This Time it’s Bernanke’s Housing Bubble

February 19, 2013

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”  These are the simple, yet exceedingly relevant for our times, words of the famous English writer Aldous Huxley.

If only Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would acquaint himself with this quote.

For three years, between 2001 and 2004, in an effort to boost the economy after the 911 terrorist attacks, his predecessor at the Fed, Alan Greenspan, kept the Federal Funds Interest Rate under two percent.  As a result, cheap money and low introductory teaser rates fueled the largest housing boom in American history.  Then, like all fake boom phases, when interest rates rose it came to an end.  The necessary correction phase started and all the mal-investment of the boom phase was no longer sustainable under higher rates.  Foreclosures increased.  As housing prices fell back to earth, underwater mortgages and abandoned homes were everywhere.  Many still find themselves unemployed and destitute.

Now, instead of letting the market go through a much needed correction after the crisis began, new Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke pursued a policy bent on “stabilizing” the value of assets.  Since 2008, Bernanke’s Fed has kept the Federal Funds Interest Rate close to zero percent and it has increased its balance sheet by just under three trillion dollars by purchasing Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities from member banks.

Some economists believe Chairman Bernanke’s policies have created a housing recovery.  These economists believe this because they haven’t learned from history, especially recent history.

But, according to David Stockman, the former head of the Office of Management and Budget under Reagan, what Bernanke’s policies have created is simply another housing bubble.  He sees a similar combination of artificially low interest rates and speculation producing the current housing boom just like the boom during Greenspan’s tenure.

Nationally, the median price for existing single-family homes was $178,900 in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 10 percent over the same period in 2011.  This marked the greatest year-over-year price increase since the fourth quarter of 2005.

And there are local pockets of even greater price increases in real estate going on.  There is a farmland bubble taking place in the Midwest and Mountain states with non-irrigated cropland prices increasing on average by about 18 percent.  Southern California, Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., and New York City are all experiencing huge real estate booms with prices for pre-construction condos in Manhattan increasing on a bimonthly basis.

It is ridiculous to believe that what we are seeing is anything other than another housing bubble.  Unemployment and underemployment are still very high.  Many employed middle income buyers are still reeling from the last bust.  The huge price increases we are seeing is the work of speculators fueled by Bernanke’s easy money policies.

The bust will come when rates rise, the mal-investments of the boom become unsustainable at the higher rates, and the speculators liquidate their positions leaving small investors holding the bag.  It will be 2008 all over again for many, except this time it will be Ben Bernanke’s Housing Bubble.

Article first published as This Time it’s Bernanke’s Housing Bubble on Blogcritics.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina


Gap Between Rich and Poor Rooted in Government Policy

January 24, 2013

Anyone who proclaims the American economy is recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 is either lying or not paying attention.  The good people at the Economic Collapse Blog have aggregated 37 statistics that strongly indicate the economy continues to worsen under the financial leadership of President Obama and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.  In particular, the figures indicate that it is the lower economic classes which have been most severely devastated by four years of reckless federal spending, bailouts for the well-connected, and artificially low interest rates.

For instance, since 2008 15 million more Americans rely on food stamps.  According to the Census Bureau, 146 million of us, nearly half of the U.S. population, are poor or low-income.  The Civilian Employment/Population ratio, which is the broadest measure of employment in the country, is the lowest it has been since the early 1980s.  Median household income has retreated to its 1995 level.  Lastly, the economy is not producing jobs for U.S. college graduates as 53 percent of them under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.  Given that many graduated with huge college debt, what could the future hold for these folks?

But, don’t despair.  Some in our society are doing quite well because of the federal largess thrown their way.  Most of them just happen to be located around New York City and the District of Columbia.  You see, the U.S. stock and bond markets are at, or near all-time highs.  Real estate in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. has bounced back nicely and are both at all-time highs.  Even the Contemporary Art market in the Big Apple has seen sales skyrocket in spite of higher prices.

But, this is predictable given that New York and the nation’s capital is where the Wall Street/Washington Axis of Financial Evil is headquartered.  It is where that axis prints the new money and injects it into the economy through its well-connected surrogates – i.e the “too big to fails”.

