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Political Economy
Posted at 03:38 PM ET, 04/15/2011

Clearing up the confusion on housing policy

Let’s clear up the confusion.

At a housing policy conference Friday, housing advocates dumped on a federal proposal in which only homebuyers who put down 20 percent could get the best deal.

There was also a lot of talk about a Washington Post article in which the acting head of the Federal Housing Administration raised grave concerns about a 20 percent down payment and urged serious consideration of a 10 percent down payment option.

In remarks directed at Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden’s chief economist, Stella Adams of the National Fair Housing Training Academy said that federal regulators should make sure that the policies they promote do not interfere with the nation’s fair housing laws.

“If you did, you would not be doing [this proposal],” Adams told Bernstein.

Wait a minute, Bernstein shot back. Who does “you” refer to?

“Let us not get confused between the regulators and the administration,” said Bernstein, one of several members involved in the panel discussion.

Bernstein ticked off some of the regulators involved in crafting the deal – the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

All are independent agencies. The administration can’t tell them what to do.

Alas, the FHA, whose acting head was quoted in The Post article, is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development which is a part of the administration — and one of the parties involved in writing the proposal.

By  |  03:38 PM ET, 04/15/2011

 
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