Honk If You are Paying My Mortgage
House Chamber, Washington, D.C. March 17, 2009. M. Speaker: I have been asked to present more than 6,000 postcards generated by the Armstrong and Getty radio show to protest policies that can best be described by the new bumper sticker, “Honk if you’re paying my mortgage,” or today’s reprise, “Honk if you’re paying AIG’s bonuses.”
Rick Santelli of CNBC struck a nerve last month when he asked, “How many of you want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage who has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”
Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty, who host the most popular radio talk show in Northern California, asked the same question of their listeners. And here is their response.
On each of these thousands of post cards is the story of a responsible family struggling to make ends meet in the worst recession in a generation – families who are meeting their obligations, staying current with their mortgages – even though many of them are upside down on their home values and owe more than their home is worth.
And they’re watching as this government says to borrowers who lied on their loan applications, who put no money down and accepted teaser rates, who withdrew all the equity of their home to pay for stuff, don’t worry, we’ll force your neighbor to pay for your mortgage.
They’re watching as this government says to lenders who knowingly made loans to people they knew couldn’t afford them, who made millions creating the housing bubble, don’t worry, we’ll cover your bonuses with taxpayer money.
But the families who sent in these postcards keep making their payments, many eating into their savings, foregoing vacations, postponing retirements, turning down consumer purchases – because they stand by their word.
These are the families that turned down the opportunity to flip that house, to make a quick fortune, to cash out their equity for a second home or a boat they couldn’t afford. They are the 92 percent of borrowers who are making their mortgage payments, despite all the incentives that this administration is offering them to stop.
And these postcards are eloquent testimony to their resentment at being required to bail out the banks and the borrowers who created the housing bubble, who caused the credit collapse, and who now are being subsidized, bailed out, and lavished with multi-million dollar bonuses paid for with our tax money.
Joe Getty asked the question yesterday: “What has happened to the words ‘Sadder but wiser;’ what has happened to the American tradition that you make your own decisions – good or bad – and then you live with them?
The President tells us that if your neighbor’s home is on fire, you don’t quibble over who pays for the water. That’s true, but as Jack Armstrong pointed out, if my neighbor burns down his house by shooting off Roman candles in his living room, I’ll be darned if I’m going to pay for him to rebuild it.
Armstrong and Getty, Rick Santelli and others are speaking for the vast silent majority of Americans who pay their bills, who honor their commitments, and who make this country run.
The President recently said that we’re all to blame. No, we’re not all to blame. Those families who passed up the get-rich-quick real estate seminars and who turned down the loans they couldn’t afford, or who settled for a smaller home or who rented because that’s what they could afford – they’re not to blame. And they shouldn’t be left holding the bag.
Ninety two percent of Americans are making their mortgage payments not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because they know that the sooner the market corrects itself, the sooner our homes will begin to appreciate once again.
Sadly, by prolonging the real estate correction, by propping up bad loans, by undermining responsible homeowners, and by subsidizing bonuses for the smartest guys in the room who created this catastrophe, this government is extending the agony and postponing the day when the market will bottom out and homebuyers can safely re-enter the housing market.
M. Speaker, I take great hope from the public’s response to Armstrong and Getty’s invitation to protest the mortgage bailout. It means that the American spirit is not dead, that there are still millions of Americans who believe in individual responsibility and integrity. Even if such people are in short supply in Washington today, they still comprise the vast majority of our nation and that great silent majority is growing tired of remaining silent.