The Not-Quite Bailout

Congress's housing bill won't stop the foreclosure mess. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea

Joe Raedle / Getty

Barney Frank is on the line. I ask the Massachusetts Democrat, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, if he thinks the housing bill that he and Senator Chris Dodd are on the verge of pushing through Congress will really do much good. Frank first trots out a joke from the late comedian Henny Youngman: "How's your wife?" Answer: "Compared to what?" Then he gets a bit more serious. "Do I think it's gonna have a great impact?" he says. "It's gonna have an impact. I think it will be helpful."

It's not the most rousing endorsement. But it's probably a...

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