About a year and a half ago I posted about the housing blame game in my post, oddly enough called: [Matrix Commentary] The Housing Blame Game
As the falling housing market shakes financial institutions and pummels Americans in an election year, the nation’s economic woes have surged to the top of voters’ minds. The timely question: To what extent are politicians and regulators at fault?
Since its an election year, it is now fodder for the ongoing presidential election campaign. The Wall Street Journal had a page one story about this yesterday with a pretty neat graphic:
- Republicans: In power during the housing price run-up. Cheerleaded riskier mortgage products.
- Democrats: Pushed homeownership increase. Prevented tough laws on subprime regulation.
The article seems to place more blame on the Republicans but housing has always been political.
As far back as the Civil War, owning a home has been associated with civic virtue and moral behavior. Democratic and Republican administrations alike sought to raise homeownership through subsidies, tax breaks and dedicated agencies.
When George W. Bush took office, that push became a pillar of his “ownership society” campaign. “We want everybody in America to own their own home,” Mr. Bush said at a housing conference sponsored by the White House in October 2002. Earlier that year, he issued a “challenge” to lenders and others in the industry: Create 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade. In 2003, he signed the American Dream Downpayment Act, creating a program that would offer money to the poor so they could secure a first mortgage.