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NY Times Letters to the Editor. . .


. . . kind of defending President Bush?  Today’s “Letters to the Editor” section regarding the Bush-was-the-sole-cause-of-the-housing-crisis hit piece have a much fairer view of who and what caused the meltdown than the Times’ own reporting.  Maybe the Times should have its readers edit its pieces in the future.  I particularly like the fifth letter, which quotes from an earlier NY Times piece that helps refute the Bush bashing one.

To the Editor:

Re “White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire” (“The Reckoning” series, front page, Dec. 21):

I am no fan of George W. Bush; surely he and his administration deserve blame for not stopping the practices of the housing crisis. But there is a long line all the way back to President Jimmy Carter, and the Community Reinvestment Act.

In fact, Congress, including the Democrats, and the Federal Reserve pushed banks and Wall Street to do whatever was necessary to pump up the home building industry. At the same time, both the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, and the Fed pushed for even more deregulation concerning home mortgage lending practices.

Yes, President Bush had a role, but don’t forget the instigators, authors and supporters of the lead-up to the crisis and almost 10 years of government-supported policies that ended in the housing crisis.

John F. Dix
Business Development Index
Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

When one of President Bush’s economic advisers says that the administration did the best it could “with the information we had at the time,” the statement indicates that the government would have done things differently, for example, monitor easy lending practices, if it had had more knowledge.

But the article demonstrates that the administration was cool to information that opposed its strong emphasis on cutting back regulations and oversight.

The lessons of the ancient Greeks are relevant today: seek the truth, recognize limits and pursue moderation.

Brad Bradford
Upper Arlington, Ohio, Dec. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

The push to increase homeownership started in 1994, triggered by the Clinton administration’s aggressive enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act. As your front-page graph shows, the rate of homeownership took off in a “hockey stick” pattern and grew in a straight line for 10 years until 2004, that is, for six years under President Bill Clinton and four under President Bush.

E. S. Savas
New York, Dec. 21, 2008

The writer is a professor of public affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York.

To the Editor:

Having just read the article regarding the White House participation in development of the nation’s financial crisis, I am incredulous that it doesn’t mention the roles of Representative Barney Frank, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Alan Greenspan and others in their encouragement and protection of policies that contributed in such major ways to the crisis.

Ray Demarest
Incline Village, Nev., Dec. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

While the article pinning responsibility for the worldwide financial mess on the Bush administration is on the mark, it would be unfair to suggest that the administration or the Republicans did it single-handedly.

As “A Champion of Wall Street Reaps the Benefits” (“The Reckoning” series, front page, Dec. 14) makes clear, New Yorkers in particular can thank our own senator, Charles E. Schumer, for his critical leadership in giving the Democrats their fair share of responsibility.

When the histories of this sad era are written, they will doubtless mention Senator Schumer as the man who made sure responsibility for the fiasco was truly bipartisan.

Barry D. Rein
New York, Dec. 22, 2008

To the Editor:

I refer you to “Fannie Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending” (Business Day, Sept. 30, 1999), which succinctly describes the impending crisis and the deliberate actions taken by Fannie Mae “under increasing pressure from the Clinton administration.”

The Clinton and Bush administrations did push homeownership, and Fannie Mae eagerly absorbed subprime mortgages.

Financial markets created new vehicles and products to sell these mortgages as investment-grade bonds. Home buyers seized on these opportunities to buy houses that they and we have since learned they could not afford.

Congress failed to oversee its agencies and resisted calls to tighten controls.

In short, there is no shortage of guilty parties who, with eyes wide open, led us into today’s debacle.

Arthur Stowe
Milford, Conn., Dec. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

What irks me, as I try to get a loan, is that despite my credit score of 787 and a 35 percent down payment, not to mention a net worth of about a million bucks, the banks will not lend to me! I just want to borrow $287,000!

Hey, I didn’t go bust and need a bailout. I have been soldiering along, working and saving, and now I’ve found a duplex to buy. The big shots who ran their banks into the ground, wasting taxpayer money and paying themselves big bonuses, won’t lend to me? What are they, jealous?

Caroline Collins
Monrovia, Calif., Dec. 21, 2008


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