Subprime crisis comes full circle

A short memory is so convenient. Everyone is joined in righteous wrath against the evil banks for making so-called "subprime loans."

Cast your mind to the roaring 1980s: Home ownership was rising -- except among minorities. So hucksters harangued Congress, who in turn pressured the banks to make more risky loans to the unqualified. I write "unqualified," as that was the bank's reason not to loan the money. They didn't care about the ethnicity of the borrower as long as they could repay the loan.

But, faced with the prospect of calamitous regulation -- the same sort of unwinnable lawsuits the tobacco industry was undergoing -- and the inevitability of having to pay extortion to PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition, lenders said to themselves, "Sure, why not? We'll get their money, then resell to another sucker who will also probably be in default the day they sign the contract."

Then came the Law of Unintended Consequences: It was inevitable when those who weren't qualified suddenly were qualified, that those who were actually qualified for a nice, modest first home now qualified for the wave of McMansions that sprung up across the country. It all went well, much like a housing Ponzi scheme, until rates went up. Oops.

So we come full circle. The same race hustlers are again hectoring Congress, who once again threaten the banks -- for making loans they made after being strong-armed.

Dave Stewart Sr., Grovetown

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