Happy Birthday to America and to Her 30th President Calvin Coolidge

Today is the 236th birthday of the United States of America and the 140th birthday of her 30th president Calvin Coolidge.

Coolidge gave a speech in Philadelphia to mark the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  I thought it exceeding apropos to share with you a portion of the speech that rings with as much truth today as it did in 1926.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Happy birthday America and may you some day be once again blessed with a president that has such an abashed appreciation for your founding document.

Coolidge’s speech in its entirety can be found here.

Van Jones and the No Good Very Bad Math

Van Jones has a new piece up over at the Huffington Post Blog entitled Hope for Homeowners.  In the piece, he uses the story of Jaime Gonzalez’s wallet-busting mortgage payments to make the argument that congress must act immediately on reforms which would force the banks to allow home-owners to renegotiate their interest rates.

Do you remember when buying a home was a part of the American Dream?

Jaime Gonzalez does. It was that dream that encouraged the retired state police officer and his wife, a retired nurse, to purchase their home for $150,000 in Oviedo, FL in 2004. With 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and one great grandchild, the house was part of their dream for the future.

They pay $1,493.53 towards that dream every month. Of that, only one hundred dollars goes towards their principle, the other $1,393.53 all goes towards their massive interest rate of 7.5%.

Nice try Mr. Jones, but those numbers, which I’ve highlighted for your convenience, just don’t add up.  Now Mr. Jones, I’m assuming based upon the fact that you posted on Huffington Post’s Blog, that you have access to the world wide web.  The internet plays host to several hundred free mortgage calculators, like this one and this one and this one.

Here is what happened when I plugged Mr. Jones’ numbers; $150,000 for the loan amount, 30 year term (the term length was never specified by Mr. Jones) and a 15 year term at an interest rate of 7.5% into this mortgage calculator:

The closest I could get to finding a term length that would result in the $1,493.53 monthly payment amount cited by Mr. Jones was 13.25 years:

Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and accept that a bank would give Mr. Gonzalez a 13.25 year term on his mortgage for the purchase of a $150,000 home in 2004.  I plugged those numbers into the handy dandy amortization schedule calculator and the result:

Eight years into a 13.25 year mortgage,  $1,000.86 of Mr. Gonzalez’s $1,491.25 monthly payment would be put toward the principal and the remaining $490.39 would go towards paying down the interest.

I’m sorry Mr. Jones, it doesn’t add up.