Mr. David Stevens, of the Federal Housing Administration, was sentimental. He said that the government was developing "a program for responsible homeowners who through no fault of their own find themselves in a situation of negative equity."
No doubt such responsible homeowners as he described could be found if looked for hard enough, but not in such numbers that their bad luck could have precipitated a financial crisis measurable on the Richter scale. Such a crisis could have developed only if there were millions of homeowners, or should I say people who took out loans to buy homes, who behaved not responsibly, but irresponsibly.
This does not in any way exonerate crooked mortgage brokers, careless or dishonest bankers, or a government that failed to notice that anything was wrong; nor does it mean that the millions of irresponsible "homeowners" were the worst villains of the piece. But the man who drives the getaway car from an armed robbery is not innocent because he did not instigate or plan the crime, nor would we think much of a criminal justice system that exonerated him completely on those grounds.