its Neuharthian sunniness, fine sports coverage and a business section rigorous enough that it was once called the "House of Pain" by lazy journos, never seemed like a very strong proxy for elite media opinion, and few newspapers' editorial pages are good proxies for the overall bias of the paper. Still, it's heartening to read this dissenting view on the HAMP from McPaper's ed board:  

The program is actually a mosaic of different parts. It includes money to induce servicers to refinance borrowers into government-backed loans, and in some cases reduce the principle owed on some mortgages. It has a requirement that they reduce the loan payments for three to six months if the borrower loses a job. And it encourages holders of second liens to settle up.

Economically, this makes some sense…

But from a perspective of fairness and what is best for the economy in the long run, it is hard to defend. Lenders made fortunes putting people in inappropriate loans by reselling them at a profit and collecting fees as a loan servicer. Now they are getting paid to behave as they should have all along.

Giving special deals to certain homeowners is troublesome as well. What about the people who opted against buying at the top of the market? Or those who narrowly missed qualifying for this program? Certainly, they must find the concept unfair.

Next time, the editorial writer might not do so much beating around the bush before considering that maybe the mortgage borrower might have some responsibility for the mess. In fact, a little searching would reveal that the unscrupulous lender who actually hoodwinked innocent borrowers (as opposed to simply making incautious loans to willing knaves) is a pretty rare bird. But real American folks (charming people, I'm told) are said to be more sentimental about home buyers than they are about big bankers, and I will not debate their profound wisdom at these proceedings.

The Wrath of Shaun.

The piece gets a rebuttal, with the expansive hed "Helping Everyone," from none other than Shaun L. S. Donovan:

Families still struggle to stay in their homes, communities still struggle with foreclosures and the market still struggles with uncertain house prices. So last week, we introduced initiatives to strike at two of the most important issues impacting the housing market: unemployed homeowners and homeowners who owe more than their home is worth.

Unemployed homeowners who qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program will get some relief while they look for work. And for those who owe more than their home is worth, we have created two options to responsibly restructure that debt. Qualified homeowners can modify their loans through HAMP, which now has an added push for lenders to write down principal balances. Or, if a homeowner has kept up payments, qualifies for a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan, and the lender agrees to write down at least 10% of the balance, he or she can refinance into an FHA loan at below the value of the home…

The administration is providing responsible homeowners opportunities to prevent avoidable foreclosures or, for some homeowners, helping them smoothly transition into rental housing. The result will be more sustainable homeownership, stable communities with fewer foreclosures, and a stronger housing market that makes your home an asset you can rely on once again.

The anti-bailout piece gets three times as many comments as Donovan's, most of them supportive. Donovan's handful of comments mostly read like this one from Orlandojon: "The author of this sack of lies must be on Obama's payroll."

You got it, Jon! Donovan is one of President Obama's All Stars, secretary of Housing and Urban Development to be exact.

So while it's cause for hope that the mainstream is catching on, it's daunting to know that people with real  power still believe, in the face of four years of evidence from God Himself, that a residence can be or should be an "asset you can rely on."

NEXT: Gene Testing Irony: Once Restricted, Now a Right?

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  1. rebuttal

    “Re-butt all.”

    I like the sound of that.

    1. Me too!!

  2. I make my home “an asset [I] can rely on” by walking through the front door and living in it at day’s end.

  3. The administration is providing responsible homeowners opportunities to prevent avoidable foreclosures or, for some homeowners, helping them smoothly transition into rental housing.

    What do they think they’ve been in for the last several years?

    Hey, if you have no equity in the property, you are renting it! Thank the bank for leasing you such a nice place and get the hell out if you can’t afford the mortgage. Let someone who can afford it get in.

  4. But real American folks (charming people, I’m told) are said to be more sentimental about home buyers than they are about big bankers

    Gee, I wonder why?


      1. Even though he’s short I’m willing to bet he has a delightfully suckable cock.

  5. The Obama administration has been all about punishing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible in virtually every way possible.

    Putting the taxapayers on the hook to bail out irrepsonsible homebuyers, bankers, auto companies and all manner of assorted screwups.

    Meanwhile what do the responsible get – the savers and investors, the people who have always lived within their means and been prudent about their finances?

