Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:03 pm

ryguy wrote:Ray, one point you've repeated in this thread, and it's an excellent point, is the pay of our elected officials. They do enjoy a retirement plan the likes of which most of us could only dream of. As they call on corporate leaders to quit the nonsense with overpay and extravagant bonuses (as they should), they do need to take a hard look at themselves and "represent" by stepping up and leading by example - otherwise, as you point out, they risk looking like fools and hypocrites. Those costly financial perks that currently overburden taxpayers need to be stripped down - just like our jobs and benefits are getting stripped down. Our retirement savings are shrinking, our healthcare costs continue to rise, our pay has stagnated...it's definitely time for our elected officials to put their money where their freakin' mouths are.


Imagine a government where the People, and ONLY the People, could raise elected officials' salary or grant them retirement benefits, by vote.

Imagine how unwelcome a citizen proposition would be on Capitol Hill that urged a new bill that would make such a vote part of the law.

No more than once per year (on election day), all citizens could decide for themselves whether Congress deserves a pay raise, or even a percentage pay cut.

What a concept. But how to make it reality? The point is that something must be done to hold the idiots accountable. (We've had this dicussion before too, in another thread!) :)
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Porkulus Winers & Losers

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:56 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/13/ ... index.html

There is some very telling evidence in this article when you stop to think a bit more deeply on some of these:

High-speed and inner-city rail: Went from $300 million in House bill to $2.25 billion in Senate to $8 billion in final version. There also is a $6.9 billion provision for public transit.


Spend more, not less. Amazing.

National Institutes of Health: Ends up with $10 billion in the final bill. The House proposed $3.5 billion and the Senate wanted $10 billion -- $8.2 billion goes to the NIH director for his discretion.


Again, more than either body was pushing for. And the "discretion" part... with all the hoopla over CEO pay, I wonder if there are ANY conditions at all on how the NIH director can use this $???

Government oversight: Board to oversee stimulus bill spending will get $84 million to do the job. House bill allocated $14 million while the Senate bill called for $7 million. There is also more than $100 million more for various inspectors general in different agencies.


Government needs more money. Sure. Again, what are the details here? Sounds like a bunch of cash to pump up the bureacracy.

Veterans: Nearly all items for Veterans Affairs were reduced and the $2 billion the Senate wanted for VA construction was wiped out altogether. The VA did get one thing: $1 billion for medical facilities renovation and retooling.


This is how we treat those who served our country by putting their lives on the line? Wish we had "transparency" into Congressional debates on this to see who voted to reduce these items!

FBI: Senate had allocated $475 million but all was cut out of final bill.


Has anyone in Congress bothered to review the statistics that crime ALWAYS increases (by quite a bit) during economic downturns?

Foreclosures: $2 billion is set for a neighborhood stabilization program that helps areas plagued with foreclosures by buying back properties and preventing blight.


Translation: We've gotta give some more money to those people at ACORN.

Homeless: $1.5 billion is directed to homelessness prevention.


Wonder if any details about this will see the light of day. Could it have been worded any more nebulously, but yet still with those words that tug on the heartstrings?

Same old way of doing business. Usually, in aerospace we price things higher because we know the final budget will come in lower. It only seems that in government that you can get more coming out than what you were asking for going in. Is that really a responsible way to deal with taxpayers money?

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby mavn » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:35 am

I hope everyone realizes that the 1.5 billion directed to homeless prevention does not go directly to help the homeless. It will go to organizations to help pay their staff to counsel those who are at risk of being homeless.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:18 pm

mavn wrote:I hope everyone realizes that the 1.5 billion directed to homeless prevention does not go directly to help the homeless. It will go to organizations to help pay their staff to counsel those who are at risk of being homeless.


Of course... it is the "big government plan" that Democrats love so much. Forget the fact that the federal government can never, EVER be as efficient as a private enterprise in anything.

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Jack Cafferty gets it right again...

