James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal often posts humorous and unbelievable articles on his blog at Wall Street Journal Online.
Look at this New York Times editorial on one of the paper's "neediest cases".
Debra, a single mother who works in health care administration, is one of millions of Americans who do their jobs, believe in paying their bills and are still facing the threat of losing their home.
Debra, who did not want her last name to be published, bought a home in the East New York section of Brooklyn for more than $600,000 in 2006. The house has plenty of room for herself, for her son and for tenants. She thought that with the help of rental income and refinancing her mortgages that she could carry the load.
"People tell you that you can refinance and get a better deal," Debra explained--an all too common assumption during the housing boom. After a few months, her tenants started to pay their rent late--and sometimes not at all. Without that income, she was stretched too thin. "Your mortgage is your priority," Debra explained, "so you pay your mortgage and wait on the other bills." She fell behind on those bills, then on the mortgage itself.
This does sound unfortunate, but when someone who owns a $600,000 home is one of the neediest cases, you have to wonder who doesn't make the cut.
Actually, you don't, for MSNBC.com has an example. In April, Jan Gentile lost her job in human resources:
In mid-September, Gentile was finally able to land a job that includes health care benefits, but the salary is much less than she was making before. As they work to get their finances back on track, the family has had to cut back on little luxuries like dinners out, trips to the movies and buying new clothes.
One of the hardest decisions was to tell her granddaughter that she could no longer take horseback riding lessons because they couldn't afford it.
"She loved those horseback riding lessons," Gentile said.
Then there is the sad story of Tony D'Addeo, reported by the Austin American-Statesman:
For years, Mike and Kelly D'Addeo planned to use their trove of Intel Corp. stock options to send their son Tony to a top college. Tony would be a good candidate for any school: He's a straight-A senior at Bowie High School and captain of the football team, with near-perfect SAT scores. He's not interested in playing college football; instead, Tony talks about majoring in computer science or engineering.
"I'd like to have my own business someday," he said.
But the plunging stock market has made their stock options worthless and crushed the D'Addeos' Ivy League dreams.
Is this child abuse? I think so.