Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Soapbox Time! - UPDATED

Pardon me for a moment. I’m ‘bout to get a bit political up in heah just as response to something I saw on Janet’s blog. (Janet, I love ya, I love your wit, I love your sass, and I love hanging out with you, but I don’t love your politics! I know…big shock, right? :P)

I’ve discussed this issue before. The way I feel about the housing crisis was revealed in this post back in March of 2007 and it hasn’t changed much since then.

I think that a lot of people who know me through my blog see me as a rich white girl who doesn’t understand what it would be like to be poor, to struggle, to have to deal with the pain of raising a family on a shoestring budget. And you’re right about part of that. I am white. I do have money. (Some of the time, anyway. Like when I’m not putting several tens of thousands of dollars into the addition of space on my home, and all…) I wouldn’t say I’m rich, but I’m certainly not poor.

My father is rich. Well, rich-er than a lot of people. He owns 3 homes. He owns a lot of commercial property. He has several vehicles, and they are of the pricey Mercedes Benz type. He lives comfortably, and damned if he hasn’t earned it.

See, dad was born and raised in Montebello, CA. He was the oldest of 5 kids, and when his mom died when he was 15 (I think…I usually get his age wrong when I think back on this stuff), his dad was left to raise all 5 kids on his own. So grandpa put an ad in the paper for a wife. He married my step-grandma soon after, and she brought 3 kids into the relationship herself. So now there were 10 people living in the same house together.

A house with one bathroom. And only 2 bedrooms at the time.

Grandpa built onto the house (another bedroom and a bath), and damned if he and step-grandma didn’t live out the rest of their days there.

Dad got thrown out of the house as soon as he hit 18. He and step-grandma didn’t get along, so she threw his clothing out on the lawn and told him to find a new place to live. He moved to Arizona briefly to live with an aunt and uncle, and took one of his little sisters with him. I think she stayed there, but he moved back to California soon after. I can’t remember it exactly.

Anyway, he got into the construction field. He was a drywaller. He worked hard, married my mom, started his family. They got involved in property ownership early on, I think. There were some stumbling blocks, a bankruptcy declaration, even. But they made it through.

By the time Twin and I were born, we were doing relatively well. We joined a country club when we were in elementary school. There were some family issues that occurred, as will happen with any given family, but we were happy for the most part.

My point to all this is to say that dad wasn’t handed his wealth. He fucking WORKED for it. He made it. He made smart decisions, and they paid off. Not everyone is as lucky as he was, but he recognizes his fortune in life, and doesn’t treat it in a backhanded manner.

So to call someone hypocritical because they’re wealthy, and enjoy the wealth they’ve made for themselves? That’s just not right. I don’t know how McCain made the money he has. I haven’t looked into it, to be honest. I suppose I should. But it won’t make a difference in how I vote because it doesn’t matter, really. The propaganda is gonna be flying every which way over the next few months, and we have to sort it with a grain of salt. Regardless of position in life, people will always sit back and say, “They have no idea what I have to deal with.” Rich people do it. Poor people do it. Fat people, skinny people, short people, tall people. Black people, white people. Kids. Adults. Etc, etc….

But here’s the deal: it’s all a matter of perspective. Do not tell me that if you made good money and had disposable income, that you wouldn’t have multiple homes, multiple cars, and buy nice things for yourself. It bothers me to hear people place blame on other people for the situations that they’ve gotten themselves into. It bothers me to hear that they expect someone to come along and save them from the place they are, when they should have goddammed well known what the hell they were doing when they did it. I’m not rich like my father. But I’m not an idiot, either. If I had bad credit, and wasn’t able to afford to buy a home without putting a good amount of money down, and getting a fair rate that wasn’t going to skyrocket, I WOULDN’T FUCKING BUY A HOME. It’s not like those people had no choice…like they were forced to do something that was a bad idea all around for their family and lives in general. They could have continued to rent. They could have worked to get their credit into a better position. They could have slowly put money away until they had a downpayment for a home they could AFFORD. (Don’t even get me started on the people that buy homes they can’t even afford. They make me really mad. This is just semi-mad that I’ve been expressing. You don’t wanna see my really mad place.)