    They get the shaft. The Federal Reserve keeping interest rates low to make savers pay to bail out banks by making their cost of capital virtually zero, attacks on their investment income by jacking up the tax on dividends and capital gains and slapping a new “Medicare Tax” (that won’t actually go to Medicare) and a bit fat tax bill to pay for all the bailouts, govt loan guarantees. etc.

    Thanks for nothing.

    1. Everything I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten. The fable of the ant and grasshopper is the most relevant story of our age. It’s been updated though because in our version the grasshopper had government force the ant to help him out.

  6. Tax the rich; feed the poor; ’til there are no rich no more

    1. Way ahead of you buddy. I’m having a little trouble with the whole “feed” part though.

      1. Have you run out of stones for soup?

  7. real American folks


    (charming people, I’m told)

    Yeah, by Faux News!


  8. Heartless libertarians. Is there another kind?

    1. No, not really. Seriously, there tends to be a darwinian streak in libertarian thought.

      Not that I’m overly opposed to it, though.

      1. Please sir can I have some more?

      2. I’ve heard reality has a darwinian streak. Does this mean that reality has a libertarian bias?

        1. You have it there. Reality, or we might call it nature, is frankly indifferent to the survival or well-being of any individual, nation or planet. That’s not to say that we must be also, but it demonstrates that charity, gub or otherwise, swims against the tide and will have commensurate costs and other downsides

          1. Full of it! Nature has survived because of the reality that we have a mutual instinct to take care of our young.

            1. Mammalist!

            2. That suggests that the instinct to take of our offspring and close family members, and treat more distant clan members with reciprocity, is different from abstract, idealized altruism and empathy.

              1. For fuck sake, we are genetically programmed to reproduce and protect offspring. I have never heard of a case where an adult saved a child from a burning building but first stopped to consider whether they as similar genomes.

                1. No, but you also didn’t hear about all the cases where adults who weren’t firemen by trade failed to rush into burning buildings because it’s dangerous and they didn’t have loved ones in there. Because it isn’t news.

                  1. Call me cynical but cite a study.

    2. Um, I support allowing house prices to fall and become more affordable, and I oppose handing taxpayer money over to failed lenders to bail them out when they have to write down their bad loans. They should be the ones who eat the losses.

      This is heartless?

      1. Graphite, “There’s no such thing as a kid who grows up without *any* successful examples. What it takes to succeed in this country is quite clear to everyone with eyes to see. At some point people are accountable for the role models they choose and the paths they follow.” or fuck you kids!

        1. Yes, that quote is the exact same thing as “fuck you, kids!”

          Or, hey, maybe no one is ever accountable for everything and it’s all just electrons and neurotransmitters firing around deterministically in our brains, in which case we should definitely try to put some government officials in charge of that process as soon as possible.

          1. Graphite,”Heartless libertarians. Is there another kind?” You qualify.

            1. Oh, goody! Is there a trophy of some kind? A bronze of a chest cavity with the heart removed, perhaps?

              1. yes

                1. but more of the whole body with other unused organs removed.

        2. I am not heartless.

          1. Coerced charity has a de-heartening effect.

            1. Charity is great but don’t make me share.

          2. Gm, don’t confuse heartless with the other word that starts with h:-)

            1. Which one would that be?

              1. the one that you used for your standing ovation

                1. I must be obtuse this morning. Still confused. ?:-/

                  1. Hmm, Oops not you.
                    Why? It’s polite to|4.2.10 @ 1:31PM|#
                    stand when saluting you;-)
                    I wondered why you used a different handle. Going to brunch.

                    1. Yea, that’s me using a joke handle 🙂
                      “Salute” was in the context of a military salute while applauding your Oscar acceptance.

                      However, I don’t see any words using “h”. C’est la Vie.

                    2. ?tait en Bolivie.

    3. Yes, rctl, there is.

      1. Graphite’s quote and not mine.

        1. message on The Prisoner thread:-)

  9. In the night I hear ’em talk, the coldest story ever told

    1. you rank thief!

  10. Man – son of man – buy the flame of ever-life (yours to breathe and breath the pain of living): living BE! Here am I! Roll the stone away from the dark into ever-day.

    1. Thank you for that.

      1. now put your faith in practice and do WJWD and support health care reform

        1. True, remember all:

          Jesus died to take the burden our sins upon himself redistribute the burden of sin equally among the wicked and the righteous, for the sake of fairness.

