Green Room

160! – We have 160 Federal Programs That Deal With Housing

posted at 8:58 am on September 22, 2012 by

Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) senior communications advisor and speechwriter, Amanda Carpenter, who was recently a columnist for The Washington Times, penned an interesting post on the senator’s page, the Pickpocket, concerning how many federal programs deal with housing.  A whopping 160 federal programs is “how many the Government Accountability Office tallied in a recent report that noted, ‘fiscal realities raise questions about the efficiency of multiple housing programs and activities across federal agencies with similar goals, products, and sometimes parallel delivery systems.”

The post, which Carpenter wrote on September 20, also reported that:

…HUD runs the majority of the programs, 91. The United States Department of Agriculture, which also administers farming aid and the nation’s food stamp program, offers 18 different types of housing assistance as well. The Internal Revenue Service has 14 programs. The Department of Treasury offers 8 programs; the Department of Veterans Affairs 7; the Department of Labor 2; Federal Home Loan Banks 3.

The rest of the activities are run through a number of organizations, such as the Department of Interior,  the Federal Reserve System, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, Farmer Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to name a few.

Here’s GAO’s complete inventory of programs, available in the “Table of Contents” on this page.

If President Obama had truly wanted to consolidate wasteful government programs, he sure had the chance. Especially when it comes to housing. He just never took it.

GAO recommended that the government begin taking action to consolidate programs at HUD, USDA, and Treasury, a goal completely compatible the Single Family Housing Task Force that the Obama Administration announced in February 2011.

Carpenter noted that this finding has amounted to little more than a press release.  However, it’s another episode in the annals of government inefficiency.  For a minute – I thought that this could be the foundation for a good movie, but I forgot that it’s already been made.

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160 federal housing programs, each uniquely designed that all fit together like the legs on a centipede. Remove one program and you’d find the federal government would no longer be able to screw uh…in a light bulb.

onomo on September 22, 2012 at 9:31 AM

“We have to reignite the housing economy here so home values will start going up again,” Romney said at a rally before more than 3,000 cheering supporters,

astonerii on September 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Oh, one of the things Romney wants to do to get this to happen is to relax the standards for banks to determine if a borrower is qualified.

yeah, housing bubble 2.0.

Hey, I own a house. Since I lost my job there, I would be better off being able to sell it for a nice profit if house prices go up… I would rather the government back off and let them rise/fall based on real market forces.

Romney, the supposed capitalist CEO, not so much. He thinks he knows what the value of houses should be, and by GOVERNMENT, he is going to make it happen.

astonerii on September 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Oh, one of the things Romney wants to do to get this to happen is to relax the standards for banks to determine if a borrower is qualified.

Not sure who told you that. It sure wasn’t Romney:

For two years, “mortgage bankers want to give mortgages but they don’t know whether they’re going to get in trouble because they don’t know what the definition of a qualified mortgage is,” Mr. Romney said. “So, we’ve had a hard time getting credit out to people who would want to buy a house. I will get credit flowing to people who are qualified so they can buy a home and we can start moving more homes and raise values.”

See the word “qualified” there? That kind of completely destroys whatever point you were trying to create out of thin air make. He’s not about changing the qualifications, just making them clear.

But hey, BOOOOOOOSH!!!11!!1

AJsDaddie on September 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

AJsDaddie on September 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

I do see it. It is a word. But then look what he is doing… Relaxing the rules for which banks use to determine qualified… I love how people like you fail to grasp the full and entire picture of something that is physically writing right in front of your eyes… You have the ability to read it, re read it, understand it and work on comprehension, and then you still fail to notice the reality.

Right now qualification is harder. I want to make it so that the qualification is lower. In both instances those getting loans are qualified, some just not as qualified as others. Just a matter of defining down what qualifies.

What he should say is. I will work to get government as far away from banks own internal decision making process in determining who is qualified. If you have hundreds of thousands of people making these decisions, a few might be bad, but most, in order to remain in business have to be good. Instead, today we have a select few making the decisions of who should be qualified, thus if the qualifications are too high, fewer loans get written, and if the qualification are too low, then too many bad loans are made, as happened in 2000 through 2008.

