Once again I struck a nerve. Many, many readers felt compelled to write to me after my recent rant about the
pundits panning President Barack Obama's housing plan.
I cautioned that something needs to be done because things will only get worse for homeowners and our economy as employees lose their incomes to mounting layoffs by companies from
But what really caused a stir was when I said all the naysayers should just shut up because they weren't helping. Many readers took issue with that, saying that public discourse and debate are the heart and soul of our democracy. They are absolutely right.
In my Outrage column, I seek to spark discussion and debate through irony and hyperbole. Do I really want to quash honest debate about how things should be done in this country? Not on your life. My goal is to shake things up and get folks engaged.
So to all who responded -- both the supporters and the denigrators -- I say thank you.
And now to show that I, too, believe in freedom of expression and honest debate, I am publishing a sampling of the reader responses to give you your say.
None of these spending/stimuless/bailout plans are perfect? Of course they are not perfect. We should not be doing any of them. I'm sorry, but this is, by far, the worst article I have read in quite some time.
Thank you for this! I think the media must share the blame. No sooner do we hear an announcement from the White House than we see some news outlet contact their most obvious opponents and dig for a criticism. Perhaps they think that passes for evenhandedness. It surely does not substitute for factual reporting. I listen to Bloomberg radio all day, and I hear analyst after academic after mutual fund manager naysaying with nothing but objections and criticisms. Much of it is unbelievably ignorant, narrow minded and reckless.
Glenn Hall, you are a typical liberal. If you don't like the commentary, you insist on silencing the speaker. So, you want the critics of the mortgage plan to shut up? Were you ever so convicted of silencing Bush's vocal critics? Not a chance. Liberals are tyrants. Liberals have profound disrespect for the First Amendment, unless they can use it to defend a position they happen to agree with. That is, liberals are all for free speech, unless you happen to disagree with them.
You're right about the backseat drivers, but in fact there are much better ideas to solve the housing and banking problems. Go to
(fund manager) and his current weekly commentary about this issue. Much better than anything presented by the government so far. I love this plan, but would add on that anyone that uses this plan would have to have a mandatory term-life insurance policy to guarantee ultimate payback. I would also not wait to use the plan in the event of foreclosure or bankruptcy.
So, now free speech is backseat-driving and everyone should just shut up? Well, I'm sure Democrats and the Obama administration would agree with you, but until they change the United States of America to the United Socialist States of America; we all have a right to free speech. I'm sure the new administration will do all it can to recreate the country the way you want, where people who disagree with you are forced to be quiet, but we're not quite there, yet. Till what you seek is made to happen, dissent will still be an American virtue. Sorry for your disappointment.
Thank you! Finally I am seeing someone stand up and say shut up! For God's sake, this guy Obama is finally doing something; we sat for eight years and did nothing. At least the guy is trying, and that is more then anybody did in the last administration. No plan is perfect, but those who pan this man and his ideas will get theirs when all this works.
I think you are crazier than a loon. No one ever bailed my spouse and myself out of anything. We had to scrimp and save. We had no health insurance, two homes, two children in college and neither of us had a job -- yet we managed. I see all of this as a sense of entitlement, and we are bailing out the banks and the homeowners. No one gave us money to help with COBRA -- we had to go without. On the subject of jobs -- why in the world doesn't the government continue to work on the VA hospitals instead of putting those projects on hold? Everyone knows the troops need good facilities when they come home, and by remodeling or rebuilding the VA hospitals -- guess what -- it puts PEOPLE to work.
Excellent article regarding the mortgage bill, and it's time to shut up.
Those who oppose Obama seem to overdramatize any disadvantage or weakness in solutions he initiates. There are negative consequences to any of the proposed solutions to our economic problems. So let's just shut up and let the good part work.
If you are referring to taxpayers who object to the mortgage "plan" as backseat drivers, you can stick your beak in a bucket of pooh. It is our RIGHT to object to thinly veiled redistribution of wealth. Or do you propose shutting up everyone who disagrees with you?
Read the small print. In our area you would have to have a loan that was made in 2002 or 2003 to be able to refinance it at 105%. And it has to be held by
. If you modify it, you have to get the bank on board, and to get to 31% or 38%, it will extend the loan out to 60 or 80 years. It reverts back to original payment in five years, and it's still underwater. Ours and the world economy will not get better until the credit markets work again. This plan cannot provide that. We just keep delaying the problem, and the problem keeps getting worse. Let's do something that works to get it over so we can go on. No more Band-Aids.
You want to get this economy going? Offer a tax free holiday to all working Americans for six months. The effect would be felt immediately, unlike the current stimulus plan. It would never be considered because it doesn't send money to Washington. It would work and work well.
Sniping at the reader does not constitute good prose.
While I agree that sniping over "good" homebuyers vs. "bad" homebuyers is silly at best, the bigger issue that I think is fair play is will this even work? From what I've read, the answer is not in CA, where I live, for one simple reason -- almost everybody I know that is upside down is well below 5% underwater. Anybody that bought a house in the last eight years owes much more than 105% of market value, since the market is now at about 50% of what I paid (even including the 20% down I chipped in) five years ago.
Totally agree with your column on the Obama housing plan. We've got to start somewhere, it's more important to get started, make mistakes, learn from them and adjust than to suffer from "paralysis by analysis" in an effort to try to make it perfect. It never will be, and we'll never make everyone happy. But I can guarantee you that no one will be happy if we don't start some meaningful experiments to try and fix things NOW!
What is it about Marxism you do not understand? What Obama and his team
want will not work and will actually do damage. Nothing would be better than my paying my neighbor's mortgage because he is too stupid to know what he can afford.
You RULE! I LOVED your article! Maybe you should have the "BBBBBBBAM!" for the weekly smack down/reality check.
You are a joke, Glenn. Something needs to be done? No ... untrue. Not when the "something" is Marxist THEFT from one group to give to another group. Aside from the moral iniquity of that, it will not help economically -- unemployment means many people STILL will not be able to make their payments. It's about people that could not afford the homes to begin with. The ONLY solution is to END government meddling in housing -- the ABOLITION of Fannie and Freddie, and allowing market forces to work!!
Hall is the editor of
. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at
The Orange County Register
and as a news manager at
in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at
in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
. Hall received a bachelor�s degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and has taken graduate management science courses at Boston University.