Bernanke Ups The Bailout Ante

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We’ve finally gotten around to reading the words that the Bearded One spoke at Columbia Business School on Monday night. Stitching together his various proposals, it’s clear that Ben Bernanke has become a partisan of big government. The way we read it, he pretty much calls for the federal government to bailout lenders who have provided mortgages for homes that have suffered major declines in value.
At one point in the speech, Bernanke called on Congress to expand the Federal Housing Administration, both in terms of its role in issuing mortgages and determining underwriting strategies in order to help “troubled borrowers.” How does he expect the expanded FHA to help? By bailing out lenders with mortgages where the principal is now worth more than the value of the home.
“In some cases, when the source of the problem is a decline of the value of the home well below the mortgage's principal balance, the best solution may be a write-down of principal or other permanent modification of the loan by the servicer, perhaps combined with a refinancing by the Federal Housing Administration or another lender,” Bernanke said.
In other words, the Federal government should step in to refinance loans in danger of defaulting due to the decline in housing prices.

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