George Will

This is the crux of the difference between the two parties -- belief in the competence, responsibility and accountability of individuals. When Obama characterizes my position as "little more than watching this crisis happen," he again has part of a point. The housing market must find its bottom, and no good will can come from delaying the day that it does.

The market, which bewilders and annoys liberals by correcting excesses without the supervision of liberals, is doing that as housing prices fall far enough to stimulate demand. Witness this recent Financial Times headline:

"Property sales pick up as prices plummet."

The story began: "Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. rose for the first time in seven months in February, while sale prices fell by their most in at least 40 years." By golly, the Gershwins were right: The age of miracles hasn't passed.

McCain's only solecism is his loopy idea that mortgage lenders should make a "response" that is "similar" to General Motors' policy of zero percent financing immediately after 9/11. Patting himself on the back, as is his wont, McCain said he is too honorable to "play election-year politics" or "allow dogma to override common sense." Then he cast this issue as he casts too many issues, as a matter of patriotism, saying of lenders: "They've been asking the government to help them out. I'm now calling on them to help their customers and their nation out."

Good grief. Where to begin? GM initiated that policy for a corporation's best reason -- business rationality. The policy's purpose was to shed inventory, not make a patriotic gesture with shareholders' money, or in response to political pressure.

McCain practices the politics of honor: He thinks that whatever his instincts tell him is honorable must be so, and those who think otherwise are dishonorable. This makes him difficult to deal with but does no other harm, as long as it is kept separate from governing.


George Will

George F. Will is a 1976 Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns are syndicated in more than 400 magazines and newspapers worldwide.
 
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