LAMBRO: Obama’s housing horrors

Dropping loan requirements risks second market crash

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Mr. Obama’s plan, with its waivers, caps and liberalized mortgage terms smacks of the very same problems that plunged the home mortgage industry and the financial sector into the mess it’s in now. And some economists are sounding the alarm bell.

“He proposes to let homeowners, still up to date on their mortgages, refinance no matter how much the value of their home has fallen below what they owe and without cumbersome underwriters checks - home appraisals, and rigorous credit and income checks,” writes University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

“That is a prescription for more failed loans and another crisis in mortgage finance down the road or huge losses for U.S. taxpayers that can only be accommodated by even bigger deficits and printing money,” Mr. Morici says.

The one good reform that came out of the subprime mortgage debacle was the reinstitution of prudent lending standards and rules, including credit and income checks, and protective down payment requirements.

“Now the president proposes to throw those out the window and let folks who may earn $80,000 a year and owe $200,000 on their home qualify for lower interest mortgages without checking if they have been using the ATM machine to pay their mortgages or otherwise running up credit card debt and auto loans,” Mr. Morici says.

Mr. Obama’s campaign-timed plan is another prescription for rewarding bad behavior, which is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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