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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Aren't you folks at The Nation the ones always demanding that people who can't afford a big loan be granted a big loan, regardless of income and assets? Seems to me you're the ones who helped create this problem. Hypocrites.

Mike Long

Washington, DC

Aug 22 2007 - 9:37am

Web Letter

If Wal-Mart employees should have income sufficient to buy the in-store goods, and Ford was genius in setting the employees about buying Fords, ya gotta wonder about those folks working at Tiffany's and at the local Bentley dealership.

I couldn't make up such silliness!

Carl Lendro

Houston, TX

Aug 22 2007 - 9:26am

Web Letter

I am surprised that you ignore the fact that there are free programs that teach a person to how to buy a home. You cite lack of education as a reason people bought into the sub-prime loans. Fannie Mae has free seminars that give poor people both good information and even help in purchasing a home. They don't push you into more home than you can afford though.

Where does personal responsibility come into the picture? If one chooses to make such a large purchase with no understanding of how the process works or what the loans are about, how can you in good conscience blame the lender above the buyer?

I am always stunned by people who absolve other adult people of responsibility due to poor education. Being uneducated is a personal choice. People in this country are given the opportunity to become educated. One can educate oneself by simply reading books from the library instead of sitting in mindlessly front of a TV.

My mother only has a eighth-grade education. She is self-taught through reading. I learned my ethics and that I can continue to learn out side of a classroom from her.

How demeaning your article is to the people you profess to speak for. You make them into less than competent to live in the world as adults. You infer they are not capable of making good decisions. Being poor does not automatically mean you are stupid and illiterate.

Sue Weible

Marietta, GA

Aug 22 2007 - 7:58am

Web Letter

"Get The Nation at home (and online!) for 75 cents a week!"

"If you like this article, consider making a donation to The Nation."

How the heck am I supposed to afford that?! According to you, I should be a miserable wretch fighting off the predatory loans that will eventually break me and the rest of Western civilization... But at least I'll be able to read The Nation.

Cameron Sholty

Milwaukee, WI

Aug 21 2007 - 10:34pm

Web Letter

The "poor" are the ones most excluded and marginalized by economic failure, as in Zimbabwe. Mugabe has done the Marxist routine by the numbers, and what is the result?

Poll after poll shows that people want mobility and a chance to earn more tomorrow than they did today. Being on the government dole, or subject to centralized planning economies so dear to the heart and anti-capitalists everywhere, have failed and will continue to fail to produce this kind of mobility.

It isn't that the right people haven't been in charge. It is that freedom works, in the market and politically. You cannot have economic freedom without political freedom and regulatory freedom. Some people will fail and others gain, but the pie is not zero-sum and more win than lose. It is not so tidy, and people like you don't get to run others around, but who said tidy was always good, or that you are smart enough to decide what others should eat for dinner?

I couldn't be Larry Ellison if I had his money, but I am glad he does. His excess provides a lot of jobs that make a lot of people pretty happy. Ever see a poor man hire a house painter?

George Schirtzinger

Pasadena, CA

Aug 21 2007 - 3:42pm

Web Letter

Boo-hoo-hoo. I think I'm going to cry. My wife and I thought about an adjustable rate mortgage when we bought our house 4+ years ago. We thought (yes, we actually thought for ourselves. How unusual, ay?) the better of it. Looks like we made a pretty good decision. (Yes, we made our own decision. What a radical notion, yes?)

I think after work today, I'll go camp out across the street from a pay-day lender and see how many customers are forced in the doors by that lender to do business. Obviously, that's how all these lenders obtain these people's business, right? These people don't actually make their decisions on their own, correct?

How silly of me to think that people should be responsible for the decisions they make! Whatta dummy I am, duuuuhhhh!

Chris Baecker

San Antonio, TX

Aug 21 2007 - 3:28pm

Web Letter

Ehrenreich's gleeful outburst as to how the downtrodden have tricked the greedy capitalists into giving them the opportunity to live in a nice home of their own without the wherewithal to pay for such accommodations is some of the most inane commentary written. Now these po' folk are going to push the US economy into a recession because they are all going to default on their mortages and stop buying groceries and home improvement items. After that, they are going to march in the streets and sing the "The Internationale," while the government crumbles and a worker's paradise is put in place. All because some third-tier lenders agreed to make highly risky loans to people unaccustomed to such largesse.

This woman needs to get a better understanding of how our economy works, beginning with the concept of purchasing power, who has it and who doesn't. Hint: The poor don't have much to begin with, that's the definition of poor. Therefore, their not showing up at Wal-Mart isn't going to have much of an impact one way or the other.

Robert Gruber

Fairfield, CT

Aug 21 2007 - 2:44pm

Web Letter

Well, I am sure people had a variety of reasons for getting these loans. Some people used them for investment purposes, because bank interest rates are low and real estate increased quickly in value. It looked like a good deal. This "quick" increase in value was caused by this speculative bubble, that was bound to burst. Wall Street speculation came down to Main Street.

However, the basic fact is that even for the "middle class," wages are going down. Without a consumer class that doesn't have the money to consume, the great internal American market will disappear, and even Wal-Mart is feeling the pinch.

Additionally, with this globalized economy, if one part sneezes, everybody catches a cold. In the Dictionary of Military Terms, one aspect of the word "dispersion" is "the spreading or separating of troops, material, establishments, or activities which are usually concentrated in limited areas to reduce vulnerability." Using this definition, a globalized economy increases the possibility of global economic failure. Decentralized national economies spread the risk around, and economic failure in one part of the globe reduces the effect of that failure for the other parts of the world.

However, under "free trade," with the disappearance of the middle class, I would not be surprised by groups and nations seeking radical solutions for the poverty that will result from this practice.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Aug 21 2007 - 2:34pm

Web Letter

Where do I begin?! Ehrenreich's hatred of capitalism, and probable love of socialism and most likely even communism, is so reflexively cliché and sophomoric. There are several reasons why the US is the most powerful country economically, and capitalism is up at the top of the list. Even "the poor" have multiple amenities such as more than one TV set, personal computers, DVDs, et cetera, et cetera. I doubt "the poor" in your beloved socialist and communist utopias can claim the same.

Yes, the subprime lenders were scum, but the market will deal with them accordingly. People need to be responsible for their own actions and quit blaming others for their stupid (and dare I say selfish) mistakes. It doesn't take an MBA or rocket scientist to figure out that after twelve or twenty-four months, your payments will be beyond your means. And there's the rub...living beyond your means. If you can't afford it, you shouldn't be buying things on credit and crying later when you can't make the payments. You should never have bought the thing in the first place.

Paul Healy

Reno, NV

Aug 21 2007 - 2:05pm

Web Letter

Home Depot and Wal-Mart have a bad quarter and you think that spells the end of capitalism? Sorry, but communism has had a bad existence, yet it's still around. And somehow I daresay capitalism will survive this too.

Michael Peters

New York, NY

Aug 21 2007 - 12:57pm