There's a remarkable article in The Washington Times of March 20th, perhaps the last public interview with outgoing HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. Mr. Jackson, according to the paper, "said he has no sympathy for people with high incomes and education who knowingly took out risky loans with backloaded payments. That is the reason why the Bush administration is not offering such people assistance in avoiding foreclosure."
"We're talking about the yuppies. We're not talking about a teacher, a fireman or policeman," Jackson told the paper in an article entitled "Mortgage fine print not read. "We had some people at HUD -- very, very educated -- they did that and they're suffering at this point. We're not going to help those people."
This is a new and unusual bit of sociology. What, exactly, is a "yuppie"?
It takes a lot of education, skill and ability to be a teacher, or fireman or a policeman -- as well as a lot of interpersonal abilities, patience and diplomacy. Why assume that teachers, firemen and policemen are less adept at mortgage matters than those with "high incomes and education."
Has anyone looked at the Constitution recently? Is there a special section which says "yuppies" -- whoever they might be -- must pay taxes but cannot receive benefits otherwise available to the rest of the population?
When homes are foreclosed they impact the value of properties in the neighborhood, including homes owned by teachers, policemen, firemen and HUD secretaries. It doesn't matter who owns the foreclosed properties or how one defines their social, occupational or financial characteristics, it only matters that when homes are lost they drag down values for everyone.
This principle explains why the government is guaranteeing big loans to speculators on Wall Street, and that's why the government should do no less in your neighborhood or mine. Perhaps the next HUD Secretary will understand that he or she represents all the people, and not just some.