Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks For Nothing

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, or so the saying goes. When volunteers and members of the ABC reality television program "Extreme Home Makeover" helped out an Atlanta family, little did they know that it would all end in foreclosure. Will this be the only home featured on the show to end up being auctioned off?

Like any reality show out there, "EHM" and dreamy [that's what the ladies tell me] super-dude Ty Pennington trade on exploiting emotion and sorry, using gimmicky camera reaction shots and sob stories to draw in viewers. It's an old formula that works, and who wouldn't watch a show where neighbors rebuild the house of someone going through tough times?

In the case of an Atlanta family, the show rebuilt their home into a virtual castle, left them in excellent financial shape, and that should have been the end of the story, right?
In that particular episode of the hyper-benevolent reality show, which first aired in February 2005, it took 1,800 volunteers a week to demolish the house with the overflowing septic tank that belonged to Milton and Patricia Harper of Lake City, Ga., and then entirely rebuild a new, larger house, while the Harpers and their three children went away to Disneyland. When they returned, they had the biggest house on Ahyoka Drive, with all the appliances and furnishings, plus enough money to pay taxes on it for decades, plus a fund to send their children to college.

The house will be auctioned off, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, next Tuesday on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse.

The Harpers had used their home as collateral on a $450,000 loan from JPMorgan Chase and fell in arrears, the newspaper reported. He ran a home security business; she mommed at home. Happy to be on television back then, they declined to be interviewed last week...

The mayor of Lake City, Willie Oswalt, who said he'd helped lift a beam into place in the Harpers living room, told the press that "it's aggravating. It just makes you mad. You do that much work, and they just squander it."

People have the right to do stupid things. I hope all of that money bought something nice.

As the mortgage crisis gets worse and worse, I don't know if people like the Harpers should be bailed out. I hate to draw the line somewhere, but if you're going to bail out people who borrow nearly a half million dollars and piss it away, you might as well bail out everyone.


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