9:00 AM EDT, October 23, 2013
Last Sunday's edition had a couple of topics that merit responses. JP Morgan Chase's record $13 billion tentative settlement with the U.S. Justice Department concerning the alleged misrepresentation of residential mortgage-backed securities begs the question, why did this take so long and why was this bank singled out while Goldman Sachs, which also sold such securities, was not? Could it be due to Goldman's close ties with the Obama administration?
With regard to the recession's cause being these risky sub prime mortgage-related financial instruments, columnist Robert L Ehrlich Jr. provided some timely insight, placing some of blame on regulators and politicians (Rep. Barney Frank being one example) which is all too forgotten or unacknowledged by the Democrats ("The real culprits of the housing crisis go unpunished,".
Unfortunately, when people in the government are culpable for contributing to the mess by trying to alter the dynamics of risk and reward via the pushing of sub prime mortgages, it is impossible to exact penalties for damages. That is the one-sided power of the government for you.
Meanwhile, a letter writer tries to pin the blame for the government shutdown on Rep. Andy Harris ("Harris voted against Maryland's economy"). The writer obviously does not know the facts. The House included in the budget they passed and sent to the U.S. Senate all the funds needed to keep the government open with the exception of funding for Obamacare. Withholding of funds is a constitutional prerogative of the House where budget bills originate. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did not allow a vote on that bill (so we will never know whether our two Maryland senators would have voted to prevent the shutdown or not). By not allowing a vote in the Senate along with a threat of a presidential veto, Mr. Reid subrogated government workers, the military, veterans, national security and the economy for the sole purpose of protecting a sacred cow (another attempt to alter risk-reward dynamics — this time for the insurance industry).
So if you want to pin blame for the damage to Maryland's economy look to Mr. Reid and President Barack Obama.
Michael Vance Ernest Sr., Catonsville
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