A bureaucratic nightmare

Consider the Obama administration's mortgage-relief program to be another example of an utter government failure.

Putting aside the wisdom of such an approach in the first place, the program -- a taxpayer-funded federal bailout for those in danger of having their homes fall into foreclosure -- provides just another example of a well-intentioned public-sector intervention that did little to solve the problem it was created to address.

Under the program, homeowners who meet certain income conditions can apply to have their interest rate lowered to as low as 2 percent for up to five years. Repayment periods may also be adjusted.

But The Associated Press reported Friday that almost half of the more than 1.3 million homeowners who enrolled have dropped out, with many complaining "that the government program is a bureaucratic nightmare" of paperwork and red tape.

In addition, bank executives accused the Obama administration of inflating the numbers of those involved by pressuring them to sign up homeowners before verifying they met the program's income qualifications. Subsequently thinning applicants who earned too much to qualify for the taxpayer handout slowed down the time it took to process legitimate applications.

So far, just 32 percent -- a measly 421,804 home­owners -- of those who started the program have actually had their loans modified and are making payments on time. Of the $75 billion the federal government made available for "foreclosure relief," only $490 million had been spent, the AP reports.

Meanwhile the program is now "taking in fewer home­owners" and is "petering out," one economist noted, without having made but a dent in a tide of foreclosures that is expected to continue growing into next year.

Of course, shutting down this failed enterprise will likely be impossible, as the captains of our economy in the White House and the Democratic Congress stand at the helm bellowing "stay the course!" while the ship of state limps forward, listing badly to the left and taking on water.