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:

Open larger version.

  • 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.


3 Responses to “[Housing Blame Game] Better Than PAC, Man”

  1. Tammy says:

    I just have to say – I’ve ben a fee appraiser for 16 years now in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle area) and have finally had to succumb to working for a bank. I have lost so much business by coming in ‘low’ not being able to do the ‘comp searches’ and getting that pre-determined value, but I have been doing this for so long, and in real estate for apx 5 years before this – I’ve seen the market turn from a total buyers market where the buyers are bidding on properties, to where the homeonwer owes more than the property is worth — The whole industry scares me- I am now working for a large bank as a staff appraiser, and as such, I am supposed to be appraising the properties for actual market value, what the bank can sell the property for if the borrower can’t pay — and I like it. At least they can’t (I hope) fire me for coming in low… My job, as far as I’m concerned, is to deliver a fair an honest market value as of the date that I looked at the property —no more, no less — so, hopefully, the bank won’t fire me…. at least yet!

  2. John K says:

    I’m a die-hard Democrat when I vote, but they sure do a lot of stuff wrong.

    They were certainly the ones behind low- or no- down payment loans.

    Which has caused a lot of this trouble, no?

    Did the good outweigh the bad? Did more people end up in homes at the end of the day? Probably, right? Even though the number of subprime mortgages that went into default seems high, there are still a lot of people who are paying their loans, month after month, due to these new programs.

    Or am I being too optimistic?

  3. Marc says:

    I currently rent a house, and I wonder how people can afford housing prices, water, electricity, maintenance and taxes on a house these days. I do agree that it can be a good investment though. The Democrats and Republicans need to focus on economic stimulus by spurring housing starts and investment incentives to landlords and developers. I believe this would lead to better housing for all Americans.