An Assignment for Progressives
By Arnold Kling
First, read Peter Wallison’s op-ed.
Congress should assure that housing does not again make itself a ward of the government.
Then, write an essay that consists of something other than ad hominem attacks on Wallison. Instead, write an essay that explains why government-subsidized mortgages with low down payments are a great idea. Answer Wallison’s main point, which is that other countries where people seem to be well-housed do not rely on the GSE model.
If you want to criticize the banking models of other countries, that is fair game. If you want to discuss the property bubbles that occurred in some other countries, that is a good point. But in the end, come back to the question of how it is that lenient, subsidized mortgage credit is so darn good for our society that we simply must have it in some form.
What strikes me is the political pressure that builds up in support for government-subsidized mortgage securities–you bring together real estate agents, home builders, mortgage originators, and Wall Street to form a lobbying superpower. What I want to understand is how a progressive, who claims to be for the general interest and not for special interests, thinks that there is a diamond buried in this dung-heap of rent-seeking.