Late last week, I began reading a news story on MSNBC that centered on Bush’s “bailout” of those individuals who were losing their homes in the current mortgage crisis. Before getting very far into the story, my attention was drawn to a link for a reader discussion entitled, “Should U.S. bail out subprime borrowers?” Arriving at the discussion, I found page after page of angry notes, furious citizens fuming about how unfair a “bailout” would be. The logic, which I’m completely sympathetic with, went something like this: “I pay my bills; I only buy what I can afford. I’ll be mad as hell if Bush bails out those people by paying their mortgage.”
The problem is, and this may well ultimately haunt Democrats as well (and it should bother all of us), the term “bailout” is misleading in this circumstance. While Bush has proposed a number of ways to help keep borrowers lenders in their homes, most of these ideas seem ultimately aimed at allowing a refinancing of the loan—it’ll still have to be paid, but the time will be extended, different terms introduced or so forth. Yes, in some ways, it’s a slight change in the rules, but the policies don’t carry the force that the term “bailout” implies.