"People, real people, are hurting, especially children," writes one reader...

"People, real people, are hurting, especially children," writes one reader in response to Lane Filler's column "'Too big to fail' hazards don't end with banks." Credit: Michael Osbun / TMS Illustration

In columnist Lane Filler's view [" 'Too big to fail' hazards don't end with banks," Opinion, June 22], people who don't "behave prudently" represent a moral hazard to the nation, along with banks that are too big to fail.

While he is careful to refer to "some" people, he paints with a broad brush. He suggests that the availability of unemployment insurance keeps the jobless from seeking work. Why trim hedges for $300 a week, he asks, when one can get the same amount for doing nothing? Obviously, he knows nothing about how unemployment insurance works and is deluding himself if he thinks that jobs, even trimming hedges, are there for the taking.

Food stamps? Filler says that people would be more inclined to earn money if they were down to "carpet-lint soup." The same with housing. Providing emergency shelter discourages the homeless from hustling for housing of their own.

The jobs and housing are not there, and mere Darwinian pontificating will not change that. People, real people, are hurting, especially children.

Using a position of power and access to the media to beat up on those already weakened and vulnerable is bullying.

Robert W. Mackreth, Massapequa
 

I was expecting the column to discuss the moral hazard of prosecuting baseball players for lying about steroid abuse, while few bankers have been prosecuted for selling unwitting investors excrement. Or to read about the moral hazard of allowing U.S. corporations to hold $1.2 trillion in untaxed profits overseas, while they await another tax amnesty. Or about corporations that are allowed to game the tax laws, paying little or nothing.

Instead, I read that Social Security is going bankrupt; it is not, and is easily made solvent for 70 years ahead. I read of people abusing unemployment insurance, when there are many applicants for every available job.

As in the 1961 book "Black Like Me," based on a reporter who darkened his face to experience racism, I challenge Filler to switch places with any of the groups he denigrates and see if it is moral hazard that holds them back.

Joel Herman, Melville