July 4, 2013

"The Vulnerability of Minority Homeowners in the Housing Boom and Bust"

Here's an important new academic paper on the minority mortgage meltdown that backs up many of my insights of 2008 about the role of George W. Bush's 2002-2004 push for increasing minority homeownership by removing regulatory impediments (such as down payment requirements):
The Vulnerability of Minority Homeowners in the Housing Boom and Bust 
Patrick Bayer, Duke University and NBER 
Fernando Ferreira, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and NBER 
Stephen L Ross, University of Connecticut 
Abstract 
This paper examines mortgage outcomes for a large, representative sample of individual home purchases and refinances linked to credit scores in seven major US markets in the recent housing boom and bust. Among those with similar credit scores, black and Hispanic homeowners had much higher rates of delinquency and default in the downturn. These differences are not readily explained by the likelihood of receiving a subprime loan or by differential exposure to local shocks in the housing and labor market and are especially pronounced for loans originated near the peak of the boom. Our findings suggest that those black and Hispanic homeowners drawn into the market near the peak were especially vulnerable to adverse economic shocks and raise serious concerns about homeownership as a mechanism for reducing racial disparities in wealth. 
1. Introduction 
Homeownership has long been viewed as an important mechanism for building wealth and, hence, the substantially lower ownership rates of minority households may be a serious impediment to reducing racial wealth disparities. 
Motivated by this perspective, a number of public policy programs have an explicit goal of encouraging homeownership and many politicians have embraced it as a means of upwards mobility. President George W. Bush famously said in a 2004 speech that “We're creating... an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property”. With this view in mind, the expansion of housing credit in the United States from late 1990s to mid-2000s was largely cheered and homeownership by households of all races and ethnicities reached record high rates in the mid- 2000s.
As the subsequent housing and economic crises developed, however, the risks of homeownership became increasingly obvious. Delinquency and foreclosure rates rose sharply, especially in minority and low-income neighborhoods, and many households not only lost substantial housing wealth but also faced the prospect of lower credit scores (higher borrowing costs) for years to come. A comparison of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures between 2005 and 2009 provides a particularly stark picture of the differential impact of the downturn by race. 
Figures 1 and 2 shows that while all homeowners had negligible 90-day delinquency and default rates in 2005 for our sample of seven major markets,

A rising tide lifts all boats
large racial differences had emerged by 2009. More than 1 in 10 black and Hispanic homeowners in our sample had a delinquent mortgage by 2009, compared to 1 in 25 for white households, and a similar pattern held for foreclosure rates. The differential impact of the downturn highlights a key concern with homeownership as a means for reducing racial wealth disparities. Namely, if the downside risks associated with owning a home are distributed unequally by race, increased rates of delinquency and default may ultimately exacerbate rather than diminish the racial wealth gap. 

There are huge differences in median or even 75th percentile wealth between whites versus blacks or Hispanics. Whites have been making more money for more generations, and they tend to spend proportionately less of their incomes on cars and fiestas. Since they tend to be related to other white people, they also are more likely to have a private safety net of family members who can help them out in a financial crisis so that they don't default.

