Monday 11 December 2017

We're morally obliged to share burden

No one forced homeowners to borrow heavily, but the State acted irresponsibly during the property bubble, writes Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

'DO not send any literature to my house and do not allow your canvassers come near my house at the next election," the constituent wrote. He was, it is fair to say, livid. He had heard me on the News at One arguing that the banks and Government must share the burden of restructuring the mortgages of people who couldn't pay them (or whose efforts to pay them meant that they couldn't maintain a decent standard of living).

He and his family had been prudent amidst the fervour of the boom. His children had not bought property during the bubble. And now here was I, apparently suggesting that his children contribute to easing the burden on those who had, by his standards, been reckless or spendthrifts. I understand his anger. But I disagree with him.

The term 'debt forgiveness' has been widely bandied about in recent weeks. It implies that there are sins to be forgiven.

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