It’s the economy stupid! Every American is going to sleep at night tossing and turning over it. Each American is grappling with their distinct economic fiend and will have the opportunity to parry it in the ballot box this November.
Collaborating with director Jimmy Morrison, Woods makes the iconoclastic case that the free market wasn’t the culprit in the crash. The film features a cast of free market thinkers including James Grant (Grant Interest Rate Observer), Jim Rogers (Rogers Holdings), Congressman Ron Paul, Peter Schiff (Euro Pacific Capital), Gene Epstein (Barrons) and many others that foresaw the crash, the growing bubble economy, and the crash to come.
Meltdown was the first book to discuss the economic crisis and the political response, released in late February of 2009. Woods’ analysis of the cause of the crisis has become the dogma for any advocate of the free market.
Wood’s testimony is that the crash was caused by five key factors:
1) The Federal Reserve facilitated the housing bubble by lowering interest rates, incentivizing banks to lend freely, and structuring a paradigm incapable of handling fluctuations in the economy.
2) Government Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, subsidized the guarantee home mortgages. The government guaranteed their liabilities when they were nationalized in September of 2008. Banks underwrote bad mortgages and sold them to secondary markets that were created by Fannie and Freddie.
3) Government home ownership policies, especially the mortgage income tax deduction, artificially stimulated home purchasing. These policies were promoted by the idea that homeownership would promote responsibility and push more people into the middle class.
4) By 2008 non-traditional mortgages, including subprime loans and alt-a-loans, comprised 50% of home lending.
5) Additional policies greatly accelerated home purchasing.The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) required 50% of mortgages to be allocated to people who were at or below the median income of their communities. The Community Reinvestment Act required lenders to give a quota of home mortgages to low-income people.
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