It is interesting to note how liberals, when discussing some problem, often speak in terms of programs in order to fix those problems. Got a housing problem? Start an affordable housing program. Got a hunger problem? Start a nutrition program. Got an energy problem? Start a renewable energy program. These programs are, of course, intended to fix the problems for which they were designed to address. Consider housing; specifically, the current problem of high foreclosure rates. Obama has proposed dealing with foreclosures with his housing program. If an individual wanted to take advantage of this plan, he/she would have to meet the qualifications. The intention, of course, is that those needing the help would meet the qualifications. But that isn't always going to be the case. Some people who ought to be helped won't qualify, for one reason or another; and some people who oughtn't be helped will still qualify anyway. To use an analogy, government is attempting to cast a wide net to catch fish; no matter how big the net, government won't be able to catch all the fish, and it will end up catching some turtles too.
But if you think about it, "the housing problem" is really composed of a bunch of little problems. "The housing problem" includes Bob & Judy and their family who, sadly, are being foreclosed on because Bob just lost his job and Judy was just diagnosed with cancer and now has huge medical bills. That's sad and these people are worthy of help. But "the housing problem" also includes Vince the house-flipper who got in over his head and now is looking to be bailed out from his bad choices. "The housing problem" includes Reginald the owner of beachfront resort housing who is rich enough to weather the housing bubble, but, if the government is going to be handing out free money, is more than happy to take a share of it. "The housing problem" includes Farmer Joe who, during the days of $4/gal gas, put all his eggs in the ethanol boom, and, now, finds himself and his farm overleveraged and doesn't know if he'll be able to keep his farm that's been in his family for generations. Will Obama's housing program help all these people? Will Obama's housing program help any of these people? Maybe 3 out of 4? We don't really know.
So, naturally, conservatives complain that Obama's program will end up helping people like Vince and Reginald (possibly), and liberals defend Obama's program pointing out that it will help people like Bob & Judy and Farmer Joe (probably). Conservatives and liberals scream at each other: "You want to bail out the irresponsible!" "You want to throw poor people into the streets!" But this shouting match misses the real problem inherent in Obama's housing program, or any housing program for that matter. To use the fishing analogy again, it's not that government is casting the net too wide, or is using too fine a mesh of net, to catch aquatic life that shouldn't be caught. The real problem is that government is using only one net. It has conceived of the problem in the singular form - "the housing problem" - and has designed a singular solution in order to fix it. Sure the solution may have different components with different strategies, but it is still conceived in response to a singular problem.
And herein lies the real contrast between conservatives and liberals. We conservatives are less inclined to view these problems as singular nouns. We understand that there is no single best solution to any of these problems; what will help Bob & Judy will probably not help Farmer Joe, and vice-versa.
So what is government to do? Well, government could, in principle, tailor its solution to meet the needs of each individual person who ought to be helped. With the fishing analogy, it would be equivalent to throwing away the net and individually selecting each fish to be caught. And this solution, while possible in principle, is just not feasible. Besides, a government which had this sort of immense power is not one that I care to live with. So this is why conservatives are knee-jerk opposed to new government programs. It's not that we don't want "the housing problem" to be solved. It's that the government program won't actually solve the real underlying problems (plural) for which it has been designed to solve.