By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal
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Set the Wayback Machine for Housing Finance Reform, But to When? (CLS Blue Sky Blog)
Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Brad Miller lays out the history of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to argue for a stronger government role in creating a safe and affordable mortgage market.
The lesson of experience, therefore, is that for the vast majority of Americans, the housing finance system was a spectacular success when dominated by government agencies acting for the public good and a catastrophic failure when dominated by Wall Street in pursuit of profit. Republicans and Democrats alike, however, now favor “reform” to reduce the role of government and “bring back private capital” to the private-label securitization market. Many proposals would hand Fannie’s and Freddie’s profitable business to Wall Street along with cheap government reinsurance against catastrophic losses, and do little to support affordable housing.
In short, many proposals for housing finance set the Wayback Machine to 2005. For Wall Street banks, it would be a return to the glory days of housing finance, only with less competition and even more taxpayer subsidies.
Those days were not so glorious for homeowners and investors, however.
Follow below the fold for more.
A Labor Dispute Slowed America’s Ports to a Halt. But There’s an Even Bigger Problem. (WaPo)
Lydia DePillis looks at the problems facing West Coast ports that go beyond current labor disputes. Increased traffic through the ports has also slowed everything down.
Fed Officials Sound Cautious Note on Raising Interest Rates (NYT)
Binyamin Appelbaum reports on the notes released from the Federal Reserve's January meeting, which acknowledge concerns about the fragility of economic growth.
Bernie Sanders, Mulling Presidential Run, Adopts Novel Stance on Deficit (AJAM)
Ned Resnikoff says that Senator Sanders's discussion of the deficit as an issue that includes unemployment and inequality draws on a less commonly accepted school of economic thought.
The Wrong Way to Revitalize a City (In These Times)
Rachel M. Cohen argues that ALEC's push against community benefit agreements, which create requirements for publicly-subsidized developers, is the opposite of community-building.
Why Do Americans Feel Entitled to Tell Poor People What to Eat? (The Nation)
Unlike other government programs that people benefit from, like student loans and mortgage deductions, EBT cards are highly visible, creating opportunities for judgment, writes Bryce Covert.