Thursday, September 18, 2008


Would it be weird to admit that I am so into hummus right now that I only eat things that I can somehow make work with this blendy chickpea treat?

Turkey and hummus? Awesome!

Pretzels and hummus? Better!

Hummus and a spoon? Soooo happy!

You'd think I was preggers. But, um, pretty sure I need a uterus for that little stunt.

But, hey... probably you didn't come round to hear me babble about food, so let's move along to other subjects like the economy.

Or, the lack of the econ in the economy. Yes, I realize that made no sense.

Is it fair of me to want to shake the teeth out those "victims" of the housing crisis?

Oh, I hear you... "Those evil mortgage brokers... they tricked poor Ma and Pa Kettle!"

To you I say, "Nonsense."

True story - a person we know, who makes roughly 60k a year, bought a home for 800k.

Now, in the real world...  a world my husband keeps me in by gluing my shoes to the carpet, to afford a house of those dollars a person would need the following - 160k for a (20%) down payment and a monthly income of roughly 12k to comfortably afford that 4k (1/3 of take home) a month payment... that's a lot of money.  

It's wayyy more money than this person could afford.  

But, she was told, "0 down" and "low low LOW payments for 3 years and then, when the balloon payment is due you can simply refinance because oh yes, by then, your house will be worth at least a million!"

And this person was told, by many real-estate type experty peeps, BAD PLAN!  This is a bad plan.  

Fast forward a few months and here comes the housewarming invitation.

Fast forward 3 years and guess who's house is worth about $2.  Also, guess who doesn't live there anymore?

Now, I don't consider this person a victim.  Stupid?  Yes.   

That old chestnut your Grandmother told you?  The one about if something is too good to be true it probably is... lots of truth there folks. 

But we're such a greedy lot... we want more.  We deserve more!  Game room, butler's pantry, 5,000 square feet... we want it all.  Only we don't want to do the work... we're like little children... a nation saying, "But, I waaannnt it!"

So, sure, there were some poor slobs out there who, in good faith, signed on the dotted line and got out a little too far over their skis... but, there are also plenty of folks who ignored the common sense tickle at the back of their brain.

It's not the only reason our country is in such a slump, but it plays a great part.

And it makes me angry and it makes me sad.



Every Day Goddess said...

Hi, I found you thru Carrie, Stop screaming I'm driving. I love this post! So true, greed is over running this country. Where has all the common sense gone?

Marisa said...

When I heard that people were walking away from their homes because they had were so devalued, I hit the roof. It's not rocket science to know the math and know what you can afford!

We are all paying the price for this stupidity.

Daniella said...

First - I LOVE hummus with a capital L - I even sometimes make it - Giada has a great recipe. Mostly I just buy the sabro and I eat it with everything too.
As for the housing - I don't feel sorry either. We have 2 homes in our 20 home develoment now in foreclosure - the first idiot in his early 20's was buying up property all over our area and with 100% financing - sick. really sick. I rec'd a letter today from the foreclosure bank (I'm on the hoa) that they have it for short sale for $350K less than he paid. I don't really feel sorry for the folks that did this. Your right - if something sounds to good...... Now I'm going to eat hummus with peppers and have a glass of chardonnay before heading to back 2 school nite.

furiousBall said...

man, oh man... who doesn't need a uterus?

Kristin said...

Everyday Goddess - Welcome!!

Marisa - I know...

Daniella - I like mine with a real bite of lemon... and ugh, we all know those fools... oh, um, excuse me, tycoons.

Van - I know... maybe we can find a rental company.

Anonymous said...

It is all incredibly fucked up and it keeps getting worse.

Anonymous said...

The whole situation makes me crazy.

It's very simple: Spend less than you earn. Try to put a little money in the bank. Don't use credit cards to finance your lifestyle.

Easy, right?

I can't even talk about Fannie Mae right now. Pete worked for them for five years and a decent portion of our investments were FNMA stocks. Yep, those are worthless now.

Kristin said...

Anon - I think a lot of people would agree with you.

Jen - It's grim. Absolutely.

Kayce said...

I had this same conversation last night with my dad, not the humus one, but the housing one. (BTW-humus is yumus!)

We have people walking away from their houses here. Just up and moving and leaving everything behind, cars, motorhomes, toys, garbage. It's horrible! But yet these folks will go to Hawaii or Dland in a heartbeat. THAT I do not understand!

Anonymous said...

OMG, the DLand people are the strangest!

Amy Y said...

We've had a ton of foreclosures in our neighborhood. It's frustrating because though we didn't have 20% down, we bought what we could afford and thought we were making a good investment. Now with all the foreclosures and short sales, our housing prices have gone down even more. Bummer... I wish people would make better decisions but unfortunately, there are a lot of dumb bunnies out there that want want want and don't have the patience to wait until the time is right.