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:26 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/17/ ... index.html

The criminal part of this boondoggle is divided into two parts. The first is the Democrats promised to post the bill a full 48 hours before the vote was taken to allow members of the public to see what they were getting for their money. Both parties voted unanimously to do this ... and they lied.

It didn't happen. Why am I not surprised? Congress lying to the American people has become part of their job description. They can't be trusted on anything anymore.


This is "change", huh? Riiiiiiiiiight....

I'm sure part of the reason there was no time for the public to read the bill was the 11th-hour internecine warfare between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

When Reid first announced the compromise had been reached, Nancy Pelosi was nowhere to be seen. And it would take an act of God for this egotistical, arrogant woman to miss a photo op where she could take credit for anything. But she wasn't there.

She summoned Reid to her office, where unnamed sources said she blew her top over some provision for schools that she wasn't happy with. Pelosi's snit delayed everything.


The two leading socialist "pushers" in the Federal government are bickering between themselves. Again...this is change? This has ALL the earmarks of the SAME MISTAKES made by the Republicans when they had control over both houses of Congress and a president to do their bidding. We are witnessing Pelosi and Reid beginning to squander the "mandate" that they think they had. Obama promised change... not them! :roll:

It's really too bad President Obama couldn't figure out a way to jettison these two who are poster children for everything that is wrong in Washington. The Associated Press called the birth of the stimulus bill "sausage making" in the best tradition of Washington politics as usual.


Honeymoon is officially over. I think many people are seeing the writing on the wall. Again I must say that Obama had better be ready to battle these two idiots within his own party... otherwise the "hope" for "change" is DOA.

The second part of the crime is the contents of the bill itself. Far from being only about jobs, infrastructure and tax cuts as promised, the stimulus bill stimulates a bunch of other stuff as well. Eight billion dollars for high-speed rail lines, including a proposed line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This little bit of second story work wasn't even in the House version of the bill.

It started in the Senate as a $2 billion project, and came out of the conference committee costing a whopping $8 billion. Gee, now who would that benefit? Oh yeah, the Senate majority leader is from Nevada.


Goodness knows we HAVE to bail out Las Vegas and keep the gamblers rushing to its shores! :evil:

So far, we have an anemic stimulus bill and some sort of vague proposal from the secretary of the Treasury to deal with the banking crisis -- a proposal that landed with a thud last week -- as the two first steps toward solving a financial crisis that is threatening to take down the country.


Yep. But at least the Dems got in one last round of pork to bleed the electorate dry and fund their pet constituents before Mother Hubbard's cupboard becomes bare.

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Clearest move to socialist policies

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:47 pm

So now we are getting a look at the next step for the Obama administration:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/18/news/ec ... 2009021809

Obama seeks to aid up to 9 million borrowers

First, let's start with Obama's politically-crafted punchline:

"In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis," Obama was expected to say in a speech Wednesday. "And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen -- a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, every American will benefit."


That is eminentaly debatable when you examine some of the details of his plan viz-a-viz the responsible people who were conservative in both their home purchase and finance decisions:

The Obama plan calls for:

Helping borrowers who owe more than 80% of their home's value to refinance and reduce their monthly payments.

Creating a $75 billion homeowner stability initiative to reduce monthly payments for at-risk borrowers by subsidizing interest rates. The goal would be to bring payments to no more than 31% of a borrower's income.


Providing multiple incentives to servicers to modify loans and to proactively help at-risk borrowers while they are still current in their payments.

Creating a $10 billion fund to protect investors and servicers against further home price declines.

Requiring all financial institutions receiving government funds to participate in a standardized loan modification program, while seeking to have all federal agencies that own or guarantee loans also apply the guidelines.

Allowing judges to modify mortgages during bankruptcy, a measure the financial industry has strongly opposed.

Providing more Treasury Department backing of Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) and expanding the number of mortgages the agencies back.


The ones I have bolded are the ones that have the most clear implications of socialist policies where money from responsible, hard-working, conservative people who can manage their own lives is now taken and used by the government to prop-up people who made bad decisions, or were just plain greedy in how they made home-buying decisions. This is wrong, and those policies above will do absolutely nothing to help or benefit me, a person who always took the conservative option in purchasing real estate and financing it.

