Dwayne Hendrickson
United States
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma
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I was born in 1960, right around when Kennedy was elected, about 50 miles SW of Chicago. ABout the only thing I remember about Kennedy was when I was lying on the couch watching TV and they had this rifleman in a wooden tower and he kept shooting at a black human shaped target. That was the CBS special about the Warren report.

I remembe hearing my mom & dad talk about all the rioting in '68 and how they were concerned that it would reach out to where we lived.

I remember little of Johnson or what effect his administration had on our family, no one in our family was involved in Viet Nam.

Nixon, what I remember of Nixon was trips to China and Watergate with the non-stop coverage.

When I started paying attention to things like the economy was with Gerald Ford and his WIN buttons (Whip Inflation Now) that didn't seem to work.

I started driving and trying to find work during the Carter Administration and in the Chicago Area, work was hard to find. I took two years of welding (Dad said "You need a skill!") because the computer class were all full in '78 and being a film-maker in Illinois (back then) wasn't really a 'skill'. I became certified in welding the day that Caterpillar Tractor laid off 150 welders.

My chances of landing a welding job? 0%

I muddled around, holding about 10 jobs in one year. I remember allpying for a dental assistant opening and was the only guy applying with about 75 women. The area suffered from double digit unemployment (ya know, like 10% and higher) as well as double digit inflation. I landed a job at a bank and that went well for a year or so.

Reagan was elected and for once, my dad started saying nice things about a president. Things were still rough for me. I took a computer job with an outfit in Chicago and 3 months later they laid me off. I was engaged and had no job.

My uncle in Tulsa told me that Oklahoma & Texas were the places to be. Oklahoma had 6% unemployment, lowest in the nation! So in 1982, I packed up and lit out for Tulsa. Landed a job in a bank saved up a little and then got married.

Shortly thereafter, I started working for an oil exploration outfit. Times were pretty good, I was pulling in around 15 hours of overtime a week.

We found out we were a pregnant couple and decided that we should buy a house so the kids could have room to run and play. Now we told the real estate lady that my wife was going to quit working, but she said that we should list her income on the loan application anyway. Since we didn't have a down payment, my In-Laws wrote us a promisory note for that amount. With all of that and a nice low FHA loan of 12.75%, we bought our first house for $55k.

When I went into work that evening, my boss told me that oil had just bottomed out and I had just taken a 10% cut in pay and lost most of my OT. Once the first son was born, I started a second job to keep the house and my wife started babysitting some other kids. Our second was born 16 months later and now I was working two jobs, she was working part time and we were BOTH doing the babysitting.

We held on as long as we could and then the company went completely under. We called the mortgage company to try to work with them, but they said that they had completely pulled out of Texas, Oklahoma, & Louisiana. They would come for the house when they came for the house. At one time, over half the houses on our street were in foreclosure.

Needless to say, we lost the house after about a year and that was a year of trying to pay off credit cards and kid costs.

We moved into a duplex and I got another computer job. Reagan was still in office, but it didn't seem to be doing my pocketbook a whole lot of good. I remember seeing the Berlin Wall fall. My new job closed down after 7 years and we had to pack up and move to Oklahoma City.

We worked along, saving and we eventually bought another house after the foreclosure was off our record, but this time we counted the cost more closely. We did get in with an ARM, but it was during the Clinton admin and the rates dropped and my lovely wife was watching them everyday. We finally locked in at a rate that was less than half what we were paying before. Matter of fact, our house payment was $200 a month LESS and the house cost about 50% more.

The outfit I worked for started heading downhill after about 7 more years and I went with a contracting outfit that eventually turned into my being picked up by a major employer.

Both boys are grown and out of the house, we're on track to get the house paid off, we have some cash to travel with, but we still try to watch our $$. I've had more jobs than I care to count and lost almost every one of them to forces beyond my control.

What does that have to do with Carter, Reagan, Obama & McCain?

When folks tell me that the country is going down the rathole with 6% unemployment or that this is the worst economy since the Great Depression I just want to jump on their shoulders and pummel the holy living crap outta them. The Carter years sucked the life outta the northern Midwest and NE. Back then was definately worse than now.

When folks cry about their 8% mortgage and they need help or they will be on the street, again, I want to pummel them. The Oil Bust in the 80's under Reagan kneecapped Oklahoma & Texas. A helluva lot of folks lost their home. At no time did I expect the federal government to come swooping and save my ass.

