Must-Read: One of the forms racism takes in America today is the belief that whenever anything goes wrong it must have given money away to poor, shiftless Black people. Today this song is being reprised by--who else?--Larry Kudlow and Steven Moore.

The very sharp Barry Ritholtz does the intellectual garbage cleanup:

Barry Ritholtz: [Lending to Poor People Didn't Cause the Financial Crisis]http://equitablegrowth.org/?p=27453): "Lawrence Kudlow and Stephen Moore have revived an idea... that really should have been put to rest long ago...

...They lay the blame for the credit crisis and Great Recession on the Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 law designed in part to prevent banks from engaging in a racially discriminatory lending practice known as redlining. The reality is, of course, that the CRA wasn’t a factor.... Here’s the heart of the Kudlow and Moore case:

The seeds of the mortgage meltdown were planted during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Under Clinton’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, Andrew Cuomo, Community Reinvestment Act regulators gave banks higher ratings for home loans made in ‘credit-deprived’ areas. Banks were effectively rewarded for throwing out sound underwriting standards and writing loans to those who were at high risk of defaulting. If banks didn’t comply with these rules, regulators reined in their ability to expand lending and deposits.

They then argue that this was part of a broader campaign to make loans to unqualified low-income folk, which in turn caused the crisis.... The CRA... simply says that if you open a branch office in a low income neighborhood and collect deposits there, you are obligated to do a certain amount of lending in that neighborhood. In other words, you can’t open a branch office in Harlem and use deposits from there to only fund loans in high-end Tribeca. A bank must make credit available on the same terms in both neighborhoods. In other words, a ‘red line’ can’t be drawn around Harlem....

Showing that the CRA wasn’t the cause of the financial crisis is rather easy. As Warren Buffett pal Charlie Munger says, ‘Invert, always invert.’ In this case, let’s assume Moore and Kudlow are correct.... What would that world have looked like?.... (a) Home sales and prices in urban, minority communities would have led the national home market higher, with gains in percentage terms surpassing national figures. (b) CRA mandated loans would have defaulted at higher rates. (c) Foreclosures in these distressed urban CRA neighborhoods should have far outpaced those in the suburbs. (d) Local lenders making these mortgages should have failed at much higher rates. (e) Portfolios of banks participating in the Troubled Asset Relief Program should have been filled with securities made up of toxic CRA loans. (f) Investors looking to profit should have been buying up properties financed with defaulted CRA loans. (g) And Congressional testimony of financial industry executives after the crisis should have spelled out how the CRA was a direct cause, with compelling evidence backing their claims.

Yet none of these things happened. And they should have, if the CRA was at fault.... If that isn’t enough to dismiss the claim, consider this: Where did mortgages, especially subprime mortgages, default in large numbers? It wasn’t Harlem, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit or any other poor, largely minority urban area covered by the CRA. No, the crisis was worst in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California. Indeed, the vast majority of the housing collapse took place in the suburbs and exurbs.... What's more, many of the lenders that made the subprime loans that contributed so much to the collapse were private non-bank lenders that weren’t covered by the CRA. Almost 400 of these went bankrupt soon after housing began to wobble. I have called the CRA blame meme ‘the big lie’--and with good reason. It’s an old trope, tinged with elements of dog-whistle politics, blaming low-income residents in the inner cities regardless of what the data show...

Let's see how much of the media picks up on this dog megaphone, and presents it to the public as trustworthy information intermediaries should...

<(http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-22/lending-to-poor-people-didn-t-cause-the-financial-crisis>

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