SOWELL: Subsidizing bad decisions
Now that the federal government has decided to bail out homeowners in trouble, with mortgage loans up to $729,000, that raises some questions that should be asked but seldom are asked.
Since the average American never took out a mortgage loan as big as 700 grand - for the very good reason that he could not afford it - why should he be forced as a taxpayer to subsidize someone else who apparently couldn't afford it either, but who got in over his head anyway?
Why should taxpayers who live in apartments, perhaps because they did not feel they could afford to buy a house, be forced to subsidize other people who could not afford to buy a house, but who went ahead and bought one anyway?
We hear a lot of talk in some quarters about how any one of us could be in the same financial trouble that many homeowners are in if we lost our job or had some other misfortune. The pat phrase is that we are all just a few paydays away from being in the same predicament.
Another way of saying the same thing is that some people live high enough on the hog that any of the common misfortunes of life can ruin them.
Who hasn't been out of work at some time or other, or had an illness or accident that created unexpected expenses? The old and trite notion of "saving for a rainy day" is old and trite precisely because this has been a common experience for a very long time.
What is new is the current notion of indulging people who refused to save for a rainy day or to live within their means. In politics, it is called "compassion" - which comes in both the standard liberal version and "compassionate conservatism."
The one person toward whom there is no compassion is the taxpayer.