          Actually, that was kind of a dick move. Fuck this, I’m becoming a Satanist.

          1. Nice bible quote but all You’ll need to remember is “fuck this”.

          2. “There is none righteous, no, not one, for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

            No redistribution involved. Socialism is the essential opposite of Christian.

            1. Good job! Sharing is bad. Any mention in the bible is just a typo. Whatever you do, don’t teach your children to give. They could end up…caring for people.

              1. Grammar note: Sharing is something done by the sharer. When the sharing is done involuntarily by the sharee or a third party, that’s called “theft”. The bible mentions that too, somewhere.

                1. But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

                  10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

                  1. I am thrilled you can quote your bible but if you don’t live it, you belong to me. I am always amazed that the poorest counties have the most unselfish sharing. Yet, they don’t know much/anything about God but are very Christlike. I know so many here, who love to wear the cross but they forget that Jesus was born from a mother who would be, in our time,’welfare queen trailer park trash’.

                    1. Justify that one please. She was married to a man in a good profession who was working. She later gave birth to other children whom she and her husband were able to support and raise in a time with no government support.

                      As far as the trailer park trash. She was descended from kings and was, if one believes the bible, chosen because she was a good and moral woman.

                2. cynical, I think we can agree on how one feels when they involuntarily share but not on why they have those sentiments. I have a little secret: it feels good to share, try it.

              2. The typo is in the statist Bible, where the someone asks how to get to heaven and Jesus says “See that rich guy over there? Mug him, take all he has and give it to the poor.”

        2. horse shit.
          Jesus never said that the Church must become Caesar.

          Ditto what the other guy below says about theft versus sharing/charity.

        3. Man, you’re hurting my feelings.

      2. You’re Welcome

  11. Consider a $100,000 house in a 30-year mortgage with a 6% interest:

    Total Interest:$100,000
    Insurance: $15,000+ (0.5% of value annually)
    Taxes: $60,000 ($2 for every $100 of value annually)

    Total cost of simply owning a $100,000 house for the length of the mortgage: $275,000

    Include repairs and your house would probably have to triple in value over thirty years (adjusted for inflation) simply to cover the cost.

    There are advantages to owning a home, but even after it is paid off, there will still be $200+ a month cost simply to stay in the house. On average, it is not necessarily a good investment.

    I can still rent (in Houston) for less monthly costs than the total house costs.

  12. Where’s my check?

    1. Everybody who is poor, deserves to be.

      1. Nobody who is poor, deserves to be.

    2. It’s in the effing mail. What did you think?

  13. “homeowners who owe more than their home is worth”

    Maybe the government should bail out car buyers who finance — once they drive it off the lot, it’s worth less than what they owe too.

    Oh shit, I just gave them an idea, didn’t I?

    1. If they now pass ObamaCar Reform I’m going to hunt you down. And beat you.

      1. both sound fun

    2. Its great, ain’t it?

      If you bought prudently — and lost a bunch of equity — you get squat.

      If you foolishly overextended yourself to the point you’re completely upside down, well you get an outright windfall from the US govt.

      The bit about being upside wrt foreclosures is BS anyway for the most part — even if you’re upside down, if you didn’t get stupid with an ARM, and still have your job, nothing changed in your ability to still pay.

  14. So while it’s cause for hope that the mainstream is catching on, it’s daunting to know that people with real power still believe…

    I’d just like one good reason to believe it’s going to matter if the mainstream does catch on.

  15. I see that AIG is not going to face any criminal charges. The “anti-deadbeatism” is only for little people.

  16. Maybe the government should bail out car buyers who finance — once they drive it off the lot, it’s worth less than what they owe too.

    We already have socialism for the rich. Why not extend it to everyone else?

  17. I think it’s time for single-payer legal services. Then those darn banks will not be able to take advantage of these poor innocents making minimum wage and buying $1M homes!

  18. When you rearrange words like a leftist, where ‘society’ and ‘government’ are equivalent than you can also pretend that you are the one who has a heart, you can afford the fantasy that altruism extends from your willingness to spend other people’s money, and ease your conscience with the opiate belief that it is not stealing, or unjust, or authoritarian if it is decided by majoritarian vote.

    Not a rational way to go about living, but you may even thrive so long as the host tolerates your fangs.

  19. I almost wish there was a movement to identify these homes getting special treatment and burn them down.

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