February 22, 2009

BOSTON GLOBE: Bailout lament: What about me? Many who played by rules see unfairness. Gee, do you think?

“What about people like me who are playing by the rules, who got a mortgage we could afford?” said Carpenter, 52, who programs building management systems for MIT Lincoln Laboratory. “Maybe I’m too old school, but you sign on the bottom line, and you’re responsible for it.”

Carpenter is among the vast majority of Americans who work, pay mort gages, borrow responsibly, and now find themselves facing the bill to bail out those who didn’t. Over the years they lived within their means. Now they’re asking: What for?

The anger underscores the dangers government faces in private sector rescues. . . . Randy Schmid, 50, of Worcester, is one of them. A self-employed consultant, Schmid and his wife Dominika are renters. They looked into buying a home a few years ago. They hoped to find a house they could afford on a single income, so if one of them lost work, they could still meet their obligations. They didn’t.

“If we would have lived beyond our means,” he said, “we would have gotten a handout.”

How long can a system that punishes virtue and rewards greed and profligacy flourish?

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