And it is all done in the name of stabilizing prices so the rest of us don’t suffer so much.  How nice it is that the powers that be are looking out for us working folk!

Don’t be fooled for a moment.

The financial establishment in this country, which includes the Federal Reserve and its “too big to fail” cronies, knew exactly what it was doing.  Through monetizing federal debt, a series of quantitative easing schemes and holding interest rates below market prices the banking establishment has succeeded at stabilizing the cost of living above market levels.  Put another way, if left to its own devices with no monetary easing from the Fed, the market would have rid itself of all the mal-investment built up from the previous Fed induced false boom period (housing boom).

Consequently, housing prices would be lower, commodity prices would be lower; in fact general price inflation would be lower.  The cost of hiring new workers would be lower causing an employment recovery.  Savers would have gotten a decent return on their money.  In short, working class Americans would have seen an enhancement in their standard of living.

On the flip side, many rich folks would have been devastated.  Their stock and bond portfolios would have been decimated.  Many would have lost their jobs through bankruptcy and restructuring.  The value of their homes wouldn’t have been restored on the backs of working men and women.

This is what should have happened.  After all, they caused the crisis along with their accomplices in government.  Didn’t they deserve the consequences of their actions?  That is capitalism.  That is the American way.

Article first published as Gap Between Rich and Poor Rooted in Government Policy on Blogcritics.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Keynesians are Clueless

March 25, 2012

Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist, Nobel Prize winner, and Keynesian economist extraordinaire is about to have his new book released entitled, End this Depression Now.  In it, the Duke of Deficit Spending argues that a speedy, robust recovery from the Great Recession which started in 2008 is just a quick policy decision away.  If only our leaders can muster the “intellectual clarity and political will” needed to raise federal spending further, Americans will begin consuming again, businesses hiring, and the current depression will be over in a flash.  Once again Krugman is being true to his economic philosophy – namely that increasing aggregate demand through loose fiscal and monetary policy is a cure-all for what’s ailing the economy.  Let it be said that there is not a more consistent deflationist than Paul Krugman in all of the economic profession.

Now, why anybody would still listen to Krugman is a mystery to me.  After all, he entirely missed calling the financial crisis of 2008 while Austrian economists were spot on with their prognostications.  I suppose most laymen don’t know the difference and most economists and academics are as Milton Friedman proclaimed so long ago “All Keynesians now”.  Thus ignorance of and loyalty to a failed philosophy are powerful forces to make people do irrational things.

In the first place, Krugman shows his ignorance with the title of his book, End this Depression Now.  The statistics indicate that we are not currently in a depression.  Secondly, current numbers indicate that the deflationary spiral that Krugman has been predicting and fears the most is not happening.  On the contrary, while he continues to fret over falling prices leading to a double-dip recession, long-term trends point strongly toward oncoming double digit price inflation.

What it all boils down to is that Krugman and other Keynesian economists are about to miss the next economic crisis.  Austrians have been arguing all along that we can’t solve our economic problems by doing the same things that got us into the mess in the first place.  Deficit spending and a ridiculously loose monetary policy will not cleanse the market of all the mal-investments made during the preceding artificial boom (housing bubble).  It will only put us deeper into trouble.  What was needed was a drastic cut in government spending, a cut in taxes, and the setting of interest rates by the market not the monetary oligarchs at the Federal Reserve.

So because policy makers in Washington listened to Krugman and his ilk over the voices of reason, we are about to enter the next cycle of boom and bust.  It will consist of phony growth, rising prices, and rising interest rates which will ultimately pop the bubble and send the economy into another tailspin.  The proof is in current trends.

In spite of Krugman’s ill-timed book, we are not in the middle of a depression.  Consumer spending is way up.  In the fourth quarter of last year balances on credit cards rose 9.27 percent.  In February, retail sales in the U.S. improved in 11 of 13 industry categories and marked the biggest gain in five months according to Commerce Department figures.

Then there is job growth.  400,000 private sector jobs have been created just in the first two months of this year.  More workers mean more spenders and more spenders mean more jobs, right?

