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Hey, Bailout Snivelers: Hush. You Don't Need It.
These people are suffering from what I call "WAM Syndrome" or "What About Me?" disease.
My children have WAM. I see them looking as I pour juice or cut a piece of pie. They watch closely to see whether their siblings get more. If I give one child a little extra of something, the other two pout and whimper, "What about me?"
But I expect this from children. They often don't understand that sometimes one person -- whether he or she deserves it or not -- will get more. They can't comprehend that life isn't fair.
Am I frustrated that my investment accounts are significantly down? You'd better believe I am.
Am I upset that my home value has dropped? You betcha.
However, why are you grousing that you aren't getting money or a tax break if you don't truly need the help?
If a family is getting a break from having to pay income tax on forgiven mortgage debt, I'm not envious. That tax break means they've probably lost a home.
Several readers have complained that they can't take advantage of the new $8,000 first-time home buyer's credit. This is an improvement on a $7,500 tax credit that is really a 15-year, interest-free loan.
Margaret, a first-time home buyer from Massachusetts, said she was outraged that some people will benefit from the $8,000 tax credit, which doesn't have to be paid back.
"I am a single woman who has worked long and hard to finally purchase a home," she wrote. "I purchased a home on July 30, 2008, and await my $7,500 interest-free loan. I was thrilled and grateful that this was offered to me."
After learning about the better tax break, Margaret is no longer grateful.
"I am totally disgusted. I would like justification and an answer to how this administration can justify doing for some and not for all," she wrote. "If you do for one, you must do for all. After all, this is America."
Let's count Margaret's blessings.
She has a job. She was able to buy a home without the tax break. She's still getting $7,500 interest free.
If you're susceptible to WAM Syndrome, the cure is to be thankful for what you have and to have compassion for those who are hurting. Think of all the personal agony or broken marriages or stress that accompanies the threat of foreclosure.
Obama called on us all to make the concerns of others our cause.
"If you haven't been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has -- a friend, a neighbor, a member of your family," Obama said during his speech.
Okay, so you're not getting bailed out. But the reward for doing right when others didn't is that you're living better than they are. So stop whining.
-- On the air: Michelle Singletary discusses personal finance Tuesdays on NPR's "Day to Day" program and at http:/
-- By mail: Readers can write to her at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.
-- By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments and questions are welcome, but because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please note that comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.