I was a little bit confused initially by John McCain's plan to deal with the crisis in the housing markets because on first read there doesn't seem to be a plan there at all. On second read, there's just no plan. Rather, there's fear that there might be a plan. But John McCain's promising to put a stop to that. Ryan Avent remarks:

As best I can tell, he must figure that offering a mortgage policy solution that’s far stingier than that put forth by one of the least popular presidents in modern times will burnish his maverick image, thus earning him more press cred. And then maybe the press won’t really talk that much about his stingy mortgage policy? He’d better hope they don’t, because if the American public finds out that he feels Bear deserved its bailout and homeowners deserve nothing, they’re going to be pissed.



Right. McCain's thinking on economics seems driven by a kind of "eat your peas" moralism. The press, which always favors economic pain for people other than themselves, their owners, and their advertisers tends to like this sort of thing. Like when McCain tried to run in the Michigan primary by promising voters that he thought their state's economy was doomed. But actual voters don't much like that kind of thing; I think there's skeptical as to how much different government policy makes in their lives, but they want policymakers to be at least trying to make their lives better.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.