Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008

The Homeownership Obsession

During the 2008 election campaign, Republicans attempted to pin blame for the crisis on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nice try: there's virtually no evidence to back up the CRA charge, and while Fannie and Freddie aren't blameless, they were mostly sidelined during the worst of the mortgage frenzy, from 2003 to 2006. But the decades-long bipartisan government effort to encourage homeownership — of which CRA, Fannie and Freddie were but a small part — did tragically overshoot the mark. Homeownership generally is a good thing. Massively subsidizing it via the tax code might not be so smart. And turning a blind eye to crazy lending practices because they seem to encourage it definitely is not.

See the top 10 financial collapses of 2008.