Send the Bail Out bill to god

As Congress makes official the $700 billion financial system bail out, the question then becomes, “who gets the bill?”

If you read the Time.com article on Oct. 3rd, you might agree that Maybe We Should Blame god For the Sub Prime Mess.

The author points out the philosophy of the so-called “prosperity gospel,” in which believers (most of whom seem to belong to Pentecostal cults) think that their god wants them to share in the promised generosity of their god. In short, they believe that a god that loves them, doesn’t want them to be broke. Clearly, this is a way that many religious believers can give in to their greed and wanton urges, but still consider themselves “Christian.”

But for many, those who are not likely to actually prosper in annual income due to limitations in education, marketable skills, physical handicap, etc., the message becomes one of hope. If they believe strong enough, they can “prosper.”

The article linked above discusses the tendency for pastors to suggest, quite overtly, that if parishioners tithe right they’ll be rewarded.

Enter the Sub Prime Lender

Or, should I say “the devil himself.” If this deity in Christian cults actually existed, he would be a sub-prime lender. For those that aren’t aware the credit industry rates borrowers (or potential borrowers) with a credit score. Once your credit score falls below a certain numerical amount (generally 650), you are considered to be “sub prime.” Prime borrowers are those with credit scores higher than 700 and those are the folks that get the lowest rates and are considered for the best loans.

What happened in the last decade or so, was that a heated race began within the credit industry, particularly with regard to mortgages, and loans were written that should never have been when credit rating and income were factored.

Magical Thinking

Not surprisingly, the average low to middle income consumer also falls in that 75% of all Americans that are supposed to be religious. So what happens when a person with no credit, low income, and risky credit behavior prays for a loan and then gets one? He or she considers it to be a result of divine providence.

The article closes with an anecdote of a believer who was on the verge of foreclosure and went to his pastor and prayed for help. Days later, the mortgage company called and said they can offer the borrower/believer a substantially lower payment for three months to get back on his feet. There was no question in the man’s mind that this was anything but an act of god.

It’s a classic case of magical thinking where you pray/say an incantation and get a favorable result that would have happened anyway (or for other reasons) and you assume the cause was the prayer or incantation.

In this case, the cause is the financial crisis. Companies like Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America who are holding deposits and loans don’t want to lose their shirts. The fact is, they’re offering everyone falling behind forbearance plans and moratoriums on their loans in the hopes that they can buy enough time to re-write the loans to affordable amounts or get the borrower to sell their properties (even a loss) in order to salvage as much of the loan as possible.

Don’t thank god. Thank the FDIC.

This entry was posted in Superstition and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.