- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Giving lenders a free pass

In your editorial “Step away, Mr. Bernanke” (March 7), you demonstrate a shallow understanding of the mortgage crisis. In defense of the lenders, you state, “Mortgage lenders and investors know what is in their best interest. They are fully capable of calculating the costs of foreclosure without the help of Mr. Bernanke. The Fed chairman should not be publicly pressuring banks and other lenders to dip into their dwindling capital to rescue people who irresponsibly over-borrowed.”

If this were true, the lenders, who should reasonably be far more financially sophisticated than the borrowers, should have done all of this analysis before they made these loans. They required little equity and offered low “teaser” rates that allowed borrowers to qualify for loans that they never would have qualified for under more rational underwriting criteria. Your editorial gives the lenders a complete pass for having made loans they never should have made. Mr. Bernanke is simply stating something that the lenders “should” understand: Workouts are often less costly than foreclosures.

ROBERT W. CROSSER

Sterling, Va.

Your editorial on the error of Ben S. Bernanke’s plan to bail out those mortgages that are under water is somewhat shortsighted. I agree that going in and bailing out just the homeowners who are under water is mistaken policy. It simply will send all homes in a neighborhood to an underwater status. Thus it will ruin what Mr. Bernanke wants to do — save as many homeowners as possible so they will stay in their homes, pay taxes and make their neighborhoods good ones.

However, the notion that the banks understand the situation and will act accordingly is faulty. They only know the numbers on a particular loan. They do not know that neighborhood, nor will they live in it. If nothing is done, the whole neighborhood could go underwater. Thus, both methods will kill the neighborhood. The worry is it will not stop there. Subsequently, many other bank loans for that same neighborhood will suffer and also go under water.

How do I know I am right? Well, there was just a news item about a planned community in Charlotte, N.C., where almost all of the 80 or so homes have been abandoned. With some community action between the owners and banks, perhaps there could have been a salvaging of, say, 75 percent of their investment by giving all the homeowners the deal of price reduction. There was no such deal, and now the whole neighborhood is being vandalized and is almost worthless. If the “haves” only see houses as financial vehicles, the “have-nots” will do likewise.

Something needs to be done that will include all parties. It should not be a liberal way or a conservative way but the right way. We Americans need to figure this out, or we all will lose. Maybe we can find a better plan than what was recommended in your editorial.

ANDREW MCCARTHY

Leesburg, Va.

Government aid to religious institutions

It is surprising that Alex Brown, who lives in Virginia, would advocate indirect tax support for Catholic and other religious private schools (“Catholic schooling,” Letters, Thursday).

He should acquaint himself with the principles that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison placed in the Virginia Constitution defending religious freedom by forbidding tax aid to religious institutions.

JACK SECHREST

Oswego, Ill.

Turn in your guns

Jack Webb argues that if the Second Amendment is interpreted as a “collective” right to bear arms, it can only work if individuals have the right to firearms (“The right to bear arms,” Letter, March 7). Historically, however, the collective meant the militia: the people who turned out to defend their neighborhood from bandits, Indians, et al.

Nowadays, such protection is given by the police, the National Guard and the U.S. armed forces, not by an unorganized group of untrained citizens who happen to own guns. Thus, because there is no militia that needs armed members, there is no reason for citizens to own guns, particularly because this makes U.S. citizens much more likely to die from gunshots than people in countries that do not allow gun ownership.

WILLIAM GARRETT

Harrow, Middlesex

England

The Fallon episode

Adm. William J. Fallon’s resignation as head of the U.S. Central Command may well have been because of pressure from the Bush administration — although he and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates deny this (“Fallon and Iran,” Letters, Saturday).

It was reported that in April 1951, when President Truman abruptly removed Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Korea, it was not done simply because of Gen. MacArthur’s repeated insubordination, but because Truman wanted a reliable commander on the scene should Washington decide to use tactical nuclear weapons in Korea. However, much related to this episode is still classified.

Whether this, or the fact that Gen. MacArthur kept the president cooling his heels before his meeting on Wake Island, was the reason for the early removal, the fact remains that a president is commander in chief. The Fallon episode reinforces our Founding Fathers’ belief that the military should be subject to civilian authority in order to protect democracy.

W.H. SMITH

Palm Desert, Calif.

The creed of liberalism

Geraldine Ferraro is learning what happens to apostates (“Shocking angst,” Op-Ed, Thursday). Today’s liberalism has become a secular religion complete with an overarching creed: We know how all people should think, how they should act and what they should want; and our beliefs are based on faith rather than hard historical (Israel is the aggressor in the Middle East) or scientific (human activity is causing global warming) facts.

Liberals believe their creed supersedes the Constitution when the two conflict. They enact laws prohibiting free speech and call them anti-hate laws as if the Bill of Rights includes a right not to be offended. They turn to liberal judges to take the place of the executive and legislative branches by enacting, signing and enforcing laws as if the Constitution mandates government by judicial fiat when a judge thinks the other branches should have done this or that.

Liberals think and act this way because they have turned the learning, decision- and policy-making processes upside down. They begin with their answer and create the justification, rationale, proof or evidence to support that answer. Mere facts that conflict with the right answer are ignored, taken out of context or replaced with “facts” that reflect what should have happened or should have been said rather than what did happen or what was said. Many in academia are contributing to this brave new world by brainwashing their students with the liberal creed. These “educators” proselytize rather than teach.

Ms. Ferraro is learning that it matters not to true believers that what she said might be true. If you insult their religion, liberals will attack you with a fury that rivals the worst days of the Inquisition.

ROBERT A. WOLPERT

Fairfax

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