Pandering to rightwing ideologues who live in the fantasy of economic theories rather than real-world crises, Sen. John McCain merely added to the cruelty of the nation's mortgage calamity by declaring that "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers."
McCain, of course, has no reluctance in bailing out and rewarding President Bush's irresponsible attack on Iraq and the continued drain of tens of billions of U.S. dollars into the Baghdad sinkhole.
But that's another story.
Right now, Washington must come to grips with the reality of the meltdown in the mortgage industry that has meant ruin for investors and for homeowners.
The initial remedy—loaning JP Morgan Chase $29 billion to buy for peanuts the failed Wall Street giant investment bank Bear Stearns to stem a wider financial markets collapse—totally ignored the plight of upwards of 9 million homeowners whose mortgage debt now is larger than the value of their homes and whose desperation could spread chaos through the nation's economic system.
The ruin facing these millions of homeowners is only partly the fault of their eagerness to buy into mortgage plans with variable interest rates. The larger fault lies with Washington, which literally stood by with its hands folded as lenders raced into practices that any sensible observer could see meant eventual disaster.
Now, the Bush White House and Congress are tardily talking about toughened regulatory measures to prevent lenders from luring unsuspecting borrowers into deals that are too good to be true.
It's too little too late.