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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about credit loans for the higher tax brackets, changes in the National Guard and Reserves, world sports capitals, and the virtue of "flip-flopping."

February 5, 2008

'Jumbo loans' would rightly help high cost-of-living areas

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In response to your Feb. 1 editorial, "A housing rescue too far": Increasing loan limits in high-cost areas does not go too far in my opinion. I understand that folks who live in a $200,000 median home price area consider a $600,000 house "upper middle class." But this is lower middle class in many high-cost areas.

Are we to tell those folks who are already paying a high percentage of their income so that they can be in the jobs they hold locally or so that their kids can remain in their schools that they don't deserve help?

Also, I would argue that expanding loan limits to higher-income areas, given that these loans are held up to Federal Housing Administration-type scrutiny, would enhance the portfolio strength of FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Folks in those areas are simply less likely to be financially irresponsible.

The group defined as "struggling Americans" has broadened to include many in the middle class: A working couple in a high-cost area living in a $600,000 home is "working poor." Problem is, it's all relative.

Justin McCarthy
Carlsbad, Calif.

Need for reform in Reserves, Guard

In response to the Feb. 1 article, "Modernize US Reserve and Guard, panel says": I was a full-time employee of the Air National Guard, and my total military time was 33 a half years. I want you to know that the Air National Guard has been fighting wars and putting out fires all over the world.

Ever since Desert Storm, it has been nonstop for our Air Force, Air Guard, and Air Reserves. And all of this comes from one-seventh of the Air Force's budget. The words "doing more with less" should be part of every Air National Guard billboard.

And the Air Force is still wanting to cut their people and aircraft. So the bottom line is, I am just stating how so few people have been used so much.

CMS Donald L. O'Neill (ret.)
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Regarding the Feb. 1 article on National Guard reforms: If, as Marine Gen. Arnold Punaro (ret.) says, "We don't have the capacity remaining to deal with these homeland defense threats in an adequate way," then why are National Guard troops being deployed to hostile, foreign areas? They can handle Baghdad, but not New Orleans?

Why are such troops called "Reserves" if they are the first in the line of fire while career military troops are sitting, bored to death, on bases in Europe and the Pacific? Why is a force known as the "National Guard" being deployed internationally?

That's not what these men and women signed up for. Reserves were meant to be the last called into combat, and the Guard was meant as a state militia in the original version of homeland security.

Brian Howell
Skyland, N.C.