The first point is just plain arbitrary, and I see HUGE potential for abuse. For example: The retirement property I bought in Colorado several years ago is totally leveraged against my primary home in SoCal. So on the books, it shows that I owe something over 85% of the current value of my SoCal home. What is to stop me from taking advantage of this new plan to "reduce my monthly payments"? As always, it is the details that matter.

The second bold item is equally arbitrary in that the goal is tied to making payments equal or less than an arbitrary percentage of someone's income. Shouldn't they (the home buyer & lender) have considered that when they purchased the house, especially if they purchased it with a risky loan? And again... what are the details, as I can again see potential for massive abuse... people like me, who do NOT need the help, deciding they will avail themselves of government (other people's) money.

The third bold item is the most egregious, as well as lacking in any detail for "how and what". Why do investors and servicers need to be "protected" from falling home prices? WTF? This clearly flies in the face that the market is what sets the value of ANY commodity. No matter what the details of this item are, the entire premise of this item is to artificially insulate people who knowingly take risks from the natural value-setting of the market. This item is just plain stupid and can lead to worse problems in the future for which "government money" (taxpayer money) will again be required.

These are socialist policies. And because the government can NEVER properly administer the low level details of such programs, you will find that the propensity for fraud and abuse of such programs will siphon more money out of them than whatever will filter-down to people who allegedly need help.

Question for the people who appove of such socialist policies: Whatever happened to renting a place to live when you cannot afford your own home? When did it become a "right" to own a home rather than a "privilege" that one earns on their own? If for some reason my home was foreclosed, guess what? I would have to move into an apartment or some other place where I would pay someone rent. Why is this so egregious? We are babying people who have already shown themselves to be stupid, greedy, or both.

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby ryguy » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:08 pm

I don't know man...I'm one of those "stupid" people, but we actually opted for a slightly more affordable home in an overpriced housing market. The financial companies were trying to sell us into ridiculous mortgages that I *knew* I couldn't afford - we opted for a smaller home at a smaller mortgage, but because of the inflated home prices, still had to take a small "second" and let the rate float. The plan was to just pay off the second quickly and then eventually refinance the first - of course it was at a good rate anyway.

Then interest rates kept climbing on the second, making payments more expensive (but we still made them), and finally the bottom fell out. The value of the home dropped by probably a quarter so the mortgage is completely upside down. Now, instead of paying on a overpriced home that has the value to support it, I'm paying on a formerly overpriced home that's worth less than the mortgage I'm dumping my hard-earned paycheck into.

Why did we buy before saving enough of a downpayment? We were renting for many years, the lease came up, and interest rates were rock bottom. We'd been waiting three years for house prices to bounce back down, but there was no end in sight and mortgage lenders were willing to make it possible to get into these overpriced homes with mortgage products that didn't require a downpayment. Remember, on a home that was as overpriced as they were back then, the required downpayments were ridiculous. They were most likely not even close to the sort of downpayments required when you bought a home (relative to income that is). The closing costs alone were easily thousands, and those ate up much of the available cash that would normally have gone toward a downpayment.

Fact of the matter is, the plan described above would allow us to have a mortgage that's more in line with what the house actually *should* have been valued at when we purchased, it allows the mortgage company to avoid a loss from another foreclosure sale, and it would free up more spending cash...always good for the economy. Yes, taxpayers will be paying for it...but it will help the economy. In my mind, that's at least one way the stimulus package would be spent that would actually have an impact.