There is a big difference between what he said, and what conservative thought should dictate he say. This is what leads to bubbles!

astonerii on September 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Nothing in that statement says anything about lowering or relaxing qualifications.

Nothing.

Please find the sentence.

Please, please, please, please.

Of course you can’t because, like Obama’s economic recovery, it’s only in the minds of liberal kool-aid drinkers.

AJsDaddie on September 22, 2012 at 9:09 PM

AJsDaddie on September 22, 2012 at 9:09 PM
Since your a slow learner, I will break it down slowly for you. 10 words per minute or less. You should be able to keep up.

For two years, “mortgage bankers want to give mortgages but they don’t know whether they’re going to get in trouble because they don’t know what the definition of a qualified mortgage is,” Mr. Romney said.

They are making loans. I got one. The bankers know what a qualified mortgage borrower is. They will loan money out based on what they know to be true. Nothing really stops them from doing so. They are being stingy because many people looking to buy are not prime borrowers and any loans they make to those non prime borrowers they may end up having to keep in house and take on the whole risk of.

“So, we’ve had a hard time getting credit out to people who would want to buy a house. I will get credit flowing to people who are qualified so they can buy a home and we can start moving more homes and raise values.”

Now here is where it comes. He will get loans out to people who are qualified. Well, the banks are already doing this. What Romney is talking about is the circle jerk money laundering. He will lower the qualification of the loans that the government will back stop. So, like in the 2000s, the banks make loans, sell them to the government who makes them into Mortgage Backed Securities and the bank needs to make more loans with that money, so they go to the next lower quality borrower, and keep the money a flowing. Right now there is an open degree of what qualified might mean, so banks make sure that no matter what the government says, the loans are at least of high enough quality for them to keep in house, since they are not sure what the lower limit of qualified is. (I bet it depends on how much money you donate to Democrats). Romney is willing to make it a known certainty how LOW a quality is good enough to keep that circle jerk going. Thus, you will have government agents who are not responsible at the end of the day telling banks what a qualified borrower is. All good and capitalistic like. Crony capitalistic like.

This is the same set up that got us into the financial crisis to being with. Romney wants to run with it again.What could go wrong… Especially when you look at the future prognosis of the economy, Romney or not… We are likely to experience another large down turn next year, that is barring the Euro finally caving to its weakness, or China its or Japan its.

So, I dunno, should we be giving banks free circle jerk money laundering today? Romney says yes. I say, stick to the basics.

astonerii on September 22, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Now, if you really want Americans into homes. What you would be doing is getting house prices to their natural prices. One aspect of this would be opening up more forestry land to logging. Getting rid of many of the egregious diminishing returns regulations that artificially increase the price of the raw materials homes are made out of. Making it easier to mine minerals in the United States, more energy to allow smelting in the United States, including coal, instead of calling them people killers. Making the raw materials that go into building houses lower cost means lower house values. Local areas could cut some of their zoning restrictions that artificially increase the value of land near places where people work, meaning lower house values. But they do not want that. They want to reward home owners with ever increasing house prices that naturally would not exist, and then want to wonder why we have housing price shocks like the 2000s offered.

I would much rather live in a world where the price of building a house went down or at least remained the same, as long as I am building with the same quality as I did previously than one where artificial means are driving house prices ever higher and out of reach of our poorest citizens. You would think that our efficiency gains would make lower house prices possible.

Romney wants to drive house prices beyond those of the poor, and then have banks offer those poor loans to buy them. He wants to kick start the housing market. Prices are too low. If that were true, millionaires and billionaires would be buying them up with cash and getting rid of the whole housing glut.

But what happened was that in Bushes bull market, too many houses were built on inflated selling prices, and now we do not have enough people to fill them. Where do you think all the people that supposedly would be living in these houses are? under bridges and sleeping in cars and SUVs?

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 12:25 AM

“He will lower the qualification of the loans that the government will back stop.”

You’re. Making. This. Up.

AJsDaddie on September 23, 2012 at 1:53 AM

“But what happened was that in Bushes bull market…”

Cripes. You’re still blaming Booooosh, too, I see. Nothing about Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank and Angelo Mozilo. Nope, it’s all Bush.

Your rhetorical gruel grows mighty thin.

AJsDaddie on September 23, 2012 at 2:00 AM

“What you would be doing is getting house prices to their natural prices.”

