The Corner

Safe as Houses

A fellow New Hampshirite writes:

Nina Easton nailed it by referring to McCain’s mortgage buy up plan as a death knell for free market capitalism.  Out in California Reagan  is spinning in his grave.

No argument from me. As NR’s resident demography bore, I often make the point that one of the reasons why America has a healthier birth rate than any other western nation is because it’s the cheapest one in which to buy a four-bedroom house on a nice big lot. You look at how the Dutch and Germans live and it’s no wonder they’re in no hurry to have kids. So I value a sane, affordable housing market more than, say, the British version – in which you buy a half-million-pound basement flat in a seedy rundown East End slum, install a cat flap in the back door, and sell it two months later for 1.3 million.

Will massive government intervention restore the health of the American property market? It’s not clear to me why the government needs to buy up all these mortgages. We talk of “keeping people in their homes”, but in what sense are they “their homes”? Many of these home “owners” obtained such ridiculous mortgages that they have minimal equity in them: Losing “their homes” is, in that sense, little more in cash terms than losing the security deposit on your rental apartment. Listening to all these proposed government interventions designed to stave off reality, I’d rather leave it to the market.

But then, as Andy put it, we have a non-conservative making the conservative case in this election, which is why McCain and Obama seemed, in that first 45 minutes, to share so many basic assumptions.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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