But, lenders are not supposed to notice this. Fortunately, down payment requirements provided a race-neutral way to put your money where your mouth is. However, George W. Bush's war on down payment requirements in 2002-2004 as racist barriers to his Ownership Society neutered this.
In this paper, we examine mortgage outcomes by race during the last housing cycle in a diverse set of U.S. housing markets. The main goal of our analysis is to distinguish among a number of potential explanations for the higher rates of delinquency and default by minority homeowners in the housing market bust, with the ultimate aim of providing a better understanding of the benefits and risks associated with homeownership as a vehicle for building wealth. 
While researchers have documented the greater exposure of minority households to income and health shocks, much less is known about the differential impact of credit and financial shocks, especially in housing markets. The literature suggests that subprime lending has been an important factor in explaining rising foreclosure rates in low income and minority neighborhoods. Here we take a different approach by proposing an important explanation for high rates of negative credit market outcomes for minority homeowners during the crisis, i.e., the selection of high-risk households into the housing market close to the peak of the housing cycle. 
We explain this mechanism in the context of a simple model of credit markets in which borrowers are heterogeneous in both their risk of having adverse economic events and in their ability to manage adverse events should they occur. We show that an expansion in credit availability selects borrowers into the market that face a higher risk of adverse events, leading to an increase in default rates among borrowers unable to manage adverse events in any subsequent market downturn. To the extent that wealth and liquidity gaps leave minority households especially vulnerable to negative economic shocks, our model implies that those minority households drawn into homeownership following a major expansion of credit are especially likely to default in a subsequent downturn.
Our empirical results show that black and Hispanic households are more likely to become delinquent and default on their mortgages than white households with similar credit scores, house type, neighborhood, and loan characteristics, especially for mortgages originated for new home purchases in 2005-06. 
One prominent, potential explanation for higher delinquency and foreclosure rates is that minority borrowers were concentrated in the subprime sector of the market, where they faced higher interest rates and more onerous loan terms than white borrowers with equivalent credit history and circumstances. Since 2004, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data has contained an indicator for high cost (or rate-spread) loans that is often considered a proxy for subprime loans. Yet, while having a high-cost loan is a strong predictor of subsequent delinquency and default, controlling for this variable has only a minor impact on the estimated racial and ethnic differences in future credit market outcomes. These differences in delinquency and default are also relatively unaffected by the inclusion of lender and neighborhood fixed effects, and additional controls for the influence of subprime lending. Thus, strikingly, most of the observed differences in credit market outcomes for minority homeowners are not related to differential access to lenders, types of loans, or any observable factor that might have been used to price the mortgages in the first place.

In other words, stereotypical racial/ethnic  prejudices turned out to offer incremental insight, especially in the 2005-2006 environment of very, very low down payments.
We next consider whether racial and ethnic differences in loan performance might be attributable to differential exposure to the housing market collapse and associated recession. To capture shocks associated with both the labor and housing market, we include a series of controls that measure variation in the severity of the crisis: (i) tract and county by year fixed effects, (ii) individual indicators of a household’s equity position in each year, (iii) the interaction of equity position and county by year unemployment rates, and (iv) race-specific measures of unemployment rates by county and year. The addition of these controls has little impact on estimated differences between Hispanic and white homeowners in either the new purchase or refinance sample. And, while the inclusion of these controls does reduce the estimated differences in delinquencies and foreclosures between black and white homeowners to some extent, substantial differences remain, especially in the home purchase sample. Thus, while increased exposure to labor and housing market shocks explains some of the increased delinquency and default rate for minority homeowners, a substantial unexplained gap remains.

A big question is how much did the recession cause mortgage troubles versus how much did mortgage troubles cause the recession. More specifically, mortgage troubles in 2007-2008 in Sand States like California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida did more to cause the national recession of 2008-2009 than vice-versa, according to the laws of time and space.
As a final test of the predictions of our mortgage market model following a major expansion of credit, we examine whether the timing of the selection into the housing market has an effect over and above the other mechanisms proposed in the literature. We find that racial and ethnic differences are largest for home purchase originations in 2006, the peak of the housing boom according to the Case-Shiller price index.

Peak = scraping bottom of the barrel.
Importantly, the larger differences in 2006 remain even after controlling for the subsequent higher rates of negative equity for borrowers who purchased near the peak of the housing market. Along similar lines, we also examine racial and ethnic differences for a subsample of refinance mortgages that were originally purchased between 1998 and 2008 and subsequently refinanced in our sample period. For this subsample, racial and ethnic differences in foreclosure are tiny for homes that were originally purchased from 1998 to 2003, but substantial for homeowners who originally purchased their homes between 2004 and 2007 – i.e., those drawn into the market at the peak of the credit expansion. 
Taken together, our results provide strong evidence that minority households drawn into homeownership late in the recent housing market boom were especially vulnerable in the subsequent downturn in ways that are not explained by (i) exposure to different lenders or loans, (ii) the performance of local labor and housing markets, and (iii) the differences in equity position. These results call into question the idea of encouraging homeownership as a general mechanism for reducing racial disparities in wealth. To the extent that increases in homeownership are driven by the entry of especially vulnerable households into the owner- occupied market, such a push may backfire, leaving vulnerable households in a difficult financial situation and adversely affecting their wealth and credit-worthiness for years.