Was it stupid to want to own a home where we can have a backyard for our children before they become teenagers? Maybe it was. I wish we could have been in the situation a lot of people were years before when houses were more affordable and you only needed a reasonable downpayment to get into a home, but in the middle of that bubble - it didn't look like that would be a reality ever again. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:11 am

Hey Ry,

ryguy wrote:I don't know man...I'm one of those "stupid" people, but we actually opted for a slightly more affordable home in an overpriced housing market. The financial companies were trying to sell us into ridiculous mortgages that I *knew* I couldn't afford - we opted for a smaller home at a smaller mortgage, but because of the inflated home prices, still had to take a small "second" and let the rate float. The plan was to just pay off the second quickly and then eventually refinance the first - of course it was at a good rate anyway.


Well, this is certainly not "stupid", and I think you know the people I am talking about: The types who already lived in a home, but were greedy and wanted to "move on up". And used gimmicks like no money down, or the worst NegAm. But the really stupid and greedy were the "house flippers"... the people who were doing this to "get rich". I'd say you took a conservative approach, but you let your typical engineering (=conservative) guard down, and you took a calculated risk. Nothing wrong with that, provided you face the risk and own-up that it was you taking the risk. No one forced you to do it.

Why did we buy before saving enough of a downpayment? We were renting for many years, the lease came up, and interest rates were rock bottom. We'd been waiting three years for house prices to bounce back down, but there was no end in sight and mortgage lenders were willing to make it possible to get into these overpriced homes with mortgage products that didn't require a downpayment. Remember, on a home that was as overpriced as they were back then, the required downpayments were ridiculous.


You mean even 5% down FHA loans???? IMO, I do not consider a no DP path terribly advisable, or smart. But that is because I am uber-conservative. I guess my career in flight controls says that if you are going to take risks, you should have not only one backup plan, but backups to the backups. That is how we mitigate risks. But I know you know this. You let your emotion get the better of your engineering judgment. But the main thing is, no one forced you into this.

Fact of the matter is, the plan described above would allow us to have a mortgage that's more in line with what the house actually *should* have been valued at when we purchased, it allows the mortgage company to avoid a loss from another foreclosure sale, and it would free up more spending cash...always good for the economy. Yes, taxpayers will be paying for it...but it will help the economy. In my mind, that's at least one way the stimulus package would be spent that would actually have an impact.


The problem is, this is socialist thinking, but even worse. Because free individuals are allowed to take the risk (which would not even be allowed in a socialist society, as it would be under state control too), but when people get burned for their free choices the burden for that risk is now socialized across all people. And I don't see any analysis that says, currently, that this really will help the economy. To know that, you would have to know what the real "bottom" will be in the RE market. And if you knew that, you would time your purchase accordingly. This is nothing more than a new (socialized) risk which serves to absolve people of the risks they took on of their own free will. Some of us are extremely responsible, even when we take risks. So much so that we plan-in what our moves would be should the absolute worse case come to pass. I just do not believe it is right for people who did NOT take the risk, who do NOT get the benefits of taking that risk (living in your house or sharing in its equity when it does return) should be the ones to shoulder the bailout for your risk. It is not a capitalist motif. It is socialist. Why can't I hold my hand out for all the value I lost in the stock market? Because I took the risk.

Was it stupid to want to own a home where we can have a backyard for our children before they become teenagers? Maybe it was.


No, it is not stupid to want better for your kids than you have now. But the reality is there are plenty of kids who grow up in rented homes or apartments with no yards... or much, much worse. Your wishes for your kids are not in question. Rather, it is the risk you took upon yourself to give them that better life. It is your risk, and your risk alone. Expecting someone else (even if they are faceless) to bail you out is simply an abrogation of personal responsibility.

I wish we could have been in the situation a lot of people were years before when houses were more affordable and you only needed a reasonable downpayment to get into a home, but in the middle of that bubble - it didn't look like that would be a reality ever again. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.


Sure it is. And the thing to be aware of is if you had NOT taken that risk, and continued to wait it out and save, you could possibly even buy a bigger/nicer house right now. The point is not the hindsight (IMO), but rather that you took a calculated risk for your family. The hallmark of conservatism is personal responsibility, especially in fiscal matters. My personal view is that it is amoral (to me) to expect anyone to give me a hand just because things get tough.

