Sorry – hate to be a contrarian here, or perhaps I’ll just play devil’s advocate.
First of all – understand, that I take personal responsibility to an absolute level… I am FULLY responsible for my own actions and thats my credo. But I have had the benefit of education, intelligence, and a career in business as a leader, not one of the ‘downtrodden workers!’.
The American consumer is playing in a rigged game. You claim that people have only themselves to blame, but they are the product of marketing and conmanship… (Is that a word?). Take a very hard working assembly guy. Sober most of the time, gets to work on time, plays with his kids, watches TV. He is pounded from all sides by a constant blare of low interest rates, you must act quickly, you will be priced out of market forever, rates will never be this low, trust us – we are the most honest and honorable company, look how much money your neighbors all are making, don’t worry if the paperwork doesn’t match our promises, they are complex documents and if you don’t sign you lose your deposit (and your house – which by the way will be more expensive if you start all over.)…
It’s not greed. That should be reserved for the folks who gave their credit out for the purchase of 5 houses in their name…. Most of the people who are going to be smacked in the meltdown weren’t speculating that they would get rich from their ownership, that was just a potential side benefit.
A salesman’s job is to put people in pain. But the most pernicious group of savage money stealers have been lying to people who, by all accounts, don’t really understand economics, interest rates, economic cycles, or many of the other things that someone needs to make an informed decision.
By the time some of these slick Real estate LIARS, mortgage LIARS, investment counselor LIARS, TV Advertisement LIARS, government policy makers (You Mr. Greenspan), and anyone else making Ferrari buying money (p.s. It was never the case that Realtors could live in the neighborhoods they sold, now they live in the neighborhoods above the stuff they sell! – of course 90% of them will be looking for work soon….) got through with the general consumer the game was over.
Hey – my core values agree with all of the posters in this thread. And I am NOT interested in bailing anyone out (except by a 10 year tax on the real estate agents, mortgage agencies, and a whopping payback by the wall street crowd) but lets try to realize that it’s very, very hard to resist this kind of assault.
A lot of what is going on right now is “I told you so”, and “Look – I didn’t get taken – so you are an idiot”…. But our ENTIRE culture is based on marketing crap to people which they don’t need. It also is the driving force in our economy. A bunch of hucksters took the rubes for all their dough! But don’t come down too harshly on the rubes.
If I had a 11th grade education, made 30K per year, and was constantly barraged by very, very, VERY sophisticated folks who’s job was to get me to sign, and I saw the opportunity to own a home (and with it the ABSOLUTE promise that it would only increase in value), I would have signed too. If I was middle class and made 90K and saw that prices were going up every year and that soon, very soon I would NEVER be able to buy (I would be priced out), I would have bought as well… Not for greed, but just to be able to keep my kids and family in a nice neighborhood.
This market wasn’t created by greedy people looking to get rich, it was created by an incredibly greedy real estate cartel of Realtors, Mortgage brokers, Wall street finance cheaters, and our government looking for short term success to be reelected. Not by the vast majority of the buyers.
Just my 2 cents…. Don’t be so hard on the little guy.