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Subprime Mortgage Bailout
Old 09-11-2007, 10:03 AM   #1
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Subprime Mortgage Bailout

I have been reading a lot recently about the subprime mortgage bailout that is being proposed in Congress. I must say that this whole concept in making me frustrated.
In the US, in a democratic society, we all have the right to choose how we live our lives, and the decisions that we make. I believe that we are all responsible for the decisions that we make, even the bad ones. So why do I keep reading articles that are talking about "people that did not know any better", and about "predatory lenders". Both of those concepts make no sense to me at all.
Taking out a loan for a home is a serious undertaking, and should only be attempted by those who really know what they are getting into. If you do not feel like taking that kind of risk (and yes.... buying a home has an element of risk to it), you can certainly rent somewhere instead. Owning your own home is certainly not a "right" in the US. I think the quotation that comes to mind is, "Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to violate it". I think this also applies to taking out a loan for a home. If you take out more money for a home loan then you could hope to pay back, then you deserve the financial reprecussions of that bad decision, just like every other decision in your life. If I touch a hot oven, it is certainly not the oven's fault that I got burned.
As for the term of "predatory lenders". The only way a bank loan can be oppressive upon anyone, is if you were to sit down at the loan office, and the bank manager pulls out a gun, and forces you to sign it. You are always free to walk away from a deal if it is not to terms of your liking. The banking industries got hit just as hard on this deal as anyone else. And the govt should not be bailing them out either! In a free country such as ours is, for this problem to occur at all, took two parties. The bank to offer way too much (a bad financial risk on their part), and the individual agreeing to the loan (a bad financial risk on their part). There was certainly no force or coersion used by either party to make that deal. But such is the freedom of living in the US. we are FREE to make foolish choices as much as we want to.
I am curious what some other here on the forum think. I am sure some will agree with me, and some will not. But in either case it will be interesting to see how other people think about this one.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:16 AM   #2
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Ah, yes, a libertarian wannabe who believes that the system is fair and the playing field is level.

I don't think I can respond to this one and be polite. Anyone else?
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:36 AM   #3
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armor- I agree wholeheartedly.

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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Ah, yes, a libertarian wannabe who believes that the system is fair and the playing field is level.
How isn't the playing field level? You make it sound as if there are one set of mortgage products for "priviledged" people and a whole other set of products for the "underpriviledged". The reality is, the same products are offered and available to all people. The only difference is that some people take the time to learn about what documents they're signing and what type of product they're getting into and some don't.

It's just like with fast food. If you make the choice to eat Mickey D's everyday and end up overweight, is it McD's fault for not babysitting you and telling you their food will make you fat or is it your fault for not understanding that their food will mak you fat?
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #4
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armor,

I certainly agree with the gist of your complaint, to wit: when people and loan providers enter into a bad business deal, they both deserve to fail when it goes bad. And a lot of what we're hearing is political posturing. However, it tends to get far more complicated in a hurry.

Most of the bad loans have not come from retail banking institutions, which are regulated by law, but from the virtual banking system, regulated by the jungle of greed and fear. Outside groups sell sub-prime loans bundled together to investors, which were rated as A or near A, looking for better returns. Nobody asks the questions the banks will ask, like, "Hey, do you have a job that will allow you to pay back this loan on time?" And it sounds like there were two major groups that got sucked into this thing: people who would have never qualified for a regular bank loan, and people who were betting on the market bubble going up long enough to turn a quick profit from price appreciation. Bad bet.

Should they be bailed out. Hell no. Will congress do it? Well maybe, depending on what votes it will generate. But I don't think so, at least not much. And here's the other piece.

The Federal Reserve has tried to pump in discount fundsat a higher rate, to help the credit crunch. So far it's not working too well, for a number of reasons. But Bernacke, I believe, doesn't care about all these people, homeowners, lenders, Wall Street et al. one twit. But he does care about two things, and in this order: inflation & recession. The only real lever he has to pull to really try to affect these is the funds rate, which until now he has held steady. If he lowers rates, inflation could be an issue. If he doesn't lower rates, recession may be a problem. So what will he do? The world watches with bated breath.