Was I victimized by a bad realtor? Probably, but very few salesmen EVER have your best interests in mind. I have a brain and it was completely turned off. I wanted to give my kids what my parents gave me (a home), but I wasn't wanting to wait the way my folks did. I wanted what they had after 20 years of marriage while only waiting 1 year of mine. I was greddy, selfish and stupid. My family paid the price and we didn't want nor get federal help. Thousands of folks across the country have been greedy, selfish & stupid but now I'm supposed to shoulder their burden involuntarily.

I didn't get burned in the dot com bubble during the Clinton years, but heard a lot of folks that did. I knew that the greedy SOBs that were throwing their money into the stock market and driving the prices up artifically would move their $ & end up landing somewhere and they landed in real estate. The dominoes have finally started falling with folks everywhere to blame and things are looking bleak.

Now about Obama & McCain. I don't know who is gonna win and I have told both of my boys that they have about 12 months to save as much money as possible. The Oklahoma economy is a weird thing. It is always about 12-18 months behind the rest of the country, probably due to oil. You guys are getting socked with $4 gas? Our oil & gas companies are drilling like mad, bringing in money. Things start to go really bad for the country? It takes about a year before we feel the effects. Things are going really good for the country? It takes about a year for things to start going good in Oklahoma.

So no matter WHO wins, I can see the financial wave in the distance that is going to be rocking our state economy and I have warned my boys. I'm happy that we have that time buffer here.

BUT, I have also told them my story to help put some of what the country is going through now into perspective. We got through it before without government intervention, and I'm wondering how we are going to handle the ride now that the feds have their finger in the pie? It sure as heck ain't gonna be like last time.

I'm afraid it's gonna be worse.




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Joe V.
United States
Washington
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I bitch and moan about getting laid off three times in my corporate career due partially to bubbles over the last 8 years. Your post puts it in perspective, though. It probably wasn't the original intent of your thread but nice work raising a family through it all.

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Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Since both Obama and McCain are in favor of government bailouts in some form or other, I'm afraid we are stuck with them. The trouble is, getting a bail out doesn't do much to correct the idiotic business practices that got us in this mess in the first place.
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Jorge Montero
United States
St Louis
Missouri
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I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
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chansen2794 wrote:
Since both Obama and McCain are in favor of government bailouts in some form or other, I'm afraid we are stuck with them. The trouble is, getting a bail out doesn't do much to correct the idiotic business practices that got us in this mess in the first place.


But that's the crux of the matter: Which practices are idiotic and got us in this mess in the first place? If we had a real consensus, something could be done. As we've seen so far, the people in charge aren't even sure of what is the initial cause of all of this. Loose credit? Savings glut? Excessive regulation? Lack of regulation? Liquidity problems? Ham sandwiches?
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Dwayne Hendrickson
United States
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma
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I think that lending money to folks that were high credit risks is a pretty obvious answer to that.

Fannie Mae was created in the 1930s to purchase mortgages from banks. This would allow banks to have their money sooner than the 30 years it would normally take. This allowed banks to turn around and lend money again.

In the 1990's when the interest rates dropped, folks across the country 'moved on up', purchasing a larger home or a new home. But eventually, everyone that could qualify for a loan did and the 'pool of money' dried up.

In order to allow more folks to purchase homes and keep the loaned money moving, the Feds leaned on Fannie Mae, and in turn, banks, to loosen the qualifications and lower the standard for folks that could buy homes.

Needless to say, as each group of 'qualified' borrowers dried up, the restrictions were loosened again and again until finally, in order to get a loan you didn't have to have proof of a job, you didn't have to have proof of savings, and through creative financing (getting two different loans) you didn't have to have a down payment or Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Of course, a lot of these loans were adjustable rates and when the rate & payment rose faster than the borrowers income, they decided to default on the loan.

A lot of folks that had no business owning a home, either because they didn't have the income (not unlike what happened with my first home), or had no idea of what it takes to own and maintain a home. Add to that a lot of these folks have no sense of responsibility and realize that they should do everything possible to pay their debts and meet their obligations. These folks have learned that when the going gets tough, the tough get going....for the exit.

Multiply this by thousands or even millions and folks/businesses that needed those loans repaid to continue doing business found that they couldn't continue on.

Now let's heap on the fact that several lenders would lie about goals that the company met and would hand out bonuses to their CEOs, further depleteing what cash they had on hand.

Tons of folks are responsible and this is one of the recognized causes of our current problem and both Democrats and Republicans are in the same boat on this one.

For some interesting listening:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9032768...
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