Bush's policies evidence of fiscal irresponsibility
I was always under the impression the Republican Party stood for fiscal responsibility. But after listening to President Bush's State of the Union address, I'm beginning to have second thoughts.
I agree with President Bush that fighting terrorism is a top priority. But I disagree with Bush's notion that deficits are needed for now to fight the war on terrorism, protect the homeland and boost the economy.
Reducing the national debt is just as important to homeland security as the billions of dollars Bush wants to spend on national defense.
Financial experts are predicting a rocky road ahead for the Bush administration. The deficits which Bush says will be "small and short-term" will burden our country for a decade, making a speedy recovery that much more difficult. President Bush will be out of office before the American people see another surplus.
Passing the nation's debt onto the next occupant of the Oval Office is not sound fiscal policy. President Bush must take responsibility for the deficits his administration helped to create. He could start by easing the tax burden on working families by making corporations pay their fair share of taxes and signing into law meaningful campaign finance reform legislation so the "people" can have a voice in how their government shapes domestic policy. After all, it is "the people's money."
The cost of freedom comes with a hefty price tag. But President Bush hasn't said where he will get the money to pay for the biggest increase in defense spending since the Reagan administration. The American people have the right to know which domestic programs will be cut and which programs are deemed worthy of taxpayers' dollars.
Our nation is headed toward bankruptcy if President Bush continues down the road of fiscal irresponsibility. The robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul domestic policy of the Bush administration makes good political sense and will most likely ensure Bush's re-election, but the country deserves a more sensible, long-term economic strategy,
AARP warns consumers about predatory lenders
Ohioans are being told that House Bill 386 protects homeowners from predatory lenders. The truth is that it does nothing of the kind. This legislation, now making its way to the governor's desk, gives consumers no new protections.
It does not outlaw any of the predatory practices that are costing Ohioans their homes. For example, it does not, in any way, limit the amount a lender can charge in up-front costs such as points, broker fees, yield spread premiums or prepayment penalties. Nor does it prohibit such unscrupulous practices as loan flipping, appraisal inflation or hidden balloon payments.
House Bill 386 merely incorporates into Ohio law the federal Home Owner Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) regulations already in place. HOEPA does not outlaw any predatory practices; it only calls for disclosure and then only if the loan is among the 1 percent of loans that even trigger disclosure. It also gives the Ohio Department of Commerce, a regulatory body (not an enforcement agency) which reports it is already overwhelmed by 4,000 outstanding complaints against lenders that it has no means to deal with, the added responsibility of ensuring that the disclosure rules are carried out.
Worse, House Bill 386 will delay for at least 18 months any real protections while a committee studies the problems that have cost far too many elderly, minority and low-income Ohioans their homes. Meanwhile, this bill prohibits cities from taking action to protect their citizens.
It is now up to the governor to decide whether Ohio will protect consumers or unscrupulous lenders. AARP encourages you to join with us in contacting Gov. Taft and asking him to veto House Bill 386.
X The writer is state director of AARP in Ohio.