Monday, December 22, 2008

Even more Fannie and Freddie

At Cafe Hayek: Finally, someone noticed.

There are four factors that helped drive up the price of real estate in the United States and create the housing bubble: The GSEs (Fannie and Freddie), the Community Reinvestment Act, expansionary monetary policy starting in 2001, and the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act that for the first time let people avoid capital gains on home price appreciation without having to rollover the gains into a bigger house. All of these factors pushed up the demand for real estate. But by how much?
And this follow-up: Good tax policy.
You don't want to tax-advantage one investment over another or you induce a disproportionate flow of capital into that asset. That's the tragedy of the last ten years that's hidden. Tax policy and what came afterward caused trillions of dollars (not millions, not billions, but trillions) from China and here and elsewhere to go into building new and bigger houses rather than into more productive assets.
Thanks to The News Junkie at Maggie's Farm.

At, Peter Wallison on how government intervention in the housing market has led to the current problems. (About half an hour of a man talking. You could make popcorn.)

At PJ Media, Roger Kimball asks Who caused the global economic crisis? (Hint: it wasn’t George W. Bush). He does translate the French, at the end.

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