Walter E. Williams

There were many other warnings of pending collapse but Congress and the White House in their push for politically popular "affordable housing" ignored them. Congressman Barney Frank, who is now chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, said critics "exaggerate a threat of safety" and "conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see." Chairman Chris Dodd, of the Senate Banking Committee, called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "one of the great success stories of all time" and urged "caution" in restricting their activities, out of fear of "doing great damage to what has been one of the great engines of economic success in the last 30 or 40 years."

Sowell provides numerous examples of government actions at both the federal and state levels that created the housing boom and bust and its devastating impact on domestic and foreign financial markets, but here's what I don't get: What can be said about the intelligence of the news media and the American people who buy into to congressionally created lies that our problems were caused by Wall Street greed and Bush administration deregulation? In the words of Barney Frank, "We are in a worldwide crisis now because of excessive deregulation" and "mortgages made and sold in the unregulated sector led to the crisis." The fact of the matter is our financial sector is the most heavily regulated sector in our economy. In the banking and finance industries, regulatory spending between 1980 and 2007 almost tripled, rising from $725 million to $2.07 billion. I challenge anyone to come up with one thing banks can do that's not covered by a regulation.

For the Washington politicians to get away with spinning the financial crisis the way they have suggests that American people are either stupid or ignorant. I hope it's ignorance because "The Housing Boom and Bust" is the cure.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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