Show us the hope

Source: New York Times (Free Registration)

Falling house prices are driving the collapse of the financial system. But the bailout bill, even the “sweetened” version that was approved by the Senate Wednesday night, does little to avert the defaults and foreclosures that are pushing house values ever downward. At last count, six million people were expected to default on their mortgages this year and next, putting them at risk of losing their homes unless they can catch up in their payments or catch a break on their loan terms. And they’re not the only ones at risk. As prices drop, millions of people who have never missed a mortgage payment stand to lose their home equity. Leaving these Americans out of the bailout bill is unwise and unfair, but neither Congress nor the Bush administration has ever shown anywhere near the sense of urgency to rescue homeowners at the bottom of the collapse as they have for the financiers at the top of it.

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