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Fred Thompson And Reverse Mortgages

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SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD … AGAIN

Fred Thompson is dead …

The former “Republican” presidential candidate, U.S. Senator, Law & Order actor and hawker of reverse mortgages kicked the bucket at the age of 73 due to a recurrence of lymphoma.

To read the sprawling, fawning obituary in his home state paper, click here.

Our view on Thompson is less favorable … although we’ve been repeatedly told we’re not supposed to say bad things about former elected officials after they die.  So … we’ll refer our readers to an open letter published last January, around the time Thompson started shilling for a company that sells taxpayer-guaranteed loans targeting old people on fixed incomes.

Written by Liz Main, the open letter exposed the predatory nature of these loans – and then sought to determine whether Thompson was vouching for them in his capacity as an actor or former elected official.

Or both …

“People who are hooked by your ads are living with the thermostat turned way down, Fred,” Main wrote.  “Even if they get a reverse-mortgage loan, they may not hang on to their homes for long, because they’ll still have to pay taxes, insurance and upkeep – or their home will be sold to pay off the loan and all its related fees and charges. A year in a nursing home also triggers a home sale.”

Main then asked Thompson whether any of that worried him.

“Do you feel even a little bit bad about the script’s reference to President Reagan—the one that makes it sound as if The Gipper were personally blessing every loan?” she wrote.  “Because the FHA reverse-mortgage bill Reagan signed into law in 1988 does more to protect the lender than the homeowner. It allowed for reverse mortgages to be insured by the FHA, meaning the lending institution would not lose money.  Once there was no financial risk for lenders, they started pushing the loans aggressively.”

Indeed …

As of September 2013, roughly 10 percent of reverse mortgage borrowers had defaulted on their loans.  According to the U.S. Census, roughly 620,000 Americans aged 62 or older are currently using a reverse mortgage.

So … do the math.

Are we saying Thompson is to blame for all that?  No.  Nor are we saying he’s to blame for the broader “Republican” failure of the last decade, which – along with the epic fail of U.S. president Barack Obama – has forced so many seniors into such a financially prone position.

But there’s a definite difference between standing and fighting for what’s right … or going along to get along with a status quo that’s taking advantage of people.

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