Yesterday, I posted about a story in the LA Times revealing the details of the 2003 Service-members Civil Relief Act. A law that allows military service personnel to claim relief from high interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, car loans, and more. It prohibits foreclosures, caps the rates at 6%, and its affect lasts until three months after the tour of active duty. I thought that the story was quite newsworthy and posted it as soon as I could.
But since then I have been thinking more and more about the circumstances. First of all, in these sub-prime and real estate market crashed days, this seems to me to be front page news. Yet it was on page 3 of the real estate section. Second, as the war in Iraq becomes more and more political, with the troop forces there and in Afghanistan reaching their tour ends again, this item seems to be just in time to help with the reenlistment problems the military is having. And third, if the mechanism for enforcing this statute is already in place, then why is congress having so much trouble enacting a similar law to govern the rest of our citizens? Not that I think it should. I’m just wondering?
If congress is going to really deal with this crisis, then its inquiry should focus on the bloated house sizes, unrealistic price structures, the sales practices, and the lobbying effect of the real estate and banking industry that led to this situation in the first place. If the congress wants to provide relief for borrowers in trouble then it should be concerning itself with a second tier lending program that allows a borrower to refinance into a fixed rate that is negotiated between the current lender and the borrower.
Meanwhile, back to the top. Do you suppose the military actually knows about this program of assistance? If so, why are so many military families I know in such dire financial straits?