Out of My Mind 4

Economiccrisis certainly not the fault of the little guy

            Some wouldhave you believe it’s the little guy’s fault we are in this current economicmess which is all too quickly spreading beyond our shores to the rest of theworld. Some would also have you believe it was those crafty little guys takingadvantage of the poor naive mortgage companies who didn’t really want to lendmoney to people who may not be able to pay it back should they start to jack upthe interest rate on the little guy’s loan. Who are they trying to convince?

            Anyone whohas ever gone through the process of getting a mortgage knows the barrage ofpaperwork that has to be signed at closing… all the fine print, the quickexplanations of why you have to sign this paper and initial that one. It goeson so long that soon you’re just trying to keep up as your hand starts tocramp. Somewhere in the back of your mind you might be thinking something like’Maybe I just signed away my first born child’ but fear of having to go throughthe process again… fear of losing your chance at your part of the AmericanDream of homeownership makes you keep scribbling on.

            We all knowonly a small percentage of this paperwork is mandated by the government toprotect your interests – and most of that is just to confirm that you were readthis or were shown that. As in, “initial here that I showed you this” or “signhere that I read that.” The greater bulk of the paperwork is to protect thelending institution – even to the point that you might have to pay for thelawyer if it decides to sue you. These mortgage companies and other lendinginstitutions are not naïve. They were not blissfully unaware that many of thepeople they were giving loans to would not be able to pay them back if thevariable rate was to increase dramatically.

            So why didthey do it? Was it as some claim – the government made them do it? If youbelieve that you’re the one that’s naïve – Sounds a little like Flip Wilson’sold line “the devil made me do it.” No, the reason had to be a profit motiveand it backfired and there were no longer the regulations that backstopped thiskind of unchecked and unethical behavior. The freewheeling days of corporategreed were coming to an end. Many of those at the top were going to grab allthey could get and the stockholders, company employees, people with theirpensions tied to the stock market, mortgage holders and anyone else it mightaffect be damned.

            Why are anyof us surprised? Didn’t we just go through this during the so-called Californiaenergy crisis? Didn’t we just see what unchecked and unregulated corporategreed can do? Aren’t we still feeling the effects of a crisis in Californiathat led to major electrical rate increases here in a county two states awaythat once enjoyed some of the cheapest electricity in the nation?

            Not allcorporations are greedy and capitalism won’t be replaced by a better system anytime soon. But when unvarnished greed meets lax or no regulation it seems toalways spell disaster.

            Now someare talking of a time that might rival the Great Depression. We better hope notand remember the Great Depression was only charming when viewed through theeyes of the Walton Family. Those were tough times that anyone old enough tohave lived through would not chose to go back and live through again.

            Now we havea bailout that is “trickle up” – take from the already overtaxed to pay for themistakes of the already overpaid. It’s Robin Hood in reverse, Reaganomics gonemad.

            Now is thetime we need to relearn the lessons of the California energy crisis and theGreat Depression and reinstate sensible regulations that keep unethicalexecutives and corporations from working the system and expecting the taxpayersto bail them out.             It certainlywasn’t the little guy seeking the American Dream that caused this mess andshame on anyone who says it was so.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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