And how far do you think house values need to fall to get to their “natural prices”? House prices right now are in line with where they would be had the bubble of the early 2000s never happened.

Get some graph paper. Plot the points. Draw the line. See the data. Take a nap.

AJsDaddie on September 23, 2012 at 2:12 AM

“But what happened was that in Bushes bull market…”

Cripes. You’re still blaming Booooosh, too, I see. Nothing about Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank and Angelo Mozilo. Nope, it’s all Bush.

Your rhetorical gruel grows mighty thin.

AJsDaddie on September 23, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Feel free to explain what caused the market bubble and crash then. Bush was president. It was his job to oversee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of the executive branch… Executing the laws enacted by congress. So, it happened against his actions? What? House prices just happened to more than double in 6 years on his watch? He just happened to be pushing no down loans? He just happened to be crowing about how awesome his home ownership numbers were? But none of it was his responsibility?

Poor baby, I know this is hard for you to understand, but santa claus does not exist. It REALLY was your mom and dad that were putting the presents under the tree.

It was the government interfering in the banking industry that led to the bubble and the crash. The government told banks how much risk everything was by telling them how much reserves they had to have based on the types of loans they had outstanding. Government bonds and Mortgage Backed Securities required the lowest amount of bank reserves, meaning they could leverage much further out. Instead of leveraging at 10x with loans to businesses or direct mortgages, they could leverage out to 50x with government bonds and mortgage backed securities. Since government was doing like they are today, keeping interest rates artificially low, this made government bonds less attractive than the mortgage backed securities. This stuff happened with Bush in power of these numbers. His men came up with them and sold them to the international community as good. hence the reason why we had crashes all around the world… Because not only did Bushes men from wall street change how banking worked here, they also negotiated how the world banking worked.

So, yeah, it is Bush’s fault. Sorry for the above mispelling of bushes… But your booosh is a childish method of moaning about things. It is how a pathetic loser who has nothing debates. Now, if you want to come back and argue how wrong I am. I am willing to read your argument, I would hope it would have some facts and figures. Things that can be evaluated, unlike childish boooosh.

By the way, Fannie and Freddie were every bit as much Bush’s fault as Barney and Maxine. See, he challenged them, and then quickly backed down. So he knew the market was being ridden. He knew a problem was brewing. he saw the crisis in advance. Instead of being a man and standing for saving the nation this crisis… he backed down and took the crown of home ownership as his own. I am convinced he planned to let his successor live with the consequences of the financial meltdown that was brewing and got back stabbed by his more loyal to Goldman Sacks appointment who chose to make sure he had the power to make Goldman Sacks whole before he left office and before the next president could replace him.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 2:20 AM

And how far do you think house values need to fall to get to their “natural prices”? House prices right now are in line with where they would be had the bubble of the early 2000s never happened.

Get some graph paper. Plot the points. Draw the line. See the data. Take a nap.

AJsDaddie on September 23, 2012 at 2:12 AM

You cannot know. Government has been manipulating them for over half a century. Like I said, cities do it by zoning laws that limit density and leave overly large green zones in many cases. Limiting building elevations to one or two stories and so forth. Environmental regulations increase the cost of natural resources used in construction. Local and state laws dictating what a house is prevents increased productivity gains, particularly the part where the house must be built right on the property it is located. Thus walls cannot be constructed in factories where temperature and humidity controls are in place, where machinery can ensure faster and higher quality assembly of components. Where efficiency of scale can bring costs down. The home mortgage interest deduction artificially raises the value of a home by reducing its real cost to the buyer. There are many things that dictate what the value of a home is. So, how would I know what the natural value of a home is? Well, you will never know so long as the artificial keeps the prices elevated beyond that number.

I do not have to come up with a number here. I just have to show you where the artificial value of a home comes from.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 2:30 AM

Well I think its safe to say under Obama’s second term, if you like your federal housing program, you’ll get to keep it. They’ve really already screwed our light bulbs.

onomo on September 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM

If the Republican candidate is going to be honest and responsible, then he must work to remove all laws, federal, state and local, that cause housing prices to be higher than they would naturally be, and he should make his own estimate as to how far home prices would drop under his plan, and he should put that in all of his campaign advertising so people will understand what he represents.

