President Barack Obama's foreclosure plan carries many of the same drawbacks as the stimulus bill. Both are full of good intentions and comforting provisions for those who find themselves in financial trouble. Both pay lip service to words like "stimulus" and "incentives."
But, in the end, both of these headline programs rely on government to make the decisions, pick the winners and losers, and subsidize those solutions with money taken from people who aren't in financial trouble -- yet!
It's easy to blame the markets, and the overwhelming greed of those who profited at others' expense. There is simply no way to defend that kind of behavior. It is an example of human nature at its very worst.
An equally dangerous mistake, though, is to decide that the answers lie with government planning, bank nationalization, Congressional control over asset allocation and government subsidies to failing industries.
You don't need a long memory to see how that kind of "planned" economy leads to shortages, stagnancy and black markets. Central planning was tested to death in the old Soviet Union.
A sensible middle:
Certainly, there must be a middle ground. Somewhere between the ravages of greed and the monstrosity of government control, we must find the path to get the economy growing again.
It won't happen by pitting Americans who saved and paid off their mortgages, or are still paying, against those who were either greedy or unfortunate enough to be caught in this recession. We can't draw a line and say that on one side are "good" Americans and that those on the other side are "bad." And we can't allow government to determine which is which.