Things seem out of whack. Naomi Wolf, who was not long ago a gracious guest in our home for Shabbat but not at all on our page politically, apparently has a new tome coming out about how America is ruined and has gone Fascist. My first reaction: That's why Obama won?
Then, I'm moving the newspaper off the kitchen island so I can make my weekly challah, and I see the New York Times' Business Day section, headlined, "Washington's New Tack: Helping Home Buyers." Before reading the article, I said to myself (I talk aloud to myself, my most approving audience): "Nobody ever expected the government to help buy a house before." Actually, I was feeling cheated, because it used to be that if you couldn't afford to buy a home, your parents "helped" or you just didn't get one until you could afford it. Then, if you lost your job or for whatever reason couldn't make the payments, you sold the house or, if you were a deadbeat and missed payments, you lost your house to the mortgage-holder.
I read the article, and sure enough, the Feds know that those of us chumps who bought our houses under the "old rules" would resent the newbies who get their goodies: "...the new focus on helping individuals could create a bitter split between those who want to buy homes and those who already own them." Yeah, I want one of those Treasury Department "30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at rates far lower than most Americans have ever seen" that will only be available to new homebuyers, not refinancers! Why have my husband and I been working so hard to pour so much interest into the hands of those 'greedy bankers'? We pay taxes--lots! We want our share of them BACK!
My gosh, I thought Pres. Bush was in favor of free markets. Doesn't that include allowing a free-fall in real estate? We know Roosevelt's programs to stop the Great Depression backfired (see Amity Shlaes). I think this is an extreme example of the "Do-Something Disease" my husband talks about. The role of the federal government has morphed from organizing states and providing basic national services (defense, insuring national transportation) into the Great Daddy who has to come through when his kids (in this case, realtors) get in trouble. But the good kids who do everything right? We're stuck with hundreds of dollars more in monthly mortgage payments. What is this???