Letters to the Editor

Readers praise anti-poverty NGOs, assign blame for foreclosures, and weigh merit of ethanol subsidies

Posh K Street office not needed to help the poor

Regarding the April 2 article, "War on poverty is winnable": The article is right. The war on poverty certainly can be won.

Neal Wolman, a social scientist quoted in the column, is wrong when he says that "there are no shakers and movers and lobbyists for the poor."

For decades, grass-roots movements such as Bread for the World, the Children's Defense Fund, and RESULTS have been powerful voices for the poor.

These lobbyists for poor people are increasing in numbers, diversity, and strength.

And on top of that, the influential "religious right" is now beginning to embrace poverty as a moral issue of our time that must be addressed by our nation's policymakers.

As the gap between rich and poor widens, it is dawning on Americans that we really do need strong social-safety-net programs such as food stamps and Medicare.

We the people are waking up to our role in creating public policies that effectively support the common good rather than protecting the special interests of a wealthy few.

More and more citizens are claiming their democratic inheritance and aligning with veteran advocacy groups to use their voices effectively.

These movers and shakers don't have posh offices on K Street, but they are building the political will to turn the tide on poverty.

Shawnda Hines
Portland, Ore.

Many share blame for foreclosures

In response to the April 5 article, "As US foreclosures mount, states step in": The people who bought houses were substantially in possession of all of the facts regarding the sale.

If the lender proposes a financial instrument, and the buyer accepts the terms of the instrument, then all has been satisfied.

People don't buy a mortgage in the US without carrying out some form of due diligence – or do they?

No doubt the lenders could be predators. They are often just that. The nature of banking is predicated on someone paying "too much" for money.

That is why the borrower is confronted with a thick sheaf of documents to peruse before he or she signs for a loan. Is the onus for reading these documents not on the borrower?

As usual the American taxpayer will be asked to pay for the indiscretions of marginal business practices. Why?

The regulatory bodies, charged with protecting consumers from "predatory lenders," relaxed the standards needed to borrow money.

These lenders, operating under the rubric of increased competition, had to cut the internal standards that traditional banks had relied upon to prevent bad loans.

The regulators set the stage for the foreclosure crisis, and the borrowers acted it out when they agreed to the terms.

Daniel Herkes
Sugar Grove, Ill.

'No' on congressional pork for corn

In response to the article, "In corn belt, ethanol boom a bust for ranchers," from March 28: I want to thank the Monitor for the reality check on corn ethanol. With the subsidy and the tariff for ethanol production, there is no free market.

The last quote of the article, from Joy Philippi, past president of the National Pork Producers Council, says it all: "I'm a corn grower; I like it, too. But if we skew the whole balance in the economy, it hurts everybody."

Paul Chaney
Muscoy, Calif.

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