First, A Few Questions
Congress and the White House are getting kudos for acting so quickly on a stimulus package for the economy, even frm the Wall Street Journal (sub req.) in a front-page story:
It was a rare display of compromise and speed in a city known recently for partisan gridlock. Both parties were responding to middle-class economic fears, as election-year nerves are frayed by a seesawing stock market, a wave of home foreclosures and a credit crunch.
Before I join the chorus, I have a few questions:
Where was the “quick action” by the powerful in Washington when, as early as in 2006, a foreclosed home sat on every block in East St. Louis, Ill.? Where was Congress when the Legal Aid offices there were so crowded they had to turn away people about to lose their homes?
Where were the voices of the powerful last year, when, in Atlanta, a retired janitor showed up at Legal Aid offices with a loan application showing an annual income of $90,000, filled out by a mortgage broker who qualified him for a loan he couldn’t afford? Here’s the only voice I heard then: “What we see every day is so shocking and disgusting and wrong. It’s amoral.” It came from William Brennan of Atlanta’s Legal Aid Society, who, beginning in the mid-1990s, arrived at his office each morning to find the hallways filled with anxious and elderly victims of predatory loans, seeking help.
And where was the news conference for a newly-arrived immigrant here in my neighborhood who is about to lose the home of his dreams after a mortgage broker sold him an interest-only loan that reset last month to a payment of over $4,000?
I guess those problems aren’t “middle class” enough to get a reaction from Washington. Instead, in an election year, the powerful pass a package that will do little or nothing for the economy. And they still aren’t listening to the voices they need to hear.