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Let Them Sleep On The Street! FOX News Calls Troubled Homeowners “Deadbeats”

Reported by Ellen - February 16, 2009 -

On Saturday's (2/14/09) Cashin' In, guest John Tobacco complained that the White House goal of providing aid to distressed homeowners might cause “class warfare.” But it was FOX News that fired the opening salvo. In a panel in which nobody advocated for the homeowners in question, “fair and balanced” FOX repeatedly characterized them as “deadbeats” who would be profiting at the expense of working people. No statistics were provided to back up their inflammatory soundbites nor was there any information about the nature of the actual suffering of non-deadbeats who may have lost their only shelter as a result of a job loss or medical bills, etc. The only panelist in favor of aid to homeowners argued that it would save the value of his own home from declining. As far as FOX is concerned, “Let them sleep on the street so long as my investment is safe.” With video.

Jonathan Hoenig: We are incentivizing people not to pay their mortgages. These dead beats have no moral right to my money. (Note: This statement is not in the video below but the FOX News transcript is here.)

Wayne Rogers: If it's going to be administered by the federal government, you know it's going to be a disaster... How do they know how many people have two or three houses? Maybe somebody bought a second home and they're gonna, you know, renege on that particular mortgage and then wind up asking me and you and everybody else in the United States to pay for their second home.

Tracy Byrnes: That's not fair. I have a Citi mortgage. Maybe I should stop paying my bill and go into foreclosure and let them bail me out.. We have to let this thing purge itself. Let them fail. Let the houses come to market.

Host Terry Keenan asked Byrnes if she was willing to see homes on her block go down another 30% in value.

Byrnes said, "Let them go. Let the investors come in. Let first time buyers come in. It'll start over and it'll work through itself."

Jonas Max Ferris offered some balance but he was hardly a voice of compassion."This is the closest thing the government's done in trillions of spending that addresses the core problem which was started years ago, which is the home prices collapsing... I know it's not fair.. but the bottom line is, we have to stop a cascade of foreclosures driving everybody's home down.” He suggested penalties of a higher tax when the house is sold so that owners are not being “suck(ed) in like welfare.”

When challenged by Hoenig, Ferris answered that his concern was that he didn't want his own home's value to fall by 50% because so many homes were being foreclosed on. Ferris added that his system was “something that somebody who's good doesn't want to enter the system. It has to be just to keep the deadbeats in their homes and off the market for a few years.” In other words, let them go homeless once they won't affect the housing market.

Tobacco: You're running the risk of class warfare. Because I'm sittin' there. I'm in my house. I'm payin' my mortgage. And I feel like I'm getting taxed by my next-door neighbor who didn't deserve to be in his house in the first place and now my tax money is going to bail him out further.

A banner across the screen during the segment “asked:” Will WH plan to save homeowners make folks not pay their morgage?

This post was prepared with tremendous assistance from guest blogger Brian.