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Economics shatter American dream

July 22, 2007

Re "Living on borrowed time," Opinion, July 16

Yes, predatory lenders deserve a lot of blame for foreclosures and bankruptcies. Niall Ferguson is right about that, but he only tells half the story. Had real wages kept up with rising productivity and inflation over the years, more working Americans could meet their mortgage payments. Had tax policy not helped shift wealth distribution to the richest, more would be ensconced in their own living rooms. And had labor laws kept pace with the flourishing corporate world, maybe a bigger share of those skyrocketing profits would keep the sheriff from the door.

The fact that the American dream of homeownership is now being exported abroad or into the pockets of CEOs is not simply the result of naive purchasers and their unscrupulous lenders. It's also the result of the way the economy has been working or, more accurately, not been working. How odd to think that the hopes of everyone owning a piece of property is now as utopian as the collectivist dreams of communism.

Doug Doepke

Claremont

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