Otherwise he’s an irresponsible liar and no one should vote for him.

President Obama

fadetogray on September 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

fadetogray on September 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I think that is excessive… The president does not have control of local laws or state laws. I do not want him to. But he could explain it to people.

I know you meant sarcasm…

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM

So, how far should they reduce the number of programs? Don’t just tell me that number needs to go down, how far does it need to go down? My answer: to 0.

GWB on September 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM

So, how far should they reduce the number of programs? Don’t just tell me that number needs to go down, how far does it need to go down? My answer: to 0.

GWB on September 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM

3
Veterans
Public Employees who have to move from place to place to do their jobs.
The one where snitches are protected with new identities.

that pretty much covers where the federal government has any responsibility.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 4:41 PM

On the specific point, I would have to side against astonerii and point out that there is nothing there that says he intends to relax loan qualifications. That is an extrapolation he made based on his expectations and not on anything Romney has said, at least among what’s been presented to this point.

On the larger issue, I have to agree with him that government meddling in the housing market creates more problems than it solves, and the reason so many people were quick to heap all the blame on banks was so that it would draw attention away from what they did to incentivize (and likely, sometimes “recommend” as only the government can) that the banks put as many people in as many houses as possible.

However, in light of that, I’m a little curious about this passage:
“… he saw the crisis in advance. Instead of being a man and standing for saving the nation this crisis…”

In terms of locking down Freddie and Fannie, I might see that. But apart from action within existing federal programs that might restrict their movement within the market, “standing up and being a man” could largely be construed as language intended to provoke interventionist action by a president who apparently would need to demonstrate his masculinity to astonerii. Which is to say, to plan the housing market centrally through the use of his power. Which is to say, to socialize housing.

Which is why I hope the comment was intended to mean only that he act against federal programs on behalf of the people, and not to try and manage the situation personally.

The Schaef on September 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM

The Schaef on September 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Standing up as a man, as in not allowing the simple argument of “Meanie” be enough to stop you from completing an action which must be done. Which was to bring to light the danger that was evident at the time of a housing bubble.
He had the bully pulpit, and with it the ability and I say RESPONSIBILITY to persuade the nation with facts and evidence which as president he would have fully available to him.

As for the qualifications, I have reread his remarks repeatedly. It has to be taken that he will reduce the definition of qualified to meet his goals. But let us argue that he is not going to lower it. he still will be having the government have a few select people telling banks what qualified is. Once you lock all entities to these same limits, it is when you have problems. Either too little lending or too much. If banks were allowed to have their own ability to calculate risk and what risk they were willing to live with, then crisis would be avoided by the wide range of choices individual banks made.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 7:18 PM

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 4:41 PM

I will agree with your middle one, laugh then agree with the last one, and agree with reservations about the first.

(VA guaranteed loans were created mainly because of the fact that, at one time, military veterans had no housing history to show when they went for their loans, since they lived in government housing during their careers. However, that is much less the case now, as a large proportion of military personnel – above the very lowest ranks, and excluding the middle enlisted ranks of bachelors – live off base. Some base housing areas – not the dorms – have even been privatized, meaning the families living there get a housing allowance and pay rent. We need to re-examine a lot of our military ‘perks’ in light of current practices, rather than simply perpetuate them as if they were unionized teachers’ pensions. And, yes, been there, done that – I’m not saying this because I don’t understand the military or sympathize with the difficulties of military service.)

GWB on September 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM

GWB on September 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM

My only argument is that these are about the only people that the federal government has any direct responsibility over. Not that they need to even have these programs. But, at least you can get from nothing to something with a reason for them to exist at the federal level…

astonerii on September 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM

I would rather give free food without ANY card.I.D to the people who say they don’t have any food at the local farmer’s market, (EVEN PIE!), than continue ANY of these housing programs. No more corrupt housing programs. No more Government Affordable homes that cost a different amount than the normal people have to pay. No Section 8 housing vouchers unless they count as Income…because then…on paper…these people will be as rich as YOU.

Fleuries on September 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM

federal housing programs are where Obama cut his teeth in Chicago, learning how to transfer government money into his friend’s pockets. it is one of the largest wealth redistribution schemes that the feds have going…

burserker on September 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM