William Yardley writes about local governments lending money to save people from foreclosure.
Many wonder the government is bailing out the middle class?
Why should tax payers subsidize the well off who make bad loan decisions?
Seattle, which has nowhere near the kind of foreclosure problem other cities have, began a modest program last month offering loans of up to $5,000 to help a few dozen homeowners avoid losing their homes.
Not only are people in Seattle relatively prosperous, but they have a reputation for being nice, too. Yet no sooner had Mayor Greg Nickels announced the program than opposition surfaced.
“Just can’t agree with using taxpayer dollars to bail out private homeowners, no matter how the mayor tries to justify it,” read a complaint posted on the “Soundoff” section of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Web site.
Mark Ellerbrook, who manages Seattle’s homeownership program, said that, aside from residents hoping to apply, few people were enthusiastic about the program. He said he understood that reaction, given the local housing market.
“People struggle to buy homes in this city, for sure,” Mr. Ellerbrook said. “And then you have what looks, on the face of it, like the city giving money to people who made bad decisions.”