I seriously don’t understand what people are trying to achieve when they spread propaganda like what Janet has in that post. Are all rich people supposed to feel bad for having made money? Or good decisions? Or just in general been smart and possibly frugal for a while, so they were able to build up wealth and equity in their lifetime? I don’t get it…

FYI, looking into some of the background on McCain's marriages, I found this on Snopes. Still looking for more. But that was an interesting might check it out if you want to know more about McCain's marriage to Cindy, and how he signed a prenup that kept her assets separate from his, and about their kids, etc...

Still looking for more.

Ok, in looking for more info on Carol McCain, I found a TON of stuff. Just Google her yourself if you don't know the story already. Yep, sounds like he did cheat on her with Cindy. Not that that had anything to do with what I talked about in my post, but since it was brought up in comments, I thought I'd acknowledge the fact that I looked into it.


red said...

John McCain got his wealth from his second wife, Cindy. He's devoted his entire life to the Navy and public service (not very lucrative). What's more, McCain was married before his famous stint in the Hanoi Hilton to a beautiful woman (a model) who survived a tremendous car wreck that left her hobbled and scarred. Upon returning and seeing his now ugly wife, he immediately divorced her. I don't know what the video said (I can't watch video at work), but you asked how JMc got his wealth. I like(d) the guy but that is low.

Chimpo said...

McCain made his money by marrying a rich white woman.

I frankly don't care what McCain has and what other people don't. It's the way they lump everyone being effected by the housing crisis into one pool. Especially when it's people who advise McCain who are partly responsible for creating the conditions where these people were able to get sub-prime mortgages.

But to say it again, the only work McCain did to make his money is working on from the back on his wife...who he was having an affair with while married to another woman.

Janet said...

I've updated my post to properly reflect more of my opinion!

Faith said...

I've heard about him leaving his other wife. It was an amicable split, as I read it. Maybe I need to check that out again. I don't remember it as him cheating on her with Cindy, though, Chimpo.

None of that was my point, though. Janet's post called him a hypocrite but didn't explain why, and the video was showing clips of him commenting on the mortgage crisis in a plain and honest fashion, and then showed a woman involved in a foreclosure on her home kind of responding to the clips accordingly. It didn't make sense.

"Especially when it's people who advise McCain who are partly responsible for creating the conditions where these people were able to get sub-prime mortgages." I need more info on this statement. Where can I find it?

Coley said...

The problem with the current mortgage issues are that too many people rely on the lender to tell them what they can afford. A lot of folks have no idea about money, and use credit as supplemental income. It's a problem.
Combine that with some shady mortgage brokers (Not all, just the shady ones) who push through loans they shouldn't so as to collect their broker fees. It's a combination of issues that all parties are partly responsible for. At least my two cents on this issue. (From someone whose job it is to advertise loans to people who really shouldn't have them.)

But I think you make a fair point on your hypocrite comment. I'm just trying to keep out of most of this stuff. You're correct in your assessment of political disagreements, it is all perspective and what is important to YOU that determines how you vote, live etc.

Sorry for the long ass comment.

meesha.v said...

doesn't matter what context the video was posted in on anyone's blog. this video tells the story in itself, which the creators hope would convince you to vote their way.I think it's full of crap and I even wrote about it myself. and I don't even have rich relatives...

red said...

The mortgage crisis stems from the deregulation of the banking industry in the early 2000's. Now the same people that offer checking and savings account offer life insurance, car insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds etc. You could even get a mortgage from H&R Block! When every financial institution starts to offer every product under the sun, it spells trouble. As more lenders got into sub-prime lending, more sub-prime loans were bening lent, and more people defaulted on them.

Chimpo said...

Faith, if you want more info, start reading about Phil Gramm. Also look up UBS, the Swiss bank who lines his pockets and is now getting crushed for financing so many sub-prime mortgages.

Gramm also helped push the deregulation of oil. He was also McCain's senior economic advisor until he made some bad comments on the campaign trail. Something about us being a country of "whiners."

Faith said...

Oooh! You were refering to that Gramm guy. Got it.

Yeah, I still say people who got the loans they couldn't afford were just as responsible for th mess the country is in. Sorry!

(And I agree with Gramm. And I think it was shitty that he lost his job for telling it like it is.)

Don't get me wrong...I think that the banks that "took advantage" deserve to be in a pissy place as well. They should have known better than to walk into loans with people that couldn't afford the houses they bought.

