And now we have the mortgage crisis, which has sent a shock wave through Wall Street and panicked world financial markets like no other since the stock market crash of 1929. But this is a problem created in Washington long ago. It originated with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), signed into law in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. The CRA was Carter's answer to a grassroots activist movement started in Chicago, and forced banks to make loans to low income, high risk customers. PhD economist and former Texas Senator Phil Gramm has called it: "a vast extortion scheme against the nation's banks."
ACORN aggressively sought to expand loans to low income groups using the CRA as a whip. Economist Stan Leibowitz wrote in the New York Post:
In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN began pushing charges of "redlining"-claims that banks discriminated against minorities in mortgage lending. In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned up that seemed to validate the original accusation.
In fact, minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications-but the overwhelming reason wasn't racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances.
ACORN showed its colors again in 1991, by taking over the House Banking Committee room for two days to protest efforts to scale back the CRA. Obama represented ACORN in the Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 1994 suit against redlining. Most significant of all, ACORN was the driving force behind a 1995 regulatory revision pushed through by the Clinton Administration that greatly expanded the CRA and laid the groundwork for the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac borne financial crisis we now confront. Barack Obama was the attorney representing ACORN in this effort. With this new authority, ACORN used its subsidiary, ACORN Housing, to promote subprime loans more aggressively.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It's sometimes difficult to unravel the many threads that link our President to a radical group that works to overthrow the economic system of this country. The American Spectator, in a relatively short post, manages that: