How Obama Bungled the Housing Crisis

President Obama can rightfully claim that many of the initiatives his administration pushed through in his first years in office helped reverse the acute economic slide he inherited. His efforts to cleanup the housing crash were far less successful.

Binyamin Appelbaum looks at how the Obama administration's effort to "finesse the cleanup of the housing crash", while using blunt instruments to aid the auto and financial industries, resulted in a program "that failed to meet even its own modest goals."

With the housing market finally beginning to recover, after dragging down the recovery and threatening Obama's reelection bid, some are wondering what might have been if the administration's housing response had been designed and implemented differently.  

"They were not aggressive in taking the steps that could have been taken," said Representative Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the California Democratic caucus. "And as a consequence they did not interrupt the catastrophic spiral downward in our economy."

According to Appelbaum, "some economists and political allies say the cautious response to the housing crisis was the administration's most significant mistake."

Despite the 20/20 hand-wringing, Appelbaum says "it is impossible to know whether a more forceful response would have produced better results. Administration officials argue that the missed opportunity was relatively small because mortgage companies were unprepared to help homeowners even if the government had pushed harder - and the government was unprepared to take the companies' place."

Nevertheless, Appelbaum traces the missed opportunities that could have triggered a more robust housing rebound than the one we have today. 

Full Story: Cautious Moves on Foreclosures Haunting Obama




As a community organizer with ACORN, Obama suited Citibank under the existing CRA; forcing Citibank to ramp up it's sub-prime lending. Which we now know was the root cause of the housing crash that has devastated our economy and communities. Obama's hands are dirty in this mess from the very beginning.

The real problem was the

The real problem was the insane policies encouraging home ownership in the country. While some people were just blindsided by the recession, many others took on way more than they could reasonably afford with the support of governments and the business community. The policies were not rational but rather pursued for political and ideological reasons (and economic ones for local governments, banks, and builders) with no regard for the cyclical nature of the economy. Unfortunately, many of the people that suffered were poorer and uneducated borrowers who relied on the professionals. Housing policies need to be in place to encourage a wider range of modest and affordable housing options both for owners and renters, including revision of local land use regulations to remove preferential treatment for single family residential that leads to suburban sprawl.

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