Is McCain The Return Of The Fiscal Conservative?

Ah, finally, one of the presidential candidates actually offers a common-sense approach to resolving the mortgage crisis. Sen. John McCain yesterday "derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly...."

McCain offered few specifics about how he'd handle the crisis, which could be over or at least wound way down by the time the next occupant of the White House is sworn into office in late January 2009. However, unlike his two Democratic opponents, McCain emphasized government help in exchange for tough controls to prevent financial industry recidivism, signaling a possible GOP return to small-government conservatism.

No one wants an economic meltdown. And only the government can step in to prevent such an event. But cost-free industry and corporate bailouts without strings only promote repeat performances. The strings attached to mortgage assistance for irresponsible lenders and borrowers alike should be so thick they more closely approximate rope. Otherwise, those of us who did not borrow more than we knew we could afford will be forced to pay taxes to bail out those who did.

Senator McCain, by the way, is the only presidential candidate who has pledged to eliminate the alternative minimum tax.

By Bonnie Erbe