Hand Up VS Handout

Hand up VS Handout? This is a mantra that many Americans can understand.

Via Tparty at MLN:
In cased you missed it, Chris Shays was named the Eschaton Wanker of the Day™ on Monday for his asinine comments blaming predatory lending victims for their own predicament in the subprime crisis that is hitting towns in his district to the tune of a 500% increase in foreclosures from last year.

Jim Himes, who has actually dedicated the last few years of his professional life to helping increase affordable housing opportunities for low-income families, took issue with Shays' comments in a press release today:

"As an affordable housing professional, I know that many first-time homeowners, guilty of nothing but reaching for the American dream, found themselves besieged by unregulated mortgage brokers selling highly complex mortgages with low initial rates and other bells and whistles that made them seem irresistible. These brokers rarely bothered to make the disclosures that would have raised concerns and caution among their customers. Some brokers were openly deceptive and predatory.

"That's why I was astounded by Chris Shays' statement early this week regarding the looming housing foreclosure crisis. He told the Connecticut Post, 'I can't imagine helping people who should not have gotten a loan in the first place.'

"Maybe Chris Shays can't imagine it, but all Americans have an interest in assisting those whose best shot at the American dream was ruined by deception. And we have a common interest in avoiding the contagious decay that can plague foreclosure-prone neighborhoods.

"There is much we can do, working with banks, municipalities, and community organizations, to encourage stressed homeowners to talk to their lenders, encourage loan restructuring, and provide temporary relief. In addition, Congress must act now to address this crisis by enacting legislation to stop predatory lending practices, require more clear disclosures on loans, and increase funding for community-based housing advocates to educate consumers about the mortgage market. Doing nothing makes no sense.

"Chris Shays' statement shows that he is far more interested in protecting the financial industry which amply funds his campaigns than he is in stabilizing threatened communities and supporting hardworking homeowners who thought they had a shot at the middle class. As a matter of ethics and plain good business sense, Chris Shays is far, far from home."

Himes' background in this area - and his diligence on the issue - will serve him and his constituents very well come January 2009.

All the politicians say they want to give people a hand up, not a hand out.

But when it comes time to offer that hand up to people that fell into the trap of the "ownership society" Republicans touted, Republicans pushed for, they balk and run away from their responsibilities to hide their heads in the sand.

"...if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America, and the more people have a vital stake in the future of this country."
(The Worst President in the History of America, george bush)

Expanding Homeownership. The President believes that homeownership is the cornerstone of America's vibrant communities and benefits individual families by building stability and long-term financial security. In June 2002, President Bush issued America's Homeownership Challenge to the real estate and mortgage finance industries to encourage them to join the effort to close the gap that exists between the homeownership rates of minorities and non-minorities. The President also announced the goal of increasing the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families before the end of the decade. Under his leadership, the overall U.S. homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2004 was at an all time high of 69.2 percent. Minority homeownership set a new record of 51 percent in the second quarter, up 0.2 percentage point from the first quarter and up 2.1 percentage points from a year ago. President Bush's initiative to dismantle the barriers to homeownership includes:

  • American Dream Downpayment Initiative, which provides down payment assistance to approximately 40,000 low-income families;
  • Affordable Housing. The President has proposed the Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit, which would increase the supply of affordable homes;
  • Helping Families Help Themselves. The President has proposed increasing support for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities Program; and
  • Simplifying Homebuying and Increasing Education. The President and HUD want to empower homebuyers by simplifying the home buying process so consumers can better understand and benefit from cost savings. The President also wants to expand financial education efforts so that families can understand what they need to do to become homeowners.
Now that the effects of the GOP's ownership society have taken hold and millions of Americans are about to lose their homes, Republicans cut and run. Fixing their costly mistake ain't their problem. They would call that a handout and blame the victims of their republican ideology.

Unfortunately for the average American, when a Republican talks about a "Hand up" what they really mean is single-fingered-salute followed by a generous amount of babbling:

On the Republican side, I am not sure there is any candidate that will ever rise to the top. The election is not a shoo-in for the democrats. Even so the Republicans have one candidate that could out-worsen G. W. Bush. Giulani's rhetoric is beyond comprehention. His speeches only succeed in making Bush's orations sound fresh.

Guiliani's concepts on foreign policy are founded deep in nothing. His platitudes are often well used and tend to bore me:

We are at the dawn of a new era in global affairs, when old ideas have to be rethought and new ideas have to be devised to meet new challenges ...

The United States must not rest until the al Qaeda network is destroyed and its leaders, from Osama bin Laden on down, are killed or captured ...

We must seek common ground without turning a blind eye to our differences with [China and Russia] ...

It is clear that we need to do a better job of explaining America's message and mission to the rest of the world, not by imposing our ideas on others but by appealing to their enlightened self-interest ...

America will win the war of ideas ...

We must learn from our past if we want to win the peace as well as the war ...

It is better to give people a hand up than a handout.

Most of his sayings on international affairs are fresh from a Henry Kissinger "op-ed".

Reading Giuliani and imagining that he might somehow become president chills me with a profound sense of dispair. Fortunately, there is comic relief. At one of many points where he attempts to display his erudition and expertise, he notes the "cultural exchanges" that allegedly brought about the end of the Soviet empire. The example he cites is pianist Van Cliburn's concerts in Moscow, which "hastened change."

Van Cliburn played Moscow in 1958. The Soviet Union fell in 1989. If change were any hastier, the Berlin Wall would still be intact.
As a side note: 1958 to 1989? These idiot republicans are, only now, rejoicing in the glorious efforts of their republican talking-point General Petraeus,if you need an idea on how quickly their dear-leader-wannabes expect things to change in Iraq... I say their typical expectations would be rosy-colored-glasses optimistic, something no republican would ever be accused of, but you can do the math on the dead American soldiers and Iraqi civilians in that time if you are that optimistic too. Just to give you an idea that is closer to reality:

It might take as long as half a century before U.S. troops can leave the volatile Middle East, according to retired Army Gen. John Abizaid.

"Over time, we will have to shift the burden of the military fight from our forces directly to regional forces, and we will have to play an indirect role, but we shouldn't assume for even a minute that in the next 25 to 50 years the American military might be able to come home, relax and take it easy, because the strategic situation in the region doesn't seem to show that as being possible," Abizaid said Wednesday at Carnegie Mellon University.

Got that? 50 years in Iraq... A Half a century of Americans getting killed there. It is long past time to stop giving huge fistfuls of $$$ in handouts to Military Complex, and start giving a hand up to the American soldiers by bringing them home.

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