OpinionIndustry News

Taxpayers shouldn’t bail out homeowners

Perspective: Government should focus on fraud, not foolishness

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Should the U.S. government bail out homeowners who obtained adjustable-rate mortgages and then were unable to afford the higher payments when the interest rates increased or the mortgages were recast? The issue should be important not only to individual homeowners caught in that specific situation, but also to real estate brokers and agents; mortgage brokers, lenders and appraisers; builders and construction workers; unaffected homeowners and renters; seniors, corporate borrowers and consumers; and, indeed, just about anyone who owns or wants to buy a home, makes a living off real estate or has more than a nickel or two in personal assets. For all those constituents, the answer is, not surprisingly, both yes and no. In short, the U.S. government should take action to help some homeowners, but only in certain narrow circumstances. What's been lost in the debate over government assistance is a very important distinction between homeowners who were victimized by disreputable lenders and ...