Sunday, October 12, 2014

Along came Jordà, et al.

Clayton Kershaw didn't suffer this much at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals; Òscar Jordà, Alan Taylor, and Moritz Schularick put yet another whuppin' on the Housing Cause Denialists;
Nearly all of the increase in the size of the financial sectors in Western economies since 1913 stems from a boom in mortgage lending to households and has little to do with the financing of the business sector.
Particularly since the recoveries from WWII, 
... household mortgage debt has typically risen faster than asset values, resulting in record-high leverage ratios that potentially increase the fragility of household balance sheets and the financial system itself.
Bold by HSIB in the above, of course.
...our work takes a longer and wider view to show that the blowing up and bursting of private credit booms – centered on aggressive mortgage expansion – reflects deep processes at work across all of the advanced countries. This is a phenomenon that has built up persistently across the mid to late 20th century.
Which couldn't have happened, in the USA, without an aggressive government push to expand home ownership. But back to Jordà et al;
The crucial role of mortgage credit in financial fragility is significant for the design of new macro-prudential policies today. The results underline the need for better, more nuanced monitoring of the buildup of financial instability: it is not just a matter of how loose credit is in the aggregate, but also how it is being used.
Which pretty much is ignored by the Dodd-Frank legislation that has been sold as the answer to financial system instability by the likes of Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, Paul Krugman (and, of course, by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank).

That's the not very pretty picture provided by Jordà, et al. We invite any Housing Cause Denialists in the audience to take note of where the red line crosses the blue one in the 1990s. That's when the community organizer-housing activists got their wish; lower lending standards for home purchasers. The GSE Act of '92 (signed by George H.W. Bush), the HUD Best Practices Initiative under Bill Clinton and Henry Cisneros, and the Newt Gingrich-forced amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act in 1995.

Bi-partisan good intentions!

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