Magazine January 25, 2010, Issue

Smoking HAMP

A sign stands in front of a house for sale in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, January 24, 2010. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
On housing, Obama’s successes are as dangerous as his failures

There are two main dangers proceeding from the Obama administration’s attempts to intervene in the mortgage market as a way to prop up housing prices: The first is that the program won’t work, and the second is that it will. If the program fails, it will, like the stimulus and any number of this administration’s remarkably naïve economic initiatives, simply represent the frittering away of another mile-high mound of money on political flimflam that does little to benefit most Americans and nothing to address the fundamental problems plaguing our economy. If it works, it will represent a victory for the

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I am reminded of one of the supervisors of my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, Roger Tsien, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.

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