March 11, 2009

Will bill-payers also get public bailout?

Friday's Baltimore Sun noted that approximately 11 percent of all Marylanders with home loans have either missed payments or are on the verge of foreclosure ("A record 11.1% of Md. home loans distressed," March 6). This will surely raise eyebrows in Washington as lawmakers scramble to have the government offer low-rate refinancing to those in such dire straights.

But while this news offers a sober reflection on today's economy, what will happen to the other 89 percent of homeowners, who apparently manage their money properly? Will they be afforded the same kind of a bailout to help stimulate their household economy?

If we are going to give low- or no-interest loans to people with $500,000 mortgages who perhaps should not have been given $100,000 loans, then everyone should get the same opportunity to get a slice of the government's money pie. Mel Lorden, Baltimore

American Dream not for everyone

Sim B. Sitkin's column "Redesigning mortgages" (Commentary, Feb. 27) says that we should learn something from the present housing disaster.

Indeed, what we should learn is to forget the American Dream that everyone can be a homeowner.

Tragically, we have now learned that this is not a realistic goal.

Harry Bennett Jr., Baltimore

'Farewell to jobs' sows only panic

It is important both to recognize the seriousness of our economic circumstances and to avoid panic. But Jill Andresky Fraser seems to be intent on fostering panic ("A farewell to jobs," Commentary, March 6).

She suggests that the 32 percent of Americans who feel secure in their jobs are being irrational.

But while one can feel sympathy for Ms. Fraser's insecurity, let's consider a few facts. The unemployment rate in February was 8.1 percent. At its highest point in U.S. history, in the depths of the Great Depression, it was 24.9 percent. Does Ms. Fraser expect it to rise above 68 percent?

Is it not a reasonable expectation that the unemployment rate will stay below that of the Great Depression?

And for those who will continue to be employed, isn't it likely that most of them are being realistic when they say they feel secure in their jobs?

Ken Allen, Towson

Other stem cells offer real cures

Here we go again with plans to finance embryonic stem cell research ("Obama orders science to forefront," March 10). But apart from the ethical concerns, embryonic stem cell research, though full of promises, offers no certainty of success. It has not produced a single cure for anything, and such cures may be many years down the road - or may not be forthcoming at all.

On the other hand, research using other available sources of stem cells has resulted in many cures.

The taxpayer money that the president plans to spend on embryonic stem cell research will only fill the pockets of those engaged in it.

Charles J. Scheve, Towson

Report on arrest tabloid journalism

I am writing to object in the strongest terms to Saturday's article regarding the arrest of Ellis Staten ("Police find drugs in car, arrest NAACP official," March 7).

When did it become Baltimore Sun policy to report on arrests that led to no charges, then to report criminal accusations from the past with no relevance to the present story?

This is the worst form of tabloid journalism. And it is very hard to view it as anything other than a deliberate attempt to smear the reputation of Mr. Staten and of the NAACP.

Joe Pettit, Baltimore

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