Realty Check

Home Builder Bail Out--You Hate It, You Really Hate It

Not since the defenestration of Prague has anyone landed in a bigger pile of doo-doo than I did last week, when I defended a tax break for the nation’s home builders.

The Senate finished up its version of a bill to save troubled homeowners, and it included a provision that would allow home builders to carry losses back several years to profitable years.

This would give them some much-needed cash in these troubled times. I argued that since everyone else, from homeowners to Bear Stears, was getting government help, why not the homebuilders. Everyone is to blame in this mess, but why should only one party be left out of the help?

Wow, did you all disagree:

From Justin V.:
"Your article about why it’s good to bail out homeowners is the reason I have no faith in America anymore."

From Greg H.:
"What happened to you? I used to respect your opinion. You were one of the few correspondents on CNBC that gave us the facts without the incessant spin. It did take you a while to come around but you finally saw the reality of the housing crisis. Now you want to support this asinine plan to provide homebuilders with a tax break. The homebuilders played a significant role in this mess and made fortunes from it. Ara Hovnanian was telling everybody we were at the bottom in 2006 while selling stock as fast as possible. Bob Toll is another frequent offender. Now we should give them our hard earned tax dollars? That is crazy."

FromCindy S.:
"I vote NO to any builder bailout. I thought you had enough of the building industry’s kool-ade, but I guess you’re drinking it again, huh? This industry was one that had its hand in creating an artificial bubble and driving prices way beyond affordability. It also got in on predatory lending by setting up their own mortgage co’s and affiliated lenders, title co’s, etc."

Paul T. writes:
"Diana your article perfectly explains why America keeps repeating the same mistakes again and again and again. Moral hazard is running riot in America. People do outrageous things, get obscenely rewarded and then get bailed out by the Government for the common good."

And from Cornelius S.:
"This hand out is disgusting. Where is the mentality of members of Congress? To even think about giving NYSE HOME BUILDERS a tax break is so absurd that it stinks with extortion by the Home Builders lobbyists when they were shunned."

Questions?  Comments?