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Interest deduction vital to homeowners

To the editor:

As a professional urban planner and a former planning commissioner for the city of North Las Vegas, I firmly believe that creating and sustaining successful local communities requires not only attention to physical characteristics but also to fiscal policies that encourage home ownership. There is a very strong correlation between efforts to build and support stable neighborhoods and policies designed to make home ownership desirable and affordable.

This is one reason that I am surprised that Congress is now considering the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for American homeowners.

Millions of American families use this deduction to directly reduce the costs of owning their homes, and eliminating or modifying this popular deduction will have a direct negative impact on homeowners and their pocketbooks. Any policy that results in increasing the costs of owning a home will discourage home ownership and create a negative effect on local communities.

With Nevada still reeling from the effects of the recession and the on-going foreclosure crisis, our communities and residents simply cannot afford more vacant and foreclosed homes in our neighborhoods. We need our leaders in Congress to reject any proposal to modify or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction and instead focus on helping Nevada families and communities by keeping home ownership affordable.

Ned Thomas

North Las Vegas

Why pay?

To the editor:

In the July 25 article “Lenders feel pressure in foreclosure process,” Bill Uffelman of the Nevada Bankers Association, blames everyone and everything except those who should really be blamed — the banks he is paid to represent and the majority of the rest of the financial industry.

He says the borrowers “who might have a bad loan nonetheless signed a contract to pay.” That statement should make any sane person gag. Gee, I wonder. Who was it who actually made that “bad” loan? Was it the bank or some other part of the financial industry? Who is supposed to be smarter about home financing, those in the financial industry or the borrower?

In any contract, don’t all parties have an obligation to do nothing that could have a negative effect on the position of any other party to that contract? Did the majority of borrowers do anything to adversely affect the other parties to their contracts with the financial industry? Unequivocally no.

Did Congress, the banks, Wall Street, AIG, the builders — the financial industry — do anything to adversely affect the borrowers’ positions relative to their mutual mortgage contracts? A resounding yes.

Based on the above, please ask Mr. Uffelman to again tell everyone why the “underwater” home owners have an obligation to pay. Do they really?

The perpetrators of today’s financial crisis, the banks and the majority of the rest of the financial industry, have been bailed out with everyone’s tax dollars. But nothing — absolutely nothing effective — is being done for the victims, America’s home owners.

Bryce L. Reynolds


Home loans

To the editor:

There are a number of inaccuracies in John Smith’s Saturday column (“Connecting with Southern Nevadans is Heller’s biggest challenge”) that need to be addressed.

The programs discussed by Mr. Smith have been long on rhetoric and short on results. In fact, the vast majority of homeowners who have sought help through federal programs have been turned away.

The Neighborhood Stabilization program, which Mr. Smith claims would be a “lifeline” to Nevadans, did not provide assistance to individuals facing foreclosure. This program provides taxpayer funds to bail out lenders and real estate speculators who made risky bets on the housing market, not Nevada families who played by the rules and are now struggling to stay in their homes.

In fact, banks are one of the biggest beneficiaries of this program. Not to mention, by the time the vote was taken, Nevada was no longer eligible to receive funding from this program. This fact was omitted from this column.

Also, the Federal Housing Administration’s loan conversion was allocated $8 billion, but it had only refinanced 44 loans in the entire country at the time of the vote. The program allows lenders to transfer their losses onto the taxpayer, a concept that many Nevadans would agree is less than ideal.

My office spends a great deal of time helping homeowners get loan modifications and makes every effort to keep Nevadans in their homes. It is heart wrenching to hear from Nevadans who are losing their homes and have run out of options. To trivialize this very serious problem does a great disservice to our state.

Dean Heller

Washington, D.C.

The writer, a Republican, represents Nevada in the U.S. Senate.

Going insane

To the editor:

I could not help but laugh at Jack Corrick’s Tuesday letter, “Blame the GOP.” Mr. Corrick blames the GOP for the budget impasse in Washington, ignoring the fact that 70 percent of Americans want a balanced-budget ammendment in order to stop the runaway spending that this president has engaged in over the past two-plus years.

Mr. Corrick doesn’t seem to realize that this president has not put forth a single plan of his own — and the budget he proposed after two years was so ridiculous that it was voted down 97-0 in the Senate.

Mr. Corrick uses sayings in his letter such as, “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” and, “Figures do not lie, but liars figure.” Try this one: “Keep doing the same thing over and over, you get the same results.” That’s the definition of insanity.

tony amodeo

Las Vegas

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