Not so long ago, the term "bleeding heart liberal," had currency in American politics as a way to accuse someone of costly naïveté. These days we need a new term to describe a strain of politics that has become dominant in many areas of concern, from the foreclosure crisis to long-term unemployment: We are living through what may be called the age of "bleeding cash conservatism."
Suppose you are going to repair your damaged home and your only tool on hand is a roll of duct tape. Your resourceful neighbor points out that you could probably also use a hammer, a drill, and a saw. If you're the FHFA, you tell him, "I can do a better job with just my duct tape, so thanks but no thanks." That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the most recent analysis by this key regulator of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it comes to adding the tool of principal reduction to their anti-foreclosure toolkit. They've made progress in their evaluation of the costs and benefits of loan forbearance and loan forgiveness, but, somewhat bewilderingly, they appear to be comparing the two as if they were mutually exclusive.