Letters: Underwater Mortgages, Reading Listeners respond to the story on underwater mortgages, and the reading of a chapter from The Wind in the Willows.
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Letters: Underwater Mortgages, Reading

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Letters: Underwater Mortgages, Reading

Letters: Underwater Mortgages, Reading

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Time now for your letters. On Friday, we aired a story about Heather Baker, who owes more on her mortgage than her house is worth. She's not alone. Nearly one-fourth of all borrowers are in a similar spot. There's even a word for it: underwater.

Well, here's the catch. Baker can afford her payments, but she's decided that it simply isn't a good investment anymore and that it makes more sense for her to walk away.

Well, her story inspired hundreds of posts to our Web site, many of them very passionate. Don Tepper of Fairfax, Virginia, writes: Her behavior is despicable. And he goes on to say this: Baker's not an investor, maybe a speculator, gambling with other people's money. But an investor? Nonsense. Seems everyone lived up to their ends of the deal except Baker, who speculated with other people's money, didn't do as well as she hoped and is now perfectly happy to saddle, ultimately, the taxpayers, you and me, for her selfishness.

A listener named Harvest Moon(ph) of Grand Prairie, Texas, writes this: Refusing to uphold her end of the deal because the terms are no longer in her financial interest is a selfish response, one that will directly and indirectly affect others. Yes, she must think about her personal financial well-being, but perhaps she should also consider the state of her ethical dealings. A focus on individual economic gain is what got us into this mess.

Dion B. Lawyer-Sanders(ph) of Huntington, Vermont, has a different perspective. He writes this: Heather Baker's decision to walk away from her mortgage, even though she can fully afford the payments, might come across to some as irresponsible. But keep in mind that if your mortgage is costing you more than what your house is worth, it's impossible to build equity in your home, whether you can afford the mortgage payments or not.

Well, we received many appreciative notes about a reading of a chapter from "Wind in the Willows," including this letter from Sydney Jacobs(ph) of Adelphi, Maryland. I just happened to turn on ATC Christmas afternoon as the host was introducing the annual Christmas story, and that just happened to be my favorite chapter from a favorite book.

Jacobs continues: I'd read that book out loud several times to my now-teenage children, laughing uncontrollably at Toad's motorcar antics and sobbing with Mole as he tearfully remembered his humble home. What a fantastic selection for a holiday reading. Thank you.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks to all of you who gave us some holiday reading, and please keep the letters coming. Just go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on contact us.

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