Monday, March 15, 2010

It's Her Fault, Your Honor - She Was Asking For It!

“You should have never taken that loan, you should have just moved out of your house; you don’t know anything about money, budgeting, etc., etc. It’s all your own fault so why should you be able to stay in a house you can’t afford?” And then someone will inquire as to whether you eat out in restaurants for lunch when you should be brown-bagging it.

Well, I can tell you that, in spite of the ups and downs of our finances, we would have been able to afford the house if we had not been charged a usurious interest rate after the year that we agreed to suck it up for. When all the ‘best’ financial advice at the time was to refinance, that was what we did. We sucked it up and did whatever it took to make those crazy payments on time for a year. But for the next 2 years we had been paying that same crazy money, and that was what broke us.

If I hear one more know-it-all lecture us on ‘budgeting’, I think I will scream. When you NEVER know exactly how much money you will be making from month to month, you can’t make up a budget. A budget consists of income as well as outgo, and that is something we never can figure. But until this particular debacle, we have managed to do well enough - not rich or even well-off, but able to stretch the ‘up’ times enough to cover the ‘down’ times. There were  plenty of times that we made large chunks of money that were enough to pay our bills through the lean times. My husband once wrote a TV theme song (in half an hour) that beat out hundreds of other submissions and that one song paid our bills for 5 years. You work every single day - some of it pays off and some does not. As a session singer/songwriter, that is the way the work goes - you just throw everything you have against the wall, and some of it sticks.

My point in writing about entrepreneurship and risk is to point out that - yes, the nature of our business involves risk. Nobody pays us a salary to do music. And there is no other work that we are qualified to do that will pay us more than what we make in the music business.

So does the fact that we have a high-risk business mean that we can be screwed with impunity? We can be cheated, stolen from and lied to, and dealt with in bad faith, and we have no right to complain? And when the companies that cheated us and lied to us go under, they can get bailed out and we can’t even get, not a bailout, but restitution? The banks took risks in order to make more profit than they could if they were obeying the law. We took risks to keep our family in our home.

It really reminds me of a rape case, where the rapist attacks the victim’s character as a defense - “It’s her fault, Your Honor - she was asking for it! Did you see that short skirt she had on? She was a total slut! What was she doing in a nightclub if she didn’t want it?”


Farmhand said...

Hi Alicia,
Sorry to hear about your financial challenges.

In terms of how it happened you were one of many, many people caught in the manufactured housing bubble.

One of the most lucid writers about the background to all this is Charles Hugh Smith at

Best wishes.

Cheyanne said...

I'm sorry this is happening to you. Seeing this from another side, it becomes very evident to me that when the middle poor people and poor people were screaming from the Katrinalike rooftops, (underwater) nobody heard them. Why? Because it was evident, they were stupid and poor and didn't know how to budget properly or know how to handle money or how the money system works. Now this same mantra is being told to the middle class.

It's evident to me now. First they told the mid-poor 10 years ago the same thing you're hearing now. The feelings are the same though. You know your own truth and write about it. This mantra of treating people like they are retarded and were "asking for it" will continue till the last drop of the giant pool of blood money is sucked outta the American people.

I know it's not your fault. Everybody knows who the real culprit is. Vagabond Scholar put your dilemma up on his blog. A lot can happen in 6 weeks. I'm sending good thoughts your way and moral support.

A lot of good that does when your up against powerful money monsters.

Alicia Morgan said...

Wow, Cheyenne - what a great point. You're so exactly right. As much as I've been dealing with this subject lately, I had not put that together, but that goes along with the conservative "personal responsibility" mantra (which only applies to others, of course!) which is the flip side of "no social responsibility" and the "I've got mine, screw you" attitude that accompanies it.