In response to Ross Anderson’s column “Zealous Borrowers”

I have to ask, did the government require the creation of subprime loans, NINJA (liars) loans, securitized and collateralized debt obligations, and the rest of these outrageously risky devices? They did not. These devices were created by the bankers who got the compliant government (Republican, and IâÄôm sure some Democrats as well) to loosen regulations. Then they leveraged like absolute madmen and had slick, hard-sell salesmen all across the country convince people that it was safe to buy beyond their means because home values only go up, and they could refinance before the rate adjustment knocked them flat and keep their payments low. Smart people as well as financially illiterate people were fooled by these slick shysters. So an âÄúoveroptimistic borrowing public, and their failure to honor their loansâÄù is not the cause of the problem. âÄúAbusing new-found buying power?âÄù They were actively encouraged to take loans by âÄúloan pushersâÄù who convinced them to put aside reason and look at the âÄúrealityâÄù that they couldnâÄôt lose! Many people were pursued! I canâÄôt tell you how may phone calls, e-mails and letters IâÄôve gotten over the past six years with âÄúgreat offersâÄù to extract cash from my equity! Granted, some small percentage of people played the system. Some made a lot of money. But the average subprime borrower was hoodwinked by this system. And the system was created by the bankers. No government rule ever said to give loans out like candy to people with rotten teeth âÄî exactly the opposite. No government rule said it was a great idea to leverage 100:1 and then slice and dice that debt into billions of tiny pieces and mix it in with good debt, poisoning the whole pool. Yes, the people who bought homes they should have known they couldnâÄôt afford bear some share of blame. But they did not create the problem âÄî the banks never should have given them that loan. Sadly, not everyone in America is savvy enough to turn down a âÄúguaranteedâÄù pot of gold when the slick salesman comes knocking. When it turns out to be foolâÄôs gold, we all end up paying. Personal responsibility slices both ways, and at some point, laws are created to protect the little guy from the very clever, very wealthy predators. What do you think about asking the bankers to give back their $37 billion in bonuses they paid themselves last year? That would make a nice down payment on some fresh, poison debt. Steen Erikson Executive secretary Veterinary Biosciences