Sunday, December 23, 2007

Have a Merry Unsantatized Christmas

Our singles / college pastor, Bryan Finley, did our Christmas service today at our church. Eventually, you should be able to hear it here. It was a great sermon and talked about how many of our rituals and traditions have us sanitizing Christmas to become something other than what it is about. When he said sanitizing, I at first thought he said "Santa-tizing" thanks to that wonderful southern accent I am still getting used to. Santa-tizing is also a very applicable word, since its making Christmas about Santa and gifts instead of about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Santa-tizing is exactly what happened in Vegie Tales movie entitled "The Toy that Saved Christmas." But, its far worse than just making Christmas about gifts or even giving, but making Christmas about families and as Bryan quoted one radio host, "Christmas is what makes our nation great." Christmas is not any of that, but about what makes our God great. He came into this world humbly and humbly offered Himself to all of us. And we celebrate Christmas as the day He came to earth for us.

So, I say have a Merry unsanitized and unsantatized Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Heather, Anna, and I just got back from visiting with my father and step-mom at Myrtle Beach, staying at the South Beach Resort at Myrtle Beach. My father used RCI to trade in some of his timeshare to go to another. Here Heather, Anna, and I are at the South Beach Resort:

This past trip, combined with memories from my last Myrtle Beach trip, had me thinking about timeshares. Two years ago Heather and I went to Myrtle Beach with our close friends Aaron and Suzanne in December. We had decided to go to the Dixie Stampede for their Christmas show. (Very good show incidentally. Everywhere in Myrtle Beach seems geared to sell you a timeshare, from Malls to restaurants, and unfortunately Dixie Stampede was not different. We were offered a free drink and appetizer during the preshow for filling out an information card. It wasn't surprising to us that Heather and I, being young DINKs (dual income no kids), hit their target market for anything they wanted to sell us. Well, they offered us a couple hundred dollars and breakfast if we spent a couple of hours the next day at the Sheraton Broadway Plantation timeshares. We didn't have any plans, so we said sure its worth a couple hundred dollars to us to check it out. So, we took the tour and enjoyed the place. Since I was familiar with Hilton Grand Vacation Club, I knew much of what this was all about. We enjoyed it and seriously liked the place. A 2 bedroom unit at the time would cost $18,000 and also need $750 maintenance per year. To Heather and I, that is not something we can make a quick decision on, and things then started to get bad.

The sales guy who was previously very nice to us, turned very rude when we said we were not interested in making a decision that day. Apparently, he thought we really were wasting his time. He badgered us a bit and we told him we definitely were not going to buy. Another person came over who we complained to (complaints on deaf ears) and we walked away with our couple hundred dollars, but very angry.

Since then, we have had other offers for free weekends or other things if we sit through timeshare pitches. I think that the experience was so bad, unless we were really interested we would never do it.

Incidentally, I loved the Starwood Vacation Ownership, even though I don't think I could ever buy into it because of that sales guy. I think Heather and I will just scrimp and save and hope we someday can buy a lakehouse. We may be turned off from timeshares forever...but we can still enjoy our parents like we did this weekend :-)

We liked the South Beach Resort, things seemed in good repair although the amenities were the bare minimum. They had cheap linens and an unimpressive workout facility and lazy "river" as well as some poor customer service. Maybe I will blog another day about the problems with many of these places as I have been to enough. Starwood solves many of these problems, too bad that bad taste will never get out of my mouth!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Brrrrr... It worked

To follow up from my last story, about the tramatic night Anna and I had with her big ouchy. She woke up the next morning with no mark and no bruise. I guess the ice worked! Or maybe I overreacted. Let's just say the ice worked!

Here is Anna from yesterday night with her pink Harris Teeter baloon and playing with her favorite toy, Cassie...

It was so warm yesterday (in the 80s) that she was bare-legged. It had been so long that she didn't have on tights or pants on, her legs were extremely ticklish. That made for a fun night because every time I grabbed her she would giggle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Big Ouchy

Tonight something happened that never happened on my guard alone, Anna fell and had a big ouchy. It started with her really enjoying her big pink chair. Mommy had sat on it with her before she left, and she continued to play with the chair.

Eventually, she start moving the chair. She moved it in the middle of the floor, pure hardwoods and no rug. Well she stood and leaned on the back as she had done many times, but this time it didn't hold her. She did a face-plant on the hardwoods having tipped the big pink chair over.

