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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 21, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Economic crisis

A time for irresponsibility

In instance after instance, the focus of the foreclosure debate in this country has been on predatory lending, not on personal accountability.

Although entirely predictable, but especially disturbing at this pivotal time, is the near complete aversion among our elected representatives and the media to forcefully discuss the share of responsibility home buyers have in this crisis.

Those of us who delayed gratification and saved our money to make a down payment, who didn’t buy at the limit of our credit, and who put aside enough before buying to make our payments, even if faced with extended unemployment; we are the ones truly paying the price.

We are watching our home values plummet and in the future will be receiving even less value for our tax dollars, as a greater percentage will be used to pay interest on loans required to bail out these irresponsible people.

While we worked, saved and earned the right of homeownership, they enjoyed huge tax breaks and unearned social status as homeowners.

Accountability, delayed gratification and living within one’s means are concepts that need to be part of the national consciousness again. If, in determining who merits aid there is not some criteria based on prior income, savings and credit history, what will the country learn from this experience?

The country will learn once again that irresponsible behavior carries no penalty and that the shrinking number of fools who behave responsibly will shoulder the burden. Until we learn that, it’s responsible behavior that comes with a price.

— Stuart Barker III, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, Federal bailouts, Wall Street bailout

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