Posted by Warren Peterson on June 16, 2008
Writings by two syndicated columnists caught my eye recently. The first was on Michelle Malkin’s blog. It covered the revelations regarding Congresswoman Laura Richardson from California. Apparently, she has blatantly walked away from mortgages on several homes and may be in the process of doing it again. There are also allegations that Washington Mutual has given her favorable treatment. The second was a column by David Brooks about the moral change in America with regard to wealth. We have moved from a frugal society that saved for the things we wanted to one hooked on credit cards and debt. The poor, who lack access to credit or investments, look to government sponsored gambling as the quick road to riches.
I remember when I moved to Seattle how hard it was to get a Visa card. I was a former Navy officer starting a well paying job with Boeing but I still had to wait weeks to get approved with a low limit at that. Now days, just about anyone can get several credit cards with ease. I remember after several years paying rent, I decided to buy a house. Even with a friend working at WAMU, they weren’t really interested in giving a single man, good job or not, a mortgage. I finally got a mortgage from Rainier Bank thanks to the Veterans Administration guarantying it. Live in the wrong neighborhood, be a woman or have marginal credit and mortgages were problematic. Not today, or at least not before the sub prime crisis. Zero down adjustable rate loans and ever-increasing home values lured millions of people into buying more house than they could afford. Realtors, banks and mortgage companies wanted your business and competed fiercely to write loans. One could always sell at a profit or refinance if needed. Bursting bubble, what’s that?
The astronomical incomes of professional sports players, entertainers and CEOs have blurred the definition of wealth. Lowering of moral and ethical standards along with easy credit and expansion of the nanny state, which borrows with impunity, have all served to change America and not for the better. In face of this, we look for the quick fix; the candidate that will save us from our profligate ways but the truth is in the mirror.