Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Am ericans have lost more than $4 trillion in assets since the housing market collapsed in 2006. Risky government
mortgage lending regulations helped inflate prices beyond reason, but those policies have not gone away. Instead, they've just moved into a new home, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Unless Congress acts to renovate eligibility requirements for borrowers, we could see an even worse financial disaster unfold.
Signed into law in July, the Dodd-Frank Act pulled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending institutions out of the subprime loan business. Those government-sponsored monstrosities were fingered as prime culprits in the financial collapse, so the Obama administration has enlisted the FHA to perform the same functions. Peter Wallison and Edward Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute have raised the alarm, writing, As in the period leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, these loans will again contribute to a housing bubble, which will feed on government funding and grow to enormous size.
Congress began blowing the initial bubble in 1992 when it amended Fannie's and Freddie's charters to compel the mortgage giants to back financing for low- and middle-income families seeking housing. Subsequently, those enterprises induced mortgage lenders to relax their qualification standards, allowing millions to buy homes with no or little money down. As these properties went into foreclosure starting in 2006, the red ink at Fannie and Freddie ran into the hundreds of billions - with the public footing the bill. In October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency estimated the eventual cost to taxpayers would be up to $360 billion.