2 Stories In The News

I heard two different stories this morning that simply made me CHAFE.

Story 1:
Salt Lake Tribune, March 10/06. In the Buisness Section, there was a short story about a father and mother that took two sons and a daughter in law on a carribean cruise on Royal Carribean. It seems that the two sons got left behind at a port. The ship left port on time, the two young bucks were late getting back to the ship. They didn't have any of their stuff (like passports, etc.) with them, and when they found themselves having difficulty getting to the next port, everybody got their shorts in a twist.

So, naturally, the father, being an attorney, decided to SUE the cruise line. The little darlings got left behind not because the boat left early, but because they were LATE. But, from a lawyer dad's standpoint, the cruise line was to blame. A quote from a RC spokesperson noted that they had explained to this fellow numerous times that the contract provided with the tickets states very clearly that if a person gets left behind at a port, it is their responsibility to get themselves to the next port. Period. But this is somebody else's fault, because the little gems had stress trying to get to the next port.

Gimme a break! I'm so tired of everything being somebody else's fault, personal responsibility be damned. I just don't get it.

Story 2:
Report on NPR this morning. The host was talking about housing issues, interest rates, default rates projected in the next 24 months, etc. Then he introduced a guest as a housing consumer advocate in the state of Georgia. He brought up an example of a 50 year old African American divorced lady with a 14 year old son at home. He explained that she was a hairdresser, making a total of $2000 per month. She went out looking for a house, and settled on one with a sales price of $122,000. She went to a mortgage broker who told her that she would be "qualified" for a loan that would allow her to purchase the house, and the payment would be just under $1000 per month. So she said, great, sign me up.

18 months later, the house is foreclosed. The guest on the program indicated that he blamed the loan officer for this default and many others that are happening across the country and WILL be happening in the next 2 years.

Ummm... forgive me here, but WHO signed the NOTE?? Was it the loan officer? I somehow doubt it. Since when does a person become absolved of responsibility when it comes to his or her own personal budget and finances? Did she know what the payment was? well, she signed the note, she signed the first payment letter, she signed everything, and now wants to blame the loan officer and the people who invest in mortgage notes on Wall Street for accepting the mortgage. GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK!!!

Seems to me, one should have an idea of what can afford to pay for a payment on anything, a house, a car, a tv, a meal at a restaurant. Loan officers only whow what they are told by a borrower. If a borrower says, "yeah, that's fine", then great.

Why is a default on a mortgage note somebody else's fault? There are indeed a few instances when this is an issue, like when documents are falsified, or some other shady practice has taken place, but STILL, if a person signs a pile of papers stating what the payments and other terms are, that person should be able to say either that they CAN or CANNOT afford to take that step. She should have said, "maybe I need to find a house that give me a payment more like $X."

I'm stunned and dissappointed that we are turning toward a norm where some "company" is to blame for an individual's actions. Both these stories are symtomatic of a larger problem we have in America: "If I am successful, it was becasue of ME, if I am not successful, well, you must have done something to me to make it so that I COULDN'T be successful."

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, OVER!!!

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