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Why Not Bail Out The Housing Speculators? Really!

Government Bailout
Government Bailout

In all the talk of all the differing bailout plans, one little mantra of all the lawmakers as well as the regulators and the President is, "Of course we won't bail out the speculators, those who made money investing in homes and then flipping them for a profit."

Ok, I realize this may not be a very popular point of view, but may I ask the question: Why Not??

It seems to me that housing is a commodity. Maybe it didn't start out that way, but it sure became that way. Donald Trump made a fortune on real estate, and nobody punished him, in fact he got a job punishing "apprentices" who wanted to be just like him. So if housing is a commodity, then why is it so evil to trade on its futures, like cattle or soybean. A home is an equity as well, so what's wrong with trading it like a stock?

Here we are talking about bailing out all the investors who traded on the mortgages that allowed speculators to buy and sell the homes, why can't we give the speculators a break too? If we allowed speculators to get in on the refi and modification programs from the government and private sector (they are specifically barred from the FHA program), then perhaps we could stem a bit of the price plunges in the housing market by preventing an awful lot of foreclosures.

I just don't think it's fair to pick and choose among investors, to decide that some are fine and others are the cause of trouble. I don't believe that a person who invests in a condo with the intention to sell it at a higher price is any different than an investor who buys a stock with the same end game in mind. Is it because stocks are on paper and homes are on streets? Well, there's an argument there, but investment homes can be rented to lower income folks who need a place to live. They can also be lived in by investors as they wait for their equity to accrue.

Let's be careful, in all this blaming and bailing, that we don't choose to favor one investor group over another.

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  • Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com