By Jessica Kinsey: My family doesn't ask much of America.
My family doesn't ask much of America. When we wanted an education, we funded ourselves through student loans. Even in our poorest days, we never asked for Medicare or food stamps. We budgeted and sacrificed and were proud of our accomplishments, because they were ours. We sincerely believed in the "pick yourselves up by your bootstraps" mentality.
Last year, our financial situation changed, which I know is a familiar tune for most Americans. I made the choice to leave my job and raise my son. We sold our comfortable vehicles for older models, started shopping at our local Grocery Outlet and cut our budget down to the bone. We would have sold our house if we could have, but the real estate market had downgraded too far.
So, we were responsible and tried to be proactive about our situation. We went to refinance our house to the "historic new low rates." We couldn't qualify, because our house was appraised too low. So, we went back to our budget, cut into the marrow and held on.
After Obama was elected in November, I held great hope that there would be relief in our future. That was when we heard about the new hardship modification loans that would become available to homeowners such as ourselves. Again, we were proactive and filed our paperwork in March of this year.
For four months we waited to hear from our lender whether or not we could take advantage of the program. Each month we would call and be told that the people who were in foreclosure took precedence. Each month we saw our modest savings dwindle and wondered how we were going to make the next mortgage payment.
Finally, on July 13, we got our answer. There was nothing they could do to help us as we didn't qualify for the Obama plan. We were encouraged to reapply if our circumstances had changed since March. We were told, "Reapplication is your best option or, if you don't make your payments for 60 days, there are several options."
When I hung up the phone, I was frustrated, disappointed and angry. I wasn't asking for a handout. I wasn't asking for free money. I simply wanted to refinance our mortgage to lower the payment. Once again, doing it the responsible way netted us absolutely nothing. The irresponsible were being taken care of and, in my estimation, rewarded.
Is this seriously what our society has come to? Until you become a problem, a squeaky wheel, only then will you get taken care of? Do we have to default on our debts to show the seriousness of our financial situation?
I volunteered for the Obama campaign, so hopeful for a future that I could believe in. My husband and I are both independents, but we believed in this candidate with every fiber of our being. We love this country, deeply, and believe in the good it can accomplish.
Now, as I see family members lose their jobs for 11 months, taking furlough days and pay cuts, I have become disillusioned.
Where is the help for the responsible people? When don't we have to take a backseat to those who fail to operate within the societal rules? When will America stop enforcing this culture of irresponsibility? Will America ever reward those who seek a proactive approach?
Jessica Kinsey is a full-time mom pursuing her teaching degree at Southern Oregon University. She has lived in the Rogue Valley for 13 years and currently resides in Central Point.