U.S. News

Commentary: Taking Issue with Bernanke's 'Fire'


Fed Chief Ben Bernanke used an analogy to justify President Obama’s housing plan even if it does promote “moral hazard” and reward people for poor behavior. He compared it with a neighbor whose house is on fire because he was smoking in bed.

Yes, smoking in bed is wrong, but you need to put out the fire, because if you don’t the whole neighborhood may go because the fire will spread.

I take issue with that analogy and so does a viewer, Kevin in Wilmington, Mass., who sent us this e-mail:

Problem: My neighbor was smoking in bed, his house did burn down, and half of my house was destroyed with it. The Fire Department hit the snooze button on the fire alarm several times, showed up late (house was fully engulfed and ready to collapse) and, had a squirt gun to fight the fire.

Bernanke To Santelli: Put Out Fire, Save the Neighborhood

Thanks, Kevin. I am in total agreement, and would go even further: Now they are going to waste precious and expensive water (taxpayer money) by pouring it all over the embers.

I fully understand the sentiment that a lot of this goes against American values of self reliance and responsibility, and I'm aware of that.

I would give the following example: If your neighbor smokes in bed and sets his house on fire and you live in a neighborhood of closely packed wooden houses, you could punish him by refusing to send the fire dept and then he would learn his lesson, but unfortunately in the process you'd have the neighborhood burning down.