The origin of the crisis is at the homeowner level. Homeowners are defaulting on mortgages. Moving the financial instruments onto the Treasury’s books does not stop the rising default rate.
The bailout is focused on the wrong end of the problem. The bailout should be focused on the origin of the problem, the defaulting homeowners. The bailout should indemnify defaulting homeowners and pay off the delinquent mortgages. As Koppell and Goetzmann point out, the financial instruments are troubled because of mortgage defaults. Stopping the problem at its origin would restore the value of the mortgage-based derivatives and put an end to the crisis.
What about the moral hazard of bailing out homeowners who over-leveraged themselves? Ask yourself: How does it differ from the moral hazard of bailing out the financial institutions that securitized questionable loans, insured them, and sold them as investment grade securities?
Monday, October 6, 2008
Paul Craig Roberts: Bail out the homeowners, not the banks
When even Reagan's appointees are talking about "trickle-up," there's something going on.
Posted by Thom Foolery at 11:37 AM