Sorry to keep harping on the subject of the housing/mortgage/credit/bailout crisis but I keep reading stuff that just makes cringe. The latest comes from an article I read this morning in the Wall Street Journal about protests at the annual convention for the Mortgage Bankers Association that was held this week in San Francisco.
Here is the part of the article I want to focus on:
“The main point, and the main issue for everyone, is there should be a stop to foreclosures and evictions, and the government should be assisting the victims of the crisis and not the people who created it,” said Richard Becker, spokesman for the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The group picketed outside the convention center on Sunday and Monday.
Mortgage bankers should be punished if it’s found that they knowingly put people into mortgage loans that people couldn’t afford, Mr. Becker said. “Jail them, don’t bail them” was a popular rally cry outside the convention center.
Side note: The Party for Socialism and Liberation? Do those two words belong in the same title? I found their website and they actually have a presidential candidate. But, I digress.
I’m tired of people throwing around the word “victim” to include anyone experiencing the consequences for bad decisions. According to Merriam-Webster.com, the definition of victim is:
2: one that is acted on and usu. adversely affected by a force or agent the schools are victims of the social system: as a (1): one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions a victim of cancer; a victim of the auto crash; a murder victim (2): one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment a frequent victim of political attacks b: one that is tricked or duped a con man’s victim
Those who purchased homes they couldn’t afford are not victims of anything other than their own poor decisions. The REAL victims of this crisis are all of us who CHOSE to do things the right way and live within our means and buy houses we could afford and those of us who are STILL saving up for a house.
Finally, I’d like to challenge Mr. Brecker’s comment that mortgage bankers should be jailed if they knowingly put people in loans they couldn’t afford. What about those who took on mortgage loans they KNEW they couldn’t afford? Can we jail them too?