Saturday, November 27, 2010

Washington Post real estate writer Kenneth Harney gets all excited about the new FTC rules that ban 'mortgage modification' companies from taking upfront payments from customers... but my guess is that he is wasting his breath, as few people will actually be helped by this.

If Harney is probably right that a good chunk of these firms are "criminal enterprises posing as do-gooders who promise to get you out of the mortgage jam you're in", then why does he think they're going to refrain from breaking yet another law?

And why does he think that people who are dumb enough to hand over their money in advance are going to know or learn about the new law? Or that, even if they do learn of the law (perhaps by reading Harney's column?), that they won't be dumb enough to fall for whatever line the scammer gives them about why the law doesn't apply in their particular circumstances?

This new law reminds me of the similar emotions that accompany the passing of so-called 'hate crimes' laws. Someone who is demented enough to string someone up because of the victim's sex or race or sexual preference isn't going to care in the least that he is subject to additional penalties. The same thing holds true for gun control laws... it is ridiculous to think that someone robbing a bank or the neighborhood drug dealer is going to not carry a gun because he is subject to a longer prison term.

The pro-government types feel good about themselves when they pass laws such as this, they think they're accomplishing something when in reality they're doing no such thing.