Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Feds: at what point do we get to call them insane?

All sides seem to agree that the current economic malaise is the result of the mortgage meltdown. The cause of the mortgage meltdown was giving mortgages to people who couldn't afford them. In rational times, we would have learned our lesson. The Obama administration, however, is busy making the same mistake all over again. The LA Times reports:
After two foreclosures and two bankruptcies, Hermes Maldonado is as surprised as anyone that he's getting a third shot at homeownership.

The 61-year-old machine operator at a plastics factory bought a $170,000 house in Moreno Valley this summer that boasts laminate-wood floors and squeaky clean appliances. He got the four-bedroom, two-story house despite a pockmarked credit history.

The last time he owned a home, Maldonado refinanced four times and took on a second mortgage. He put a Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz C300W in the driveway and racked up about $45,000 in credit card bills and other debts. His debt-fueled lifestyle ended only when he was forced into bankruptcy.

His reentry into homeownership three years later came courtesy of the Federal Housing Administration.
The Federal Housing Administration is insuring Mr. Maldonado's loan along with those of many other high risk borrowers.  If those loans go bad, the US taxpayer is on the hook for the losses.

Today,  House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) reports that FHA will be asking for a bailout.   Bloomberg News reports:
The agency is “burning through” its last $600 million and FHA officials have briefed him that they will need a financial backstop within a month, the Alabama Republican said during a press conference in Washington….

FHA insures a portfolio of about $1.1 trillion in home loans and now backs 15 percent of U.S. mortgages for home purchases.
This will be the first time in the FHA's 78-year history that it has asked for a bailout.

Would it really be so bad if Mr. Maldonado simply rented?

PREVIOUSLY on the housing bubble/mortgage crisis:
Pres. Clinton and the origins of the housing bubble
Occupy movement demands banks provide free money
Rep. Speier rewrites history on mortgage regulations
Financial crisis in review
Barney Frank and the collapse of housing prices
How we got in this economic mess
Those who do not learn from history

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