The U.S. government has pulled off a lot of bailouts recently, but in the deepening problems of commercial real estate, it might have met its match. It increasingly looks as if the government might have to just stand by and let bondholders and banks take huge losses on the nation's $3.4 trillion of deteriorating debt secured by commercial properties. The problem starts with voters. When it comes to wooing votes, giving a helping hand to bondholders doesn't work nearly as well as trying to keep families from losing their homes to foreclosure.

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