This is enough of a direct shot across the bow of the entire race-mortgage sub-industry of activists and wheeler-dealer lenders and developers that Mr. and Mrs. Sandler's Center for Responsible Lending issued a denunciatory response here. Up until 2007, a lot of rich people and powerful politicians earned a lot of money and/or votes by fighting racism by inducing  blacks and, increasingly, Hispanics into debt peonage.

Not surprisingly, despite the mounting number of academic studies demonstrating this, it hasn't been a popular topic in the media.

52 comments:

candid_observer said...

I love the summary of the "denunciation" by the Center for Responsible Lending:

"In summary, there are several fundamental flaws with the analysis, including misspecification and omitted - variable bias. These flaws are significant enough to call into question all of the model results found by the authors. However, even if
their analysis were constructed correctly and minority borrowers were found to default at higher rates, there mere existence of disparate default rates would be entirely insufficient to question the value of homeownership, particularly given the rich literature on the financial and nonfinancial advantages of owning a home."

In other words, yeah, the flaws we found are probably nothing, but nobody should pay attention to its conclusions anyway, because they don't give minorities what they want.

Ichabod Crane said...

Can somebody sum up the "methodological flaws" described in the response from Center for Responsible Lending? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure, gentrification favors Fanny Gay to Freddie Black.

John Charity Spring said...

George W Bush's finest hour:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqQx7sjoS8

How many people watched this video to understand why the housing crisis occurred??????

Jack Hanson said...

Man, when did it become standard to fill your "rebuttal" with wikipedia style weasel words ("perhaps" "maybe" "some say") and have a glaring OTHER PEOPLE TOTALLY WRONG AND RACIST AND STUFF headline?

John Charity Spring said...

It is a bizarre state of affairs when a British publication presents an accurate summary of the causes of the housing crisis:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/2189196/clinton-democrats-are-to-blame-for-the-credit-crunch/

I don't recollect seeing this kind of analysis in any mainstream American publication (the Spectator in Britain is upmarket and very respectable).

pat said...

In addition to all its other virtues the free market is a check on human vanity.

We want black people to be creditworthy so we just anoint them with creditworthiness by fiat. We want blacks to be successful so we just vote them into high office.

The Soviets wanted the 'New Soviet Man' so they just all agreed that Lysenko was a genius.

There are many unwelcome facts in this life but ignoring them only gets you into more trouble and usually sooner than later.

We instituted entitlements so that we needn't confront human inequality. Now we find that we have to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment and raze Detroit.

Albertosaurus

Jonathan Silber said...

"...whites tend to be related to other whites..."

And you can study under Deep Thinker
professors who come up with insights like this, for as little as $40K a year.

Anonymous said...

A big question is how much did the recession cause mortgage troubles versus how much did mortgage troubles cause the recession. More specifically, mortgage troubles in 2007-2008 in Sand States like California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida did more to cause the national recession of 2008-2009 than vice-versa, according to the laws of time and space.

So if minority borrowers had continued to pay their mortgages, the US, Europe and much of the rest of the world would not have gone through the fiscal crisis that we are still mired in.

Jonathan Silber said...

"Closing the Wealth Gap" plus "The Ownership Society" equals "Buy a house you can't afford: you'll be as rich as Whitey."

All hail the Cognitive Elites!

Anonymous said...

