I don’t usually agree with AlterNet, which is generally a left-leaning (to say the least) site, but The Center for Public Integrity has a well-reasoned piece on “The Bad Guys of Subprime Lending Are Raking in Bailout Billions.”

The article details the woeful and sordid spectacle of non-banks (for the most part) dishing out $1.4 trillion in subprime (paradoxically, actually meaning higher than prime rate) loans that could never be repaid, with ever-lowered standards of loan qualification.

Now, with 20 of the top 25 lenders either out of business or swallowed up, many of the worst culprits are now zinging Uncle Same to bail them out. I’m reprinting the chart that lists the top 25 bandits at right (click on image to enlarge).

Interesting, but how did $1.4 trillion in bad loans cause $3 trillion of federal expenditures in response? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to buy up the foreclosed homes and take them off the books?

Answers: Government never takes the easiest or most sensible route since the goal is to buy support and votes, not necessarily to solve any problem.