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February 22, 2009


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Aye aye, great post. Could have been written by my brother, who bought into the Irish property marke before it went on fire, whereas someone who bought last year looks foolish. And feels it too, to say the least. There are a lot of geniuses (genii?) out there on blogs and newspaper letters pages right now, but pride, fall, all that.

Mr. GoTo

You took a risk and it paid off because of your timing. But whether you were smart or lucky has nothing to with the current issue. You didn't ask me or other taxpayers to take a piece of your risk. Nor did you offer to share your gains. What Obama wants me and others to do is to share the risk - after the loss - and I never had the chance to share in the gain. That's why Santelli is upset. That's why lots of others are upset. The rules of risk-taking are being changed after the game has been played and the outcome determined.

Finally, our complaints have nothing to do with the unemployed or those who are sick and disabled. Nor will Obama's plan rescue their mortgages. They have no income. No lender will extend them credit. We all feel sorry for them but they are irrelevant to your argument and mine.

Retired Syd

@Mr. GoTo: Whether you agree with Obama's policy for bailing out homeowners is neither here nor there with regard to the point of my post. Media commentators that have a problem with the policy should rightly direct their complaints, and any accompanying venom, to the policy makers.

The issue I have (maybe I didn't voice it very articulately), was with those same commentators vilifying all those folks that are actually facing foreclosure as irresponsible dimwits. (To be fair, Santelli called them "losers" with "bad behavior," not dimwits--I heard that one somewhere else) . I'm sure there are some irresponsible dimwits in the group, but that's nothing new--it's just that in the past, irresponsible dimwits made out like bandits just like the rest of us--and perhaps WE were even some of those irresponsible dimwits that just got away with it because the housing market did so well over the not-too-distant past.

My point bringing up the sick and unemployed is to illustrate that you could possibly have been behaving very responsibly when you purchased a home, but subsequent events such as a sickness or unemployment have now put you in the same basket. I don't think these people deserve the vitriol they have been receiving. (Again, I'm not trying to make a political statement about the Obama housing plan, simply the misplaced anger over it.)

Many smart and reasonable people are having smart and reasonable debates about the wisdom of the various bailout and stimulus plans. But I would sure have a lower blood pressure when I watched those debates if they simply dealt with the merits of the argument rather than the character of the potential beneficiaries.


I'm really glad that you wrote about this. I think the details of many of our stories are different but in the end I, too, took some chances and was lucky. My first house I even had to borrow the 10% downpayment money; $3000 from an aunt and $3000 from a friend and that got me into the market. Three years later I sold that house for double what I'd paid (I'd done lots of work inside ... myself) and over the years although I did once lose on a house mostly I've been very lucky. My plan all along was to have a paid-off mortgage by the time I retired and I was able to do that. It could have gone the other way though. Yes, there are those who were foolish and got caught in their mistake. In such tricky times I think we all need to dig deep for compassion for others and be very slow to judge. As they say ... there but for the grace of God ...


I like the wisdom and demeanor of this post. It's about acknowledging the blessings and luck we have received in the past. And to not beat ourselves up too much when times are bad.

It's easy to be smart when times are good. The challenge is to remain smart and responsible during the bad times too. But a lot of it is just dumb luck.

Check out the book 'Fooled by Randomness' by Nicholas Taleb. It shares similar observations that you have pointed out in your post.


I had the same sort of luck.

And I don't think it's necessarily the consumers entirely. I think there are a lot of factors at work in the housing market.

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