Once again, an academic paper that acts like Asians don't exist. Asians may only be 6% of the US population, but they are far more than 6% of homeowners/buyers. It really is infuriating and dishonest to keep ignoring Asians. I know, I know, Asians tend to be that divining rod in racial analysis that by way of comparison show both the relative strengths and weaknesses of whites as compared to other groups. From the geographically limited analyses I have seen, Asians have slightly worse default rates than whites despite having slightly higher earnings and wealth than whites on average.

Anonymous said...

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/07/vassar-sex-single-girl-ivy-league-mary-mccarthy

MADWOMEN.

Anonymous said...



http://www.responsiblelending.org/mortgage-lending/research-analysis/foreclosures-by-race-and-ethnicity.pdf

The paper from the same Responsible lending outfit basically tells the same story. So why are their knickers in a twist? And why do they barely mention what is going on with Asians as opposed to other minorities?

One really lame statement that doesn't really make sense given the tiny difference between Asians and whites:

"American Indian (16.5%), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders (18.6%), and Asian borrowers (15.7%) all also show an increased likelihood of being at-risk."

Seriously, by their own account with white's disparity ratio at 1.00 since all other groups are compared to whites, Asian disparity ratio is negligible at 1.02.

Also, why is everything always compared to whites instead of all groups compared to all the others? Where is the white vs. Asian comparison in all of this?

Anonymous said...

"As shown in Table D on the next page, even within income categories, the estimated share of completed foreclosures affecting African Americans and Latinos is disproportionate compared to their share of originations.25 For example, though African-American and Latino borrowers received 25.8% of all loans to low-income borrowers, we estimate that they were affected by 32.9% of completed foreclosures for this group."

can you say weasely words?

"they were affected by 32.9% of completed foreclosures for this group."

more accurately

they defaulted on their loans accounting for 32.9% of completed foreclosures for this group."

Got that?

They defaulted on their loans.

The dumb suckers who held the note when they defaulted on their loans are the ones who "were affected by 32.9% of completed foreclosures for this group."

Causing a situation and being affected by it are totally different. Cause ≠ effect. Weasely writers.

Anonymous said...

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9955.html

My name is Gubbler the Defender of Reformed Chechenistics, what is yours? said...

Because of the 'white guilt' narrative, whites feel as the moral inferiors of blacks, and so, the greatest thing a white person can do is to be loved by Negroes. Since American blacks hate conservatives, look at this clown in Africa playing the 'white man loved by blacks'. It won't be long before the Bush family marries some African and argues that what America needs is 50 million African immigrants.

Liberals have moved on from Negroes(who can be taken for granted by the Dem party) to homos. Conservatives are still struggling to win some of that magical black love. Looks like they done found some in Africa.

David said...

>existence of disparate default rates would be entirely insufficient to question the value of homeownership<

Straw man. No one is questioning the value of homeownership per se.

But homeownership is a contingent good. It isn't an absolute good, i.e. good no matter what the circumstances are. For example, if I'm a bank president and I steal all my depositors' money in order to give home loans to insolvent arsonists, would the resulting homeownership be "good"? No, it could reasonably be called into question as to its value, both moral and social.

Or take another example. I'm the govt and I raise the personal tax rate to 90%. I use the resulting loot (ignore Laffer for the nonce) to shower radical Muslim terrorists with free houses in every neighborhood in the country, including your neighborhood. If you object to any part of this, are you "questioning the value of homeownership"?

The Center for Responsible Lending is hypocritical. Because it holds homeownership as an absolute good, it appears to be not more than an irresponsible vested-interest group.

David said...

>So if minority borrowers had continued to pay their mortgages, the US, Europe and much of the rest of the world would not have gone through the fiscal crisis that we are still mired in.<

No. If lending standards were tighter such that most of those borrowers had been denied in the first place, and this was the accepted, normal state of affairs, the fiscal crisis would have been less likely or less severe. But diversity-mongering, lax regulation, and a corrupted govt resulted in people's having mortgages they couldn't pay. If a woman's retirement strategy is to bet on old nags at the track, and she loses it all, then yes, you could say the old nags let her down, but you should go deeper and question her curious devotion to betting on old nags in the first place. That's what Steve is doing: questioning why the financial solvency of the Western world wound up depending largely on whether NAMs would make their mortgage payments in a punctilious manner.

