Re “White House takes new aim at mortgage mess,” March 27, and “Underwater rescues,” Editorial, March 27
I'm waiting for a Times article on the responsible homeowner who made his or her purchase with a traditional down payment and mortgage, did not take on additional leverage, continues to make payments despite owing more than the house is worth, and is now being squeezed by recession-level wages coupled with rising taxes and fees at the local, state and federal levels.
Or perhaps the Times should profile a patient renter who has made sacrifices to save for a down payment, cautiously observed market trends, and is now being penalized by the same incompetent bank lending divisions that exercised poor judgment at the peak of the market.
Government subsidies have allowed banks to avoid booking losses on delinquent loans, leading to artificially high prices, low inventory and undeserved record profits.
Let me get this straight. The couple in the article put about $23,000 down on a house and signed loans for $446,000. Not only have they received a permanent reduction in payments, but they hope for, and quite possibly will get, a reduction in the loan amount as well. "That would be magnificent," Hector Gomez said. I'm sure it would.
It occurs to me it would also have been magnificent if they had bothered to consider that markets go down as well as up. It would have been magnificent had they considered that the word "variable" as applied to their loan means the payment can go up as well as down. Instead, it appears that they expect the taxpayer and the bank to grant a do-over.
Perhaps the Gomezes should consider the concept of personal responsibility. Now that would be magnificent.
Your editorial about "underwater" mortgages was completely hypocritical and nonsensical.
First you argue that debt should be written down for people who can't pay. Then you say the banks should absorb this because they created the problem in the first place by recklessly lending to people who couldn't pay.
So you're arguing that taxpayers, and for that matter everyone (in the form of higher interest rates to help cover these write-downs), should subsidize the mortgages of the very people you say shouldn't have been given loans in the first place.
Parents are teachers too
Re “Bad school’s ally,” Column, March 26
Thank you for encouraging parents to speak up. In my 20-plus years of experience as a school psychologist at all grade levels in different communities, schools appreciate parents who are involved with their children's education -- but we do prefer they ask before they accuse.
Please also advise parents to check with their schools whenever their child claims there is no homework. Even "good kids" are tempted to lie in order to avoid work. There is almost always homework assigned.
If nothing else, your child should be reading every day. If your child doesn't know his or her math facts, or doesn't spell well, practice daily. If he or she really has difficulty learning despite all efforts, please see one of my fellow school psychologists for assistance.
Hector Tobar has it all wrong on what Latino immigrant parents should do when their children are not up to par in school.
Teachers cannot do it all. They have about 30 students in each classroom and several subjects to teach each day.
Parents should take most of the responsibility for their children's education. Instead of "demanding" anything from teachers, parents should ask how they can help their kids learn at home.
I taught five kids their multiplication tables; we recited them in the car, at the dinner table and on walks.
Stop blaming teachers and place the blame where it belongs -- on lazy parents who want someone else to take responsibility for everything that is wrong with their kids.
Linda Norcross Dossey
An aspect of the problem was touched on by Tobar. Many of the immigrants come from countries and cultures that have repressive and often corrupt governments. They are treated like children, with the government being the parent. These parents expect the schools to demand proper behavior and attitudes from the students.
The children are thrust into a culture with very different rules and standards. They interpret for their parents and quickly see the gaps in their parents' ways and our society -- and too often choose self-destructive behaviors.
Unfortunately, the schools can be overwhelmed. Teachers and administrators are faced with little help from the families who are expecting the education system to do it all.
Community outreach programs for parent education are essential to break down these barriers, as well as adequate funds to support all schools.