Monday, October 06, 2008

Flights of Fancy

These are hard times. And even though I have anticipated this general collapse, I can still honestly say, that many of the details and reactions are astonishing. I mean, seriously, a bail out? A rescue? Our government has concluded that trillions of dollars of bad debt and corrupt practices can only be salvaged by begging voting for more debt. It's sad enough that we have lost the respect of the international community, in so many other regards, but just to add insult to injury they essentially own us... our solution is to rob Peter to pay Paul. Pathetic.

I'm sorry. I can't help myself. I get all worked up about this stuff. Do we really want to examine the parts of the bailout that are mind numbingly stupid? Stupidity like the rum clause... a little rebate to U.S. Caribbean territories, estimated to be worth $192 million over 10 years. And then there is the news story of the 90 year old woman and her foreclosure woes. Her tale is a sad one, and so are many others, but what is the message the government and media are communicating to us? Gee, sorry you shot yourself, but HEY! No sweat. For taking two bullets to your upper torso, we'll forgive your mortgage, courtesy of your fellow Americans. It's a risky proposition, but one wonders what a broken toe or black eye might get you. I am not lacking in sympathy for the suffering of some individuals, but the sweet grannies are a small minority in this debacle and until I see Angelo Mozilo in jail, feeding homeless people or contributing to the bailout then I feel no qualms balking about our government's unwavering idiocy. Sometimes I imagine that the whole mess is super-super hard to understand and then I am reminded that no, in fact the whole mess is so easy to understand it can be summed up in a comedy skit. (Oct. 8 update: Why was skit removed from Hulu?)

I was going to move on. Change the subject. But something has come up and I cannot exclude this passage from this post. Countrywide Mortgage is getting bailed out. Geoff just told me, and he didn't have to explain what this means for our family. We have been patiently and hopefully waiting on a short sale of a property held by Countrywide. We have saved and waited for 5 years to buy a home with a reasonable mortgage and on ethical lending terms. We have endured ridicule and shame, we have been diligent. My 3 boys slept in the effing kitchen/dining room so we could bide our time and do things the "right way." Free market and capitalism were good enough for the mortgage companies then, but now they want their sorry @sses bailed out, because God forbid the free market dictate that houses be worth less than what they dreamed up. Our hopes and plans are officially wiped out. Countrywide will withdraw the house we wanted to buy, and instead we will continue to pay for that house and millions of others, that we don't get to live in, through taxes and losses that will burden generations.****

What are we supposed to do? Please. I thought I understood some things, but I see I was profoundly wrong. I could lash out in angry protest. I could really make an awful display of my rage. Isn't it too bad I am still a good citizen? I cannot even mention what I wish I could do...

What should I tell the children? Oh, God. I actually told them, last April, *Mommy's pretty sure we'll be in our own house by Thanksgiving.* It seemed so close to possible. It seemed so possible to believe and hope. Is there a support group for this sort of thing? When everyone was on the spending spree and shaking their heads at us, we had no one's sympathy, and now we are still out of the loop... everyone assumes we are smugly sitting pretty, instead we are getting screwed. No relief. No bail out. No rescue. No sympathy. No home.

I had all kinds of pumpkin patch pictures and lovely sentiments about the pleasures of taking flights of fancy, of me making up stories about flighty witches in the quilt shop I love. I was on a fool's mission, and I thought it was sufficient to amuse and distract me, but no more.

****Sometimes in the interest of being discreet I am not so much subtle as I am obtuse.

Allow me to clarify.
1. We made an offer on a home
2. The home is was about to be foreclosed
3. The owners borrowed from Countrywide, and they continued to add home equity loans to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of dollars above their mortgage
4. Our offer was to be a short sale... something satisfactory to the lender... unless
5. Unless the government stepped in and agreed to bail-out the lender from their reckless lending
6. Foreclosures are sad when it's old ladies or hardworking families with honest tales of woe, but around here there are are far more flippers, Humvee owners, I need my Botox now kind of scenarios that do not remotely evoke sympathy.
7. We have been bumped from at least 4 different home sales due to highly questionable tactics... this time I blame Jerry Brown.


Mama Spark said...

It is all very depressing, isn't it? I can't believe that we are bailing out an industry that made their own bed. Any other small business would be on their own. So I guess it is ok to cook the books, steal money and not go to jail too. the whole thing leave a bad taste in my mouth!

Frogdancer said...

Here in Australia we're in a better position (apparently our banks have tighter regulations) but if America goes down we'll be dragged down too. Our population (21 million) is too small to weather this on our own. I don't know all of the details about this bail out, but it seems just plain wrong to me. I wouldn't want to be leaving my children that much debt to pay off.
I'm so sorry for your house. That just plain stinks.

Chris said...

You are so right again Natalie!

This is just one, big, stinkin' mess! I am having trouble seeing how anyone is going to come through this unscathed. Unless of course, you are the CEO/Board of Director members of one of these financial institutions...

