Sunday, December 9, 2007

Here Comes the Nanny State

Recent talk about the Federal Government bailing out folks with Adjustable Rate Mortgages or ARMs, particularly those who got very low "teaser"rates for a couple of years after which the payments reset to reflect the somewhat-higher-than-prime interest rate. Republicans are proposing to do this, Democrats want to do even more. It is a mistake, in which both parties are collaborating.

The Government should not exist to protect you from being stupid. People who do stupid things should experience the downside of those acts. Lenders who make loans people will never repay should experience default. Borrowers who take out loans they cannot repay should experience repossession. If there is no penalty for being stupid, then implicitly there is a penalty for being smart because the smart end up paying for the bailout of the stupid, the careful end up paying to rescue the careless. This is wrong.

As a society we need less stupidity. If we subsidize stupidity we will get more of it. If we allow it to be its own punishment, we just might get less.