Cozy relationships with DC legislators fueled the housing crisis. The blame game goes on, you need to look to the voters to make a change.
When it comes to the housing and foreclosure crisis, there’s plenty of blame to go around.
But over the past few weeks, we’ve receive quite a few letters along the following lines:
• “Heard you for several weeks now on the radio and many people are telling you that most of the problem was the Federal Government and you won’t listen.”
• “My daughter was in the mortgage business and due to competition was forced to give loans to people she knew wouldn’t pay but the laws said ‘do it’.”
• “I can tell you about cases like Countrywide where they were running a legitimate and fine company but competition caused by the Federal Government wanting ‘affordable housing’ forced them to give loans to people they should never have given them loans.”
• “Guys like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and others are still in the Congress and have benefited from insider trading and advantageous loans and will never be prosecuted.”
• “It all originated from the liberal Congress wanting ‘affordable housing’ for minorities and people who should have been renters.”
The frustration in these emails is palpable, and there’s some truth to some of what they’re saying. The federal government, as far back as the early 1990s, did push for greater levels of homeownership. Why? At the most basic level, homeowners vote more often. That fact never escapes those who live and serve in Washington, D.C.
But there’s more to the story. While Congress passed the laws, big business, including the mortgage lending banks, worked hand-in-hand with our legislators (both Republican and Democrat) to design and write laws that benefitted the financial institutions. While some legislation helped certain deserving borrowers get access to credit, these same laws generate huge amounts of revenue for these mortgage lenders, resulting in multi-million dollar bonuses in many cases.
While people can claim that the housing crisis was the government’s fault – and the government did have and continues to have a great deal of fault – there’s blame to go around.
You almost have to look at big business and our government as scratching each other’s back without regard to the consequences or actions of the laws passed. We don’t believe you can blame one or even several members of Congress, as many of them take money from the same institutions they regulate and oversee.
The problem is when the musical chairs stop, the taxpayers are left holding the bag.
Whether it’s this election or a different election, we need to hold our elected officials accountable for the ties they have with big business. When they pass laws that they say will benefit the taxpayer, you might want to check to see your wallet to see how much is missing.
It’s interesting that many people criticize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for their cozy relationships with members of Congress. That cozy relationship allowed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suggest laws to Congress that it should pass, allowed executive compensation to skyrocket, and allowed them to spend millions of dollars lobbying our Representatives and Senators to limit proper regulation in the market place by government agencies.
No one person or even a handful of legislators could have done that. If you want to point a finger, point it at the majorities of Congress that voted for these bills.
If any “conservative” or “liberal” Congress had wanted to end the game, they could have, but the money they received and the cozy relationships they had prevented them from allowing proper regulation and the right laws from being passed.
That cozy relationship that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had with Congress is the same type of relationship some people want Congress to have with the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.
There are some in Washington who would like the CPFB to remain truly independent from Congress, much like the Federal Reserve. But the way things are going in Washington, it looks like the status quo will be upheld.