Smith was a “recovering” property developer working hard to dig his family out of a financial hole. His LLC owed the bank Millions and property sales were slow. His house was mortgaged at $700,000, but worth about $600,000 on the present market. Smith had little income from his company and was working as a tractor mechanic by day and a truck driver by night. His wife was on the job 7 days a week as a real estate agent. She struggled to bring in sales in the same down market that affected Smith’s LLC.
Smith was quickly consuming a Spam sandwich after his shift as a mechanic, preparing to hit the road for a 300 mile round trip on his night job. The doorbell rang, and he went to answer it. Upon opening the door, there stood no less than President Obama flanked by Secret Service agents. He was backed by a line of armored black Suburbans in the street along with a crowd of reporters and TV vans with cameras rolling. The conversation went something like this:
“Mr. President, this is indeed a surprise, what brings you here?”
“John, I have a new government program that we initiated to help folks just like you.** I asked the IRS to find the appropriate person to be the kickoff client, and your name was presented to me. I decided to personally bring the good news to you myself so that your story will make the national news. As this program is rolled out, thousands of people just like you will be able to stop worrying about losing your home to foreclosure.”
“Mr. President, I have no intention of losing my home, what exactly is this all about?”
“I realized that many people are hurting right now and after checking your tax returns and mortgage balance, I saw that you are highly qualified for help under our program. You are making less than $200,000 per year, your payments are over 31% of your income, and you owe more than your home is worth. With this program you will get mortgage relief.”
“Well Mr. President, how exactly do I get mortgage relief?”
“The banks have repaid the TARP funds and I am using the money to help homeowners who are behind on their payments or owe more than their home is worth. As you may remember from my campaign, I am going to raise taxes on anyone earning over $200,000. For those with less income like you, I will create programs to save your home. This is all part of my plan to spread the wealth around and that’s good for everybody.”
“Mr. President, let me see if I have this right. I do a big land deal, the market tanks, and I get into a hole. I buy a nice home, the market tanks and I am underwater. My wife and I are making a lot less than we did before. Now you intend to take money that should be used to pay down the federal deficit and instead use it to bail me out from my own difficulties?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it, your troubles are over! You won’t have to work two jobs and your wife can enjoy the weekends off. Your payments will be lower and the government will pay the bank $100,000 so you will no longer be underwater on your home loan.”
“Mr President, with all due respect to your office and your generous offer of other people’s money – no thank you. I was not raised to take handouts, especially of money that my children and their children’s children will spend their whole lives repaying with interest. I got myself into this present position and I shall work my way out of it or die in the process. Not all Americans are like “Peggy the Moocher””
“You have greatly angered me with your offer of a handout, the eventual cost of which will be borne by future generations. You have personally insulted me with your implication that I somehow need government help to emerge from a temporary setback.
I deeply resent that flock of reporters eagerly waiting to spread stories about my private business all over the country in order to make you look good. The fact that you have been snooping into my tax records and home loan information irritates me even more.”
“Now it would please me greatly if you were to leave my property immediately and never return. You may be the Commander in Chief, but until and unless you condemn this land through eminent domain, it is private property and neither you, your guards, nor your bevy of media sycophants are welcome on it.’
“There is a Kenworth waiting for a driver and I have to go. Good day Mr. President.”
** This is a new add-on to HAMP – The Home Affordable Modification Program which has cost over $75 Billion so far with a 60% rate of re-default within a year. It can now be used to assist with mortgages up to $729,750!
Ever heard of “Obama Money”? Here is your big chance!