The Gatekeepers at the Denver Post have issued their opinions on the proposal for bankruptcy judges to alter mortgage terms and how FasTracks should proceed. I can’t help but think that articles written by papers’ editorial boards have helped contribute to the decline of the newspaper industry over the past 30 years. They have become increasingly anti-citizen and pro-corporation. Now that Americans are left holding the tab for the corporate-government-media insanity over those same 30 years, and as those institutions fight harder to maintain their obsolete ways, I expect more media outlets to fall into the history books.
The first opinion piece has this lede: “Don’t let judges decide mortgages“. It’s interesting that the Post’s editors are calling for selective restraint on the power that bankruptcy judges can possess. Judges have immense control over how millions of Americans will be able to lead their lives, no doubt. Similarly, banks also have immense control over our lives. With respect to the foreclosures that are plaguing this country, banks have had the power to renegotiate loans to keep people in them. They have refused to do so. Despite taking billions in taxpayer dollars and spending it on buying each other and serving up millions in executive compensation, the rate at which mortgages were renegotiated didn’t appreciably increase in the past six months. We all know the result: millions more Americans are now upside-down on their mortgages because of widespread falling home values. The housing crisis precipitated the worst recession since the Great Depresison. Now, Congress is proposing to do something about it. If the banks are going to sit on their hands (and our billions), someone else should be given the authority to try to stem the tide. The Gatekeepers at the Post advocate instead for homeowners to put their heads between their knees and hope the industry recovers. Someday. Maybe. Also, more people than those who have lost their jobs should be eligible for assistance, contrary to what the Post wants. As with many crises we currently face, the pro-corporatist Post editors would rather do nothing than stand up for Americans. Thankfully, adults, and not the petulant op-ed whiners, are once again in charge in Washington.
The second opinion piece is calling for no new taxes for FasTracks. It acknowledges the problems that RTD and the FasTracks plan is currently facing, which I last covered here. That part is at least fact-based. As it is an opinion piece, the next part is fine, but I don’t think it’s reality-based. The editors don’t think voters would approve a new or additional tax on top of the one they already approved in 2004 to fund the mass-transit project. They cite the current economic downturn as the reason voters wouldn’t go for it. I disagree. If three lines have to wait, as the idea is being currently floated, until 2034 to get their transit lines (instead of 2017 for others), I think voters and taxpayers will be more than willing to approve more money for the project. One reason is Coloradans have now seen what $4 gas does to their budgets. It wasn’t pretty. While gas is only about $1.85 a gallon now, most people recognize that gas isn’t likely to stay there for long. Whether it’s six months or six years, Denver-area residents are going to want transportation options. The only way to get the project in a reasonable amount of time is to pay a little extra now, rather than a whole lot more in 8-25 years. But here’s a novel idea: let’s actually let the voters decide what they want. The Post’s editors have a weaker read on what we want than does RTD, which commissioned a poll asking about this very subject. The Post doesn’t like any proposed solution to FasTracks’ woes. As editorialists, perhaps they should come up with their own. But that isn’t what Gatekeepers do. Just like the foreclosure/bankruptcy crisis, the Post editors advocate doing nothing – thereby leaving future Denver-area residents with little to no transportation options. Wait and see isn’t a solution. It’s more of the failed practice of kicking the can down the road and letting someone else deal with today’s problems.
Cross-posted at SquareState.