Oh, and let’s not forget how well the financial markets are doing.  The Dow is up 7 percent YTD, the S&P 500 is up 11 percent YTD, the Homebuilders Index is up 23 percent YTD, and the S&P Financials are up 21 percent YTD.  These are not numbers indicative of a depression.

But, all of this good news is coming at a cost, literally.  We are approaching the place this commentator wrote about on October 16, 2009.  Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee are going to have a big decision to make in the near future – raise rates and burst the Fed induced bubble or leave rates low and watch prices skyrocket.

Price inflation is already heating up.  It was only a matter of time before all the stimulus, low interest rates, and money printing kicked in to produce higher prices.  The money supply has increased by 14.6 percent year over year ending in February.  That makes 39 consecutive months of double digit year over year rates of monetary inflation.

The result has been higher gasoline and food prices.  College and healthcare costs continue to rise.  And the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® for the 4th straight month shows the number of industries experiencing higher raw material costs on the rise and the number of industries experiencing  lower raw material costs on the decline.  It will be just a matter of time before those higher raw material costs find their way into higher prices on the merchant’s shelf.

So while Krugman and other Keynesians clamor for more federal spending and easy money to produce a speedy, robust recovery from the Great Recession, they are missing that the next boom and bust cycle has already begun.  But, that’s okay because Austrians have been predicting it for some time.  In the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again”.

Article first published as Keynesians Are Clueless on Blogcritics.

Washington Should Follow Laissez-Faire

November 29, 2011

Things are really a mess economically in the United States and it isn’t really an exaggeration to say it is all Washington’s fault.  I mean through the easy money policies of the Federal Reserve and the legislative and monetary support of Congress and the previous administration many Americans who couldn’t otherwise afford to buy a house bought one.  This coupled with reckless lending policies on the part of primary lenders due to explicit and implicit government loan guarantees set the economy up for a massive failure.  Then, when their low teaser rates readjusted up and many could not afford their new higher payments the housing bubble burst.  And what was Washington’s response?  It was to provide trillions more in easy money and a policy of encouraging Americans to borrow and spend it to “stimulate” the economy.

Now that, that policy hasn’t worked we are facing a massive debt crisis, with real unemployment north of 16 percent and price inflation eating away at the standard of living in America.

If that is not bad enough, last week it was reported that bailout beneficiaries and mortgage guarantors Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae asked the federal government for more bailout funds.  Freddie asked for $6 billion more bringing that GSE’s total bailout figure to $72.2 billion.  Fannie asked for $7.8 billion more bringing its total Treasury draw to over $120 billion.

The main reason why Freddie and Fannie are still losing money and require more federal largess is because of the policies coming out of Washington.  Freddie reported $4.8 billion in derivative losses alone due to declining interest rates.  Fannie’s president and CEO, Michael Williams claims his firm’s woes are due to homeowners paying less interest on loans refinanced at historically low mortgage rates.  So while Washington brought on the original crisis that forced Freddie and Fannie into U.S. conservatorship, its response to that crisis has only made the financial conditions of those entities worse.

At the end of the day, Henry Hazlitt’s words from his famous book, Economics in One Lesson ring prophetic.

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

In both instances, Washington’s policies leading to the financial crisis of 2008 and its policies since have helped some groups ( i.e. bankers) and hurt others (Fannie and Freddie).  Since no mortal man can determine with precision how a given economic policy of government or a central bank will affect every group in a society it is best for government and central bankers to abstain from imposing their will on the economy.  Certainly we would be much better off now because our economy wouldn’t be in the mess that it is in.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Bernanke is Still Clueless

April 9, 2011

It has been a while since I criticized my favorite Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke.  I’ve been busy teaching school and Bernanke like always has been busy destroying the dollar and with it our economy and standard of living.  So, nothing new and out of the ordinary has happened to warrant a post about the 2nd term Fed chairman.  However, last Monday night he made big news when he said that our current price inflation is “transitory”, and based on supply and demand issues in energy and commodities.  He went on to say, “Our expectation at this point is that in the medium term inflation, if anything, will be a bit low.”

