Readers Write 12/29

Stranger’s honesty renews hope for us

I have encountered an amazing lady. Just when I had lost hope for the human race, Kathy Thomson renewed me. 

I recently went to the Kroger in Roswell at midnight. I was in a hurry, and left my purse at the check-out.

I did not realize I left my purse until the next night, when I needed it. Not only had Kathy locked it up for me — but everything in my purse was still there.

Yes, there was a Santa Claus! It’s nice to know people like Kathy still exist.

SUSAN L. WHITMIRE, Woodstock

ECONOMY

Banks and businesses need help to survive

The financial crisis was partly brought on by deregulation of banks, but the crisis continues due to over-regulating them. Surely, someone in this country is bright enough to figure out how to get it right. Otherwise, businesses are slowly being strangled to death.

If banks are pressured to hold on to their capital and forego making loans, banks can’t make money either. People on the street know this, and so do economists — yet government doesn’t seem to have a clue.

Margaret Curtis, Atlanta

HOUSING

Lower-income homeowners trapped

The recent series on property taxes (“Property tax meltdown,” News) was journalism of the first rate — a vivid demonstration of the value of the “town crier.” And yet, I believe that John O’Callaghan’s “Broken tax system hurts the poor” (Opinion, Dec. 13) captured the more pressing headline. Many low-income communities that have been decimated by the twin ravages of mortgage fraud and foreclosures now face the prospect of reduced public services due to lower property tax receipts. Prospective homebuyers may be attracted to these communities due to rapidly resetting lower housing prices. On the other hand, the dimunition of services could render these beleagured neighborhoods in extremely dire straits for years to come, reversing years of progress.

Bruce C. Gunter is president of Progressive Redevelopment Inc.

FINANCE

Debt settlement is fair solution for some

The author of “Voice of the Expert: The bad news on debt settlement companies” (ajc.com, Dec. 4) does consumers a disservice in interviewing only a representative from the credit counseling industry for information regarding debt settlement. By the time many consumers enter a debt settlement program, their credit score has already plummeted, and they can’t service any additional debt.

Regarding tax liabilities and the possibility of being sued, we mandate that these and a number of other factors must be disclosed verbally and in writing to the consumer before entering into any contract with a debt settlement firm.

In 2009 alone, the Association of Settlement Companies’ members will settle an estimated $1.1 billion of debt for our clients, saving them millions in credit card payments that they could not afford to repay through credit counseling programs.

David Leuthold is executive director of the Association of Settlement Companies

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