Typically when something tragic like this had happened when it was Heather and I, I'd call in the calvary. Heather and I would double team her with love and all would be well. Well, Daddy didn't do too bad himself. I wisked Anna away and changed her perspectives, went to a different room altogether to get her thinking about something else. We went upstairs and read a book. All was well, the tears had stopped and Daddy's little girl just got more cuddly.

However, the trama was not over. I noticed Anna got a big red spot. And not wanting Anna to end up with a big black and blue mark from one of her few times with Daddy alone, I decided to ice it. Well, this was worse than getting hurt to begin with. After 10 minutes of holding ice on my little girl's head and her crying the whole time, I let her go and prayed that she didn't get a big bruise. All that crying wore her out, and she was acting pretty sleepy early...leaving me to write this blog entry ;-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dad alone? Play with the baby!

As I wrote last week, Anna and I have been having Tuesday night date nights. Two of the nights I went out shopping with Anna and noticed that as I walked around with Anna people tended to come up close to Anna more so than normal. Is a Dad all alone a reason to approach the baby? When Heather and I are out, Anna gets comments but not approached and touched. When its just me, people have a tendency to get close to Anna and do things like grab her feet. This seems really odd to me, and I don't think this happens to Heather when she is alone.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Merry Christmas Lights!

We aren't the types to spend too much time on the Christmas lights, but I put up the decor of the year outside. This year we went with icicles in addition to our normal lights on the big evergreens, garland and bows on the posts, wreath on the door, and the candles in the window. Here is a picture of our house:

New rooms

Much of this weekend has been spent redoing two of our bedrooms for new usage. Prior to this weekend, we had a nursery, office, and guest bedroom beyond our master bedroom. With another sweet baby girl on the way, we decided to reorganize into a nursery, Anna's room, and a guest bedroom/office combo. So, my mother-in-law and I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning painting the two rooms and Saturday afternoon rearranging furniture. My mother-in-law is the real skill when it comes to painting, no tape I just do the rolling and she does all the edging. We painted Anna's room a green to match her new linens, Banana Fish Bubble Gum. Anna seemed to love her room!

The guest room/office was a dark green on the blueish is now more of a warm milk chocolate or mocha.

Still have to hang art and curtains, but you get the picture :-)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Its a girl

My date nights have helped prepare me and get me excited for the arrival of another sweet little girl. Heather, Anna, and I went to the doctor's today for an ultrasound. We found out that everything seems normal and healthy, a huge blessing, and that they confirmed that Heather is almost 19 weeks pregnant,. The due date by the ultrasound was April 27. Anna was 5 days early, if the new baby girl is also 5 days early Mommy and the her may share a birthday!!

The tough part now is that we had a boy name picked out as a carryover from when Anna was around. We had much more trouble with girl's names the first time. Let's see if we can do better this time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Date nights with Anna

Anna is now 13 months and Daddy and her have date nights when Mommy has plans. Last night was one of those nights, and we decided just to stay in and play. Anna was really busy last night, spending 5-10 minutes on each task before moving on to the next task. They were important things like playing with special toys, pushing around her shopping cart, or pulling all of the DVDs our of the cabinet and putting them back.
Anna with a DVD
I can't forget Anna's favorite playtoy, Cassie. She loves everything about Cassie. Cassie makes her laugh without even doing anything. Cassie also takes a lot of abuse and doesn't even snap at Anna in return. Cassie goes crazy when we have guests over, but she really is an angel around Anna and we couldn't be happier with how she is with kids.
Anna with Cassie
Anna kissing Cassie

Our Year of Maintenance

2007 will thus be deemed in the Burckart household, the year of maintenance. Not anything to do with our daughter or the conception of our next child...but the year of maintenance. Coincidental that our house was built 10 years ago in 1997? I think not. Here is what we have had to do in the past year:
1) Change the torsion spring in the garage door.
2) Replace the boots around the plumbing vents on the roof
3) Replace the mailbox
4) Replace the upstairs AC unit and coil
5) Replace the water heater
6) Replace the cabinets, counters, appliances, floors AND subfloors because the dishwasher leaked and caused the subflooring to rot, mold, and buckle underneath the cabinets into the breakfast nook and throughout the kitchen.

And today, the furnace stopped working upstairs. Not to mention that a friend of ours has told us that our downstairs AC unit/gas pack unit is going and will need replaced next year. Incidentally, in July before #4 and #5 happened, I looked up this article from USA Today about when things will go bad and what preventive maintenance needs done. Here are some things that jump out at me:

  • Water heater expectancy: 15-18 yrs
  • AC units: 15 years
  • furnaces: 20-25 years

You'll notice that we are 5-10 years ahead of schedule for things falling apart. That is why this year is the year of maintenance.

