See also, from the Washington Post, "It's on the house,", an article about the dangerous trend in which "everybody is paying for everything with (borrowing on) home equity" -- and we, the taxpayers, subsidize this. The home mortgage interest tax deduction is a questionable policy to begin with, but we turn that into a subsidy of totally unrelated spending by extending the deduction to loans on equity for spending that has nothing whatever to do with home ownership.
Marketwatch: Getting in at any price. Homebuyers increasingly approach home loans much the way consumers buy cars, shopping for the lowest possible monthly payment to avoid being left out cold on the housing-boom sidewalk. But the explosion of such products, a sign of looser lending standards, suggests many consumers are taking on complex loans without fully understanding the risks they face when interest rates rise in the future, some analysts say. And that could pose a ripple effect in overheated real estate markets.
We are less a nation of risktakers than a culture of reckless spendthrifts.