Unfortunately, the American dream is marketed to us everywhere we look... and it seems so irresistable. And why shouldn't we want it? But it's often hard for the every day folks to attain it without such b.s. as "creative financing". I'm hoping once we get some new blood in the white house and things in our economy start to turn around, it won't be so hard to accomplish our dreams!

Kristin said...

Kayce - it's heartbreaking, but so frustrating at the same time... no one seems to feel that they ever EVER need to do "without".

Anon - Well, it is the Happiest Place on Earth... it's bound to get it's share of nutters...

Amy - You make a great point. Creative financing (such a great term!) has caused entire neighborhoods to lose value. Part of the problem with the American Dream is that it is no longer simply a car in every driveway and a chicken in every pot... people want to live like celebrities... we want to roll.

I think some of that is a direct result of reality tv... where people are celebrated for very ordinary, and sometimes very awful, behavior... we think, well, if that chick is driving a Mercedes and hanging out on red carpets, and all she did was to get hammered on tv and flash her tits, why not me?

In other words, we've become a culture which celebrates nothing... and very little has meaning.

Lisa and Tate said...

So what Hummus is treating your tastebuds??? Any recommendations?

Amen to the "victim" crap! How greedy do you have to be to be able to rationalize this math??? And this "I deserve it" stuff... how come people think just cause they exist they "deserve" an huge house, fancy cars, exotic trips? No wonder we are a nation full of debt.

Grim Reality Girl said...

I'm with you 100% on EVERYTHING, except the hummus. I think I may even have an irrational fear of hummus.....

JuJu said...

My husband is military and we live in government housing. We don't officially pay any rent to live here, but the gov't. "gives us" a housing allowance that goes directly to the contractor who runs this place. Soon, though, military retirement cometh and we'll be on the market for a house - and believe me, we'll be buying within our means.

I guess I just don't get WHY a person would buy something so ridiculously out of his means? Okay, I know why, but still. I mean, my husband makes less than 60K, but say he did. The thought of buying an 800k house on that salary? Makes me pee myself. And not in a good way.

Los said...

How about those companies that agreed to "finance" all of this? Companies that have been around forever, and had great reputations? Shouldn't they be called to the carpet too ... as opposed to being "saved" by the government so that they can go back and do something this stupid again in the future?

dgm said...

So so true. What hacks me off is all the new developments that went up--all the beautiful land that was torn up to accommodate people buying above their means--and now a great many of the houses in those developments are in foreclosure.

My dad, who immigrated here from the Philippines, wanted to own a house more than almost anything in the world. But with my mom staying at home with the kids, we couldn't afford it on his salary alone. To my dad, home ownership was THE SIGN of the American dream. He was finally able to afford a house when we about the same time that my sister and I were buying our first homes! I tell you, it made that man so happy and proud to finally be able to do something he had waited all his adult life for (and he bought within his means).

The problem with so many today is that they think they are entitled to home ownership (just as they think their kids are entitled to attend Ivy League schools). The reality is, sometimes you actually have to work hard to earn the things you dream about and if you don't get them, you learn to make do with and be thankful for what you have.

Stepping down off my soap box now.]

Catholic Runner said...

Excellent post! Dead on the housing issue and I love hummus too!

Kristin said...

Lisa - This week it's the Fresh & Easy store brand and last week it was Trader Joe's... I am of the masses. And you're so right, "deserve", is an operative word in this mess.

GRG - Irrational fear of hummus? Well, there go the Secret Santa gifts!

Juju - It does seem to be common sense, no? I understand the allure, I just don't understand actually taking that big of a risk... let's be honest, for most, a home is the biggest asset. To risk your house, your home, your family security is nuts.

Los - I have mixed feelings on the bailouts... I know that in many instances these corporations simply purchased loans already completed, but were not the actual purveyors of said loan... however, I don't know why they continued to play into a bubble they knew, with their gazillion years of experience, was going to burst... and burst messily.

DGM - I think your father's story is ultimately what the American dream was all about... the possibilities of what hard work could get you here that wouldn't be possible other places... but, yeah ,that whole "hard work" thing seems offensive to a lot of folks.

Catholic Runner - Yea! Another one for hummus!

Anonymous said...

Keegan, this is why we all still love you.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I love hummus on grilled vegetable sandwiches!

When we moved here from Canada five years a go we were told that we could afford a much bigger mortgage then what we thought. We couldn't get over it and talked, at length, to numerous people back home. Thank goodness we went with our Canadian ways and went by need rather than wants.

Now, unfortunately, we're trying to get the hell out of dodge...and we're screwed!

Mama's Losin' It said...


ps sorry about your uterus...I think I'm about done with mine if you're interested...