Friday, September 26, 2008

Smarter than them all

Ok, I've known for years that I was smarter than George Bush, not as rich, not as sneaky, not as educated, and not as powerful, but smarter in the good ol' common sense way. I KNEW, without any intelligence or advisors, maybe just women's intuition, that there were no WMDs before the end of 2002, months before the first shot was fired.

But I had hoped that the rest of our elected officials were smarter than I am. I have never claimed to understand economics. I hated the class and only passed because we were allowed to write our notes on a 3x5 card for the test. Do you know how many notes you can get on a 3x5 card using 5 font? ALL of them. And I still only got a B.

But I have known that we were living in a housing bubble since the end of 2004 when I was house hunting for my bff, P's, family before they returned to the Riviera from the West coast. They owned a home when they left, had been gone for just over 3 years and wanted to buy when they returned here. I spent several Saturdays and holidays in the company of realtors trying to find the perfect house for P's growing family. You know what I found? A BUNCH of overpriced houses. And this was before the market around here completely lost its mind. You could still find a place to live for almost a reasonable amount of money. That stopped happening in 2005.

I could look around at the housing prices and realized that the market could not sustain these prices. I realized that there was a huge bubble, that it would eventually burst and many of these people would be sitting in houses that were less in value than what they owed. P and I had many discussions on this issue when I urged her not to buy. She was caught up in the house buying mania and (in her defense) everyone else in the entire world was telling her to buy. Own. Get a little piece of the homeownership heaven. Stop throwing your money down the toilet.*

Circumstances prevented P and her husband from buying a home at that time and we are all incredibly grateful for that, because now she lives in another state and would still be paying a mortgage in this one. A mortgage on a house that was worth less than she owed.

So why could I figure that out and Congress couldn't? Why have I felt that this country's economy was headed for a huge depression and this is a shock to Congress? How is this a shock? Have they not been paying attention? Too busy campaigning? Too busy throwing my tax dollars at Iraq? NOW this is an emergency? Funny, there are people in this country who have been looking for work for YEARS, tell them the economic tide JUST turned.

I don't know what the answers are. Bail out? No bail out? Depression vs recession. Months vs years. But I am pretty sure that I am voting against every single one of those on Capital Hill right now. Get them all out of there. At least next time there is a problem of this magnitude, if there are all new Congresspersons, they will have a REASON to look stunned.

*I've never understood this. How am I throwing my money away if I am renting? I have a roof over my head and NO responsibilities. Roof leaking? Call the landlord. Broken dishwasher? Call the landlord. Water heater just caught fire? Call the landlord. I have not made enough back in interest and taxes to pay for all of the issues listed above and I had the stress as well as the financial outlay. I love my house, but there is nothing wrong with renting.

4 comments:

Shel said...

I completely agree on the renting thing. There are some people who, for whatever reason, don't want to or should not own homes. Until we get past the way of "everyone should own a home" way of thinking, this problem is not going to change.

Pete Bogs said...

I am almost 40 and have never owned a house... still renting... I see the benefit of having a landlord who has to fix things at his expense when they aren't working...

of course you are smarter than Bush, but come on - so is a box of hammers! ;-)

I think the future may see a lot more renting and bike riding...

LeftLeaningLady said...

Honestly, the only reason I own a home is because I had an 85 pound dog and could not find anyone to rent to me. And, at the time, it really was cheaper to buy than to rent. I got a lot more house by paying a mortgage than I did by renting.

Pete Bogs said...

LLL - I hope to have a house someday... I want to find someone to share the space, cost, chores, etc. before I do that...

then the market has to get better...

PS: Bogs’ October Surprise: Regular BogsBlog posts throughout the month of October. Come by and check ‘em out!