The New Mortgage Revolution: Walk Away

Big real estate developers do it all the time - like yesterday, when the owner of New York City's Stuyvesant Town complex decided to stop paying its $3 billion mortgage. So why are you still writing a check every month on that mortgage that's much bigger than your home is actually worth?

Good question, University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler says. Thaler tells New York Times readers that it's not just alright to walk away from one's over-sized mortgage -- it may actually be a moral imperative. (An earlier Times article, by Roger Lowenstein, said much the same thing.) After all, lenders had no second thoughts about lending more than many borrowers could afford or than the homes might actually be worth. It's just not fair to expect borrowers to follow rules that the lenders don't.

But why stop there? Some commentators are now calling on borrowers to start a mass mortgage strike.