Truth be told, I am not in a very good cash position myself right now, because I took a sizeable risk with my Colorado property. Here is my story, and how I made sure there were multiple ways that I could shoulder all responsibility if things went wrong:

I designed and planned the building that now stands on my property, and got several estimates not only on the building, but the septic, the foundation, etc. The whole shooting match. And I made sure there was even 15% contingency on top of that. I made sure that the balance of money left in my home equity line of credit was sufficient to cover that whole amount. So I signed the contract on the building and foundation/septic engineering and got the ball rolling in April of last year. My backup positions were dual: (1) I could always cash-out one of my several 401Ks held at previous employers, take the tax and penalty hit, and still pay off all the bills. (2) If these lost huge amounts of value (which they did, eventually), I still had a credit card that (because of my 800+ credit score over the years) had risen to a limit of over $50K. So I built-in options for the worst possible case.

And as it turned out, the first time I had to dip into my home equity line was at the end of July after I got the complete drawing set, but before the building materials arrived on site. Immediately after that withdrawl, I got a letter from my mortgage company saying that they were capping me at my current limit... no more access to the remaining credit line that I had planned on having available to fulfill my remaining financial responsibilities, per contract. Damn good thing I had the backups, eh? As it turned out, I DID have to cash-out one of my 401Ks and I am paying the price in taxes this year. But not only that, but because my other 401Ks lost so much value, I saw the futility of cashing out any more of them... and so I tapped into that final backup... the revolving credit card. VERY damn good thing I planned-in a second backup! As it is, I am still making all the payments and even have enough left over to pay down a couple hundred in principal on the credit card each month. But money is VERY tight and I have had to curtail eating out almost altogether. A luxury I really enjoy as a bachelor.

But even now, in my worst position since my college days, I still have plans for if it gets worse. I kept my Colorado property free and clear (leveraged the whole thing against my SoCal home) specifically because that is my home of last resort. If absolute worse comes to worse and my home is foreclosed because I lost my job, I would still be able to move onto my CO property... my credit would be seriously hit, and I would have lost everything in my home. But I will have handled my responsibilities ON MY OWN. If I EVER have to look to government bailouts.... for ANYTHING, then I had better be at death's door anyway... and then what is the point?

I don't like to act all high and mighty about this... but if more people lived their lives as conservatively as I (and many others) do, then we would never get into these situations. Taking risks for the future is one thing, but when you take such risks such that you cannot possibly maintain your responsibility for living in the worst possible outcome, and then expecting others to help you out.... well, then you just become another liability for society as a whole.

Just my opinions...
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Now I am REALLY pissed!

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:41 am

And just after completing my reply to Ryan, now I read this "bold speech" by Eric Holder, the new attorney general:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/18/ ... index.html

In a blunt assessment of race relations in the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday called the American people "essentially a nation of cowards" in failing to openly discuss the issue of race.


Well, first of all, I did not know this issue was anywhere within the purveyance of the Office of the Attorney General. But quite honestly, I do not think I need to be lectured by ANYONE in government as if they were a preacher preaching to me. But then he goes on:

Holder urged Americans of all races to use Black History Month as a time to have a forthright national conversation between blacks and whites to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable.


How much does this apply to black opportunists like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Because one thing I have to say I am sick and tired of hearing are how black people are insulted by something stupid that someone has said or done... or even those things that may not be stupid, but that (for whatever reason) black people will immediately take as an affront to their race, regardless if it was meant that way. I refer to the New York Post political cartoon with the dead monkey... and how black people are immediately offended, Al Sharpton is immediately asking for an apology, and NONE OF THEM are willing to look at the FACT that there had been a big news story about a monkey attacking a woman and that monkey had to be shot. If someone immediately jumps to a conclusion that this is a racial slur, and ignores the current news story, then I maintain that THEY are being racist in their immediate jump to a conclusion that the use of a monkey automatically = racism against blacks.

