August 19, 2008 1:15PM

Want Help from Washington? Gamble, Don’t Save

Not long ago I heard Rush Limbaugh thundering that the venerable Associated Press had said that it would start putting opinion in its stories (referring to this story about the AP’s new Washington Bureau chief). Well, if that’s the case, I’m just glad that some of their stories reflect sensible opinion, like this dispatch today from Jeannine Aversa:

Two giant mortgage companies get into hot water over risky investments. The government steps in to throw them a lifeline should they need it.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans buy homes more expensive than they can afford. Congress approves a rescue package.

Troubles erupt at a Wall Street investment firm that made bad bets on mortgage investments. The Federal Reserve steps in and provides financial backing for the company’s takeover.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of people pay their mortgages on time, don’t max out their credit cards and put money into retirement funds. They may even save a little extra on the side.

In return, they get rates on their savings that don’t even keep up with inflation. They also are witnessing their nest eggs shrinking as the value of their homes plummets and the stock market tumbles.

Policymakers in Washington, D.C., seem more focused on rescuing those who behave badly by putting at risk taxpayers who’ve played by the rules and shunned the get‐​rich‐​quick schemes of Wall Street croupiers.