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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 24, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Obama’s homeowner bailout

The responsible subsidizing the irresponsible

The Associated Press

A house under foreclosure is shown in an Oakland, Calif., neighborhood, Friday.

Editor, The Times:

President Obama added $75 billion in government spending to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure [“$75 billion to help people stay in homes,” Times, page one, Feb. 19]. Most of those who will receive this aid are hardworking, frugal people who are simply facing hard times.

Some, however, will be those who took out home loans they knew, or should have known, they could not afford.

The subsidizing of the irresponsible by the responsible has become depressingly familiar since this financial crisis began. Former President Bush sent $700 billion to the banks whose reckless policies contributed to the cause of this depression. Failing automakers received $39 billion, in order to keep their inefficient and noncompetitive businesses solvent.

When Obama’s massive-stimulus bill is factored in, the federal government’s debt has ballooned to nearly $1.6 trillion. This cost will be borne by future generations of taxpayers, not by the people receiving the money.

This is unfair and provides incentives for irresponsible behavior.

In this scenario, profits are privatized, while many losses are socialized. This avoidance of responsibility today will make financial crisis in the future more likely.

— Harold Wright, Lynnwood

Safeguarding our safe haven

I do not agree with the Obama administration’s decision to bail out those who have defaulted on their mortgages. I am sympathetic to the homeowner-defaulter’s plight; no one wants to lose their safe haven.

Wouldn’t it be “fair to all” to give an option to refinance at a 3 to 4 percent interest rate based on a person’s credit score, with a $1,000 stimulus going to the federal government for the loan?

Sounds like a win-win to me.

Handouts from the federal government will not succeed. People are either responsible or not responsible. They will repeat the same pattern of behavior until they decide to change for themselves and act and responsibly.

— Jacqueline Jenora Schwitters, Seattle

Taking advantage of a limitation

It seems President Obama has decided homeowners should be required to spend only 31 percent of their income on mortgage payments for the next five years.

I suspect many mortgage holders would like to take advantage of such a limitation.

— Bill Hirt, Bellevue

Comments | More in Housing market

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