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My House Is Underwater! Whose Fault Is That?

I lot of people are having the following inner dialogue.

My house is underwater!  Whose fault is that?  I’m not one of “those” people, am I?  And I don’t mean I live in Pakistan (donate here).  I mean one of those irresponsible overspenders and speculators?  How did this happen to me?  All I did was live in my suburban home, go to work, raise my kids, take out a HELOC (home equity line of credit form of 2nd mortgage) and redo my bathroom.  Meanwhile, the world went to hell – with the real estate market leading the way.  And now I owe more than I could sell my house for.  So, I can’t even refinance to take advantage of all time low interest rates and lower my monthly nut.  I have to pay.  Thank God, I can pay.  But then why am I ashamed?  And what can I do about it?  Why shouldn’t I walk away, like housing investors do?  Where would we live?  I’m stuck.  That’s what has me angry – and a whole lot of other people too.

And for a much fuller discussion of how this happened, see The Slump Goes On: Why?, by Paul Krugman & Robin Wells, NY Review of Books, Sept. 30, 2010.

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