**updated because I forgot about the most expensive kitchen expense :-(

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cool website:

I was checking out this website,, and it is by far the coolest new power tool I have seen in a long time. It shows you all those things previously unavailable to the common purchaser without going through a real estate agent, estimate values of homes, "Make Me Move" prices, recent sales, and houses for sale on a Google Map like easy to use interface. I am amazed...great job Zillow!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For me, Blackberry 8830 wins out over iPhone

I recently made a tough (for me) decision as to buy the cool, slick, Apple iPhone on AT&T or the new but not as cool Blackberry 8830 on Sprint PCS. I have heard from many friends as well as people I trust online such as Jeff Pulver about how great the iPhone is...but I wasn't sure it made sense for me. In the end, I bought a BB is why. First, I compared feature sets taking into account the networks:

featureiPhoneBB 8830
Phone accessX
Email accessX
Maps / Yellow pagesX
News readingX
Web BrowsingX
Worldwide usageX
Message typabilityX
Multimedia accessX
Cool intangiblesX

In the end, I made the following decisions:
  • I will mainly use mobile wireless access for email, maps/yellow pages, and news reading and do not need a general web browser. Email (push + speed), Google Maps (GPS + speed) and News (speed) are all better on Sprint PCS. Google maps with GPS is just a better experience. Likewise, reading news at EVDO speeds on Sprint just can't compare.
  • I need a device I can drop a foreign GSM SIM into..something traditionally good with AT&T and bad for Sprint but not for these devices.
  • I don't think we have advanced enough in battery technology for an iPhone to take place of two devices...and it doesn't have a hard drive or work with my docking station like my 80GB Video iPod.
  • The tactile feedback on the BB was easier to type for me with big fingers than the iPhone. If I am going to use it for email, typability is pretty important.

Finally, I couldn't buy the iPhone on cool intangibles alone..and I am really happy with my BB 8830.

Now, I will be prepared to be slammed by my friends and unknown Apple followers on the internet for saying I liked something better than an Apple device. But, I thought I would, at very least, offer my evaluation so some person may gain.

Ohh, and the price thing is corporate discounts on service aren't applicable if you have an iPhone. I like my heavily discounted Sprint service.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend with Anna

So, today is my last day alone with Anna while Heather is having fun with her cousins and aunts in New York City. Anna has been an angel, she slept til 7 on Friday and Saturday and 8:30 today. The activities have centered around constant motion. She has crawled everywhere, walked with her walker everywhere, and chased the puppy everywhere :-). Friday and Saturday she slept for 2 full hours each morning and afternoon. She is waking up now, which means she will have only an hour nap this morning.

Unfortunately, Anna's morning schedule this morning did not lend itself to me getting to church. By the time I changed, bottle fed, changed, and fed her was already too late for me to get to church for the 9:30 and she was sleepy around 10:15 which meant no making the 11 AM.

I did make it out of the house twice this weekend. The first time we went to Suzanne and Aaron's to celebrate Aaron's 28th birthday. It was fun, but a bit late for Anna. We started dinner around 7:20 PM and I didn't get home til 9 PM after semi-rudely running out. Thats about an hour after Anna's bedtime. We also went with Uncle John to the farmer's market and ate at the great seafood restaurant. We met Mike and Jenn there and had a good time. We also bought a couple boxes of tomatoes so Uncle John can make us sauce.

Anna was great. If only Cassie would learn from her. Cassie has been trying her best to demand my attention. She has gone potty on the floor 6 times, carpet everytime. Last night 3 times even after waking me up at 12:30 AM and 2 AM to take her downstairs to go potty. Next time, I may have to board her.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LG appliances

Heather and I recently redid our entire kitchen. We are not huge fans of the stainless steel appliances, so our choices in colors were limited from there. We felt we either had white, traditional black, or high gloss black. We decided to go with the high gloss black. After a lot of staring at the different brands, we took LG because their price, function, and style best suited our desires.

So, we have now had our LG appliances all fully installed for 4 months. A french door refrigerator with ice on the door (LFX25960), a range complete with convection and 4 burners and a warmer on the cooktop (LRE30451), a microwave which is substantially styled different ( LMVM2075), and a not fully integrated dishwasher (LDS5811).

