The Mortgage

The Mortgage

Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton. Welcome to EZBreeZee Mortgages. I'm Alan Greenspan.

No, no relation sorry to say. May I call you Bill and Hillary?

Fine, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill it is. So you want to buy the old Rye Brook place ... four-something acres as I recall. That's 2.2 million, and with the customary 20 percent down -- that's $440,000 -- leaving a mortgage of $1,760,000.

No problem. We do those kinds of deals all the time. Now let's have a look at your financial statements.

Let's see, Mr. Clinton, you are the President of the United States, of course, and you salary is -- oh, dear -- $200,000 a year. We recommend buying a house that costs no more than two and a half times your annual salary. That means you should be looking for something around $500,000, perhaps a nice brick rancher on a quarter of an acre, not too fancy a neighborhood?

And I see here that you'll be out of a job in 16 months or so. What will you do then?

Open a library ... in Little Rock, Arkansas. Wow. I bet that will be some kind of moneymaker.

Mrs. Clinton, you're running for Senate, right?

Senators are paid $130,000 a year -- assuming, of course, you're elected -- so even with your pension you're still looking at a house in the $825,000 range. Maybe a nice center hall colonial where the schools aren't so good.

Mrs. Clinton, you haven't worked outside the house since 1991, correct?

But you did some volunteer work ... I see. You came up with a plan to overhaul the entire national health care system?

Oh. It flopped, in other words.

But I see you had several business ventures back in Arkansas. How about this Whitewater Development Corp.?

It went bankrupt. And Madison Guaranty?

Bankrupt. And Castle Grande?

Bankrupt, too.

If you had gone to Yale business school instead of Yale law, you could probably get your money back.

Don't get upset. It was just a little joke.

A little bad luck with the law, too, I see. Three of your business partners went to jail. Maybe you could get your money back.

This is embarrassing, I know, but we have to ask because it does, after all, affect your ability to pay: Any problems in your marriage?

No? Fine.

Let's look at your assets: $1.5 million. Not bad.

Yes, yes, Mr. Clinton, we're not forgetting your Mustang back in Little Rock.

But -- oh! -- those liabilities. You owe $5.5 million. That means you're $4 million in the hole. How do you expect to pay that off?

You're hoping people will donate to a special fund? So basically you're relying on the charity of strangers.

You also have some serious expenses. A kid at Stanford has got to be setting you back $30,000 to $35,000 a year, probably more with the air fares. And she wants to go to medical school? Ouch!

And Mr. Clinton, there's a little matter of a $90,000 fine for lying in court. I guess that rules out putting your law degree to work. Say, how do we know you're not lying on you loan application?

Good point. It would look a lot better if you were lying.

Are there any other legal matters we should know about?

You say you're in the clear, Mr. Clinton, and the first lady is pretty much in the clear indictment-wise. What does that mean?

You don't think -- don't think -- she's going to get hit with a perjury or obstruction of justice rap. But we're not totally sure, right?

That means there's a remote possibility -- note that I say "remote" -- that you could be trying to pay off a $1.76 million mortgage while making 12 cents an hour stitching mailbags for the feds, and he is trying to make a go of a library in Little Rock.

Let's review the situation.

One of you is now unemployed and the other one soon will be. You have these whopping great debts that you're hoping someone is going to come along and pay. You have a financial history that can only be described as "checkered," plus a bunch of serious financial demands and ongoing legal problems. Your tangible assets seem to consist of an old Ford.

So, Congratulations! Welcome to the EZBreeZee family of homeowners! You've got your mortgage!





20 Sep 1999