Just As I Thought

Perhaps a life makeover would be more useful

This is pretty much how I imagine the outcome every time I watch “Extreme Makeover Home Edition”:

LAKE CITY, Ga.—More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” team demolish a family’s decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling, four-bedroom mini-mansion in 2005.

Three years later, the reality TV show’s most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis.

After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it’s set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse Aug. 5. The couple did not return phone calls Monday, but told WSB-TV they received the loan for a construction business that failed.

Materials and labor were donated for the home, which would have cost about $450,000 to build. Beazer Homes’ employees and company partners also raised $250,000 in contributions for the family, including scholarships for the couple’s three children and a home maintenance fund.

ABC said in a statement that it advises each family to consult a financial planner after they get their new home. “Ultimately, financial matters are personal, and we work to respect the privacy of the families,” the network said.

Some of the volunteers who helped build the home were less than thrilled about the family’s financial decisions.

“It’s aggravating. It just makes you mad. You do that much work, and they just squander it,” Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt, who helped vault a massive beam into place in the Harper’s living room, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [AP via Mercury News]

What annoys me is the way the media depersonalizes this sort of thing by saying they are a “victim of the foreclosure crisis.” In this case, they were definitely not victims, and the foreclosure crisis is not some external force like a hurricane, it’s the result of poor choices. These people had an incredible gift but they failed to protect it. I can certainly understand the courage it takes to decide to open your own business but in this case, they risked everything and lost. Whatever happened to fiscal restraint? Making sure that your family has a safe, stable home would seem to be the first step for many people. I don’t want to judge the families in EMHE because the majority of them seem to do a lot for their community. But it might be worth pointing out that each and every one of them lived in squalid, run down houses that they never had the resources to make safe or even livable. And I’m not talking about the roof and the water damage and the floors — most of the time when I watch this show, the people are living in dirty cluttered houses — cleaning the house up and throwing away the crap piled in corners doesn’t cost you anything but time.
How would they have the resources to keep a multi-million dollar mansion safe and livable? These may be good hearted people, but they obviously don’t have a clue about responsibility and planning for the future.

Man, I am a snotty bastard, aren’t I?

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