I read with interest STOP TO PAYMENTS… BOOST TO ECONOMY in the Sunday Business section, noting that over 74,000 Nevada households are currently in default of at least one mortgage payment.

My premise is this:  If you are working, if you are not genuinely disabled and if you actually agreed to borrow the money for the home purchase, then the current value of the home and consequently your equity is completely irrelevant.  We should move heaven and hell to honor our word and meet our obligations. We will  be better people for it and our children will be better citizens because of it.

I offer these examples for the consideration of your readers.One:  I purchased a new car in 2004 valued at $42,000.When I drove it off the lot it lost fifteen percent of its value. Should I have returned it and defaulted on the note – even though I had the means to pay it?

Two:  I lent an acquaintance $1,600 about ten years ago. Turns out he had no ability, perhaps no intention, to repay me. Should he have made an effort?  Should I sue him or just let it go?

Three:  I paid into social security for the past 42 years.  The federal government is now insolvent.  Should I complain if I receive eight or nine social security payments per year instead of 12, because the government simply has too many mouths to feed and cannot meet its obligations?

Four:  Thirty years ago it would have been shameful to default on any obligation, credit card, loan or otherwise.  Today, as the Sunday article reminds us, the stigma of default is gone.  What has changed in thirty years?  The contractual relationship between borrower and lender?  No.  The character of the borrower.  Everyone is doing it so it is acceptable. When I signed my loan docs I agree to repay the note.  Period.  When my home diminished in value my mortgage company did not ask me to come up with more collateral. What does my equity or lack thereof have to do with my moral and legal obligation to pay my just debts? I suspect that many in default have not even considered putting themselves in the place of the lender – if you lent money to someone wouldn’t you expect it repaid regardless of the diminished value of the collateral?

The primary reason our country is crumbling is not because of any particular financial issue, it is because of the disintegration of the character of its people.

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