The author of this phrase is Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican from Virginia. I thought it suiting as a title for this posting, which might turn out to be an open letter to him.
Then again, it could be titled, "now it is time to sit down and negotiate".
Back in 2004 I had to return a car I had leased from Mitsubishi. I liked the car very much. It was a sporty Eclipse, it was quite new, had only 13k miles on it. I had leased it for 4 years, and had paid over 22k in leasing and down payments. When it came time to return the car, I was naive enough to ask whether they were willing to negotiate the 10 k buy-out on the car. The curt answer from the anti-sales person was "we do not negotiate". End of story, a contract is a contract.
I will not go into details as to the process used for the return of the car, but I suspect at the end of the day, Mitsubishi received only 5k for the car in a used car auction, tops, 6.5k. I was willing to negotiate down to 7.5k, so they would make at least 1k more from this transaction, build goodwill and keep a client. As it stands now, I am no longer willing to buy or lease a car from Mitsubishi - ever.
Mr. Cantor either lives in a bubble, in need of a heavy duty reality check, or he needs to read his own website, which claims the politician is a champion of the middle class.
I am a member of the much beleaguered middle class. I am one of those suckers who bought property in the last few years, thinking that the folks running the economy and financial institutions knew what they were doing, and there were enough checks and balances in the system to ensure my investment would not go down the dumps like it did. I was one of the folks Mr. Cantor might call a hard-working, rule abiding American, for I used no deceitful tactics to achieve the American dream.
Yet, right now the property I have bought is probably worth between 50 to 75% of what I paid. If a buyer can be found anywhere.
It is easy to throw the blame solely on those greedy folks who thought they would become millionaires by accumulating property after property. Although these people acted irresponsibly, it seems to me that the myriad banks, mortgage companies and brokers who lent to these people with little or no due diligence are as much at fault as the trumpwannabesofthisworld, fed on a steady diet of Rich-Man-Poor-Man books, videos and conferences. They also violated the fiduciary duty of publicly traded companies, investing money on thin air, building fat to become the next big merger in the market, which maximize shareholder value so much and generated so many lavish bonuses to executives.
I am no simpleton. I do understand that pumping billions into failing financial institutions might ensure the very existence of our financial system. Yet, as far as I know, no one has been put in jail or been held responsible for the deceitful practices of lenders. These practices were "legal", after all, with the blessing of somebody. Were they in fact legal?
There will come a point, Mr. Cantor, where financial institutions will need to sit down with borrowers and rework the gory details of the unreal real estate bubble of the late 90's-2000's. Can any banks add on to the enormous list of foreclosures nationwide? In an overall pitiful economic scenario, who has money to buy these properties even at much deflated values and take them off the hands of American banks?
Just like Mitsubishi could have made a little bit more money by negotiating the car with me, rather than selling it for peanuts in a used-car auction and losing a client, banks will need to negotiate interest rate and principal on most property bought in the 6 to 7 years in this country.
Saving the American middle class, Mr. Cantor, is much more important than saving the financial system. The latter can be taken over by the government - will the government take over people's lives? The American middle class is the wheel that makes this economy - and dare I say - the world run.
Use your power smartly, keep the wheel rolling.
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Artigos de autoria de Carlos de Paula, tradutor, escritor e historiador de automobilismo baseado em Miami. Articles written by Carlos de Paula, translator, writer and auto racing historian based in Miami.
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