Anonymous said...

While Bush's "war on downpayments" made the problem worse, during the entire housing bubble private lending, with no government guarantees and minimal regulation, was eagerly financed by "dumb money" investors. The giant german banks, overflowing with cash from the very high German savings rate in the 2000's, were the biggest example. Interest rates were extremely low because of the glut of savings and lack of good investment opportunities there, so these banks "yield chased" and financed much of the housing bubble with no US government guarantee. The Germans were the biggest suckers, but other foreign banks did the same, in particular Swiss, French, Dutch, Austrian, Chinese, and Japanese.

In fact, the federal loan programs standards, while gradually weakened over time, were still fairly conservative during the bubble. For this reason, the Fannie/Freddie share of the mortgage market shrank to a smaller and smaller percentage each year. They required either a 20% downpayment or costly mortgage insurance, while the dumb-money financed "private label" mortgages would happily give a gardener a 0-down interest-only loan.

Fannie/Freddie still went bust and cost the US Gov a fair amount of money, but they've actually paid a great deal of that back, and it appears they will soon pay all of it back. They are now extremely profitable as default rates are way down, the value of the their foreclosed properties is much higher, and a lot of loans they marked down as probable defaults are now well above water.

Fannie/Freddie are also making bank right now because the foreign "dumb money" stayed dumb. While Fannie/Freddie had a very small market share when property values were inflated and all loans were risky in 2005-2008, by 2009-2011 their market shares were at all-time highs. These loans turned out to be brilliant. Loans from the 2009-2011 period have default rates near 0 because property prices are up so much from the bottom.

Anonymous said...

The Center for Responsible Lending may be on the wrong side of this one issue, but they are also the only group really standing up to the various sleazy practices banks use the rip off the working poor, such as payday lending and the new growing practice where banks get low-wage employers like a McDonalds franchise to pay all of their employees with pre-paid debit cards that have gigantic fees.

My name is Gubbler the Defender of Reformed Chechenistics, what is yours? said...

An alternative Civil War scenario.

What if Northeast part of Israel decided that the occupation and oppression of Palestinians are shameful and must come to an end, and suppose Southwest part of Israel begs to differ and believes that Palestinians must forever be treated as second-rate folks undeserving of human rights.

Suppose Northeast Israel says enough is enough, and so, Southwest part of Israel decides to secede from Israel and continue with the occupation/oppression of Palestinians. Suppose Northeast Israel wages war on Southwest Israel to preserve the Jewish union and to free the Palestinians.

How likely are modern Jews to slaughter one another over Palestinians?

Anonymous said...

http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/riot-like-an-egyptian-cairo-coup-explained/

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer has previously remarked that many to most of the agents pushing impossible mortgages onto minorities were minorities themselves. Such as a black feeling more comfortable dealing with a black mortgage maker in something he barely understands (abysmal math skills) but has been lead to believe he can make some tens of thousands of quick dollars on. Or the mother with five kids and no father for them can finally buy a piece of the America dream as pushed by the Democrats, that she rightfully deserves. Same situation with Hispanics, it is called an affinity scam

Anonymous said...

@Jonathan Silber

And you can study under Deep Thinker professors who come up with insights like this, for as little as $40K a year.

You're new around here, apparently. Steve is well known for his dry witticism.

Anonymous said...

For those who don't know, Herbert and Marion MacSandler are the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who sold $25.5 Billion in Sand State Liar Loans to 125-year-old Wachovia Bank, which caused Wachovia to collapse into bankruptcy, and thereby allowed Wells Fargo to gain a massive beachhead in the Southeast USA.

I actually have a bootleg copy of the now-contraband Saturday Night Live "People Who Should Be Shot" skit about the MacSandlers.


