In one area, Obama is right. Home ownership.
On December 16, 2003, signed into law a bill passed by a Republican Congress called the American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003.
It was a liberal piece of crap which helped lead to the economic collapse of 2008.
President Bush said at the signing, "Our government is supporting homeownership because it is good for America, it is good for our families, it is good for our economy. One of the biggest hurdles to homeownership is getting money for a down payment. This administration has recognized that, and so today I'm honored to be here to sign a law that will help many low-income buyers to overcome that hurdle, and to achieve an important part of the American Dream."
At the time, I told myself, rut-roh. The federal government once again was going to enter the marketplace to fix things to suit whatever was popular. There is a reason banks require a down payment. People who are not disciplined enough to set aside a certain amount of money each month toward a down payment are not going to be disciplined enough to make that mortgage payment.
This legislation gave 40,000 lucky home buyers $200 million -- or $5,000 each -- to buy a home. Of course that money went to the mortgage company or bank. This was an annual dole out. It was the stake tied to the ugly kid to get the dog to like him.
Rules were changed on closing costs, as well as the paperwork to make it easier and easier to take out a mortgage.
"The rate of homeownership in America now stands a record high of 68.4 percent. Yet there is room for improvement. The rate of homeownership amongst minorities is below 50 percent. And that's not right, and this country needs to do something about it," Bush said.
Enter the Ninjas -- people with no income, no jobs, and no assets who nevertheless got mortgages thanks to Bush, the Republicans, and the federal government.
The result 13 years later was spelled out by the Washington Examiner:
Home ownership is at a 48-year low, driven in part by a shocking pattern of foreclosure that put 9.4 million out of their homes during the recent recession, according to a Harvard survey.
In its "State of the Nation's Housing 2016," Harvard said that "the U.S. homeownership rate has tumbled to its lowest level in nearly a half-century."
Figures from the St. Louis Fed showed a homeownership rate of 63.5 percent. The last time it was lower was in 1967.In summary, we were at a record high of 68.4 percent in 2003. After 13 years of federal aid, we hit a 48-year low of 63.5 percent.
Now there are many other
factors in that drop. The numbers coincide with the labor participation rate and instead of mortgage to buy a house, many middle-class people now take out mortgages for college.
But make no mistake, by making fundamental changes to the mortgage industry without fully understanding it -- undoubtedly at the behest of the industry -- Congress and the president helped reduce the number of Americans who own their own homes.
This American Nightmare is part of Bush's legacy and further proof that among the three great lies in life is "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Let that be a warning to Donald Ttump.