I honestly haven't taken the time to read this story carefully enough to discern the details of President Obama's latest step on the Road to Serfdom. I only got as far as the story of Mr. Greg Chase, 53, of Fairfax, Va. At the height of the boom, Mr. Chase purchased a house (that's right--a house. That's what people buy. Not "a home". A home is where YOU LIVE, whether owned, rented, or given to you. Calling houses "homes" is a marketing trick) in Fairfax for $475K with $25K down. He is a Fairfax County government employee. He purchased the house with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage.
Mr. Chase's wife recently lost her job. Real-estate values have "tumbled" in his neighborhood, and now Chase "...owes more than the house is worth." Apparently the $2800 monthly mortgage payment (my calculation) is more than his Faifax Government employee salary can pay, so he's had to dip into his 401K to make up the difference.
A couple of things....I wish the article had stated what "kind" of employee Mr. Chase is, and what his approximate salary was. He says he "qualified" for the loan, but then again, he had a pulse--so there's your qualification. Exactly why is the value of the house an issue? He doesn't want to "lose" his house, so he clearly isn't interested in moving...oh--I see, he'd like to borrow against his equity in order to....pay his mortgage. Now there's a sound plan, house as ATM....
Mr. Chases's wife is briefly mentioned as having lost her job, which is truly unfortunate, especially when they qualified for the $450K mortgage on two salaries. She does not then come up again in the story. What kind of work is she looking for? Better yet, what kind of work is she not looking for? What sort of work is she passing up, even though they seem to be headed for financial shoals?
This story is yet again another example of what passes for news and reporting on this financial "crisis". No analysis, no real determination of the culpability of the "victim", just an emotional plea and the sense that government should "do" something about it.