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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Mortgage crisis

Greedy investment behaviors to blame

For the second time in 100 years, human greed has sent the American financial world into a tailspin.

It’s true that, in each case, there were other factors involved. But the bottom line remains the same. Greed caused humans to engage in investment behaviors that ultimately led to significant collapses in the financial world.

Huge speculative investments on margin buying of the 1920s was the first. Monday’s Seattle Times editorial focuses on the second time [“Mortgage horror show,” Opinion, March 30].

In today’s world, the greedy behaviors involve fraudulent action as well. Bank officials, mortgage loan officers, appraisers and real-estate agents earned fees, commissions and bonuses for real-estate sales that never should have been authorized. Now we are seeing that some people conspired to take advantage of the weaknesses of the system to lie, cheat and effectively steal from the system.

Warren Buffett’s comment is clearly apt. Many were swimming naked. But I think Pogo was right, too. We have met the enemy and they are us.

— Kenneth A. Mortland, Bothell

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