Politicians and other talking heads (and thus the general public) seem to agree that the current credit crisis was caused by lack of governmental oversight of the big bad bankers. In actual fact, it was just the opposite. The cause of the crisis was Government pressure (mostly but not entirely from Democrats in the White House and Congress) imposed on the mortgage lending industry as far back as the beginning of the Clinton era. Semi-government institutions, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, caved in to the pressure, and by readily buying ever-increasing numbers of shaky loans, they made it highly profitable for loan originators (mostly local brokers and bankers) and loan "bundlers" ( Wall Street) to willingly go along.
Starting in 1992, a majority-Democratic Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, became aggressive and creative in stimulating "minority gains." The Clinton administration investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio were made up of loans to low-to medium-income borrowers by the year 2001. The Clinton administration criticized the mortgage industry for looking at " outdated criteria, "such as the mortgage applicant's credit history and ability to make a down payment. Threatening lawsuits, Clinton's Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn't a joke – it's a fact.
By 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. A Los Angeles Times reporter hailed the Clinton administration's affirmative action lending policies as one of the "hidden success stories" of the Clinton administration, saying that "black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded." After 2001, a major new market was found for these loans-illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, a few economists (but no politicians) were screaming that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail as soon as the housing market slowed and overly-stretched borrowers couldn't get out of their loans by refinancing or selling their houses. In Bush's first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government "implicit subsidy" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system . Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no "concern about housing". The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "under heavy assault by the Republicans," but these entities still had "important political allies" in the Democrats.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, George Bush bragged about the fact that a greater percentage of Americans owned their own homes than ever before, but (except for praising low interest rates) he did not explain how or why this happened. President Bush pushed even farther; he asked lawmakers to eliminate the down payment normally required for FHA loans. So Republicans have dirty …