Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 28, 2013

Economic Statistics for 28 Mar 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

The final GDP estimate for 4th Quarter of 2012 came in at 0.4% annualized. The GDP price index, an inflation measure, rose 1.0%.

Initial jobless claims rose 16,000 to 357,000 last week. The 4-week average rose 3,250 to 343,000. Continuing claims fell 27,000 to 3.050 million, a recovery low.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index unexpectedly fell to 52.4 in March from 56.8.

Corporate profits in the 4th Quarter of 2012 rose 7.5% to $1.774 trillion annualized, up from $1.742 trillion in the third quarter.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -1.5 points to -34.4 in the latest week.

The Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index rose 5 points to -5 in March.

~
Dale Franks
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Study: Government policy primarily the reason for sub-prime mortgage meltdown

Despite the attempt by government and particularly Democrats, to blame the financial meltdown we’ve endured on banks and unscrupulous investment companies, the buck stops with them according to a new study just released:

Democrats and the media insist the Community Reinvestment Act, the anti-redlining law beefed up by President Clinton, had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage crisis and recession.

But a new study by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research finds, “Yes, it did. We find that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks.”

Added NBER: “There is a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam. Moreover, the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts,” or predominantly low-income and minority areas.

As we’ve mentioned previously any number of times, government policies can set and enforce preverse incentives.  And that has nothing to do with a free market.  That’s at best a mixed market.  So no, the problem wasn’t a “market failure”, it was the usual result of government intruding and setting preverse incentives that are contrary to good business practices and would likely not survive or succeed in an actual free market.

Here’d the bottom line:

The strongest link between CRA lending and defaults took place in the runup to the crisis — 2004 to 2006 — when banks rapidly sold CRA mortgages for securitization by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Wall Street.

CRA regulations are at the core of Fannie’s and Freddie’s so-called affordable housing mission. In the early 1990s, a Democrat Congress gave HUD the authority to set and enforce (through fines) CRA-grade loan quotas at Fannie and Freddie.

It passed a law requiring the government-backed agencies to “assist insured depository institutions to meet their obligations under the (CRA).” The goal was to help banks meet lending quotas by buying their CRA loans.

But they had to loosen underwriting standards to do it. And that’s what they did.

Not only that, they guaranteed the bad loans with your money.  Why do you think so much money has had to be pumped into those two institutions?

You see the market had determined that certain standards protected their investments.  The government decided to ignore reality and push a social agenda using “race” as the basis for throwing out those standards and using their coercive power to implement the social agenda they preferred.

The result was predictable.

And the coverup as well.

~McQ