12/05/2007 03:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Should Gov't Bail Out Borrowers, Screw Banks?

This presumably won't be a popular position, so I'll start with two points we should all agree on:

*No one likes to see people forced out of their houses.
*Homeowners who were tricked into buying mortgages they couldn't afford by sleazy mortgage brokers and lenders deserve recompense.

But in what universe is it fair and right for the government to single-handely change the terms of loans negotiated between two willing parties simply because those loans haven't worked out so well for one side?

Specifically, why should banks be forced to cut strapped homeowners a break? Why should the rest of the country's homeowners, who didn't willingly take out mortgages they now can't afford -- or who didn't buy houses -- be forced to subsidize the dice-rollers who did?

Keeping the economy moving is one thing (although it's far from certain that a homeowner welfare fiat will do anything but delay the inevitable). Bailing out millions of homeowners who gambled and lost is another.

For a country that purports to pride itself on personal freedom and responsibility, we certainly aren't willing to accept much of the downside.