So why do I consider Bernanke’s remarks to be big news?  Because when predicting the future economic prospects of our country his prognostications have been less than stellar to say the least.  He never saw the housing bubble coming; he misjudged the seriousness of the problems in the auto industry; and was totally clueless about the potential for big bankruptcies on Wall Street.  What’s worse is that he was still spewing his pablum about how everything was okay on the eve of the financial crisis!  Thus, with his newest pronouncements on our current state of price inflation, why would anyone give his remarks any credence?

We can give Bernanke credit for one thing.  He didn’t deny prices for many things are rising.  Cotton is at its highest level in a decade.  Copper is at its highest price in forty years.  Corn, wheat, and soybeans are up.  Of course, all Americans are seeing steeper price levels at the pump as oil has risen above and remained over $100 a barrel.  But, for Bernanke to state that the situation is temporary is not credible.  To be sure, there are extenuating circumstances behind some of the cost increases.  Weather conditions in some parts of the world and Middle East unrest have had an effect somewhat on crop and oil supplies.  However, given the trillions of dollars Bernanke has injected into the stagnant economy through low interest rates, quantitative easing, and monetizing of the federal debt it’s no coincidence that these commodities which are priced in and bought with dollars are seeing price increases.

In fact, since about 2001 when George W. Bush and the Republican Congress began doubling the national debt, the Fed’s monetizing and low interest rates caused steady commodity price increases.  Prices dipped in 2008, due to the recession, but have accelerated upwards again beginning in about May of 2009.  Simply stated, the current inflation is a continuance of the long term trend begun before the financial crisis.  Given even lower interest rates, quantitative easing, and the monetizing of an even larger debt load since Obama took office, a reasonable observer would assume commodity price increases will not be temporary and will be even more significant.  But the Fed chair insists that in the long –run prices will stabilize at lower levels.

In October of 2009 this commentator wrote an article indicating that Ben Bernanke was between an overheated printing press and a hard place.  The gist of the piece was that Bernanke’s reckless monetary policies were placing him in a bind.  If he continued down the path of loose money there would be high inflation to pay.  If he reversed course and tightened the money supply the stock market bubble would burst and his benefactors on Wall Street would be harmed.  It seems that Helicopter Ben is at the point where he has to make that decision.  Taking his most recent comments into account, it seems he has made his decision.  As usual it is in the best interests of Wall Street.

Article first published as Bernanke is Still Clueless on Blogcritics.

Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina

Logic not Emotions Should Rule the Day

December 4, 2010

Washington is an emotional basket case right now.  Besides the looming partisan all out war that will come with divided government, in its lame-duck session, Congress is currently struggling with the heartrending issue of whether to extend unemployment payments for over 2 million Americans that have been on that dole for close to two years.  On the one hand is the difficulty of denying federal largess to people in a horrendous economy.  On the other hand is the need to rein in federal spending and stop disastrous policies that are making economic recovery impossible.  What is needed by Congress to make a good decision on this issue is logical thinking not the super charged emotional sound bites, diatribes, and appeals to our vulnerable human sensitivities

The problem with our current economy is that we just experienced the popping of the mother of all economic/financial bubbles and the reaction of our government to it has been to attempt to re-inflate it with stimulus spending, bailouts, and quantitative easing.  Common sense alone would indicate to any reasonable person that more of the spending and cheap credit that got us into this mess is not going to get us out of it.

Thus, since it was a housing bubble in particular, housing prices nationally have experienced deep drops in value.  You see, all the cheap cash and credit the Federal Reserve and Uncle Scam provided between 2001 and 2007 was mal-invested into too many homes at prices that too many borrowers could not normally afford.  When interest rates were raised by the Fed, and this always happens in boom and bust cycles, millions of Americans could no longer live beyond their means.  They defaulted on their mortgages.  A cavalcade of foreclosures transpired and home prices dropped.  At the beginning of the housing collapse, the federal government should have let the market liquidate the mal-investment and allow the artificially high housing prices to drop.  By now, the housing market would be recovered.  Instead, Washington attempted to “stabilize” the housing market by instituting programs to prop up unrealistic values and here we are over two years later with no signs of recovery in sight for the housing market.

