If you live in what was a booming housing market, you may recall that few wanted the government to step in and control the market when real estate prices rose beyond all reason to the benefit of working homeowners. Now that prices have fallen, as was inevitable, some folks want the government to step in with more bailouts.
Clinton has proposed a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, a five-year rate freeze on sub-prime adjustable-rate mortgages and a $30 billion program to help state and local governments reduce the number of foreclosures. McCain economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin dismissed Clinton's plan as a $30 billion "slush fund." Obama has proposed a $10 billion foreclosure prevention program to provide foreclosure counseling and money for people who have to sell homes they cannot afford. Such proposals run the risk of keeping real estate prices inflated longer and prolonging the pain.
I have a lot of sympathy for people who bought homes that they could not afford in the mistaken belief that savvy bankers would not approve a loan that they could not pay. They reached for the American dream, and if they lose their homes, their hold on that dream will loosen as well.
But do I trust the government to spend more bailout money wisely? Au contraire, the longer the government tries to make bad loans good, the longer it will take for the market to correct. That means spending more tax dollars to make the problem worse.