We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We're going to do great damage to the economy without actually reducing greenhouse gases, and we are going to create a massive new entitlement without actually restructuring the health care system. Much more of this and we will be done, and nobody, not even the president, seems to give a rat's ass.
John Carney has been doing a lot of blogging about the role of the CRA in the financial meltdown. That role is overstated by conservatives who are unwilling to admit that markets can have bad outcomes, but it is understated by liberals who are unwilling to admit that regulation, too, can produce hideous unintended consequences.
The CRA did not singlehandedly cause the meltdown. But the relaxation of credit standards that allowed the meltdown did start, as far as I can tell, with the CRA. And perhaps more importantly, the CRA, and the mentality behind the CRA, made regulators extremely unwilling to intervene. Everyone wanted to make credit more widely available to the poor. Well, the poor aren't good lending risks. So if you want to give them access to credit, you need to relax your lending standards. Any attempt to tighten lending standards on the part of the government would have resulted in a massive contraction in the credit available to core Democratic constituencies. Meanwhile, the Republicans were hoping that turning poor people into homeowners would make them more Republican.
"Meanwhile, the Republicans were hoping that turning poor people into homeowners would make them more Republican."
I vaguely remember from way-back-when, the media were talking about banks/mortgage lenders "redlining" neighborhoods (being unwilling to lend, at least at favorable rates, to people living in those areas). The newspaper articles made no mention of "ability to pay back"; everything I read was framed as if the banks were making the RACE of the borrower the determining factor. From roughly this same period, I remember hearing about studies which stated that homeowners were more law-abiding and responsible than renters, supposedly because they had an "investment" in their neighborhood. The implication was that if banks increased mortgage lending in these blighted urban areas, the mere fact of home-ownership would lead to resurgent neighborhoods and a reduction in crime and vagrancy.
In hindsight, you can see that those pushing to increase home ownership (because that would surely make blighted urban areas thrive) had the cause and the effect reversed: those who have enough drive and focus to finish high school and find steady work, who have the discipline to "go without" until they can save enough for a down payment on a house, are the kind of people who make a neighborhood safe and stable. It's the PEOPLE and the CULTURE they embrace that make an area livable. Merely having your name on the deed of a house does not cause a person to get a job, cut the grass, and otherwise behave responsibly (or vote Republican).