The same is true of the labor market.  A person’s labor is bought on the open market just like houses, except payment is called wages instead of prices.  During the Fed induced boom, companies hired too many workers and wages rose too high.  The excessive hiring and wage hikes were based on the phony wealth that Fed policies were producing.  No one believed the spending binge of the American consumer, fueled by all that cheap credit and “equity” in their homes would ever end.  Well, it did end with the depletion of all that “equity”.  Workers got laid-off and millions began collecting unemployment.

Now, there is no question that we have been and are currently in a financial depression exactly like the one experienced in the 1930s.  Real unemployment rates of between 17 and 22 percent attest to that fact.  In the 1920s the Fed’s easy credit policies, primarily low interest rates and margin buying of equities, caused a huge stock market bubble.  When that bubble popped in 1929, loans were called in, and it became apparent that Americans were broke.  Instead of letting the market sort things out, both Hoover and Roosevelt spent lavishly and intervened on a scale never seen before in American history.  The result was more than a decade of economic depression.

Fast forward to the first decade of the 21st Century and it is déjà vu all over again.  Both Bush and Obama have attempted to “stimulate” the economy out of depression with lavish spending.  Once again the technique has failed.  There is no doubt that much of the money, specifically unemployment payments, has been a humane attempt to deal with the personal hardships of those who have lost jobs.  But, it can also be argued that sustaining unemployment benefits indefinitely has an even larger negative effect on recipients – the perpetuation of high unemployment rates.

As was mentioned earlier, during the phony Fed induced boom of 2001-2007 companies hired and wages rose too much.  In order for recovery to take place in the labor market, wages must come down in the same way that home values have come down in the housing market.  Unemployment benefits prevent that from happening because the government provides a floor for wages.  In other words, if a person is receiving $400 a week in unemployment benefits why would they accept a job that pays less?  They wouldn’t.  Thus, employers are faced with either raising wages – a proposition fraught with peril and one they can’t afford in this economy or not hiring at all.  Many are obviously choosing to not hire at all as is evident from the new unemployment figures released yesterday.

So, yes, it is hard to cut off those millions of Americans who have been collecting unemployment for close to two years now, but it is necessary to help those same people in the long run.  Essentially, unemployment payments set a minimum wage that most employers cannot meet right now.  If we clear away the emotional hyperbole and demagoguery of those that foolishly want to sustain unemployment benefits indefinitely we can begin to address high unemployment in America.  The Great Depression ended only after Washington cut spending in 1946.  This is a lesson we can ill afford to ignore.  Logic not emotions should rule the day.

Article first published as Logic Not Emotions Should Rule the Day on Blogcritics.

Deregulation did not Cause Financial Crisis, Welfare Did

September 18, 2010

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

Henry Hazlitt – Economist/Journalist (1894 – 1993)

If only Alan Greenspan, George Bush, and the rest of the economic imbeciles in Washington that gave us the Great Recession would have heeded the words of the great Henry Hazlitt, as a nation we would not have produced so much phony wealth which in turn has caused so much pain.  Leftist wholeheartedly support this view.  As a matter of fact, the current occupier of the Oval Office is fond of constantly reminding Americans that it was George Bush and his Republican Congress from 2001 to 2006 that implemented the policies that caused the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.  But, while Obama and the left are correct about who caused the crisis they are way off the mark about what the guilty parties actually did to bring it about.

Obama and his ilk claim the cause of our current troubles was the deregulation of the financial services industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Now, they have to be careful because the major deregulation legislation of this time frame was signed by one their own – President Bill Clinton.  I am of course referring to the law which repealed the Glass/ Steagall Act.  Enacted during the Great Depression, Glass/Steagall prohibited commercial banks from owning investment banks, and vice versa.  It was meant to safeguard commercial banks against failure by making it illegal for them to participate in investment bank practices like securities trading and stock and bond underwriting.

