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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Would somebody please smack Rick Santelli upside the head?

Some points about Rick Santelli's rant against bailing out people who are behind on mortgage payments:

1. WARNING: IRONY AHEAD. This loudmouth pundit delivers his opinion to the cheers of a bunch of Chicago traders, and the media says he's tapped into the anger of average Americans. Do people really not realize that traders are not average Joes? All those crazy mortgage loans were made to people who couldn't afford them precisely because there was an insatiable market for mortgage-backed securities -- securities those same traders (or others like them) bought and sold and made fortunes from. It was the market's appetite for those securities that pushed banks into making ever-stupider loans, and no matter how much you try to blame the borrowers, the fact is that it's the LENDERS who are supposed to be the experts. Does anyone actually believe that banks don't expect to see a huge increase in loan defaults when they lower the bar on credit availability? Does anyone believe that banks actually expect borrowers to know their limits? Of course not! That's why banks vet you before loaning you the money -- unless of course the bank is being pressured to provide more mortgages to be bundled up into packages that can be traded as securities. But average Americans watch a bunch of traders -- TRADERS -- cheering the notion that it's all the borrowers' fault -- people with "an extra bathroom," as Santelli says -- and they think, "Yeah, those guys are speaking for me!" NO THEY'RE NOT!

It's like a doctor who prescribes a drug known to cause heart attacks in overweight, male, diabetic smokers with histories of heart problems to a patient who is an overweight, male, diabetic, smoker with a history of heart problems. When the guy has a heart attack, the doctor says, "Not my problem! He should have read the package insert!" And then the AMA blames the patient.

2. And to all those people saying Rick Santelli speaks for you: Why do you believe that poor people are lazy and stupid? "I've been paying my bills -- why should my tax money bail out people who haven't?" Because obviously all those people stopped paying their bills because they're too lazy to work or because they spent all their money on expensive sneakers and crack cocaine, while YOU, Mr. Smartass American, so wisely scrimped and saved. And we'll remind you of that when you lose your job and your health coverage, have a medical problem that runs up a pile of debt, and your home is foreclosed on.