The real estate blame game

Jerry Maldonado Contributor
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Another day, another sob story on the news about a family forced to leave their home because the big bad bank stole it from them. Time and time again the media promotes this fiscal irresponsibility without looking at the real problem behind the mess: The American consumer.

Most blame banks, Washington, or even so-called predatory lenders who forced the poor, uneducated consumer to sign on the dotted line. If this is an excuse people actually believe then I will sell the Brooklyn Bridge to the highest bidder.

This banter is not about wagging my finger, but in reality, the consumer is the reason why our real estate market is in the tank. The dream of get rich quick and over extending one’s capability is just plain unawareness of basic economics. There were no thugs standing outside lending institutions or forcing the consumer to read that enticing letter from lenders. It was the consumer who made the choice on his or her own future.

I can speak from experience. Years ago I was there. Most important, I took full responsibility for my actions, took my lumps, and moved on my way. That is the same attitude consumers should have today. In other words, don’t blame others for your misfortune, blame yourself.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that is overstimulated with news and most people follow trends promoted by the media. The media has a powerful impact on how markets move and individuals jump right into the trend without doing their homework.

A new slogan trumped by journalists in a recent article actually encourages homeowners to “just walk away” as part of a mortgage revolution. A “moral imperative” as one New York Times reporter quoted, encourages readers to not give a second thought to lenders and make them pay for this real estate mess.

In addition, economists, blogs, and even real estate agents have all jumped into the mix trying to comfort people into actions that will eventually hurt all of us in the future. “Strategic default” is the new sugar coated name for failure. The same people who encouraged others to buy in the first place now want the market to essentially collapse again by yelling “fire” in a theatre full of desperate people.

What is not mentioned throughout this economic nightmare is responsibility. That word seems to be taboo to journalists as we live in a society where one’s irresponsibility has become a part of the norm. Everyday poor decisions seem to grab headlines and the people who participated are held up on a pedestal as the victim.

Don’t get me wrong if I come across as an evil critic. I would never wish losing a home to any family. The heartbreak is overwhelming for any children involved and most families break apart as a result. A home is not just some tangible object as most would think, but a place where memories are created.

Maybe this downfall is the best thing to happen in America. The people who relied on a so-called net-worth factor as a means now realize that term is worthless in today’s society. Responsibility for one’s actions ultimately is what will change people who’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Only then will our society flourish once again.

Jerry Scott Maldonado is the author of the soon to be published “Columns, Quotes & The American Dream.” He is a featured columnist for The D.C.G. Network of news sites: Sundaynewscape.com, Onequestionnews.com and Imperialvalleynews.com.  Jerry’s work has also been featured internationally.