Monday, June 08, 2009

Our Housing Dreams

Dreams sure do die hard. Not only subconscious dreams--a la Freud--but dreams that define us as a culture.

Great orators--John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs--can move us, tapping our dreams.

So can great salesmen--be they of used cars or quack medicine.

I do not know how the mortgage industry--which in the past some could have called a usurious occupation--came to adopt "the American Dream". But, it's sure had a good run with it. And, in a feat of magic, we could not only now buy a house, but then could sell it back to ourselves through our 401k.

Both the Democrats' and the Republicans' critiques are right: it was deregulation and Fannie Mae--in a Brairite "third-way" compromise--which created this monster.

Much has been written on deregulation, the chart on the left--from a (now) ironically titled publication "Tracking the American Dream" (Census Bureau, April 1994)--sheds light on the government's role.

By next year, only the latter of the two is likely to remain.