Letters: Foreclosures, Teen Pregnancy

Listeners comment on home foreclosures and weigh in on how parents' lives are changed when their teenager becomes pregnant.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and blog comments. The dismal economy continues to be the big story this week. And we talked yesterday about the American dream turned nightmare. What happens when the bank forecloses on your house? Wayne called in to tell us that when he was foreclosed on in the 1980s, he lost not only his home but also 12,000 dollars in taxes he owed the IRS. As he explained it, the amount of money that you owed the bank but didn't pay was considered a taxable gain. What we didn't know was if that's still the case today.

Charles in Pleasanton, California, emailed us to clarify. Unfortunately, your caller's situation was all too common. As counterintuitive as it may sound prior to Congress' enactment of the so-called Mortgage Relief Act of 2007 under the MRA, debt relief due to a short sale or foreclosure is not treated as income by the IRS, thus eliminating the double whammy that befell many troubled homeowners in the past. There are naturally certain restrictions that apply but the legislation is designed to make it easier for homeowners to recover from one of the challenges associated with unwinding a bad mortgage.

Ask Amy's Amy Dickenson joined us last week to talk with the parents of teenage parents about how their lives changed after the words, mom, dad, I'm pregnant. I'm listening with mist of tears in my eyes, emailed Audrey, a listener in Washington, D.C. I was blindsided by my daughter's pregnancy. She was 17 and hid it very well under huge T-shirts and by spending an inordinate amount of time in her room. I was very angry at first. I had been a single parent following my divorce for eight years and I was looking forward to my kids growing up and going off to college. She asked me to adopt him because she didn't really want to give him up. I didn't but I am his legal guardian. Needless to say, I had become a parent again but he was such a darling that I love him to death. She since had a second child and I love both to death. They live with me and thankfully I have a lot of help from my sister. I have since developed high blood pressure from the stress of taking care of them during a three-week stint when my daughter just disappeared when the little girl was six months old.

And finally, while talking about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last Tuesday, I used the phrase wink, wink, nod, nod, nooge, nooge. And Jody Bolter emailed from California to tell me, Neal, you are mispronouncing it now and then. Just as now, I hear using the term wink, wink, nudge, nudge made famous by an old Monty Python routine and many of us know what it means. But it's not pronounced nooge, nooge as in the Yiddish to pester someone. It rhymes with fudge or budge as in to elbow or gently push someone. Now, visualize a wink, a slight elbow or nudge to the arm of the addressee. And thanks, Jody for the gentle nooge on nudge. I'll try to get it right next time. Know what I mean, know what I mean? If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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