The Simple Dollar linked to this article at Wisebread, where the author complains that by being responsible, he’s not going to get a piece of the bailout. He proposes a plan where he stops paying his mortgage and lets the handouts roll in.
Look, I’ve been responsible with my money, too. I could have gone on trips and cruises and worn high-end designer clothing. I probably could have even bought a condo here in LA if I’d wanted to, with no money down and my small entry-level salary. I didn’t. I saved, and now my 401K has fallen even further, my ING account isn’t even competing with inflation, and my company may go through another round of layoffs soon.
But you know what else? I haven’t laid awake at night wondering where I’ll get the money to cover my next mortgage payment. I haven’t had to survive on Ramen just to have enough money to pay utilities. I’m not ebaying all of my furniture, or waiting until the bank finally comes to throw me out of my house. I’m not wondering how I’ll ever break it to my kids that we’re going to have to leave the only house they’ve ever known. I may worry about my job, but I can live quite comfortably on my emergency fund for some time.
It’s scary out there right now, but to be honest, I’m not that scared. Sure, the market might not rebound, or may take a long, long while to rebound. You know what? It’s just money. I wasn’t going to get to touch that money for 40 years anyway.
I’m not scared because I was responsible.
It’s easy to only see that people are getting money they didn’t earn, that they will get refinanced mortgages at rates lower than yours, that their loan amount will be less than yours. However, these people have been suffering probably for longer than you can imagine. They were probably barely afloat before anyone even knew this was going to be a crisis. They probably have gone without food to make sure their kids eat and the water doesn’t get turned off. They do lay awake at night, hoping that some bit of luck will enable them to pay their bills, or that they will not be laid off.
I wouldn’t want to experience that. Not for all the handouts in the world.
Of course there will be people who scam the system. There are people who scam the tax system and the welfare system, people who use foodstamps for beer, people who steal identities and ruin lives. It’s unavoidable. And so maybe people were stupid and irresponsible while you envied their BMW 3-series and McMansions from your sensible rented apartment and Toyota Corolla (both of which I personally have). It’s not fair, I know.
So let’s lay of the blame game. Let’s stop worrying about gettin’ ours. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?
ETA: My Nittany Lions are now 9-0!