Funny: I read this story earlier today, about “walk-away homeowners” and I immediately thought about abortion. Here’s why:
Divorce. Single parenthood. Debt. Bankruptcy. These and a long list of other social behaviors were once stigmatized and kept behind closed doors away from polite society, but are now, if perhaps not completely acceptable, at least openly tolerated and in some cases, even lauded as smart lifestyle choices.
Must we now add foreclosure to the list?
The evidence is still anecdotal, but news media have begun to report that some homeowners have decided to walk away from their homes just because they have no equity and, consequently, don’t want to make their mortgage payments even though they could afford to do so.
Two things. One, we seem to be surrounded by irresponsibility, in just about all aspects of our lives. As though fewer and fewer people were willing to make any sacrifices ever. For anything.
Two, once a society accepts something as horrifying as abortion as just another “lifestyle choice,” then no wonder the stigma attached to foreclosure disappears.
Andrea adds: Stigma. Anyone recall the movie Cinderella Man? It’s the Depression, if my memory serves me correctly, and the father loses his job and his kids are sick and going hungry. He is forced to collect welfare but when he gets back on his feet, he returns the money to the government. There was a stigma in collecting it, and a pride in returning it. I’m not sure there’s a stigma attached to welfare anymore. Or foreclosure. And maybe that has to do with our ability to avoid the most basic of responsibilities: Parenthood. Anyone notice this in the Globe yesterday? Not being able to buy a condo until you are 30 or 35 is not an injustice. Rather, it’s an embarrassment to get aging parents to finance your lifestyle when you are yourself an adult.