Where will you put your money? If he doesn't lower rates, you better not be long equities if you'll need the money any time soon. If he does lower, what will the greedy market want next? You feed the alligator, eventully the alligator will eat you.

Tight
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:49 AM   #5
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Start with the fact that we don't teach kids personal finance in school (primary, secondary, or college). Then some mortgage brokers were telling people not to worry about ARMs or interest only for a few years because your salary and home values always go up. "You can always sell your home for a huge profit, pay off the loan, and get a bigger house! Or refinance in a few years to fixed."

Yes, parents should be responsible for teaching their kids basic finances, but if they never learned how can they teach their kids?

I am for personal responsibility. I don't know the answer to this mortgage issue. I don't think we (govt) should just bail everyone out, but I do feel that people who didn't know better were convinced they were doing the smart thing. Many people think of banks/mortgage brokers as professionals there to work for them, not as the salespeople they really are.

I don't think we should just bail out the mortgage companies either, as they knew the products they were selling often weren't suited to the buyer.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:06 AM   #6
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We have the right to take risks which strikes me as the very premise of this forum.

Sales people are very talented at showing us what we want. Sure I have an acquaintance who bought a condo, got a couple of small inheritances, and found a real estate agent who showed her that yes, she could afford to buy a dream house in an ocean front area. I think she's OK even if she is over 70 and still w**king.

I rent in a very expensive area: twice I took out leases that were more than I wanted to pay. The idea was that my income would increase and it did both times so that the rent became, not cheap, but more affordable. That is freedom!

I don't know the answer to who should or should not help those home buyers but it sure looks like The Depression to me when houses are foreclosed and financial institutions are failing. Do we need FDR now?

Off-topic: I don't understand the constant referral to the expression, "the fundamentals are good." How could this be considering my previous paragraph?
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:19 AM   #7
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Armour....

I am 'in the boat' with what you say to a degree... I don't what to see people bailed out with our money...

But, you are living in a la la land if you do not think that there was not fraud going on or bait and switch...
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:22 AM   #8
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Personally, I knew about the iffy mortgages with the low rates and complicated payback schemes that were available when I bought my house, and at that time I had had very little exposure to financial decisions or how people buy homes. These mortgages seemed extremely fishy even to me at that time. I avoided them and went with something more conventional with higher payments. I did that because I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a free lunch and that if something bad can happen, it will.

It's too bad that some people got sucked into these mortgages. Naivete is a dangerous condition. It's too bad that they had to learn these lessons with such an expensive purchase as a home. But life is that way. We make mistakes, and we learn from them and move on.

I don't see how these poor decisions when financing a house should generally be assigned as the government's responsibility, though.

I suppose that if someone can be proven to be mentally incapable, there should be some recourse; they should never have been allowed to sign for any mortgage in that case.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Ah, yes, a libertarian wannabe who believes that the system is fair and the playing field is level.

I don't think I can respond to this one and be polite. Anyone else?
I think I can remain polite, but since all my previous battles with the libertarians have come to naught I no longer have the energy.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:50 PM   #10
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As for the term of "predatory lenders". The only way a bank loan can be oppressive upon anyone, is if you were to sit down at the loan office, and the bank manager pulls out a gun, and forces you to sign it. You are always free to walk away from a deal if it is not to terms of your liking.
This is theoretically true. But there has been a lot of fraud, and there are products deliberately designed to confuse people.

When I was younger I had a few fairly sleazy sales jobs. The only thing that ever broke one of these deals was if finance just could not see any way that the customer would be able to make enough payments to make him profitable before he crapped out. Customers were meat, there to be chewed up, digested, and then the gristle spit out.

Maybe at best 10% of people can stay ahead of a financially motivated hungry salesman who has some confusing product to push, and a nice tight one-sided contract to go with it.

It grossed me out and I quit, but it was easy money with very little risk of much going wrong for the sellers.

I should add- I still don't favor a bailout. The negatives are too large. But I really don't think that we add insult to injury by blaming people who are mostly victims. The regulation should be done before the fact, thus preventing pressure for bailouts.

