The $26 billion mortgage servicing settlement with state attorneys general drew enough praise and criticism Thursday to show we are only at the top of the mortgage finance rabbit hole.
The only question is, how far will we fall? Is it really the answer to years of disastrous economic mistakes made at the behest of politicians, lenders, borrowers and a nation that absorbed itself in the me-first ideology? And when I say "me-first", I am not referring to all of the unfortunate Americans stuck dealing with unforeseen or unplanned hardships tied to the outlying effects of the crisis.
As it turns out, there is no panacea to the nation's assortment of housing and mortgage finance problems — a reality that makes deals like the mortgage servicer settlement nonsensical.
For Dick Bove, a banking analyst at Rochdale Securities, the settlement punishes certain risks-takers, while rewarding others. Bove told CNBC the settlement is unfair to borrowers who paid full price on the same type of home. These borrowers, he says, now look like fools for putting money down and making payments.
Bove told CNBC, "If you're going to do something which is going to reduce the value of existing homes where people are making their payments, every American should stop making his payments on his mortgages, send a letter to the attorney general in his state and say, 'I qualify to have my principal reduced because I'm not going to make any more payments on my house.'"
How deep the moral hazard rabbit hole goes remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain: We've only just begun to fall.