Vital Signs

Mortgages From Hell

A mortgage crisis still haunts the country like a credit collector calling you daily about your unpaid Visa bill.  It’s harder to get a mortgage than it has been in the memory of anyone living.  The banks “only accept the best credit now for a loan,” a mortgage broker told me.  She enjoyed the business at the height of the boom, making up to $20,000 on every “deal,” but has since gone into catering.

The mortgage crisis has laid bare the corruption of banking.  More Americans now are aware of the Keynesian debasement of the currency by Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke—and of Bernanke absurdly holding interest rates close to zero, discouraging the savings that are the foundation of any true prosperity.

Then there are the politicians.  Republicans promoted easy money to advance George W. Bush’s “ownership society,” believing that a mortgage led to upward mobility and guaranteed Republican votes.  Democrats pushed the same gimmicks as rewards to the poor and minorities.

The correction has just begun.  “There have been a lot of adjustable mortgages originated in 2005 and 2006 and early 2007 which are supposed to be refinanced in 2011 and early 2012,” Esmael Adibi told me.  He’s an economist at Chapman University and coauthor of their annual, and accurate, economic forecasts.  “These home­owners are upside...

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