It does seem more than coincidental that the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression has taken place shortly after the repeal of Glass/Steagall.  And to the shallow statist mindset that is all that matters.  But Obama and the left are wrong; repeal of Glass/Steagall did not cause the current financial crisis.  In the first place, as Conn Carroll of the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, Glass/Steagall was “steadily weakened” from the 1970s on by the “complex new financial reality” of the times and by waivers from regulators that made mergers routine – the 1998 merger between Travelers and Citigroup essentially repealed the law once and for all.  Thus, the erosion of the law over 30 some years without any major financial crisis is an indication that the ultimate repeal of what was left of the law in 1999 did not cause the troubles of today.

Next, by looking at which institutions brought on the financial carnage one can conclude that Glass/Steagall’s repeal was inconsequential.  Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch all went belly up as investment banks without commercial bank divisions.  The granddaddy of them all, AIG is an insurance company with no commercial banking division.  Washington Mutual was a savings bank that went bankrupt because of the many sub-prime mortgage loans it made that went bad.  Lastly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not fall under the jurisdiction of Glass/Steagall and their bailouts are on target to hit $1 trillion at the rate home prices continue to fall.  So in reality Glass/Steagall would not have prevented any of these firms from causing so much trouble for the economy.  Further, it has been argued with a lot of validity that the repeal of Glass/Steagall has actually benefitted taxpayers in this crisis.  It has reduced their losses that would have been incurred by direct government bailout by allowing Bear Stearns to be purchased by JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch to be scooped up by Bank of America.  All things considered equal, the repeal of Glass/Steagall has been a blessing in disguise for our economy.

Lastly, it is ridiculous to believe that the repeal of Glass/Steagall would cause bankers and investors to become so reckless and irresponsible with their resources that they would risk their economic viability.  It just wouldn’t happen.  Knowing that they could lose everything, their robust salaries and benefits, personal wealth, good name of their companies, and their own professional reputations most CEOs take great care to honor the fiduciary responsibilities they are given.

But, some obviously do not.  As we have seen it was not on account of the repeal of Glass/Steagall.  Those that gambled with others’ money to get rich quick did it because of statist government policy not libertarian deregulation.

The simple fact is that the Great Recession was caused solely by irresponsible welfare policies of Washington.  These welfare policies specifically targeted homeowners and banks.  Undeterred by the bubble and ultimate crash he caused in the 1990s, Alan Greenspan kept interest rates too low for too long again in the early 2000s after 911.  At the same time, President Bush stated that he was about to “use the mighty muscle of the federal government” to make homeownership more available for more Americans.  He got Congress to spend up to $200 million a year to assist first-time homebuyers with down payments.  He pressured mortgage lenders to make sub-prime loans because “Corporate America has a responsibility to work to make America a compassionate place.”  Lastly, he caused immense moral hazard by getting Fannie and Freddie to guarantee all the junk loans being made, again to the tune of potentially $1trillion.

The banksters that closed the deals all along the financial food chain knew that if their get-rich quick scheme ever failed, Alan Greenspan and his Fed and the full financial resources of Uncle Sam would be there to catch their fall.  This precedent was set in the 1930s with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the savings and loan bailout of the 1980s, and as recently as 1998 when Greenspan’s Fed bailed out hedge fund Long-Term Capital management.  Sure enough, the banksters were correct as Greenspan’s protégé Ben Bernanke and treasury secretary Hank Paulson frightened Congress into appropriating over $800 billion toward the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

When Bush, Greenspan, and their legislative accomplices on the Hill launched this massive welfare program for banks and homebuyers after 911, they did not take into account the words of Henry Hazlitt.  They only considered the immediate effects for two groups in society.  Even years later, when Bernanke and Paulson informed the president of the enormous economic catastrophe that our country was about to face and they pressured him to sign off on government bailouts for their banking buddies, Bush was said to have remarked “How did we get here?”

We got here because of government intervention into the economy not deregulation.  Unfortunately we are going to stay here because Obama is doing exactly what Bush did before him – provide cheap money and encourage borrowing through government funding (tax credits for first time homebuyers) and guarantees.  Maybe that is why Obama and the left are so keen to blame deregulation for the crisis.  They use it as a smokescreen to hide the failures of the welfare state in the past and the failures we will experience in the future.

Article first published as Deregulation did not Cause the Financial Crisis, Welfare Did on Blogcritics.