Smart Borrower Blog

Blaming It on Bush’s Philosophy

Dec 22nd, 2008 @ 4:42 PM by Alden Smith

Bob Dylan said it best – “When ya ain’t got nothin’, ya got nothin’ to lose.”  That can be applied to a lot of the subprime mortgages that have gone through foreclosure.  Homeowners did not have a vested interest in these homes, because they were bought with creative mortgages and in many cases no money down. Consequently, no equity was built into these homes in the first few years, and when things got tough, people simply walked away.

On September 18th of this year, President Bush asked in meeting with Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., “How did we get here?”  The answer has been bandied around by the best economic minds in the nation.  It boils down to the fact that President Bush, who champions home ownership, and believes that markets should have free rein, lost sight of what was actually happening.  His intentions were honorable, I believe.  But the outcome of this advocacy has spelt disaster for millions of people in this nation.

We see now that we can blame the biggest problems for this economic downturn on housing.  Greed and unethical lenders drove the market, and when these 2 factors come together, it can spell nothing but disaster.  When you deregulate an industry, no matter how good your intentions, there will always be someone who will take advantage of that.  You only need to look to Bernie Madoff to understand what I mean.

Jason Thomas, an economic analyst for President Bush, had given the Bush administration fair warning.  Typically, when home prices fluctuate, rent prices follow suit.  This was not happening in the past year or two, and Mr. Thomas’ charts were showing that very fact.  Thomas believed that home prices were wildly inflated, and he was proven correct.  This was not the first warning that the Bush administration had.  Lawrence Lindsay, the former chief economic adviser, had warned that home prices were out of control.  No one listened to Lindsay because it was believed that he was pessimistic about the situation, so no action was taken.  You have to ask yourself – if signs of trouble are brought to you, why do you not at least investigate?  Apparently, it was not seen as a concern.

Now we face a situation where millions of Americans face foreclosure.  President Bush had great pride in the fact that so many people were able to gain home ownership.  You have to wonder how Bush feels now that those people he was so proud of are soon to be living in homeless shelters, substandard rental housing, or in the street.  It will not be easy for the new administration to even begin to sort this situation out.  It is good that some of the large banks and lending institutions have been bailed out with taxpayer money.  It does little good, however, when no one can access those services because lenders are afraid to make a move, and want their ledgers to look pretty.  It is a known fact that much of the American economy is based on what people spend.  We no longer see people spending because of uncertain economic time, or else not having money to spend because of job loss and mile-high credit card debt.  All the money in the world sitting in a bank is worthless unless it is in circulation.  That, my friends, is what this is all about.  Who is listening?

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