Ha
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:09 PM   #11
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I thought Bush already said that it wasnt a "bailout"...You people really dont have any reason not to trust that...
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:19 PM   #12
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I think I can remain polite, but since all my previous battles with the libertarians have come to naught I no longer have the energy.
Maybe it's because we believe strongly in our positions and have well thought arguments to defend those beliefs.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:25 PM   #13
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Maybe at best 10% of people can stay ahead of a financially motivated hungry salesman who has some confusing product to push, and a nice tight one-sided contract to go with it.
Ha
I think that's about right. I can understand what I read in a mortgage note or an equity-indexed annuity contract, but I would guess that 75+% of target customers cannot. Sitting ducks for the motivated salesman.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:27 PM   #14
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Maybe it's because we believe strongly in our positions and have well thought arguments to defend those beliefs.
Nice try, but I'm not so easily tempted.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:08 PM   #15
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Well.... I really do thank each of you that took the time to comment on this. It was interesting to see the thought process and how each has come to the position that they hold. Some I have agreed with more than others, but if everyone always agreed with you, you would never learn anything new.
I agree completely that if anyone can prove that a mortgage lender told a customer something that was untrue, they should have the right to sue for damages. However if all the terms were available to review, then in my opinion you got what you paid for. Thanks again for all of your thoughts... that is why the forum is here to begin with...
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:20 PM   #16
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Not much different from the stock owners crying "foul" after the tech bubble burst.

Very little was done then ... very little will be done now.

But if Freddy/Fannie/Sally get sucked into it - then we'll see ACTION.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:39 PM   #17
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Nice try, but I'm not so easily tempted.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:37 PM   #18
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Nice try, but I'm not so easily tempted.
Touche! Oh, wait.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:00 PM   #19
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Well, putting my liberal hat on I have to point out that this mess is a good argument for regulation. Armor would say let the buyer and the seller beware - the little guys who didn't know better should have and the big guys get to take their medicine now. The problem is the Fed and others are worried about the economy as a whole. If they let too many of the big guys fail everything goes to hell in a hand-basket. The Fed isn't intentionally out to help specific big guys at the cost of little guys - they would probably like to see a few big guys go down the toilet to put a some fear of the market in the rest. But overall they have to bail the situation out to prevent disaster and many of the predators figure that into the risk calculations.

The question for you laissez faire types is do all of these derivatives, NINJA loans, and other creative devices have a net positive that outweighs the negatives we see when the sh** hits the fan? Conversely, would you counsel that the Fed should sit back and risk economic collapse to let things settle out by themselves? I don't have an answer but the bastards piss me off and I would curtail them to a degree.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:34 PM   #20
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Ah, yes, a libertarian wannabe who believes that the system is fair and the playing field is level.

I don't think I can respond to this one and be polite. Anyone else?
brewer, what does a 'fair and level' playing field have to do with it? What fantasy-land do you live in?

Every where we turn, we are faced with unfairness and un-levelness (if that's a word?). We each need to learn to recognize those situations and avoid them. There are sales people in all walks of life, trying to sell you something you may not need, may not be able to afford. Is it the government's job to eliminate all possible temptations from our lives? How could they even do that? Maybe I really WANT to treat myself to a rare bottle of scotch, or an old collectable. Do I have to take a test to make sure every purchase I make is a 'wise' one?

I'm out-of-my league at a pool hall or a poker table, so I don't bet (other than fun) money there. If I decide to play and bet big, and lose, I should look for a bail-out from the government? I don't think so.

Buying a house is a big deal. People should not go into it without learning a little first. I'm in favor of government regulation as far as spelling out the terms in easy-to-understand lingo (it may be a state thing, we have a one page 'truth-in-lending' statement in IL) and harsh penalties for any fraudulent statements/actions.

Just checking, but we are talking about the same government that will sell a lottery ticket to someone that needs that money for food, or should be investing it towards their retirement, right?

I don't think it is a libertarian, right or left thing. I think it is called freedom. Freedom really does not exist w/o responsibility. I think that place is called Never-Never-Land.

-ERD50
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