This morning, the appliance repair man comes to our house for the second time in those four months. The first time, the dishwasher was leaking on some cycles it was wasn't locking and sealing shut. The very good appliance guy quickly replaced the mother board like thing and its worked perfectly since. This was a big scare since one of the remodeling reasons was the dishwasher, which leaked and ruined our kitchen and dining room subflooring.

This time, the refrigerator periodically freezes up when using the dispenser. It works otherwise, but until it resets itself in 5 minutes or so, all you can get is water out of the dispenser. So, we are two out of our four brand new LG appliances have had some problems. However, our experience with the first repair was so good, I wouldn't not buy them again. We'll see if thats the case after this repair where we have something we can't repeat on demand.

Incidentally, we did buy all the appliances at Home Depot and have the extended warranties on everything but the microwave. Their extended warranty is a flat fee ($60 for 1 yr and $90 for 3 yr I believe), and after all the discounts we paid less than $300 for the was odd to think about paying 20% of that for an extended warranty.

Back to blogging..

I know I have missed blogging for quite some time...but I am going to make another effort. No promises. :-)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Saving, Budgeting, and Marriage...

Heather and I were interviewed by Sue Stock from the N&O, our local newspaper here in Raleigh NC, about how we manage money as a fairly young married couple. The article is here at the N&O including a picture of us with our daughter Anna under More Photos on the right. The experience was great, Sue was nice as well as the photographer, Chris Seward, who spent 45 minutes at our house ot get some various photos of us.

Most of the interview we talked about our system of budgeting, called the envelope system. We didn't develop this system but were taught it by people related to the Crown Financial Ministries organization. Our church, Crossroads Fellowship, teaches part of the Crown curriculum as well as information from other popular financial freedom ministries and personalities like Dave Ramsey. As part of enforcing our envelope system, which I will describe in more detail in a second, we use Crown's Money Matters software which they now call Money Map software. They also have an online budgeting software package called Mvelopes which also budgets with an envelope system.

The first key concept in our system comes down to the order in which you handle your money. When we first receive money, Heather divides it into the envelopes immediately. First, we give back to God a portion of the income He has blessed us with in our tithes. Next, we save a portion of our income in a variety of ways, general savings, emergency savings, college savings, college investments, new car savings, general investments, and other such categories. This keeps savings as a priority in our lives and moves the money away from where we are likely to spend it on a whim. Next, the money gets allocated to the various other account "envelopes" we have. This includes things like our utility bills which can be static or dynamic as well as our grocery and gasoline envelopes which we can use throughout the month. There are other envelopes that gather money to be spent later in the year, like travel envelopes, gift envelopes, or our personal envelopes which Heather and I can use personally at our own discretion.

When the month is over, some envelopes may still have a balance and others may not. Things like our grocery and electric bill envelope both often may have balances. However, whereas the grocery bill envelope probably doesn't need a month to month balance carryover, the electric bill does so that there is more money available in a hot summer. The leftover money in the grocery bill may be carried over to spend on a fancy meal the next month or be pushed into general savings for usage elsewhere as needed.

Overall, this system has worked nicely for us. But, a budget system alone doesn't help people stay on budget. It also requires discipline which is the personal struggle for me. Heather is very disciplined but I am not. So, one of the useful tricks which is available with the envelope system is to not make it virtual in the areas where you are having problems staying on budget. For example, if you cannot stay on track with eating out because it just goes on your credit card, we would suggest you move to cash in an envelope to pay for all of your eating out. Its easy to tell if you have enough money when you just have cash in an envelope.

Thats all for now...I may write some more later...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh, the taxes you'll pay

Here is a great article from Steve Forbes reminding me why I voted for him in past presidential primaries. Check out this quote:

If you drive to work, you pay gasoline taxes and maybe a toll or two. You already paid fees on your license and registration, not to mention the sales tax when you bought the car, along with transfer fees and various add-ons devised by your local pols.

Then there's work. Politicians take gargantuan bites out of your pay: federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and, perhaps, local income taxes.

Anything you buy during the day has also been subjected to taxes. This doesn't mean that you pay all of them directly. When you buy, say, a new sweater, you're paying countless disguised taxes. These include the taxes that companies pay on their profits, along with workers' Social Security taxes, property taxes, utility taxes, corporate excise taxes, among others--all passed along to you in the form of higher prices.

