Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

'Occupy' finds the right cause, wrong villain

I am glad that Occupy Baltimore is focusing on the foreclosure problem ("Occupy turns to housing," June 13), but blaming "those who amassed fortunes by speculating on collateralized mortgage payments" is off the mark.

There is plenty of blame to go around, starting with the homeowners who treated their houses as ATM machines and refinanced several times over in a rising market only to find themselves underwater when the housing bubble burst. What about the real estate speculators who flew in on the red-eye from California to buy slum properties in Baltimore, figuring they could sell them later at a profit? They're still the same slum properties. People took out "liar loans" for houses they couldn't afford; some knew they couldn't make the payments. Unscrupulous mortgage brokers handed out cash down payments to buyers on the way to settlement knowing they were making bad loans but not caring because they could immediately sell them on the secondary mortgage market. The appraisers who overvalued the properties were in on the game. The banks that securitized the loans, the rating agencies that were supposed to vet them and didn't (because they were being paid by the banks), the U.S. Congressthat encouraged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to get into the subprime mortgage business because it fostered "home ownership," the chairman of the Federal Reserve who maintained there was no housing bubble while he was pouring gasoline on the fire with low interest rates — all had a hand in creating the mess we're now trying to dig ourselves out of.

Yes, I invested in mortgages, fortunately the ones in the A tranche. I didn't make a fortune, nor did I lose much. But I sure learned a lot about the mortgage business. At the bottom of the economic malaise in Europe and America is a huge pool of subprime mortgages. Just as it took years to crank up the money machine, it will take years to wind it down. And some of my fellow mortgage investors are now suing the people who sold them the junk.

James D. Dilts, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Occupy detractors must feel threatened

    Columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has certainly written quite a flamboyant article regarding the Occupy movement ("Occupy movement got America wrong," Sept. 23). In it, he states a disconnect between them and the so-called "middle class," a catch-all term he uses to project his own identity. Most...

  • The importance of Occupy

    The Occupy Wall Street movement was created to make people aware of issues that aren't usually discussed in the mainstream corporate media: the greed of the powerful, the destruction of the environment, violence against women and gays and the perpetual war waged for oil and other resources, with...

  • Ehrlich carries 1 percent's water

    In his recent column ("'Occupy movement got America wrong," Sept. 23), Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. illustrates the denial of economic reality in America that is continually propagated by the 1 percent. At the heart of his argument is the idea that the American Dream is alive and well, the happy meritocracy...

  • 'Occupy' is gone? We'll see in November

    Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column about the first anniversary of the Occupy movement betrays a hubris, a willful stupidity, and the usual threadbare deceptions ("Occupy movement got America wrong," Sept. 23). Such are the building blocks of the corrupt edifice that Occupy seeks to dismantle.

  • Occupy movement got it right

    Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column on the Occupy movement summed up the us vs. them Republican party platform (Occupy movement got America wrong," Sept. 23).

  • Conservatives see media bias no matter the facts

    The usual whining from the extreme right about media bias is evident in a recent letter from Stephen Sewell ("Sun lavishes attention on 'Occupy,' ignores tea party," Sept. 24). The writer is long on allegations and short on facts.

  • Sun lavishes attention on bumbling 'Occupy,' ignores effective tea party

    Let me get this straight: a spontaneous movement arises and takes up the name "Tea Party" based on historical actions and the acronym "taxed enough already," amasses a very large number of either followers or sympathizers, and literally reverses the party breakdown in the U.S. House of Representatives...

  • Occupy Baltimore: a historical footnote

    It's sad to see a good idea fizzle, and that's what's happened to Occupy Baltimore ("The 1 percent are winning," Sept. 18). But, the movement didn't just "fizzle," it committed suicide.