Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Ownership Society

I see from various points of the blogosphere that the real reason for the financial meltdown is the push for more home loans in poor and minority communities, using impractical instruments like zero-down mortgages. Well, if that's the case, then the electorate should punish the party that had this in it's 2004 platform:

Ownership should not be the preserve of the wealthy or the privileged. . . . [We] believe in the power of ownership to create better lives, we want more people to own a home. . . .

Homeownership is central to the American dream, and [we] want to make it a reality for everyone. That starts with access to capital for entrepreneurs and access to credit for consumers. Both have improved immensely in the past four years, resulting in record levels of homeownership. For the first time, more than half of all minorities own their home.

We support the . . . goal of increasing the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families by the end of the decade. Since . . . 2002, an additional 1.6 million minorities have become homeowners. The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities Program helps low-income families purchase a home. The most significant barrier to homeownership is the down payment. We support efforts to reduce that barrier, like the American Dream
Downpayment Act and Zero Downpayment Mortgages.


riffle said...

Wow, Philip. Thanks for finding that.

I heard Orrin Hatch on cable earlier blaming Bill Clinton for this crisis, based on something he claimed was in the NY Times in 1999.

Wish the host had read "zero-down mortgages" to him before identifying the provenance of this quote.

Anonymous said...

Philip's point is a great one, and everyone from Wall St. to Washington is afraid to say it. The platform - the REPUBLICAN"S platform - of encouraging homeownership for all Americans has just failed tremendously.

Certainly we should recognize the problem, but we also risk clamping down too much on the American dream for young folks who actually DO deserve the credit in advance of earning it. How can we tell the difference? I don't know. How can poor people find 20% of a home's price??

It's a really sad day for America, and these consumers failing is going to give ammo to the far right, who never supported this leap of faith in the first place. More regulation on lending is going to hurt the young and minorities more than anyone else. I'll be curious to see if Democrats in Washington continue to blame a lack or regulation. I'm afraid everyone is losing here.

Anonymous said...

Please don’t blame homeownership. Blame the amateur speculators – the “house flippers” - who thought that they should make a profit as part of the country’s obsession with driving up home prices. Their profit directly cost low-income homebuyers who were not in the market yet. It made homes irrationally more expensive and it ultimately made a bubble that burst on people who just wanted to own a home. You know these “flippers.” We all know at least one, and they thought they were smarter than anyone, as they bragged openly about their brilliant gains. It was like free money. But it was actually taking from all of us, and especially the first-time homebuyers.

Also blame the scoundrel mortgage brokers who mislead unintelligent buyers about the real risks falling home prices and adjustable rate mortgages. Was that commission really worth that much to you? Apparently.

But please don’t blame homeownership or the concept of bringing that dream to more and more Americans. I know it's a Republican idea, you're right, but it's a good one.