If you turn on CNN, half the headlines you’ll hear will mention the mortgage crisis and the bailouts that the U.S. government is planning for American homeowners facing foreclosures. But there are a couple of numbers that seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle: while the planned bailouts are being paid out of everyone’s taxes, almost a third of Americans rent their homes. They’re paying into the system, but they aren’t benefiting.
That’s the point that AngryRenter.com is trying to make. The site is a grassroots effort meant to bring attention to the fact that renters are getting a raw deal. The site’s main goal is to get enough signatures on their petition to convince Congress to think twice about bailing out homeowners.
The group is backed by FreedomWorks, a political activism group focused on reducing taxes. They are recruiting renters, as well as homeowners, to oppose federal help for foreclosures. AngryRenter.com cites a CNN article estimating that, if Congress follows through on the bailout, the bill could reach $120 billion dollars.
Just looking through the signatures on the petition and the attached comments, you can quickly get the idea that these renters feel that most those homeowners facing foreclosure made a very poor decision in taking out a subprime mortgage–the consensus is that those homeowners should have kept renting until they could have afforded a prime mortgage.
The comments range from the economics of the situation to the personal choices of renters. Michael B. of Denver, Colorado suggests, “Government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Let the market work as it’s supposed to. Government programs designed to get as many people into homes, (regardless of credit worthiness, or job stability) in large part contributed to this problem. Stay out of the market since you obviously don’t understand it. None of my tax dollars to bail out poor choices by others.”
In contrast, Daniel C., of Austin, Texas focused on his own situation: “My wife and I have wanted a house for a while now, but we took a realistic look at our finances and realized we needed to wait. In our mid-30s, we’ve paid off our other debt and we’re finally closing in on a reasonable down payment. I don’t want my hard-earned tax dollars going to bail out a bunch of short-sighted, ‘But I want it now!’ types.”
Whether or not you are an angry renter, this opinion hasn’t gotten much attention at the federal level of government. Both homeowners and banks have lobbies that represent them in Washington, but the closest renters get are the lobbyists looking out for landlords’ interests.
And considering a few of those landlords have subprime problems of their own, it looks like AngryRenter.com really is one of the best representatives that renters have.