For those of you who want to learn more about the credit crisis and how we got there here is a link to an NPR broadcast that does a great job breaking it down so it is easy to wrap your head around it:
Listen to the show: http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1242
Read the transcript: http://www.thislife.org/extras/radio/355_transcript.pdf
Also here is a good graph that depicts the history of home prices and how things were affected from the aggressive lending: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2006/08/26/weekinreview/27leon_graph2.html
I was reading an article last night that was on on cnn money, that said go ahead and get mad about the bailout, but then feel comfort in the fact that things would be much more painful without it (which may very well be true). But to be honest, I am really frustrated for a couple of reasons–I feel completely powerless to change the decisions, it is going to impact me in a negative way.
There are two parties that can benefit from the bailout–the rich wall street bankers or the reckless homeowners. It seems like every article you read is looking for someone to blame. Of course it is easy to look at the incredibly wealthy executives with the golden parachutes and think that their greed finally got up with them. Part of me thinks they are to blame and should suffer for the risks they took–after all isn’t that what the whole free market is about? You take risks and sometimes they pay out (everyone knows about the big paychecks and bonuses the guys on wall street received year after year), and sometimes they don’t (when your risks don’t pan out). It only makes sense those people should be responsible for these losses. Of course I am slightly jealous of these people. I am all for saving our economy, but I think we should figure out a way where these people could have hiring taxation or should have to help pay for some of the losses from their risks. Of course, I would love to one day be able to have a job like that–when I can work hard I can really be rewarded for that hard work.
Here is a good blog post that lays out some rules for the bailout that helps with the richer side of the story. All of the rules seem really fair and seem to place blame on some of the people who made the hefty profits.
Other people look at the poor reckless homeowners that are losing their homes and think they need rescuing and should be the recipients of the payout. In some ways that makes me even more mad. if you listen closely to each of these stories, there is almost always some track record of irresponsible spending, people living beyond their means. These people took out loans they knew they couldn’t afford–many of them bought mountains of junk (the reckless consumerism that plagues our society), many took expensive vacations, and some leveraged their investments on speculation hoping to make some easy money. Why should these people be saved? The only family I know who could be considered one of these victims certainly spent their way into their problems. The wife has a nanny and doesn’t work, the husband wears a rolex. They eat at the most expensive Seattle restaurants and have two brand new cars. Every time I would talk to them they were buying something new. In my (perhaps heartless) opinion these people deserve to lost their home. They should have made sacrifices, not bought so many new things, and saved money. Didn’t live a champagne lifestyle they could not afford. Of course it is easy to feel sorry for someone who is losing their home, but it is hard for me to blame a mortgage broker for giving them a loan–it is much easier for me to blame the people for their exuberant lifestyle.
So that leaves the people who have been living within their means, working hard, and trying to get ahead–those people are the real victims in this whole scandal. It makes me sad that this is the way things shake out. I know life isn’t fair and I truly hope that when all is said and done the government will think about the responsible citizens.
Just my $0.02.