Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Santelli's 'Army' Growing

From Andie Coller at Politico:
When CNBC’s Rick Santelli argued last week that President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout plan would force hardworking Americans to pay for their neighbors’ mistakes, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed him as a know-nothing derivatives trader out of touch with Main Street.
But if the White House simply dismisses Santelli’s point, it may do so at its peril: A Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 55 percent of those surveyed thought federal mortgage subsidies to those most at risk of losing their homes would be “rewarding bad behavior.” Santelli’s “Network”-style diatribe has already spawned a Facebook group and plans for “tea parties” protesting the bailout in major cities including Chicago and Washington.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s group FreedomWorks has spun off a site called to organize those who don’t own their homes to oppose the mortgage plan. And it’s not just Republicans who are complaining. . . .
According to the Rasmussen poll, even 49 percent of Democrats oppose mortgage subsidies like the ones Obama has proposed. Among them: Lynn Powers, 39, a Bethesda, Md., resident who describes herself as a “liberal Democrat” who has been hardworking, prudent and responsible — and now feels “like a fool.” “We were in the market,” she says.
“We put out eight bids and got outbid every time. It was very upsetting for us. I want to see some accountability and responsibility across the board. The only way for me to have an affordable home, and I’m not looking for a McMansion at all, is if we let the chips fall, in a sense. This is still the bubble — the prices have to come down. You can’t just subsidize some of the people. I don’t know how you deleverage. It is going to be painful, but this is also hurting the people who behaved responsibly.” What does she mean by “responsibly”?
“People who didn’t overbuy. Who stuck to their guns. Who read their contracts,” she says. She and her husband wound up buying a 600-square-foot studio and moved to a rental when they had their daughter, now 18 months old.
“My husband and I paid for our cars in cash,” she says. “We have no credit card debt. We have no student loans. I don’t buy Starbucks, but that’s because they’re non-fair trade, nonenvironmental.”
When they tried to buy a house, she said, “We just felt outgunned.” And now, she says, “I feel very outgunned as a citizen.”

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