Over the past few years the radical right has asserted that it wasn’t Republican-owned and managed banks and Wall Street firms that caused the housing market collapse and financial crisis. The claim is that the blame goes to the low income, minority mortgage holders and, of course, it was also President Clinton’s fault. One front page headline in 2008 read, “How a Clinton-Era Rule Rewrite Made Subprime Crisis Inevitable” (Investor’s Business Daily, 9/24/08). The argument goes something like this,
Don’t blame banks for putting people into houses they couldn’t afford, blame the people who knew they couldn’t possibly afford a home, and blame Clinton for using government pressure to arrange mortgages for low income people.
There actually was a president who used government pressure and billions in government assistance to put low income people into mortgages, with a special emphasis on minorities in inner cities; people who couldn’t possibly afford a home or continue making payments without government assistance. But it was not a liberal, bleeding-heart president, it was this guy:
Dubya’s Dream of Home Ownership initiative in 2002, what he called “America’s Home Ownership Challenge”, included:
- Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and federal home loan banks were directed by the Bush Administration to increase their commitment to minority markets by more than $440 billion dollars.
- The goal was to add 5.5 million new minority homeowners.
- 25 new initiatives would be created by Freddie Mac, including one to help consumers with poor credit to get a mortgage.
- A fund would be created to pay the entire down payment for low income buyers who couldn’t afford a home.
- A tax credit would be provided for the development of affordable housing in the inner cities.
- The home buying process would be streamlined to get poor people into homes faster.
Watch the video for yourself. I’m not twisting his words or adding spin. Its Dubya, in his own words. The sub-prime lending gold rush started in 2004, two years after Dubya’s initiatives took effect, and effectively ended in 2007. The period of corporate greed run-amok began and ended with Dubya. Period. End of story.