Friday, December 07, 2007

Where's my Reward!

The GOP is notorious for enforcing personal responsibility. They believe welfare is a lifestyle choice, and children without health insurance is a consequence they brought on themselves. Sad, really, when you think about it. I've ridden the roller coaster of life. I found myself with a young family and struggling to make ends meet. Thankfully there were programs to prevent me from falling down to the bottom. Our kids never knew the situation. They always had a roof, and food, and fun. That is what was important. Now I am relatively successful, and don't need 'assistance'. But as an inner city middle school educator, I see many children, and families, who still do. Sure there are a few, oh so few, that try to game the system, but for the most part, these folks want nothing more than to be on their own, and not rely on others for help. I get it cause I've been there before, and I see it now.

When the President vetoed the latest SCHIP proposal I was just confused. Kids don't choose their lifestyle anymore than they chose their parents. But the President sought to punish them anyway, for fear a few families who may not really need the assistance might slip through the cracks. Shame on them, so shame on everyone else. It made me wonder where the President's priorities really are. Yesterday we found out.

I'm in a great place in my life, and a few years ago I took advantage of the refi bubble like many people did. But I was not foolish enough to give up that which I worked so hard to attain. I went into the refi with specific goals; lower my rate, take out a few extra bucks to consolidate some lingering old debt, retain at least 50% equity in my home. I succeeded with a 4 3/8 15 year fixed. The lingering debt is gone and right now I have over 60% equity in my home. I did it right. I didn't max out my equity for some fun money, or to live beyond my means. I also knew that the appreciation bubble would burst pretty soon as well, so any appraisal would be a peak, not a valley, during this time. Fortunately, my neighborhood is one of the few still holding their own pretty well.

So while kids go without health insurance, bridges falling down, and programs that help folks get back on their feet are being targeted for cuts, what does this President do? He proposes a bail out to those who should have known better. I am not alone in my frustration:
The agreement has sparked bitterness and anger among those who either sat out the housing boom or endured friends' snickers when they stuck with a traditional mortgage and a smaller house. To some who watched prices rise out of their reach or who moved to cheaper cities, the agreement looks like a penalty for those who didn't gamble.

"What about those of us who played by the rules? Can we get six months of free gasoline? Isn't there something for the rest of us?" asked Tim MacKinnon. After watching a friend use his home as an "ATM" for years, MacKinnon left Washington for New Jersey, where the $25,000 he had socked away went further.
I don't have a problem helping out those who find themselves in dire straight due to a boom followed by a bust. Our economy would be very vulnerable if we didn't have some level of security built in. My issue is with the priorities of this administration, and their inability to recognize who actually needs help first, and refusing to spend the time and effort in those areas.

But thats just me!

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