While campaigning in Pennsylvania today, John McCain made several very astute points about the economy, which I will largely ignore in this post.
What I am instead going to focus on is the one area where he seems to have softened -- or reversed -- a position he took just weeks ago.
Though McCain has never officially ruled-out a mortgage bailout, his tone has always led me to believe he leaned against it. For example, back in late March he correctly noted that,
“... it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”
Predictably, his punishment for this "straight talk" was to endure the perfunctory and predicted attacks of Hillary, Obama, and Howard Dean.
... So he changed his plan. ... Or he revised his position.
Either way, his newly-announced "HOME Plan" would -- if passed -- require some mortgage-holders to retire agreed-upon loans in favor of a new thirty-year FHA loan.
As he said today, his plan,
... offers every deserving American family or homeowner the opportunity to trade a burdensome mortgage for a manageable loan that reflects the market value of their home.
This, of course, all sounds very nice. I have no doubt it is a smart and popular political position -- which is precisely why liberal economic ideas are so hard to defeat in the first place. But is it good for the country?
Just weeks ago, McCain mocked the idea of a mortgage bail-out paid for by tax dollars. Today, he is suggesting the government intervene and nullify legal contracts.
What will next week bring?