During yesterday’s post.com chat, Steven Pearlstein clearly was eager to get the hell out of there, choosing to respond to 26 questions with a mere “thanks.”
Bethesda, Md.: As a libertarian, I would generally favor allowing the market to find mechanisms to address the moral hazard problem you identify in your article. Traditionally, those who purchased mortgages to service them long term, or securitized mortgages, insisted on rigid certifications and standards being met, validating the creditworthiness of the borrower and the soundness of the collateral.
So the development of a new, higher risk set of products would appear to be just another innovative expansion of diversity in the marketplace. But given the general financial and potential macroeconomic impact of the subprime market collapse, which affects everyone — including general investors and workers — and not just participants in the subprime mortgage market who encounter the direct consequences of their apparent lack of wisdom, would you agree that a case can be made for tighter regulation of these transactions?
As I recall, the S and L crisis 15 or 20 years ago didn’t generate such spillovers into the broader market, despite its evident regulatory failure and taxpayer bailout costs. Why the difference this time?
Steven Pearlstein: T%hanks.