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However, even if their analysis were constructed correctly and minority borrowers were found to default at higher rates, there mere existence of disparate default rates would be entirely insufficient to question the value of homeownership, particularly given the rich literature on the financial and nonfinancial advantages of owning a home.

I'm pretty sure that Debbie MacGruenstein Bocian meant to type "the", rather than "there", but, if not, then it should be spelled "their".

Beyond that, though, I doubt that a Presbyterian missionary like Mrs MacGruenstein Bocian would care to admit the possibility that the financial advantages of owning a home actually accrue from various quaint, old-fashioned, paleo-chic non-financial characteristics, like sobriety, industry, parsimony, and overall self-control.


***************
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Speaking of which, although I kinda doubt that its Scots-Irish authors are aware of the relevance:

Study: People With a Lot of Self-Control Are Happier
Improbably enough, people who are better able to resist impulses report being more satisfied with their lives.
Lindsay Abrams
Jul 1 2013, 8:50 AM ET
theatlantic.com

On the other hand, The Atlantic is also the outfit which published the Memphis Section 8 Crime Story, so maybe they're nurturing a gang of deeply-closeted crypto-HBD-ists who know how to speak in code?

AGoyAndHisBlog said...

Eh... let's not forget when this whole "affirmative action" lending practice started.

It didn't start with GWB. He was just one of the fools who continued the practice.

Anonymous said...

How many more fiat-shekels can Uncle Ben pull out of his e-Baytl?

Some big cities at risk of another housing bubble: Shiller
By Tim Reid
Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:35pm EDT
reuters.com

(Reuters) - Dramatic home price gains in some of America's largest cities point to a potentially new housing bubble in those areas, according to Robert Shiller, who helped create a closely watched gauge of U.S. housing prices.

Shiller said big price gains in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Phoenix, fueled in part by a large influx of outside investor money, are a possible sign of trouble ahead.

"There is a risk of bubbles in these cities," Shiller, a co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, told Reuters on Wednesday. "House prices increases have been dramatic. It looks like the beginning of the last bubble"...

Camlost said...

OT: more "teens" at it again:

http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/23037003/article-Mableton-teens-linked-to-gang-are-accused-in-beating-death?instance=special%20_coverage_right_column

When will America finally step up and acknowledge the need to better mentor "our" youth? This will require a 20-point program and a massive shift in how "we" raise our children.

d said...

Right after the crash, in 2009, Saturday Night Live actually did a skit about people who couldn't afford to buy homes. Of course it showed both black and white representatives of Idiocracy style fecklessness but was otherwise funny and true.

Something must have happened because the clamps came down and it's been all PC all the time at SNL.

Anonymous said...

Well, those states had bad laws and Texas actually was more regulated than Calif on loans, it made it harder to get an arm loan as much or how much on an arm loan. Personality, I think in some markets like California, the Asians particulary the Chinese had a factor. There were crashes in South Orange County and whites there were buying houses at higher costs than they could afford. The Asians were pricing things up in the Irvine market which grew like a weed during the housing bubble years.

Eric Rasmusen said...

I haven't read the study, but it should also try to untangle the Region effect from the Race effect. To do this, see if conditioning on state the minority borrowers defaulted more. Now that I write this, it sounds obvious enough that they probably did it.

A deeper question is whether Race caused the Region effect, if there was a Region effect separate from the Race effect. That is: were lenders in Nevada more lenient with all borrowers because there were a lot of Hispanics in Nevada and this caused the regulators to go easy on Nevada lenders?

sam elliott said...

It was Karl Rove's idea, right? Give 'em houses and they'll vote for us?

Anonymous said...

Steve, a slightly unrelated comment, but I propose you look over your comment section.

Most people try to contribute, but you have a weird toleration for obvious trolls. Perhaps a byproduct by not growing up during the internet era? I'm thinking of 'Truth'.