Judy said...

Natalie, I am so sorry about your house. Everything you say is so true. It's a frustrating, scary time. All of us "regular people" are feeling the pain, while the big shots who caused this mess hide in their mansions. My husband and I feel lucky that we bought our house three years ago... don't know if we could now.

Katie said...

I'm frustrated too man. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say the good guys and the good citizens are the ones feeling it the most.

Damn the rules, or the social norms I should say.

d.a. said...

Grrrl, I hear you loud and clear. The volume knob on the "sucktitude" goes to eleven. I'm so sorry about the screwed over housing situation.

Good thoughts to you and yours that you find the perfect house at the perfect time.

Tracy said...

Oh, Natalie...I'm so very, very sorry your Thanksgiving move won't be happening...and that it may be a long while yet until you can move. My heart goes out to you...I couldn't agree more with all your say, and the feeling behind it all. It is hard not to feel anger and bewilderment over the goverments doing, and wonder when this crazy downward spiral will stop. Here is Norway we are being touched by the financial crisis. Interest rates are going up and up, unemployment in many fields is rising, the housing market is terrible...We are trying to pull in our horns a bit, but it is hard--especially when just the price of getting a week's worth of groceries is scary. All over Scandinavia and Europe there is fear about how this will play out in the months ahead. We bought and moved into our house three years ago, and very glad we made the move then, as we could not have afforded to do so now. We could use a new car, but will definitely be holding off on that for a while *sigh*...Thinking of you all and sending ((HUGS))

dewatobay said...

Natalie, you have articulated your position and frustration well. I say there is a newspaper that would print it as an guest op-ed. The least you should do is write a letter to your congressional rep AND Atty. General Jerry Brown.

Tiglizzyclone said...

I am so sorry about what you and your family are going through. None of this is good for most.

Jennifer said...


it is criminal. we all need to vote.

Anonymous said...

I am a realtor and worked on a short sale for 8 months! It took the bank 8 months to respond and when they finally did the buyers lost too much money in the market and had to withdraw from the sale.The house will be foreclosed on for less than what the buyers were willing to pay: The bank lost money, the owner will have a foreclosure on their record - hundreds of thousands Dollars lost to the bank.
There are willing buyers out there; capable of paying -as you were- but nobody in charge seems to care about one little deal.
Thousands of deals go down the toilet every day ..... all just one little deal at a time.
I wanted to check on the status of a home that is bank owned - I had buyers who were interested. It took me FIVE days to get through to somebody to simply get an answer if the house is still available and the only reason I finally reveived an answer was because I demanded to speak to somebody in charge and held for 30 minutes to get a person on the phone.
This is what I was told: This agent has 1000!!!! properties for sale and cannot get back to everybody - as if my request to actually get a return phone call was unreasonable!
What reasonable business person gives 1000 deals to one preson to deal with?
Oh, I forgot: We are not dealing with reasonable business people ....

Marcia said...

Hi Cousin - Gil here posting under Marcia's account.

So many things I want to say, so many thoughts, emotions, churning through me right now.

First, we (Marcia and I) send our love and empathy for your situation, for the anger and frustration you are all enduring. Please know that we will lift you and your family up in prayer and that you are not alone, in the sentiments you express and the struggles you are engaged in.

Permit me, if you will, to share a few observations and conclusions that have resulted from my recent ‘journey of disconnect’. I use the phrase ‘journey of disconnect’ to describe what began as a simple research project, wherein I was seeking data from a myriad of sources around the world to help paint a more coherent picture of a problem with which I was tasked to understand and evaluate any potential impact upon my employers operations – and resulted in a ten year journey down a rabbit hole where I found myself being systematically disconnected from what you and I and practically every other human on this planet considers, reality.

The level of misdirection, deception, and doublespeak that is occurring in our country alone, not to mention the world, is staggering when compared to even ten years ago. It would be too easy to just blame one political party or another, or maybe even the mass media for failing to fulfill its purported position as the Forth Estate, as a check and balance against the kinds of corruption that you have described in your post. But to blame any of them is exactly the response that is desired, dare I say, calculated. The web of lies and deception has been woven, layer upon layer, so thick now, as to almost completely obscure any ray of truth that might seek to penetrate and light a path for the captives inside. And while the cognitive dissonance has increased to such a level that even the average man on the street can sense in his gut that too much is too wrong in this world, he is at a loss to even begin to discern the truth.

Nat, I will cut to the chase as it pertains to your post…the global economy is being purposefully destroyed before our eyes as a means to an end. This whole affair was literally planned centuries ago, set in motion, and is now reaching its completion. The Old order is being brought to chaos so that a New order can be born – ordo ab chao. Those that are not prepared to survive outside of it, will for certain be absorbed into it, or destroyed. There is no middle ground. We all have a choice to make – I pray you will allow me to continue this story so that you might truly understand the choice set before you.

With love,