The Senate Cannot Fix The Economy

But Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) thinks it can. Living in Iowa, we occasionally receive a nice email from the Senator letting us know how he is scr- uh, helping us with his work. Here’s his latest missive, arriving just this afternoon…

Dear Friends,
Many working families are being saddled with higher costs at the grocery store and the gas pump at a time when incomes remain stagnant. People across our state are starting to have real anxiety caused by the steady drumbeat of bad news about the state of our economy, especially in the housing sector.

More than 11,000 Iowans are expected to have their home foreclosed this year. And when that “Foreclosure – For Sale” sign goes up, it can create a domino effect that brings down the value of every house in the neighborhood. This year, an estimated 180,000 homes in Iowa will experience price declines simply because they are near houses in foreclosure.

In recent years, irresponsible, predatory lenders hooked millions of Americans into mortgages that they didn’t understand and couldn’t afford. We should not bail out abusive lenders or people who bought houses to speculate. But millions of other homeowners who are in over their heads deserve help.

We all have an interest in keeping people in their homes – and keeping those homes off an already oversaturated market. That’s why my Senate colleagues and I are working on bipartisan legislation aimed at boosting demand for housing and helping distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. This bill is a good starting point.

Unfortunately, a key provision that would have allowed homeowners to re-negotiate the terms of their mortgage in bankruptcy court, was blocked by the minority party. We already allow people to go to bankruptcy court to rework mortgages on vacation homes, yachts and family farms – why should primary homes be treated differently?

Nonetheless, the new bill includes an array of measures that will help millions of homeowners – including those who are not facing foreclosure but are worried about declining property values.

We all have a stake in addressing the foreclosure crisis and mitigating against falling home prices, which is a clear and present danger to our entire economy. Iowans can rest assured that I am focused on finding ways to chart a new direction for our economy while helping working families weather this economic downturn.
Your Senator,

Tom Harkin

Reading this tells me a few things about the Iowa Senator:

  1. He is a whiz at making things sound worse than they are. I don’t buy the numbers, and I especially don’t like the implication that all banks are predatory. Homeowners who are in over their heads aren’t there because someone bilked them. Have you ever bought a house? Have you ever signed all of the documents (forced on us by an ever vigilant Congress)? Among those documents are items that say “I have read and understand what I’m signing”. People need to be accountable for their choices.Handing House
  2. He is good at making a difficult situation work as a political wedge. There’s nothing “bipartisan” about the statement “…blocked by the minority party.”
  3. He is good at making other people’s mistakes my problem. His last paragraph says “We all have a stake…”. I don’t have a stake in this. Gas prices are going up because of a weak housing market. Granted, my 401K and savings are being impacted because of all the swirl over this, but I’m still paying my bills on time, I still have what I need, and yes some prices are going up because of the price of gasoline, but the housing market is not really hurting me.

And the last thing I need is Tom Harkin charting a new direction for our economy. Because he and the Democratic majority in Congress have one thing in mind: socialism. Whether they know it or not, they are leading us by the nose into becoming what is wrong with Russia, China, and every other Communist country in the world… human stagnation. I won’t stand for it, and we need to push back and make it clear we don’t need a mellow society where everyone is average and that isn’t motivated to get up in the morning because the Government makes sure we have food, clothing and shelter. I’m not up for that… I need to be free to work as hard as I want and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I’m more than happy to share my wealth with those that truly need it, and I do, but I’m not going to stand by and let the Government take what it wants from me to give to those that refuse to work. This has been going on far too long, and the malaise of the poor grows year after year as each generation figures out they don’t need to work, they can just wait for the handouts.

It’s gotta stop NOW.

The fact is that Socialism not only provides for those that don’t excel, it causes those that would excel to not perform as well as they would have… everyone starts to live at about the same level, and the best of the best end up no better than everyone else. It’s not only leveling the playing field, it’s leveling the players. And that’s how those in power can tighten their grip with little resistance.

The specter of foreclosed houses driving down home values is ridiculous. Home prices are going down for the reason stated elsewhere by the Senator… market glut. And Realtors are probably most responsible for this problem. Convincing people to move into bigger and newer homes, that many cannot afford, if’t the Realtor that works that one, not the mortgage companies. And the left-over homes end up vacant. Then the prices start to drop because there’s more homes than people looking for them. All this just to drive the home building market and put more money into Realtors’ pockets. Realtors are like stock brokers… good deal or bad, they still make their commission.

But more importantly, why do we care? It’s not my fault that people have bought into the lie that you should be able to buy a house, and never have to really earn any equity in it. Instead, they are convinced they can keep borrowing against it for their pleasures and then when they want to or need to move, they should have enough equity to cover realtor’s commission and closing costs … oh wait, I need equity? Oh wait, home prices have dropped… I have no equity???? Owning a house with low equity is not for the squeamish… if your likelihood of moving is high, it’s a gamble. But low equity loans have been the Government’s answer for decades now to get more people to own their own homes (to artificially fuel the housing industry, of course). And now, this new wonderful legislation, among other things, is going to lower the down payment requirements on FHA loans, so now home buyers will have even less equity, or be more upside-down after 6 months.

Apartment living is not bad. We did it for 11 years and never regretted it. Why does everyone think it the ultimate abomination of life? I’m not trying to say we should keep people from the dream of owning a home… I want to see people enjoy that. But people should enjoy the things THEY have worked for, not what OTHERS have worked for. Until they can, there are suitable options. And Government housing, for the truly needy, is fine. But let’s make sure the system provides a helping hand and not handout.

This bill stinks, and will do nothing but make an already overly dependent society despondent and more ripe for tyranny. We need conservatives in Congress who are smart enough to see the big picture and willing to stand up for the rights of Americans to earn what they have, not get it for free.

Wait until they start talking again about whether individuals need to own guns. Just wait.

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.

 

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