Just who is paying for the big mortgage settlement, anyway?
The Obama administration says it's the banks. Mortgage investors worry it will be them. Taxpayers fear they'll have to pony up.
Unfortunately, until we actually see the settlement terms and watch the process in action, we won't know for sure.
Based on currently available information about the settlement, there's no way to refute the government's claim that banks will bear the brunt of the settlement's costs. But the waters have been muddied by past government statements, and by the government's failure to make the terms of the settlement public even as it rushed to announce that a deal was done.
And there is still plenty of room to argue that banks, which are settling charges that they mishandled thousands of troubled mortgages, are getting off fairly easily in what is supposed to be a deal that punishes them and deters future misdeeds.