Intentional Mortgage Defaults: Right or Wrong?

Today, Conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher posed the question of whether it was right or wrong for people to deliberately default on their mortgages simply because the value of the house had decreased since purchase, and was now “underwater”… meaning the outstanding mortgage balance is greater than the market value of the house. Mr. Gallagher made it known at the outset that he thought it was ethically and legally wrong to do so.

A horrified, and truly shocked, Mr. Gallagher discovered that 99% of his callers disagreed with him. Putting forth various reasons and rationales (some might say “justifications”) the callers saw nothing wrong with deliberate default.

While I may be as dismayed as Mr. Gallagher, I am not shocked.

When people have been frustrated, lied to and make to feel powerless long enough, anger and vengefulness become the retaliatory means of choice.  Add to this almost an entire generation bent on materialism at the expense of ethics, values and spirituality and you’ve got a recipe for disaster… and perhaps violent revolution.

Such is the precipice upon which we as a nation now gaze.

I have no desire or intention to laud people who knowingly and willingly violate the law. After all, I’m a former lawyer. However, because I will not condone such behavior doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.

When Ivan Boesky told a Stanford graduating class in1987 that “Greed is good” he started (or significantly accelerated) the downward slide towards an abyss we are rapidly approaching.  You simply cannot make materialism, acquisition and power your sole benchmarks for success without destroying all that is good in humanity.

We are not human beings.  The term connotes a noun…a static thing.  We are, instead “Being human”… constantly in a state of change and evolution. As such, we are known by our choices.  We are known by how we choose to Be human.  If our choices are no more complex than to satisfy our every material and carnal need with total disregard for others, or the long term effect of our behavior, then we wind up where we are:  Ruled (not led) by leaders and institutions that have been corrupted by default as we failed to concern ourselves with who they really were or what they really aspired to because we were too busy tending to our own material and carnal needs without giving thought or energy to ethical, moral and spiritual considerations.

Are we too late?  No.

Not if you hurry.

Start today.  In your home, in your office, at the supermarket… wherever.   Demand of yourself in every moment honesty, compassion and humility.  Leave who you were yesterday behind you for that is, in fact, where it is.  You are new today, defined anew by your choices.  You have never mattered so much nor have you ever had less time to realize that simple fact.

Is it wrong to deliberately default on your mortgage?  Yes.

Do we understand the frustration and anger? Yes.

Are those people crying out from frustration and anger? Yes.

Is there an irreversible storm on the horizon? Maybe

Can you do something to turn it around? Yes.

Will you?  ____.


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