Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More on how the Government Encouraged the Mortgage Crisis

There are two articles in today's press about the roots of the mortgage crisis.

Thomas Sewell summarizes these causes in an interview:
The government has brought on the housing problem, partly by these very low interest rates, which encouraged many people to go way out on a limb. They’ve brought it on by highly restrictive building policies, which have caused housing prices to skyrocket artificially. And they’ve brought it on by the Community Reinvestment Act, which presumes that politicians are better able to tell investors where to put their money than the investors themselves are. When you put all that together, you get something like what you have.

In the NY Post, Stan Leibowitz goes further into investigating that last element - The Community Reinvestment Act, which mandates lenders to not discriminate borrowers based on the income level. It encourages loans to subprime lenders, alleging discrimination against them. He points out that there was one lender which was praised by community activists as a "paragon of nondiscriminatory lending". Its name? Countrywide.

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