Social and Political Commentary

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$700 Billion Bailout: a lot of dollars

... how about the families who lost their homes in 2008?

by Jim Driscoll

My brothers and sisters are survivors of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Our family did lose everything – everything except the indomitable spirit of our parents and the generous help of one gentleman. The entire story was written by our mother Mary and appeared in the Melrose Mirror earlier with the compelling title "Mary, my back is against the wall.".

The current financial situation throughout the world is certainly unsettling. I have never watched the financial news as much as in the last few weeks - and I'm sure a few million viewers have joined me.

It is encouraging to know that that our leaders have passed the $700 billion bailout bill and are moving as quickly as possible to get these dollars into the fray. I haven't a clue yet as to what that all means and will be watching to see how this all plays out. No doubt, there will be plenty of anxious fellow Americans doing the same thing.

No one will be seeking my advice on the recovery strategy. If asked however, I would have one suggestion based on a single issue that is very real and one that could well be a part of the bailout program in the months ahead.

I am referring to the thousands and thousands of people throughout this country who have lost their homes during the past twelve months. In most cases, these families inherit a financial burden that will affect the parents and children for many years to come. This would certainly have an adverse effect on education and job opportunities, along with creating tendencies for social ills; depression, suicide, alcoholism, crime, divorce and even antipathy towards the government.

My suggestion would be that some retroactive financial relief be given to those individuals and families who have lost their homes since January, 2008. While an equitable formula may prove to be tricky, I suspect that similar judgment will have to occur when it comes to parceling out the huge payments at the Wall Street level to certain banking, investment and mortgage institutions.  

In reviewing published reports, it was interesting to note that several states have passed new legislation that is designed to give homeowners in distress more time before foreclosure proceedings are initiated (RealtyTrac dated 9/12/08). Also, Barack Obama recently called for a national moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days.

This year we have already had stimulus payments – my mind is on “survival payments” for a group of citizens who have been badly hurt in their pocketbooks and their future well-being.

If a call does come from President-elect Obama looking for suggestions, I’ll be ready.

November 7, 2008

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