by Marvel Goose on September 30, 2008

Statement from the Secretary

Good morning, I have a brief statement and then I will take questions. 

This department came out four-square for affordable housing back in the 70′s when interest rates were nearing 17%. No one could afford to buy new houses because the Banks and Wall Street were not being reasonable.

This department ruled that all banks would be forced to make a few loans per year to people who couldn’t afford them. This was not as expensive as it sounds because the homes were located where most people didn’t want to live anyway and were cheap. Almost all of them were located in some subdivision called the Red Line that is located in every town.

This policy continued up until the 1995 when we discovered that we could simply pass a law instructing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make loans to the millions of people who couldn’t afford them and then sell them to Wall Street.   The resulting financial boom helped everyone; builders, homeowners, plastic pink flamingo makers — everyone. Life was good.

One day, the people who got the loans they couldn’t afford realized that they couldn’t afford them. Not only that, but they realized that if they just stopped making their payments, it could take six months or more before they would be evicted. Six months free rent. It was too good a deal.

We sent those people letters pointing out that it was in their own interest to make their payment and protect their credit rating. Unfortunately, you can not hurt the credit of someone with a FICO score of minus twenty-something.

We tried lending more money to these people who had loans they couldn’t afford so that they could afford to make their payments but, when this plan was discovered, the Banks and Wall Street stopped being reasonable. Again.

We tried passing a bailout bill that would give lots of money to the Banks and Wall Street so they could go back to being reasonable. Unfortunately, a lot of hot-headed voters decided to be unreasonable and threaten lawmakers with unemployment; so, the bill failed.

We are unable to predict when we can get everyone to be reasonable again. Until that time, homes will only be available to those people who can afford them. We think this is unfair. We are working diligently to put an end to it.

- End of Statement -

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Corny Bob October 6, 2008 at 1:23 am

Pretty much sums up the deal. You just forgot to mention that it was folks with a “D” beside their name that forced this program down the financiers throats.


Marvel Goose October 6, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Humor writing requires that you pay a lot of attention to the structure. Naming the character a Dem or Rep would have gotten in the way of what I was doing — setting up the punchline and being mildly humorous on the way there. Some people would not be able to get past the labels, so I left them out. I left the “department” amorphous for the same reason.

The D people certainly were the drivers behind the affordable housing policy, however; the R people were in charge of Congress when the time came to fix the deal in 2002 and 2005. Fanny and Fred purchased enough soft R’s to keep their game going.

The reasoning behind affordable housing is flawed. The proponents looked at nice, stable neighborhoods and then choatic, poor neighborhoods and decided that home ownership was the difference between the two. The reasoning ran: If homeownership means stability then the more homeowners you create in a poor neighborhood, the better things will be.

The flaw was in focusing on the *thing* and not the people. Stable PEOPLE who pay their bills on time and save up enough for a down payment on a home create stable neighborhoods. Chaotic people who are alway just on the edge of disaster often create neighborhoods just like themselves. Housing does not create neighborhoods. The people inside the houses do.

The only voice crying in the wilderness on this for 10 long years was the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. They had it nailed from the start.


Mr.Awesome October 6, 2008 at 7:18 pm

i agree completely


Corny Bob October 6, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Well crafted response. Very well thought out.

Merrill – 1
Corny Bob – 0


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