Look at his past 10 or so comments. It's either petty insults on a six grader's level or it is transparent trolling/baiting like comparing Chicano studies to Heidegger, defending the intelligence of black prison inmates, insisting that Lil Wayne is superior to Judy Garland as an artist.

The common pattern is clear: anything ghetto black is better than anything civilized. This man is obvious trolling/baiting(the only other option is that he's a black troller who's enraged but he comes across as a white cuckold/troll).

There are a few others on similar paths, like Whiskey, although on a far milder scale.

I typically comment under anon, as I do now and rarely if ever venture outside the topic, but this is one of those moments.
I'm just suggesting; kill the trolls. They contribute nothing to the comment section, which can be quite good sometimes.

Also, I was slightly disgusted at how you just let Truth insult you and let it slip without any real opposition, even agreeing half-heartedly with his "you're low IQ, Steve" remark, even if he himself has shown no brains at all. What's up with that weird masochism and tolerance of trolls, Steve?.
Depressing to watch such a smart, dedicated man degrade himself like you allowed yourself to be.

That's all, for now.

Anonymous said...

A book for Snowden?

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/06/john-le-carre-real-men-england/?pagination=false

"In the official morality of states, treason and patriotism are poles apart, as starkly opposed as love and hate, right and wrong. David Cornwell, writing as John le Carré, has spent more than half a century blurring that sharp opposition, making it unstable and obscure. And now, at the age of eighty-one and in his twenty-third novel, he has finally brought the poles together. In A Delicate Truth, treason is not merely compatible with patriotism. In order to be a patriot, the novel suggests, it is necessary to betray the state.
A Delicate Truth is simpler than almost any other le Carré novel because he is no longer in the swamp of moral ambiguities. He has crossed all the way over to the far side and stands, perhaps for the first time, on firm ground. There is no longer a dark and difficult game to be played. The three central figures of the book are all genuinely, almost sentimentally, patriotically British. And for each of them, that sentiment creates an unambiguous imperative: he must betray the secrets of the British state. In much of le Carré’s previous work, treason arises from personal complexities and emotional entanglements. Here it is the inevitable consequence of true patriotism. His old traitors betray the state because they are, by nature, deceitful. These new ones betray it because they are, by nature, honest."

Anonymous said...

Art galleries will attract more people by playing music.

Modern art room with modern music.

Romantic art room with romanticist music.

Pop art room with pop music.

Anonymous said...

vulnerability = culpability?

dsgtd_plyr said...

I have some sympathy for GWB. Because, I think, he was pursuing an Affordable Family Formation policy. He was just a screw-up, so he didn't understand why down-payments were as big as they were.

Alfa 158 said...

Ichabod: near as I can tell from a cursory reading of their summary, the methodological complaints are as follows:, they didn't control for how bad the loans were between ethnic groups. Minorities get riskier loans because otherwise they can't qualify at all, so they have a higher default rate. They think that the study should have controlled for that and only compared the default rates between those whites and non-whites who had equally crappy loans. I think that they are saying that the authors failed to prove that white people are taller on average than non-whites because they didn't prove that white people who are six feet tall are taller than non-white people who are six feet tall.

Anonymous said...

http://on.cnn.com/14XMmhu

But won't homos and trans be upset? I'll bet they wanna play with pink legos.

What a funny world we live in. We are told that we shouldn't think in terms of 'man' and 'woman' and see both as the same or interchangeable...

BUT
we are told that homos and trans should have the right to be very feminine in dress and manner.

So, 'gender differences' are bogus and don't matter... except when it comes to homos and trans who insist they are 'women' and lesbians who insist that they are 'men'.

What?

So, no pink legos for girls but pink legos for homos and trans.

Jack Hanson said...

Someone mentioned Phoenix, which is indeed in the middle of a housing bubble as cash buyers are attempting to get into the rental market. However, this is having the effect of driving down the cost of rent. as house prices rise, rental prices fall.

