We hate to get too political here, but the Senate deal to “save” struggling homeowners by refinancing up to $300 billion in loans seems quite unfair to taxpayers and, I would daresay, equity investors or speculators of any kind. Sure, homeownership is the bedrock of American culture, populist politicians say. But consider the case made by John Tamny, the editor of RealClearMarkets.com, a comprehensive and opinionated blog on all things economic (and a sister to the most-excellent RealClearPolitics.com).
Tamny, in today’s New York Sun, posits this rhetorical touchdown: “It should be asked if the various economic commentators supporting a bailout have ever heard of margin loans … Imagine for a moment what our economy would look like if margin bets were protected too?” Tamny reasons, “If so, lots of capital would be locked up in former stock market luminaries along the lines of GM, Enron and Digital Equipment Corporation, such that capital for tomorrow’s innovators would be in lower supply.”
Tamny goes on to make the point that borrowers and lenders “have strong incentives to avoid foreclosure. In the end, Wall Street is Main Street.”