But wait, your day isn't over. You return home--after more of those gas levies and tolls--and you go through the mail. Uh-oh. Your county or township has sent your property taxes. Have a pet? Probably time to renew the license on Fido.
Its amazing to think about...everything we do we end up paying taxes on. Even "tax free" purchases, we end up paying taxes on because the businesses we buy from pay taxes, pay social security for their employees, etc. Its amazing and horrible all at the same time.

Here is a great paragraph from Steve:
The inconvenient truth that politicians and others ignore is that taxes not only are a way for the government to raise revenue but are also a price and a burden. The tax you pay on income is the price you pay for working; the tax you pay on profit is the price you pay for being successful; the tax you pay on capital gains is the price you pay for taking risks that pan out. The principle is simple: If you lower the price and burden on good things, such as success, productive work and risk taking, you'll get more of them; raise the price, you'll get less.

And, finally, he points out the federal tax code is a burden on the citizens of the country.
"Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which defined the character of the nation, is all of 268 words. The Declaration of Independence runs about 1,300 words. The Constitution, which has served us for more than two centuries, comes to some 5,000 words. The Holy Bible has 773,000 words. The federal income tax code and all of its attendant rules and regulations: 9 million words and rising. An appalling fact about the tax code is that no one really knows what's in it."
Brilliant. Thanks Steve for being honest and pointing out what escapes us in our day to day lives.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Induction cooktop or not

We are making plans to potentially refinish our kitchen. This means new cabinets (and a slightly different footprint), new countertops, new sink, and new appliances. We are pretty solid on the color/company of cabinets with Thomasville Cherry Brierwood and are also set on Quartz countertops although perhaps not yet set on the color. The sink is not a pretty exciting decision, but the appliances are...

I have a tendency to want to stay away from GE and Kenmore appliances...because they are fairly commonplace. But, I decided the first thing I would discover are which features I would like in each appliance. Most were pretty simple, but ranges have been giving me the toughest time.

The hottest topic of debate in my mind today is induction vs a regular smoothtop cooktop. Induction cooktops are the latest technology which uses electromagnetic energy to heat the pan while maintaining a cooler cooktop. Many popular things like electronic toothbrushed use induction to charge. The only thing heating a cooktop of an induction cooktop is the pan which has been heated. This means the cooktop doesn't get to "burn your hand" hot and kids are safer. But its expensive...add another $1500 compared to the cost of a freestanding range to get an induction cooktop AND a under counter convection oven. So, $2500 vs $1000...thats a pretty big deal. It uses less energy and won't burn someone.

If you told me today Anna would be burned by a smoothtop model..I would by the induction based cooktop in a heartbeat. But. since you don't hear of it happening too often, I am not sure I should worry about it. I wish I had statistics as to how many kids get burned by smoothtop models.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Brand names or products

Heather and I were considering how brand names infiltrate our are some brand names we use, even if we aren't using the brand in question...

Saran wrap

Modern day brands still coming up:

Other possibilities:
Pergo (I have noticed people use this for any fake hardwood flooring)

How did this start? We opened a new thing of Saran brand saran wrap and noticed it worked better than the knock off brands and we usually call the knock off brands Saran wrap...but they don't deserve that title :-)

Anyone have others?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

My daughter..

I have yet to post the reason for my 4 month leave of absence from blogging or pictures of the beautiful girl who stole my heart. i think its about time to toss a couple of pictures out here.

This is the latest, from Thursday Feb 15:
Play Time in the Exersaucer

And from the day before for Valentine's day:
Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 16, 2007

Savings rate gets worse...

Sadly, the poor savings rate of the US public, a negative 0.4% in 2005, got even worse in 2006. It is now 1% according to the Commerce Department. The savings rate is typically, as I understand it, the amount of after tax income that people save. So, it being negative means the average person in the US is spending 1% more than their after tax income!

Here is an article on it. Here are some quotes from the AP article:

"[T]he Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation’s personal savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, the worst showing in 73 years."

"The 1 percent negative savings rate in 2006 followed a 0.4 percent negative rate in 2005. There have been only four years in history that the savings rate has fallen into negative territory. The other two were 1932 and 1933 during the Great Depression."

Its funny, I don't remember seeing this make the headlines I would expect. This is a pretty serious problem....and sadly its our children who will pay for it.

Lending laws..more...

Wow, I missed this link in the mortgage nanny article I referenced from Forbes earlier. Check out some of these stats:

Countrywide Financial:
42% of its mortgage portfolio consists of pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages, in which borrowers decide each month how much to repay and can face negative amortization of the loan.

