Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And the financial mess began...here....

From The Los Angeles Times:

Financial forces run amok
Without regulation, the invisible hand of the market is robbing us blind.
By Al Meyerhoff January 14, 2008

For about the last 30 years, our nation has been traveling the deregulation highway, a road with no rules or direction. We have let enterprise be free, business go unfettered, the good times roll. And roll they have, but to where? One stopping point: the current mortgage crisis.

Recently, however, there has been a slight regulatory bump in the road. After its chairman acknowledged that "market discipline has in some cases broken down," the Federal Reserve released new mortgage lending rules "to protect consumers against fraud [and] deception."

Banks making sub-prime loans will be required to actually consider the borrower's ability to pay and confirm a borrower's income before handing over the money. Now there's a radical notion. Disclosure also will be required of those nasty little (actually not so little) "bonuses" that brokers receive for writing loans at rates higher than a poor, unwitting consumer can afford.

To some, they may not be much, but the absence of such rules encouraged the predatory lending practices that have left millions of Americans facing foreclosure.Let's take a look at how we got here before the deregulation highway takes us over a cliff.


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