POLITICAL observations & opinions

* it’s right help the undeserving … but it’s also right to get it back

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 20, 2009

David Brooks writes in today’s NYT (Money for Idiots 2-20-09) …

  • The stimulus package handed tens of billions of dollars to states that spent profligately during the prosperity years. The Obama housing plan will force people who bought sensible homes to subsidize the mortgages of people who bought houses they could not afford. It will almost certainly force people who were honest on their loan forms to subsidize people who were dishonest on theirs. 
  • These injustices are stoking anger across the country, lustily expressed by Rick Santelli on CNBC Thursday morning. “The government is promoting bad behavior!” Santelli cried as Chicago traders cheered him on. “The president … should put up a Web site … to have people vote … to see if they want to subsidize losers’ mortgages!” 
  • Well, in some cases we probably do. That’s because government isn’t fundamentally in the Last Judgment business, making sure everybody serves penance for their sins. In times like these, government is fundamentally in the business of stabilizing the economic system as a whole. 
  • To stabilize that communal landscape, sometimes you have to shower money upon those who have been foolish or self-indulgent. The greedy idiots may be greedy idiots, but they are our countrymen. And at some level, we’re all in this together. If their lives don’t stabilize, then our lives don’t stabilize.

LMW COMMENT … I agree with David Brooks, to a point. We do have to save people who don’t deserve it in order to save the rest of us who do. However … we should somehow get the money back, when home values increase, by placing a special tax on future earnings by those who were saved by taxpayer money, or by some other creative method.

Read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/opinion/20brooks.html

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