Washington Mutual:
33% of its loans through the third quarter of 2006 were pay-option or interest-only loans that tend to result in higher default and foreclosure rates.

Do either of those companies sound like they are focussed on helping people own homes? Maybe for the other 58-66% of the customers?

Frutmost, the best customer service ever

Upon reading this, I was reminded of the best customer service I ever received...

We had a wonderful experience with the owner of the company Frutmost. We had enjoyed their smoothies before from a Super Target, but one sunday when we bought one the thing had fermented, exploded over my wife in our car. We were so upset by the bad experience that my wife sent an email in to the company. Within a couple of hours, the owner of the company (on a Sunday, remember) had gotten the email on his blackberry, looked us up in the phone book, and called us to apologize and offer to send us free product, pay for dry cleaning, and pay for our car to be cleaned. Her clothes didn't need dry cleaned and the car was not so bad, but we took him up on the free product. On Tuesday we received, packed in dry ice, Multiple types of Frutmost and guacamole meals from the other food manufacturer he owned. It was the best customer service I had ever experienced or heard about.

Other issues with the lender laws changing..

Will any lender be able to give a 50 or 55 yr old anything but a 10-15 yr mortgage? Anything beyond that, they may sue and say it doesn't meet their retirement goals. So, I wonder if this will just give the lawyers more money and have all the lenders make you sign things that you understand what you are doing....or will the lenders reject certain people like the 50 to 55 yr old who wants to buy a new house. It sure will be interesting...

Raleigh, #1 city for jobs

Congratulations Raleigh...Forbes has released their annual best cities for jobs and Best first jobs for college grads They name Raleigh the #1 city for jobs and, my job, Software Engineer/Developer the #5 job. Awesome!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lender (mortgage) laws reworked -- The mortgage nanny

Have I gone liberal? I read this article today and I am so glad that the Democrats are looking to rework the lending laws. This is great...but does it mean I have gone liberal?

Primarily, this bill will put responsibility on the lender to ensure the loan they are giving is suitable for the people. Normally I would disagree with a bill like this. Mainly, I would have, in the past, disagreed with this for two reasons:
1) I don't want the government interfering with private business with more laws.
2) This seems to open up for more potential lawsuits, which means we will all pay it in our mortgages.

Now, first let me say my mother was in the mortgage business for about 10 out of the last 11 years. So, nothing personal against the people...but the majority of mortgage brokers are all about one of two things:
1) Making as much money off people as possible.
2) Helping create an ownership society, where people can own a home instead of rent.

That may sound overly simplistic...but I honestly believe that is it. If a mortgage broker is in the latter category, they surprisingly align with many conservative values. Conservatives are about an ownership society...letting people have the money and developer wealth on an individual basis. If they are helping people, this won't be a burden to those people.

I believe that the majority of the mortgage brokers are in the first can I make the most money off people. I have been appalled by stories from friends lately of what people are offered. Here are some examples:
- A friend was offered an 80/15 fixed/adjustable mortgage for 6/8% APR...when that fell through, the broker magically found a much better alternative... a 80/15 fixed/fixed for 6/7% APR. If you don't know what these mean, feel free to write me and I will clear it up.
- Another friend closed on a house a month later with a 75/20 fixed/adjustable for 6/9%. Why 75% and 20% instead of 80%/15%?? The only thing I can figure is the mortgage person found a way to make more money.
- Another friend thought they were getting their dream home....but after they closed on an interest only mortgage and can't afford to pay principal...they realized they all they can do is hope the house prices in the area go up.

I have noticed other tricks the more my friends by homes. One lender, Bank of America, is offering a 100% mortgage at 3/4 of a point over the going 30 yr rate...which means instead of paying PMI or a split mortgage until 20% is paid off...they will pay that 3/4 point for 30 yrs or until they refinance. How is that justice? Their monthly payment is lower...but the overall life of the mortgage is higher.

The bottom line is, as I see it as a late 20s guy whose friends come to him for financial advice from time to time...a lot of my friends have been or are potentially getting fleeced by the lending industry. This is not creating an ownership society.

So, back to my original I becoming liberal? No, I don't believe I am. Like it or not, people are not well informed enough to know how the lending industry works and the lending industry does it on purpose. I support the current lawmakers making the government a bit bigger in this particular case because I believe that these laws may allow people to save and own more in the long run....and thats important to me so that when my generation is old, my daughter doesn't need to pay high taxes in order to support my generation which is blowing all of their money and won't have enough money or own enough later in life.