From its intellectuals to its political leaders, the American conservative movement has fully endorsed an interpretation of the Bush-era housing bubble and Wall Street collapse that cannot be reconciled with reality. The political right insists that government policy encouraging homeownership among low-to-moderate-income families is the primary – or even the only – cause of the crisis. But data on the home loan industry shows this argument is false. In fact, the subprime boom was driven by private firms who were exempt from the much-vilified Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, not by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The government’s contribution to the crisis was its failure to regulate Wall Street, not its efforts to expand homeownership.
Right-Wing Rationale: It Was The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) And Government Lenders
GOP Presidential Candidates Blamed Government Policy For Housing Crisis. From Bloomberg: “The Republicans say the federal government pressed banks to make risky housing loans under a 1977 law called the Community Reinvestment Act, helping inflate home prices and ultimately sparking the crash. ‘The reason we have the housing crises we have is that the federal government played too heavy a role in our markets,’ Romney said in a Nov. 9 Republican debate. ‘The federal government came in with Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac, and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd told banks they had to give loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them back.’ Gingrich has suggested jailing Frank, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Dodd, who headed the Senate Banking Committee until his retirement this year.” [Bloomberg, 12/21/11]Read more after the jump.