From California to Florida, three portentous words, "produce the note" are being spoken by legions of homeowners in arrears. The utterance of those three words is producing something of a spectacle where every one involved winds up looking bad. The banks that are trying to foreclose on the delinquent homeowner look like nothing so much as incompetent nincompoops when they can't produce the actual mortgage document, and the deadbeat homeowner, who absolutely owes someone a pile, looks like nothing less than a two bit chancer, trying to game the system for the purposes of not full filling their financial obligation.
As per a recent report on ABC, it is quite astonishing to see and hear delinquent homeowners rationalize not paying what everyone knows they owe, with such flimsy excuses as, "Why should I pay a bunch of crooked bankers who live in million dollar homes, while I have no electricity." Well, ma'am, while yours is indeed a lamentable state of affairs, particularly being out of a job, and living without utilities in a home that you can't make the payments on, the fact of the matter is you do owe the money. That you are, through a legal technicality, managing to remain in your small bungalow, does not diminish the fact that what you are doing falls far short of ethical or virtuous.
There are, no doubt, numerous lessons to be learned from this business, but it seems to this observer that one thing being illustrated is the strong tendency for a sizable segment of humanity to engage in what some might call situational ethics, a term for describing how moral considerations, at least in certain situations, seem to be sacrificed to expediency. And if situational ethics are in play to the degree they seem to be with something as elemental as people's homes, it's hard not to see how they can not be in play in other areas as well, like paying taxes.