Remember Red-Lining?

Remember the “red-lining” controversy of the 80’s when banks were accused of racism for refusing to lend money to people living in minority neighborhoods? Well if you don’t, the banks were accused of discriminating against the poor and minorities because they wouldn’t lend money to people who were unlikely to repay. Notice how you haven’t heard much about “red-lining” recently? Well that’s because the Democrats “fixed” that during the Clinton administration.

The politicians and pundits have been tip-toeing around this for days; that is, what role did Democratic pressure to make risky loans to minorities play in the current financial crisis? Senators Dole and Martinez came close to revealing the full dirty little secret in their opening statements at the Senate hearings as did a couple of reports on Fox’s Britt Hume show, but they pulled back, I suspect, for fear of having the R-word hurled at them.

So it was left to the fearless Ann to do the deed:

…This crisis was caused by political correctness being forced on the mortgage lending industry during the Clinton administration.

Before the Democrats’ affirmative action lending policies became an embarrassment, the Los Angeles Times reported that, 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, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains.”

Under Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more mortgages to the poor and minorities. Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolio be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001.

Instead of looking at “outdated criteria,” such as the mortgage applicant’s credit history and ability to make a down-payment, banks were encouraged to consider nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named “Caylee.”

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.

When Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches, political correctness was given a veto over sound business practices.

In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein 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.”

Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn’t get out of their loans by selling their houses.

A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it’s gone off.

In Bush’s first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government’s “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.” How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can’t repay them! 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.

Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats’ two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.

Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry.

And in an article critical of McCain’s suggestion that he might appoint Andrew Cuomo to head the SEC, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal examines Cuomo’s role in the current financial crisis:

…Among the problems created by Mr. Cuomo while at HUD were what the liberal Village Voice called last month “a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country’s current crisis.” A Voice investigation found that Mr. Cuomo “took actions that — in combination with many other factors — helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded ‘kickbacks’ to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.”

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