The meltdown culprits: Obama, Pelosi, Clinton … 2

 An Investor’s Business Daily editorial makes it clear who is responsible for the financial crisis, and why:  

The risk-taking was her [Pelosi’s] idea — and the idea of all the other Democrats, along with a handful of Republicans, who over the past 30 years have demonized lenders as racist and passed regulation after regulation pressuring them to make more loans to unqualified borrowers in the name of diversity.

They were the ones who screamed — "REDLINING!" — and sent banks scurrying for cover in low-income neighborhoods, where they have been forced to lower long-held industry standards for judging creditworthiness to make the subprime loans.

If they don’t comply, they are threatened with stiff penalties under the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA, a law that forces banks to make home loans to people with poor credit risks.

No fewer than four federal banking regulatory agencies are responsible for enforcing the law. They subject lenders to racial litmus tests and issue regular report cards, the industry’s dreaded "CRA rating."

The more branches that lenders put in poor neighborhoods, and the more loans they make there, the better their rating. Those lenders with low ratings can not only be fined, but also blocked from mergers and other business transactions needed to expand.

The regulation grew to monstrous proportions during the Clinton administration, obsessed as it was with multiculturalism. Amendments to the CRA in the mid-1990s dramatically raised the amount of home loans to otherwise unqualified low-income borrowers.

The revisions also allowed for the first time the securitization of CRA-regulated loans containing subprime mortgages. The changes came as radical "housing rights" groups led by ACORN lobbied for such loans. ACORN at the time was represented by a young public-interest lawyer in Chicago by the name of Barack Obama.

Banks and other lending institutions should not be the servants of government. They should be in business to make a profit. In the end, the perversion of their purpose harmed the whole economy, and the worst sufferers are precisely those that the misdirection of their function was supposed to help.  

 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 18, 2008

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