Prime Conscience Crisis

I don't pretend to know anything at all about the sub-prime mortgage crisis, but this is by far the most interesting thing I've read about it. VDH overheard a well-heeled couple talking:
their anger was not necessarily that they had bought in at the peak of the market and now were stuck paying off a relatively high-interest loan that was apparently more than their house was worth, but rather that with all the sudden great buys out there, they didn't have the wherewithal to take advantage—while a default of some sort would at least free them up to go back in and buy something both far nicer and far cheaper.

If that thinking became widespread and a chain reaction—that the problem is not so much a sudden economic downturn that has meant mortgages can't be met, but rather a combination of anger (e.g., betting wrong and now owning a debt greater than the accompanying asset is worth) and not-wanting to-play-by-the-rules (e.g., why not let bygones be bygones and instead find a way [[i.e., it's the bank's problem not ours] to start over at a cheaper interest rate and a better house for less money?) — then you can see why the banks are panicking. Perhaps they suspect that this current generation of buyer is of a different sort than from the past, and thinks obligations and contracts mean little, and everything instead is always negotiable.