Here is the bottom line: It is NOT AGAINST THE LAW to insult people. Free speech (and that means TOTALLY free speech) is protected by the Constitution. Protection from being insulted is not. I try my best not to insult anyone, and because I am white I ESPECIALLY walk on eggshells around black people. But just because someone says or does something that insults black people DOES NOT MEAN they possess more rights than me, or even the idiot who said/did something insulting.

If Holder really wants "honest discussions on race" then the black community needs to reject hatemongers like Jackson and Sharpton because they are NO BETTER than the people they decry. Honest discussions on race have to be a two-way street. I am sick and tired of "white america" being held as responsible for all actions of all white people. We have removed racial discrimination from the institutions of our society. You are NEVER going to be able to enforce a mandate that "no one can insult anyone else", especially when it comes to racial issues or other issues based on the differences between us.

I grew up a Polack in Cleveland, and I took my fair share of abuse. At some point, I had to grow up and realize that "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." I don't need "apologies" from people who are saying stupid things. I just ignore them, because by making a big stink, I am actually yielding power to them by doing so.

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby Access Denied » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:28 am

ryguy wrote:Was it stupid to want to own a home where we can have a backyard for our children before they become teenagers?

Is the American Dream stupid? Not in my book.

Screw the naysayers...

If you qualify for Obama’s mortgage assistance plan I say go for it Ryan… you’ve been paying your taxes for how long? Seems to me it’s about time the working/middle class received a direct benefit... for a change.

Ultimately it’s unchecked corporate greed and personal irresponsibility that got us into this mess… I see no reason those who are trying to earn a honest living should have to suffer as a result.

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan Fact Sheet

Besides, it’s all on paper anyway… Monopoly money. It's not real, they'll make more...

National debt by U.S. presidential terms

U.S. President - Party - Increase debt ($T) - Increase debt/GDP
Roosevelt/Truman D 0.05 -24.3%
Harry Truman D 0.01 -21.9%

Dwight Eisenhower R 0.01 -10.8%
Dwight Eisenhower R 0.02 -5.4%
Kennedy/Johnson D 0.03 -8.2%
Lyndon Johnson D 0.05 -8.3%

Richard Nixon R 0.07 -2.9%
Nixon/Ford R 0.19 +0.1%
Jimmy Carter D 0.18 -3.2%
Ronald Reagan R 0.65 +11.3%
Ronald Reagan R 1.0 +9.2%
George H. W. Bush R 1.40 +13.1%

Bill Clinton D 1.12 -0.6%
Bill Clinton D 0.42 -8.2%

George W. Bush R 1.15 +6.9%
George W. Bush R N/A +3.9% projection


What, me worry?

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:12 pm

Access Denied wrote:Ultimately it’s unchecked corporate greed and personal irresponsibility that got us into this mess…


Exactly. I agree. But it seems you are saying that absolving people of their personal responsibility with respect to consequences of decisions they made when they were not acting responsibly, is the way to fix this... "Tough love" can cause people to consider their prior actions and possibly adopt personal responsibility when they realize no one will be there to bail them out.

Besides, it’s all on paper anyway… Monopoly money. It's not real, they'll make more...


I think (hope) you are being fascetious. But just in case you are not: Then why not simply print-up 1 million dollars for each US adult (working or not)? Heck, if we did that, everyone's problems would be solved, and we would "only" add 300 trillion dollars to the national debt. No problem at all. I am sure China would love it too because we would be back to the spendthrift consumers they so dearly love. :wink:

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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby mavn » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:36 am

So, who in reality are all these taxpayers who now are being told they are going to pay again for all these revisions? Are they the wealthiest Americans who probably could afford to do this - no. Are they the upper-middle class Americans - no, not as many of them. Would it be all those people who are on government assistance programs - of course not. Then who could it be - Oh, I remember. It's all those people who are now considered to be lower-middle class and low-income Americans who probably can't afford and will never be able to afford a house because their taxes are too high. Especially, single low-income and lower-middle class Americans who are paying close to a third of their wages to taxes. When this segment of our population finally goes under then in reality my friends this is when America goes down.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby Access Denied » Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:12 am

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:But it seems you are saying that absolving people of their personal responsibility with respect to consequences of decisions they made when they were not acting responsibly, is the way to fix this...

