The Community Reinvestment Act is back, as if 2008 never happened.
Do you remember that thing about how the banks wouldn’t lend to blacks and Hispanics because they were racists? And do you remember how they passed the Community Reinvestment Act so that banks were forced to reduce down payments practically to zero and lend to a lot of people they knew were bad credit risks? And do you remember how Wall Street bundled all these risky subprime mortgage and sold them to investors around the world so that when it became clear that those people weren’t going to be able to pay their mortgages banks everywhere were left holding the bag and all five of the Wall Street investment houses either went under or had to be bailed out by the federal government?
And do you remember how, when it was all over, liberals said it was actually the banks’ fault for “deceiving” all those people into thinking they could afford to buy homes and that the banks should be punished for it and some of those people be allowed to keep their homes anyway? And do you remember how all this cost the government close to a trillion dollars and put the whole economy in a hole that we really haven’t begun to dig ourselves out of yet?
Well, get ready because the whole thing is about to happen again.
Yes, believe it or not, the federal government is now starting another initiative to force banks to lend to low-credit-rated blacks and Hispanics — not just anybody but specifically blacks and Hispanics — and is threatening — and already imposing — huge punitive fines if they don’t. Moreover, this time they’re going even further. They’re going to take over the credit rating agencies and force them to change their standards to accommodate blacks and Hispanics so that nobody will have any idea who is a bad credit risk and who is not. In so many words, the government is about impose its will on the whole home-lending market and force another round of bad loans so that the banks are going to be looted once again so that even the federal government may not be able to bail them out this time.
The principle instrument this time is not the Justice Department, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as it was last time, but the brand-new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, designed by good old Elizabeth “Nobody-Ever-Made-It-On-Their-Own” Warren, which should really be called the Bureau for Bringing Down the Entire Economy.