I’ll get to the extreme stupidity of the “victims” of the “Extreme Makeover” home foreclosure in just a moment.
But first, a reminder: If you go through my entire archive of subprime crisis posts over the past year– starting with this one from last August blasting Hillary’s socialist housing bailout plan and continuing through this post in December on a supposed subprime sob story involving an unemployed couple $600,000 in debt and looking for a housing bailout to this post in January on irresponsible borrowers walking away from their mortgages and this one on the need for a “Suck It Up” candidate, to this one on outraged readers sick of the moochers riding the bailout bandwagon to this one in April on irresponsible borrowers trashing their homes, leaving their pets behind, and setting their houses on fire– you’ll note a prominent and recurring theme.
A theme that most media coverage refuses to spotlight.
The theme is that the subprime crisis isn’t merely the result of “predatory lenders,” but of countless predatory borrowers and reckless homeowners as well who bought more home than they could afford and binged on home equity loans–and now expect responsible renters and conscientious borrowers to cover their asses and assets.
Enter Milton and and Patricia Harper and their three children, the Atlanta-area beneficiaries of a massive home giveaway on ABC’s popular Extreme Makeover TV show three years ago. (Tour their home here.) The four-bedroom, three-garage home–the largest project of the Extreme Makeover team to date– is now in foreclosure. After accepting a quarter-million in charitable contributions from homebuilder Beezer Homes’ employees and company partners, moving into a free home that cost upwards of $450,000, enjoying an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland while the house was being built, and also raking in enough money from the show to cover taxes on the house for 25 years, the Harper family turned around and put their custom-made dream mansion up as collateral for a $450,000 loan that purportedly went to fund the Harpers’ failed construction business.
Now: Tell me where in any of the bipartisan housing bills that Washington has passed there is protection of my tax dollars from going to bail out people like these? Where?
The Associated Press is casting the Harpers and their soon-to-be foreclosed home as “victims.”
No, you ninnies.
People who scrimped and saved and acted responsibly are the victims. People who will be forced to fork over their money to prevent foreclosures on homes owned by squanderers like the Harpers are the victims.
People who are protected from the consequences of their actions are beneficiaries.
People who have to pay for the consequences of the bad decisions of others are victims.
Michael Graham tears into the sob-story coverage of people who have no one but themselves to blame for their predicaments.
The commenters at L.A. Land tear into the Extreme Makeover debacle. A sample:
That is the epitome of a dumb-ass.
Free Home, Free Taxes and they lose it through a cash out refi.
Had to be bigshots.
Had to start a business
They were already set.
Maybe they should have just gotten regular jobs and they would be doing just fine now.
Posted by: E | July 29, 2008 at 11:29 AM
Peter Viles wrote:
“How do you lose a house that someone gave you as a gift on national television?”
They didn’t “lose” it. They sold it to the bank for a tidy profit.
But wait, there’s more!
“The family returned to a new home, plus contributions worth about $200,000.”
So they’re up by about six-fiddy, and this is considered a loss. God Bless America!
Posted by: TakeFive | July 29, 2008 at 11:35 AM
I have a feeling more of those Extreme Home Makeovers will make their way onto foreclosure. I can’t feel sorry for them for messing this up.
Posted by: Jackie Romulo | July 29, 2008 at 11:40 AM
A gift like the house they received is to be cherished and passed down to future generations. The honorable thing for this family to do for the trouble that all the people went through to give them this house would be to help other families that are deserving of home makeovers.
Posted by: CT | July 29, 2008 at 11:49 AM
To me, one of three things may have happened with the Harper family. (1) They simply got greedy and made a bad investment. (2) The family may have been the target of con men. And (3), losing that money in a failed start-up business may just be a front for the family to cash in on the value of the home.
This is the exact reason I never watched this show. We can give valuable gifts to stupid and greedy people but no one even considers giving that money spent on building that home to a dozen homeless shelters or cancer reaserch…..
We have people dying in the streets and this Harper family just cashes in on a $450,000 gift for themselves.
Posted by: landry | July 29, 2008 at 01:18 PM
The Harper family is a poster family for the poor-decision-making that fueled the subprime crisis. They have no one to blame but themselves. Shed no tears.