I haven't seen many commenters mention how this affects other buyers as well. I'm in the middle of homebuying, and have seen repeatedly how sellers are pointing at the Phoenix market fifty miles away to justify their prices that don't match up with appraisal. so its a double whammy - you can't afford the houses that are appraising because of cash buyers, and you can't afford houses outside of the bubble because of idiot sellers imagining someone can come up with 30K at the drop of the hat to make up the appraisal spread.

ben tillman said...

Well, those states had bad laws and Texas actually was more regulated than Calif on loans, it made it harder to get an arm loan as much or how much on an arm loan.

It wasn't about ARM's. It was the fact that home equity loans weren't even legal before 1997, and you still can't take out a home equity loan where the LTV is higher than 80%. And the supply of new housing is not restricted as in CA.

Anonymous said...

Every time I think of GWB and the "mortgage crisis" I think of Howie Carr's oft repeated adage, "Everything is a deal. No deal is too small. Nothing gets done without a deal."

Did GWB need to "get onboard" (i.e., make a deal to join) with the "everyone deserves a house" hysteria in order to get funding for the Iraq War?

In anticipation of any criticism of the reasons for starting the war: I'll bet you didn't attend parochial school. I did and every time the nun left the classroom, our version of Saddam got punished when she returned. Capiche?

Anonymous said...

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jul/11/searchers-implacable-texas/

Excellent piece on SEARCHERS.

Anonymous said...

"For those who don't know, Herbert and Marion MacSandler are the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who sold $25.5 Billion in Sand State Liar Loans to 125-year-old Wachovia Bank, which caused Wachovia to collapse into bankruptcy, and thereby allowed Wells Fargo to gain a massive beachhead in the Southeast USA"

There is more. Herbert MacSandler is the founding chairman of Pro-publica, the lefty organization that received confidential information about conservatives from the MacLerner branch of the IRS.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/05/14/irs-released-confidential-info-on-conservative-groups-to-propublica/

You gotta watch out for those Scots-Irish!

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/07/espn-host-ties-low-intelligence-test-score-to-nfl-player-arrests/

"dumb" guys

Anonymous said...

"For those who don't know, Herbert and Marion MacSandler are the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who sold $25.5 Billion in Sand State Liar Loans to 125-year-old Wachovia Bank, which caused Wachovia to collapse into bankruptcy, and thereby allowed Wells Fargo to gain a massive beachhead in the Southeast USA"

There is more. Herbert MacSandler is the founding chairman of Pro-publica, the lefty organization that received confidential information about conservatives from the MacLerner branch of the IRS.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/05/14/irs-released-confidential-info-on-conservative-groups-to-propublica/ That's true there is a lot of jerks on both the left and right but the left is more self-righteous and it makes you look like a hyprocrate.

Anonymous said...

Well, a lot of Mexicans now are renters since a lot of foreign investors brought up the housing in Southern California at lower prices and now the prices are being driven up because of a lot of foreign investors. 30 percent of the market is cash buying, so the investors from China, Canada and other parts of the US buy them up and make them rentials.

Anonymous said...

Austin is however getting expensive by Texas standards maybe because of a lot of out of staters, I heard it average 250,000. If more out of staters drive Houston and Dallas up to 200,000 will folks not come to Texas but go to Utah which has a smaller Mexican population and only 2 percent black population. So, maybe no zoning regulation will eventually not help Texas with low housing.

Anonymous said...

Homeownership is just another religion.

Anonymous said...

From HOME OF THE FREE to FREE HOME FOR THEE

carol said...

Speaking of Section 8, I do believe that social services *everywhere* has gotten quite ambitious lately, and is sending their clients farther out to places like Montana, where they can "start over" and all that.

I'm noticing a lot more vibrancy here in the last year than ever before. Sadly, our winters are not as bracing as they used to be, lessening the chances that the emigres will move south.

Anonymous said...

i have seen data that shows that asians might have higher incomes, but do they really have higher wealth as well? I'm asian by the way and I find this hard to believe as wealth is strongly affected by inter-generational assets.