A friend forwarded a common sense plan aggregated by Dave Ramsey, a Tennessee based nationally syndicated radio talk show host. Ramsey is also the author of a best selling book called Financial Peace, a book I have read more than twice personally and have handed out on more than one occasion.
To be transparent, he and I don’t see perfectly eye to eye on everything from a personal finance perspective which many of you have heard me say, but 90% of the time we are in step with each other. On the issue of this $700 Billion bail out plan, I agree with him.
Many of you have asked me what I think should happen. This is along the lines of my thinking.
The Common Sense Fix:
Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following threestep Common Sense Plan.
a. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
b. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:
1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that
encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
c. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current
II. MARK TO MARKET
a. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only subprime Tier III
bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down
bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
b. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.
III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX
a. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
b. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and
retirement investments that go up instead of down.
This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as
Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.