By Katie Kieffer
Does this sound familiar? You were two peas in a pod. You wanted to grow old together. You never fought. About anything. Except money, that is. Now, the two of you are history.
Quit throwing darts at your ex’s photo. Pull up a chair in my office, and I’ll give you some therapy.
May I trade you a cup of coffee and a tension ball for those darts before we begin?
Now that you’re relaxed, let’s get down to business. Here’s my message for you today: If you feel like your love life is doomed to failure, you may be putting too much blame on yourself.
I’m not saying that you aren’t responsible for your character and actions. If you’re immature, manipulative, dishonest or unfaithful, then you are largely to blame for your romantic detours. On the other hand, if you are a genuinely good person, and finances were the main source of tension between you and your former partner, you may be justified in blaming big government for your breakup.
I saw your eyebrow go up. You think I’m trying to connect big government to everything. Well, I wouldn’t have to if it weren’t so pervasive. First, I want to tell you about a recent study commissioned by PayPal called “Can’t Buy Me Love,” that found:
- “Money and finances are the No. 1 reason participants said they argued with their significant other.”
- “Forty-five percent of couples fight at least once a month about finances, and for those ‘traumatized by the current economy,’ the arguments are more frequent.”
- “One-third of people said they’d wait to marry someone until that person’s credit score improved.”
- “More than one-third said they would consider not marrying or moving in with someone unless he or she ‘makes a fair amount of money.’”
- “65%, said they wouldn’t want to date someone with significant debt.”
So, by this study, financial compatibility issues and financial hardship can tear an otherwise strong relationship asunder. The PayPal study’s findings are relevant today since the U.S. economy is experiencing one of the darkest financial downturns in history.
Here’s the story of government intervention that most media professionals won’t tell you about: It is the story of Clinton-era loose home ownership policies. While there certainly were unscrupulous real estate brokers, lenders and mortgage bankers who took advantage of loose government policies and exacerbated the recession, they did not cause the recession. The entire recession and the woes of any industry can be traced back to government intervention, not capitalist greed on Wall Street.
This story of government intervention that spiraled into a residential real estate crisis, and eventually an economy-wide recession begins in the Clinton era, when President Clinton’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Henry Cisneros, persuaded Clinton to drastically ease mortgage restrictions for first-time home buyers.
Rather than increasing home ownership, these loose policies, including relaxing appraisal rules, eliminating the five-year stable income requirement for first-time home buyers and lowering the standards of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, opened the doors to home ownership to an additional 10 percent of the U.S. population that did not qualify to become home owners.
Clinton was able to tinker with the economy because he had the luxury of coming into office after Reagan, a staunch believer in the free market system. The Reagan administration prepared a wonderful gift for the Clinton administration, a vibrant economy. The nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research reported that the Reagan era unleashed the “longest sustained period of prosperity in the 20th century” from 1982 to 1999.
Clinton’s policies had a devastating ripple effect on the entire economy. Foreclosures sprang up, consumer spending went down, the credit markets froze and jobs disappeared.
There is an uncanny parallel between the foreclosure-related relationship strife and community unrest that traumatized Cisernos’ pet real estate development in San Antonio, Lago Vista, and the results of PayPal’s study, conducted during a recession.
Cisernos’ failed experiment shows that government intervention induces financial hardship. PayPal’s study shows that financial hardship leads to romantic strife. Thus, if you were one of the unlucky or naive souls who thought that government was your friend – and now have a foreclosed property and a text message from your ex that says, “We r over” on your hands – you can feel free to swap your ex’s photo for an image of Congress on your dart board.
Well, that concludes our therapy session. Have fun hitting the Congressional bullseye.