Book Trailer The Noble Train

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Shame of Not Paying Your Mortgage

In my novel Rocket Man the protagonist contemplates not paying his mortgage many times. Underwater and unable to move he sees no way out. Certainly with one in four mortgages underwater  millions have considered doing just this. Walking away from their homes to start over. The statistics on this are hard to find but it is on the rise to the point where Freddy Mac is now offering a  program that allows borrowers to do just that...walk away.

But middle class shame keeps many people in place paying on an upside down asset they will never come out of. The rich have no such shame. If they have a bad investment they toss it aside and give it back to the bank. They have no sense of shame or middle class morality. But a lot of people do to the point that when you read articles about who has walked away from their mortgages they wont give their names even years later.

We have been shamed into thinking it was our failure. Somehow the derivative players who used our homes like picks in an elaborate game of poker were caused by us. When our houses were cleaned out we had no control. When the Ponzi scheme hit the traders ran for cover and were bailed out but the middle class was stuck with the empty bottles and tattered streamers of that party. We were stuck with worthless homes.

Strategic default they call it. That is what savvy people call it. Some would say it is a rationalization but this morality has been applied fairly. The banks were bailed out and were never held accountable for loan products that sold borrowers down the river. Yet middle class people are expected to stay in a house that is upside down with taxes based on a value that no longer exists.

I one time lamented to my mother in law that I should have been smarter financially. She looked at me and said, Jesus Christ, it was a depression. There was nothing you could do. She should know. She went through the first one.

 Rocket Man...the American dream upside down

Books by William Hazelgrove