Like I said in that 2007 post I linked to in this post: my bank offered me a loan for $180,000. There was no way in HELL I could afford a house that expensive. Just because the bank was willing to give it to me didn't mean I should take it all, you know? I borrowed $100,000, which was what I could afford monthly payments on, and amazingly, I still own my home! ::gasp!::

It's all a matter of using common sense. In my opinion, anyway.

Thanks for the info, Chimpo!

Chimpo said...

The people who received sub-prime loans are partially responsible for the country's current situation? Seriously?

If a homeless person walks up to you asking for $300 to buy a suit for a job interview, you might give them the money on the potential that they actually get a job and you get your money back plus interest. But in reality, you're not giving a homeless guy $300 unless you want to attend a hobo kegger. I don't see how it's the bum's fault that you're a dumbass and gave him money with little actual chance of getting a return or even retaining your original investment.

Not everyone is smart and/or good with money. Some people actually trust a bank and the thinking that why would they loan me money if they didn't think I could pay it back. The banks got greedy...they needed to take on more loans to fill the demand for investors looking to cash in on the high interest rates.

If you're going to attack any party's common sense in the whole ordeal, it's the banks' all the way.

meesha.v said...

sorry Chimpo, the video didn't have the bank crying, they had a lady who got kicked out of the house she shouldn't have had in the first place. so everyone got what they deserve, the bank lost money and got a worthless property, the lady is back to leaving affordable lifestyle.and why would you trust a bank, because they wear suits?

Faith said...

"The people who received sub-prime loans are partially responsible for the country's current situation? Seriously?"

Yes, really. Seriously.

And you then explained WHY when you said, "Some people actually trust a bank and the thinking that why would they loan me money if they didn't think I could pay it back."

Those people are STUPID. They don't deserve a home, they don't deserve my sympathy, they don't deserve an automatic bail-out just because they can't take the time to figure out how much money they have to earn every month in order to make the payments on their home they want to purchase. Because it really is JUST THAT SIMPLE.

Blame the banks all you want. I understand what you think about them just being in it for the all mighty buck, etc, etc...and they're paying dearly for it now!

But do not tell me that the stupid people that bought homes they couldn't fucking afford aren't in it for the buck, too! Because that, my friend, would be bullshit. That's why I bought my home! I was tired of wasting money on rent. I wanted equity. I wanted to paint my walls, and do what I wanted to when it came to decor.

But, again, I bought the house I could fucking afford. And I'm no financial genius, man. I'm an English Lit girl. Math and I do not get along. But money just isn't that hard. And the people who think it is like to blame other people for the woes they run into down the line. It's tiresome.

Anonymous said...

You are making a lot of assumptions here. From YOUR perspective (fairly wealthy, white, educated) people who defaulted on loans and are losing their homes are just "stupid." "They don't deserve a home..." Wow! Those are strong statements. But remember they are coming from YOUR perspective. You talked at length about how your Dad came from nothing and worked hard for his wealth. That's awesome! You had a great role model to grow up with. But guess what. Not everyone has the same experiences as you. Not everyone is fairly wealthy, white, or educated. And all of those things give you advantages that others don't have. So maybe figuring out loan payments, managing income, etc. comes easy to you. But what about those people who are buying a home and never went to college? Never saw their parents own a home (or 3)? Coupled with an industry wanting to make money and prey on those people? It spells trouble. Calling people "stupid" for the situation they are in is offensive.

Midtown Miscreant said...

I was going to stay out of this one, but , what the hell. I've heard race mentioned in a couple of comments, and as it relates to the people who over bought, race isnt really an issue here. I'll go so far as to say, the majority of people losing homes are white. Take a drive through JoCo , look at the bazillion for sale signs. Typically, even during the bubble, minorities have a harder time getting loans, especially for the middle and upper middle class homes. Every issue in this country isnt polorized by race, much to the chagrin of those who like to play that card. As I see it, the buyers are to blame for over spending, and the banks are to blame for over lending. But if the Govt. is going to bail out freddie and fannie, fairness dictates that they help those buyers who can reasonably make lower payments. And McCain is a douche bag, playing up his "War Hero" card, and a bit of a hippocrite in my opinion for attacking Obamas wealth , calling him out of touch, all the while he is just as out of touch with the middle class himself. All politicians are as crooked as a barrel of snakes. Good post Faith, even though we differ on the bail out , I agree that having stuff shouldnt make one feel guilty.