A foreclosure story I can't feel badly about


To hear the media tell it, the consumers who are losing their homes to foreclosures are all victims. They're victims of mortgage companies, real estate agents, banks, and the real estate industry. It does not matter whether or not they could afford the houses they bought or refinanced, so long as there's another person or company to blame.

Yet the San Francisco Chronicle apparently wants us to feel sorry for Joann Gardner, who is turning over her keys in exchange for an incentive payment, often referred to as "cash for keys." (It's the mortgage company's way of making sure that these "victims" don't destroy the houses on their way out.)

So how did Gardner get into so much trouble that she's losing the house? Her parents bought the house in 1954 for $11,500. They had no trouble affording the mortgage payments. Then Joann and her brother decided to refinance the house multiple times.