Customer Reviews for

The Housing Boom And Bust

Average Rating 4.5
( 35 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Outstanding non-partisan view of the issues!

Dr Sowell does a phenomenal job of explaining in layman's term what set up, contributed to and outright caused the housing issues. He does not play party lines and blames both Dems and Reps alike for their respective roles in the entire mess.

posted by 726Lisa on July 26, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Intellectually dishonest

This book is intellectually dishonest. Mr. Sowell distorts statistics, facts, and quotes to fit his agenda while railing against others who do the same. There is not one footnote in the book, only a collection of references in the back. This makes fact checking incredib...
This book is intellectually dishonest. Mr. Sowell distorts statistics, facts, and quotes to fit his agenda while railing against others who do the same. There is not one footnote in the book, only a collection of references in the back. This makes fact checking incredibly, and intentionally, laborious.

Mr. Sowell gloated in a column promoting this book, "Most people don't have time to spend digging into the Congressional Record and other sources to find out the ugly truth being covered up by the blizzard of lies coming out of Washington and echoed in much of the media. But my research assistants do that for a living."

Apparently Mr. Sowell doesn't have time either, and maybe he should look for some more honest research assistants. In the book he quotes Barney Frank as having said, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation." This quote is, first of all, inaccurate and secondly, taken out of context. What Mr. Frank said back in September of 2003 hearing about whether or not to move oversight of the GSEs to Treasury (years before the boom in subprime lending) was: "I want to LOAD the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." His point being that if they were moved to Treasury, they would be little different than an ordinary bank.

"Roll the dice," implies outright gambling and provokes an angry emotional reaction.

"Load the dice," implies weighting a given outcome - not so emotional, and not so good for selling books.

When citing quotations it is intellectually (AND GLARINGLY!) dishonest to change the words to suit your agenda. Now this inaccurate quote has spread everywhere including FOX News, the Wall Street Journal, and all over the internet. Mr. Sowell's "ugly" inaccuracy has already succeeded in its attempts at poisoning the discourse. Here is a link to Mr. Frank's ACTUAL statement:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/178357-1&start=18220

Further review reveals just how out of context the statement is taken.

In a conniving attempt at appearing nonpartisan, Mr. Sowell only occasionally mentions Republican actors in the crime (despite the fact that they were the majority party at the time). However, one will note that all of the Republicans mentioned have either had their terms expire, retired, or announced their retirement. In short, they are now inconsequential. In contrast, he repeatedly attacks Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, Democrats, and the most powerful figures in the House and Senate Finance Committees today (Dodd announced his retirement after the book was published). Further, he makes little mention of the investment banks and dishonest mortgage brokers who bear a great deal of the responsibility for the crisis.

Mr. Sowell contradicts himself by calling for decreased regulation, while simultaneously blaming Democratic politicians for failing to adequately regulate the market - despite their attempts to, and the fact that they were in the minority in Congress.

Mr. Sowell points to Houston, Texas as some sort of urban utopia(!) despite the fact that he, himself, chooses to live in the exclusive Palo Alto area of California

This book is an overly focused, simplistic, and ideological view of the housing crises. It reminded me of reading Edward Bellamy's book of the opposite ideology "Looking Backward." I don't recommend either as a glimpse at reality.

posted by ccmatt2 on January 20, 2010

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    Posted February 2, 2010

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    Posted July 20, 2009

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