Call me heartless, but I am sick and tired of hearing about how so many people were "taken" by banks with regard to mortgages. To that end, I have a bone to pick with 60 Minutes. Last night I watched the show's update to the earlier story, House of Cards. I found myself increasingly angry as I watched it. It was sensationalist journalism at its worst. The sky is falling, and it's all big bad Wall Street's fault, oh and yes, the mean mean mortgage broker.
Now, I recognize that there were lots of slimy people preying upon would be homeowners and giving them bad information. But does anyone hold perhaps the, oh I don't know, borrowers at fault? What about the guy they mention who wrote on his application that his income was $400K and nobody bothered to verify this. The show does a great job showing situations like this which were poorly managed by institutions, but at no point in the show do they blame Mr. "I Make $400K" for being a lying clod! And the show then portrays a couple that gives the sob story of just wanting a better home for their family, and because they were SO SO in need of a better place to live, we should feel sorry for them that they had no idea how much it would cost. THIS my friends, is what is wrong with this country. We have programs like 60 Minutes that want you to feel sorry for this couple. I want them to have a better home, sure, but how about taking a little responsibility for embarking on a six figure loan? The icing on the cake was when they talk about how people are losing their "dream homes" and we should feel sorry for them that again, big bad Wall Street, was packaging these loans up and selling them for fees and profits. I like our new apartment, love it in fact, but it is in no way my dream home. I cannot AFFORD my dream home and these people could not either! Boo hoo that I have to wait to have it. Come on, Steve Kroft, you know better than that.
Having just been through the mortgage process, I can attest that certain constituencies (banks) pushed us to take more than we knew we could afford. But in a nod to Nancy Reagan, we just said No. And I don't think it's asking too much for a borrower to have to understand what they need to pay back before they borrow. We spend a lot of time blaming credit card companies ("But they keep sending me offers for money!") and banks for our current meltdown. Well, sorry folks, but those that borrowed perhaps should look in the mirror and take a wee bit of responsibility. We will never move ahead as a country if we continue to foster the blame mentality for everything. Buck up, folks, read the fine print, it's not that hard.
All that, and yes, I am a registered democrat. But a democrat that believes in the power of people to stand on their own two feet rather than always looking for someone to blame at the first sign of trouble.