Friday, October 3, 2008

The Credit Crunch and the AIG Bailout

I don't own a house. I can't afford a house. Sure, I can afford a mortgage - my mortgage broker says so. But, I'm smart enough to know that I can't afford as much of a mortgage as my mortgage broker tells me. I also know, that when I say I can afford a mortgage it means, " long as nothing ever breaks and has to be repaired or replaced."
What I mean is that I don't have enough cash to pay a mortgage and have a cushion for things like food, doctors, broken refrigerators, cracked foundations, flood damage, or any other catastrophic force majeur. I don't earn enough to save that kind of cash either.
That's exactly why I don't have a mortgage... but now I have to pay some one else's mortgage. My hard earned tax dollars aren't paying for nuclear weapons systems or local parks. My tax dollars are paying for the mortgage of someone with my budgetary constraints who said:

Oh Sh!t... I can't afford my mortgage. I didn't think lying about my income would cause such a problem. The mortgage broker said it would be OK.
I knew I had an ARM, and I knew it would adjust up, but I didn't know it would adjust so high - even though the mortgage contract said it could... and I didn't think the first five years would go by so fast. I thought it was a problem I could keep putting off.

Dear Uncle Sam - Can you help me? I don't want to lose my house. That might teach me to be more frugal in the future - hell, I might even read stuff before I sign it. But, that's not fair. Instead, I want other tax payers who were smart enough to stay away from this kind of problem to foot the bill for me.

My tax dollars are also making me into an unwilling customer of AIG. Until tonight, I hadn't been an AIG customer. Sure, I thought about it. When I shopped for car insurance, they had decent rates. But, their customer service was crap. I couldn't get anyone to answer the questions I had and one customer service rep even flatly stated, "whatever" and hung up the phone.
I chose to be a State Farm customer (mostly because of how well my wife was treated by her agent after an auto accident). And, it seems that plenty of other people felt that AIG was not a good choice for their insurance needs (that's why State Farm and GEICO are both still in business without a government bailout).
But, Uncle Sam said, "Gee, I'm sorry that you can't attract customers. There's no need to improve the quality of service... how about if I write you a check for $700 billion dollars? Will that help?"
So now I'm paying your mortgage, and living in an apartment. And, I'm paying State Farm for auto insurance and customer service, but I'm also paying AIG - and they won't pay me if my car catches fire... and their customer service still stinks.
I'm just glad I don't work for the Dallas Independant School District or the State of California. Although, they'll both probably get bailouts, too.
What forms do I have to fill out to get my bailout? I don't need $700 billion like AIG, $7 billion like Arnold, or even $84 million like DISD. I just need a cool million.

That would suit me right down to the ground.