Politicians love to blame the financial crisis and by extension the recession on greedy bankers, but as the Wall Street Journal notes today many of them, like New York Attorney General and former Clinton Administration Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo have much to answer for:
With his fraud lawsuit last week against Bank of America, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has joined the long queue of politicians blaming bankers as the chief culprits in creating the financial panic and recession. We dealt with the merits of those BofA charges on Saturday, but that isn’t the end of this story. There’s also the not so small matter of Mr. Cuomo’s own role in promoting policies that fed the housing mania and set the stage for the meltdown.
Before he pursued statewide office in New York, Andrew Cuomo was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during Bill Clinton’s second term. And lest you think his tenure is forgotten, the HUD Web site has an instructive item in its Archives section.
Entitled, “Highlights of HUD Accomplishments 1997-1999,” the document chronicles the “accomplishments under the leadership of Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who took office in January 1997.”
HUD’s Web visitors learn that in 1999 “Secretary Cuomo established new Affordable Housing Goals requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government sponsored enterprises involved in housing finance—to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages in the next 10 years. This will mean new affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that the companies must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent—a 19 percent increase—in the year 2001.”
It’s a sign of Washington’s continuing failure to examine its own failures that HUD still views such a policy as an “accomplishment.” It’s as if the Pentagon described Pearl Harbor as a victory.
The Village Voice has much more on Mr. Cuomo’s actions at HUD here.
Bottom line the Federal Government and Federal Reserve are every bit as culpable as bankers are in creating this mess… Andrew Cuomo is just one of several prominent political figures who have to answer for his role his roll in creating the financial crisis. Unfortunately, I doubt Washington’s policy makers will ever admit to their culpability, it’s much easier to demonize and scapegoat Wall Street’s greedy bankers.
Peter Schweizer does a good job of laying out the anatomy of the crisis in Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy—and how they will do it again if no one stops them. If you haven’t read it, I’d suggest picking up a copy.