No, that’s not what I’m saying.

If you had read the fact sheet I posted you would know nobody’s going to be absolved of anything… the amount people owe on their homes will NOT be reduced.*

It’s simply a way to avoid even more foreclosures by helping people finance into a lower (more affordable) payment and interest rate who otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to circumstances beyond their control.

What I’m saying is I believe it’s better than the alternative and people like Ryan who were acting in good faith are worth rescuing.

mavn wrote:So, who in reality are all these taxpayers who now are being told they are going to pay again for all these revisions?

[snip]

It's all those people who are now considered to be lower-middle class and low-income Americans who probably can't afford and will never be able to afford a house because their taxes are too high. Especially, single low-income and lower-middle class Americans who are paying close to a third of their wages to taxes.

Wrong and not even close. Please provide evidence to support that claim or withdraw it.

Hint: The top 20% in income effectively pay around 50% of their income in federal taxes which accounts for around 70% of all federal taxes collected. The lowest 20% pay around 5% and only account for around 1% of the total.


* Except for those entering into personal bankruptcy proceedings. Mortgage loans in excess of the current value of the property will now be treated as unsecured.
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby ryguy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:44 pm

I really enjoyed your reponses - gave me a little more insight into my situation, thanks guys. Oh, Ray I do need to clear this up though:

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:You mean even 5% down FHA loans????


One problem with being "middle class" is that you're sort of stuck in a money crunch (as you know - based on your own story). I researched every government program available that might make borrowing for our first home more affordable - but every program required that you earn a ridiculously low income...we qualified for no program whatsoever. I think for the FHA we missed it by barely a few thousand a year, it was pretty sad...lol.

I do know what you mean about taking personal responsibility and having a backup plan (or several). It's funny because as I was reading your description I was thinking about what options you had available even before you described them - we think a lot a like financially it seems..lol.

We do have a "worst case" plan - but unfortunately unexpected hospital bills have screwed that up. I'm not a bachelor, and I'm the sole wage-earner at the moment, so that responsibility is on my shoulders. Like you, I've got a small 401k balance (which of course shrunk recently...lol) to borrow from if I have to, and then there were certainly rotating credit card credit available - but even those are disappearing as credit card companies start playing games with extortion through drastically increasing interest rates and charging idiotic nonsensical fees. So there goes the credit card backup....that's no longer an option for middle America - we've got to get out of using credit cards, it's too unsafe and the companies are far too greedy to offer us affordable credit solutions. (The people who run CHASE BANK should be shot.)

So what does that leave? Well, for now working a full time job and almost full-time writing jobs, I can make all of our payments...like you, we've cut back on luxuries like eating out or going to the movies. Back to the frugal living of our college days (and childhood)...lol.

Honestly though Ray...I know what you're saying about bailing out people who've taken such risks, but given the unfavorable credit environment toward the middle class - why can't the solutions target middle-America for once, as AD points out? Give families a fresh start, or at least give them the ability to get their feet back under them so they can take off running again. I really think that if you can relieve those stresses on the class of Americans who are generally the nation's hardest workers...you'll see America's overall productiveness multiply exponentially.

-Ry
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Re: Obama Watch - Keeping an Eye on U.S. Leadership

Postby mavn » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:23 pm

AD - Perhaps you are right so please post evidence to support your statement. I am writing from personal experience so I am just one of the taxpayers who has paid close to a third of my wages in taxes (combined state and federal) and know that at this rate I will probably never be able to purchase a home which for me is fine - I like my apartment. However, let's just see what happens as the economy worsens and more and more people lose their jobs. What do you think will take place if the bottom falls out of our economic system? Are the wealthiest of our society going to hold it up as the middle class slide farther down the scale with many joining the ranks of the lower middle class, low income and perhaps even homeless? I hope so.
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