Here is the email I sent to my senators and representative in Congress on this issue:
DO NOT BAIL OUT SUBPRIME MORTGAGE HOLDERS!Truly, this does suck for the people who have entered into these high-risk mortgages, but I believe that in any transaction there is equal responsibility on both sides. This means that the borrower has a responsibility to understand what he/she/they are getting into and what the consequences of insolvency may be. Some believe that subprime mortgage holders have been duped into overextending themselves, and it is certainly possible that the lender used some fancy language or persuasive arguments to close the deal on a risky loan. But how is this any different than say, buying a used car? Though smarmy and slimy, used car salesman can be awfully persuasive...but you still don't buy the car without driving it, and if you do there's no one to blame but yourself. Until fairly recently (perhaps 10-15 years) a prospective borrower hired a lawyer to at least review the mortgage paperwork, much like a prospective used car buyer might hire a mechanic to check out a car they were thinking about buying. That practice has fallen out of favor somewhat as mortgage companies have started "cutting out the middleman" and providing their own closing agents. Again, it is the responsibility of the borrower to ensure that he/she/they are protected. To do otherwise opens oneself to undue risk.
If he hasn't already, President Bush plans to urge Congress to pass legislation to provide assistance to subprime mortgage holders. This message is to urge you to VOTE AGAINST ANY SUCH LEGISLATION.
As a homeowner and standard mortgage holder I have made conscious, responsible choices regarding my finances. Like most people I have at times overextended myself in the past, but I have NEVER expected anyone else to pay my bills or bear the cost for my mistakes. President Bush's proposal will do just that. It will lay the cost of others' mistakes at the feet of responsible individuals like myself and the millions of other Americans who have worked hard to keep their finances in order, live within their means, and have good credit as a result.
You may be inclined to blame banks or "predatory lending practices" for this problem, but this would be placing undue blame on those institutions that merely operate at the whim of the Federal Reserve (FED). By guaranteeing every loan, no matter how risky or unsound, the FED has encouraged irresponsible lending and created the very "crisis" we now face. Spending the money earned by taxpayers to assist those who face hardship as a result of this policy will make us all victims of the FED. Bailing out those who have made poor choices will only encourage more poor choices, and it will render meaningless the hard work put in by the rest of us. By mitigating the consequences of irresponsible behavior, further and more egregious irresponsible behavior will be encouraged.
DO NOT use my tax dollars to support this effort.
On the other side of the transaction...while I certainly don't hold smarmy lenders harmless in this instance, the lending of funds to sub-prime borrowers holds a great deal of risk. This risk is mitigated to a great extent by the Federal Reserve's backing of every loan. The FED creates credit (money out of thin air) for banks to lend in an effort to stimulate consumption. This brings with it a great deal of hidden cost, in addition to inflation. In a free banking environment (absent the Federal Reserve) banks would be much more risk averse, as the cost of a defaulted loan would depend on the bank's ability to liquidate the asset tied to the loan. Banks wouldn't put themselves at risk of losing millions of dollars loaned to unsound borrowers. The elimination of the FED and a return to free banking would do much to stabilize the mortgage market and prevent "crises" such as these.