A Mouse Trap for Independents: What's the Catch to Obama's Latest Free Goodies?

I really hate mice, but even I felt for the freakishly disgusting rodents when I was walking around Target and saw mouse traps with FAKE cheese on ’em. Are mice so freaking stupid they’d actually fall for something pretending to hold the most coveted of cuisines within a mouse’s palette?

There’s a political parallel there…

Monday, President Obama announced a plan to force banks to refinance home mortgages for those who are upside-down in their property. For those of us who bought high and now couldn’t dream of selling at a profit, this is a wonderful way for us to benefit from a government that seems to spend on programs that’ll impact us, right?

But then we take a few steps closer and realize if we fall for this, we’re being sucked into something we already kinda fell for a few years back.

The original mortgage plan, put into effect in 2009, was designed to allow those who are current with their payments but have little or no equity in their home to secure lower mortgage rates. The President’s Home Affordable Refinance Program has helped only 894,000 borrowers since the spring of 2009. The administration had originally hoped up to 5 million homeowners would benefit. I guess this didn’t work as planned. This revised plan is supposedly going to help up to 1.6M homeowners and will force banks, on paper, to take a loss on the mortgages of people who over-extended themselves.

What the President is really feeding us is nothing more than a petrified piece of cheese that’s sat out in the sun way too long and has now been spray-painted and re-molded so as to broaden its appeal (so he hopes) in order to garner votes from an electorate who would otherwise NOT vote for him.

White-collar Americans — including a few ill-informed Republicans — could easily be lured into thinking this is a win-win for the economy and for homeowners everywhere. One can easily see and almost smell the savings in the trap here. It’s so enticing to think of being able to actually save on a burdensome mortgage payment, and those who have paid their mortgages responsibly will more than likely benefit, too.

But let’s look at this and other items the President has announced in the last few weeks a little more closely. He is broadening his brush strokes in order to appeal to a voter who is a little less liberal than his base, possibly undecided, and he is even trying to roll in the military vote.

Home mortgages aside, this President is throwing out plans to entice college graduates by reducing their school loans, appealing to our patriotism far and wide by going after every bad guy under the sun and “decisively”‘ wiping him out, and is attempting to pull at the heart strings of our military families by speeding up the troop drawback, ostensibly believing bringing the troops home is of greater import to military families than securing a country these families fought for.

On face value, these plans are beautifully American; they relieve the burden on working families (reduced home loans), allow those getting their start in the world to walk out debt-free (student loans), and reunite the families of our military who’ve been apart way too long (troop drawdown).

But at what cost is all of this happening? Are we going to find out, as we take steps closer to look at what we’re being offered, we’ve been fed temporary fixes to long-term problems?

Will our housing markets fall even further into ruin? Will universities and colleges have to raise tuition even higher to where advanced education is out of reach to most high school graduates? And lastly, are we sacrificing our global and national safety just because our seated President wants to appease and “win” the favor of a group of people who otherwise wouldn’t be counted among his faithful?

It begs the question of whether or not our President is baiting a trap for the uninformed Republican and less-than-committed conservative, whether he’s trying to sway the undecided youth of this country.

The question is, will we be pulled into a trap whose only bait is empty promises and end up with a mouth full of broken teeth, or will we show President Obama we’re smarter than rodents?

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