The Campaign Spot

Hey, Guess What? Mortgage Aid Might Go to Speculators and House Flippers

I keep waiting to see what the eligibility requirements are for the Obama administration’s mortgage relief program. Apparently I’ll be waiting a while longer: “Complete eligibility details will be announced on March 4th when the program starts.”

The AP points out that Obama’s insistence that no mortgage aid will go to those who acted irresponsibly is . . . well, a promise that he is not yet set to keep, and may very well not keep:

If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money only goes to those who got in honest trouble, it hasn’t said so.

Defending the program Tuesday at a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it’s important to save those who made bad calls, for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.

“I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about smoking in bed.”

Similarly, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. suggested this month it’s not likely aid will be denied to all homeowners who overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn’t afford.

“I think it’s just simply impractical to try to do a forensic analysis of each and every one of these delinquent loans,” Sheila Bair told National Public Radio.

This is not a minor point. This is the heart of Santelli’s fury and the Chicago Tea Party, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is sneering, “read the plan.” Hey, Gibbs, maybe you guys should finish writing it.

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