Getting penalized for being competent

Well that’s bullshit: program funded by $110 million federal dollars will provide up to $50,000 of relief to homeowners stuck in underwater mortgages; under specific conditions, none of which demonstrate the ability to be financially responsible much less competent at all

There’s no sugar-coating it, my home’s been underwater for the better part of, since I’ve lived in it.  The house was purchased in 2004, the value of the home rose a little bit for each of the first three years, and then the housing bubble popped, and the values of homes sunk faster than Yahoo stock.  My life was in a way different place back in the day, but I remember getting the first letter that stated that my home no longer had any equity that could be borrowed from, and as far as I know, that hasn’t recovered, even to this very day.

Needless to say, I’ve become very attuned to the concept of underwater mortgages throughout the years, and I should feel fortunate that my household has been in the minority of most underwater homeowners, and that we’ve always been able to pay the bills every month, and have been able to maintain good standing with all home expenditures throughout the years.  We’re actually getting to the point where the mortgage is practically whittled down to where we might be able to even hit a break-even point, with the underwater estimates.

At this point, a push is a win, and Jen and I can brush ourselves off from this failed gamble and figure out the next steps in our lives.

Anyway, when I read this article about this program, I couldn’t help but feel that this sure as shit would’ve been something great to have come, back like 5-6 years ago, when the housing market was practically in crisis mode, and the sheer number of defaulted mortgages and abandoned homes pretty much made parts of the city feel like the second coming of Detroit.  Sure, I’ve always been able to pay the bills, but back in the time when I was still a freelancing graphic design nomad, who had bouts of not knowing when the next paycheck was coming in, it certainly would have been nice to have had even just the littlest bit of relief from the financial woes.

When I saw that there was a link that had a questionnaire to whether or not one might qualify for the program, I couldn’t help but feel in the back of my mind that this was a futile test that I, or my household, had little chance of getting approval for some relief monies.

Especially when the questions are:

  • Is your total income at or below the county?
  • Have you filed your most recent tax return?
  • Are you more than 2 months past due on your first mortgage?
  • Are you in active bankruptcy?

Even as I was answering these questions honestly, I couldn’t help but think that my lack of positive response to queries signifying some truly dire conditions, was going to work against me.  Sure enough, upon submission of my quiz, I was promptly directed to the generic page stating that I probably wouldn’t qualify.

In other words, because I’m a person capable of reliably paying my bills, paying my taxes and avoiding bankruptcy, I probably don’t qualify for a program that I am also very much well within the definition of criteria.  But really, because my household makes too much money, and we’re financially responsible, we’re automatically probably not qualified for this program.

Meanwhile, those who have withheld paying their mortgage(s), don’t pay their taxes, and are legally bankrupt, might be eligible to get up to a $50,000 loan that doesn’t have to be entirely paid back.

In other words, this is kind of a bailout, but actually to potential individual homeowners.  A bailout that rewards those who are financial fuck-ups, while penalizing those who have weathered the storm and managed to stay afloat in spite of the tanked market.

I’m not just being salty because I probably wouldn’t qualify for it, but I would wager money that the majority of people who do qualify for this pipedream program, will use their $50,000 for anything but their homes.  And when the time comes for the loans to start being paid back, they simply won’t.  And then when these cretins file for bankruptcy for the umpteenth time, then those debts will be absolved too, furthering the downward spiral that is known as the U.S. economy.

Good times.

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